What are soft skills and how do they help teens succeed after school?

Last week, my daughter graduated high school. Phew! After 12 long years it is finally over! There were some days I never thought it would happen but I’m so proud that she made it. Now the fun begins – Schoolies celebrations and parties, and for my daughter, the beginning of a gap year. Many teens walk away from school with some kind of further qualification completed alongside their usual subjects, such as a Certificate 2 or 3 in various areas. These quals are great because they make teens instantly employable – almost guaranteed a job as soon as they graduate. And for teens doing a ‘gap year’ who want to work straight away, they also provide what’s called ‘soft skills’ – transferrable skills that are useful outside of school. Skills such as communication, customer service, account keeping and so on.

So let’s look at ‘soft skills’ in more detail to understand how they can help your teen succeed after school.

Transferable skills, also known as soft skills or life skills, are a set of general skills that can be applied across various aspects of life, including education, work, and personal development. These skills are not specific to a particular job or subject but can be transferred and adapted to different situations. Developing transferable skills is essential for children as they prepare for life after school, as these skills can contribute significantly to their success in various areas. Here are some key transferable skills and how they can benefit kids:

Communication skills

  • Why they matter: Effective communication is crucial in both personal and professional settings. It includes listening, speaking, writing, and non-verbal communication.
  • How they help: Kids with strong communication skills can express themselves clearly, collaborate with others, and build positive relationships.

Critical thinking

  • Why it matters: Critical thinking involves analyzing information, solving problems, and making informed decisions.
  • How it helps: Children who develop critical thinking skills can approach challenges with a thoughtful and analytical mindset, leading to better problem-solving abilities.

Creativity

  • Why it matters: Creativity involves thinking outside the box, generating new ideas, and approaching problems with innovation.
  • How it helps: Creative kids can come up with unique solutions, adapt to changes, and excel in fields that require innovation and originality, such as STEM.

Collaboration and Teamwork

  • Why it matters: Many tasks in the real world involve working with others. Collaboration fosters teamwork, cooperation, and the ability to work effectively in groups.
  • How it helps: Kids who can collaborate well are more likely to succeed in group projects, team sports, and future workplace environments.

Adaptability

  • Why it matters: The ability to adapt to new situations, learn from experiences, and embrace change is crucial in a dynamic world.
  • How it helps: Children who are adaptable can navigate transitions, learn new skills quickly, and thrive in evolving environments.

Time management

  • Why it matters: Effectively managing time is essential for productivity and achieving goals.
  • How it helps: Kids who develop time management skills can balance academic, extracurricular, and personal responsibilities, setting them up for success in their studies and future careers.

Resilience

  • Why it matters: Resilience involves bouncing back from setbacks, learning from failures, and maintaining a positive mindset.
  • How it helps: Resilient kids can persevere through challenges, cope with stress, and develop a growth mindset that supports continuous learning.

Leadership

  • Why it matters: Leadership skills involve motivating and guiding others, taking initiative, and making responsible decisions.
  • How it helps: Children with leadership skills can take on leadership roles, contribute to group success, and inspire others.

Developing these transferable skills in children not only prepares them for success in their future careers but also contributes to their overall personal growth and well-being. These skills provide a foundation for lifelong learning and adaptability in an ever-changing world.

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