Barrier Breakers Foundation believe we must re-think our education system in order for equality to become a reality. We need to move away from the mechanistic ‘teaching to the test’ approach, and towards an education system where soft skills are embedded in every learning experience.
Soft skills are the traits and abilities of attitude and behaviour, rather than knowledge or technical aptitude.
Soft skills – such as communication, leadership, confidence, motivation, self-awareness, creativity, and teamwork – are increasingly recognised as key to enterprise, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
‘Soft skills are an asset that neither employers nor employees can ignore.’
James Caan CBE 2015
Soft skills are becoming critical determinants of survival in the face of current challenges. They are the skills we need to adapt successfully to a globalised, rapidly changing, unpredictable environment.
However, there’s a massive soft skills gap, particularly affecting young people.
‘By 2020, more than half a million workers will be held back by a lack of soft skills.’
While soft skills are essential to workplace success and personal wellbeing, their value extends even further, we believe they are the secret to self-empowerment and equality.
If we truly want an education system that develops the individual, that encourages questioning, reflection, and a curious mind, that creates a lust for lifelong learning, and that brings about social mobility and equality, then soft skills must be prioritised.
Soft skills open our eyes to reality. They give us the strength to change things for the better and they provide us with the resilience that making change demands.
There is evidence that this new kind of education would have dramatic benefits, not only for the young people concerned, but also for society as a whole.
Graham Allen’s report, Early Intervention: The Next Steps, detailed “the immense penalties to society and to the individual of failing to provide a strong foundation of social and emotional capabilities early in life.”
If we care about equality, we must support all young people by putting soft skills at the heart of education.