Barrier Breakers Foundation believes we must re-think our education system 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
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.
While soft skills are essential to workplace success and personal wellbeing, their value extends even further.
Do we want an education system that develops the individual, encourages questioning, reflection, and a curious mind, creating a lust for lifelong learning and bringing about social mobility and equality? If so, then education policy needs to recognise and prioritise soft skills fully.
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.
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.