From education to employment

The critical role of Life Skills in addressing the UK’s productivity challenges #FutureOfEmployment

Tony Manwaring, Head of Strategic Partnerships, QDOOZ

Life Skills are critical for our success, whether at work, or in life. How we communicate, build relationships, and resolve conflict and complex problems – amongst many other skills – are absolutely essential. 

Today’s workplaces demand agility, resilience and the ability to negotiate rapid change. 

All too often, the young people I talk with are unaware of how important Life Skills are for being successful at whatever they do: an outstanding qualification, and technical skills, are necessary but not sufficient, for a good career. 

The Future of Employment

With the speed of technological growth around the world, the future of the economy is changing, and there are many jobs that exist today that won’t exist in years to come.

More and more, employees in businesses and workplaces are required to collaborate with colleagues in new and innovative ways that increase productivity and reach clear business objectives, which is why Life Skills are becoming increasingly important.

We’ve seen how computers and robots are used in many sectors like manufacturing, IT and finance, changing the game with smart tech and new algorithms.

Human attributes like interpersonal communication, diplomacy, and coordination and management are just a few of the types of skills that current computer technology and AI find difficult to beat, ensuring that those who possess these skills maintain a high level of employability.

When coupled with technical training, Life Skills enable employees to produce the tangible results that drive business forward. In order to achieve these results, it’s important to build relationships that encourage individual success, which directly impacts the success of the organisation.

In this way, Life Skills are seen as critically important to succeed at your job and to progress in your career.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

With the fast-paced nature of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’, both technical and Life Skills need to be worked on constantly. The technical skills you acquired helped you reach your qualification but need constant refining in order to remain current, and relevant for the future.

This is why Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is so important. It not only updates the technical skills you already possess, but it also develops the Life Skills you need to go further.

By anticipating the capabilities needed for any given job, and working on the Life Skills needed to succeed in that role, you’re able to be ahead of the game in demonstrating that you’re the right fit for the job.

Life Skills are rarely taught in schools or colleges, and are generally ignored in workplace training schemes as well, with the exception of exclusive 1:1 coaching for senior executives.

When I’ve talked with graduates and those entering the work, I’ve noticed that many possess the right qualification and technical skills, but less so the relevant Life Skills that need to accompany that qualification.

Heading into University, students are building the capability to learn effectively in order to acquire the technical skills needed to secure employment.

However, once graduated with these technical skills and heading into the work environment, employers find that skills for effective communication and people management, as well as various other necessary attributes, are often lacking amongst recently employed graduates.

Maintaining a Growth Mindset

It’s important for graduates to know which Life Skills are relevant to their industry and how to use them to succeed in their employment. Remember that learning isn’t just about the theory: maintaining a ‘growth mindset’ is a Life Skill in itself that enables you to apply knowledge to specific situations and recognise opportunities to learn and grow from those around you.

The wonderful thing about Life Skills is that they are actually applicable to all sectors, but understanding your sector allows you to identify which skills you will need to develop further.

If your future role is people-oriented, you may need to work on how to be more conversational, empathetic or diplomatic.

When entering a corporate office environment, knowing how to manage expectations by setting clearly defined and achievable timelines is an organisational skill that will elevate your professionalism.

Other skills that need to be developed early on include team problem solving, critical thinking and demonstrating emotional resilience to pressure – all of which allows anyone to shine in their work life.

Critical Link Between Education And The Economy

There is a critical link between education and the economy. As a whole, well-trained members of society are able to engage with new technologies and implement them into businesses on a larger scale, enabling them to achieve results in a shorter amount of time, and with fewer resources.

Feeling competent and knowledgeable makes people more productive in their jobs, which allows businesses to be better able to compete within their economy.

Life Skills are vital to current and future job markets and will play a critical role in addressing the UK’s productivity challenges.

These skills are a toolkit that can be drawn upon to achieve results, and there are hundreds of Life Skills that employers are crying out for. There is no formal education or training that currently addresses this gap in Life Skills, for the individual or for professions, and QDOOZ will be the first systematic and scalable solution to address this gap.

In the digital age, when access to information for self-progression is readily available, anyone of any age or background is able to develop themselves and identify opportunities for further success, and in doing so, they lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Tony Manwaring, Head of Strategic Partnerships, QDOOZ

About QDOOZ: Created to help people and organisations develop the Life Skills needed to be more successful at work. By addressing the Qualities that shape the character needed to build Life Skills in practice in the most effective way possible, QDOOZ enables everyone to be more successful at work by improving who they are and what they’re able to do – thereby becoming more rounded and capable individuals.

Harnessing the power of technology and analytics, and combining it with the insights of coaching and mentoring, QDOOZ will increase people’s performance capabilities. The platform identifies the values, qualities and attributes that are current strengths and those that members would like to either stop, start or improve – all while tracking changes and progress made on the platform.

Launching around Easter 2019, members will receive CPD points for engaging on the platform and reaching targeted goals. With hundreds of skills available to access via the platform, QDOOZ is important for the millions of people who are members of professional organisations in sectors like accounting, healthcare, and management, and is also important for anyone who wants to ensure their relevance for the future.

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