Soft skills are as valuable as good grades to Welsh students

Soft skills are as valuable as good grades to Welsh students

Over two thirds of young people in Wales believe that soft skills will help them get a job, according to new research conducted by the Prince’s Trust.

The Prince’s Trust ‘Results for Life’ report, released today, reveals that soft skills such as teamwork, communication and confidence are considered by young people and workers in Wales to be as important to achieving success in life as good grades.

The research, supported by HSBC, is a national survey which gauges how much value is placed on soft skills and whether respondents feel they have enough support to learn these skills both at school and in the workplace.

It shows that while young people and people in the workforce from across Wales agree on the importance of soft skills, there are concerns across the board about whether young people get enough support to develop them.

While young people in Wales consider maths and literacy to be the most important skills to learn at school, soft skills, including confidence and communication, are next in line – ahead of subjects like IT and languages.

When asked why they think these skills are so important, 67% of young people in Wales said that having them will help them to get a job.

On the other side of the coin, 47% of young people in Wales don’t feel prepared to enter the workforce, with 43% of this group believing their soft skills are not good enough; and 46% of this group saying their confidence is too low.

Almost half, some 48%, of young people in Wales feel their school does not fully support them in developing these areas.

When comparing these findings with the views of workers and teachers, it appears the concerns young people in Wales raise are not unfounded.

More than a quarter of teachers nationally, 27%, think that most of the students they teach don’t yet have all the soft skills required to do well after school, and 91% think schools should be doing more to help students to develop these skills.

Similarly, three of the top five things workers in Wales think young people most lack typically when entering the workforce are soft skills including confidence, communication and the ability to work in a team, above things like maths and literacy.

Over two thirds, 69%, of workers felt they themselves didn’t have all the soft skills to do well when they first started working, while 58% felt a lack of skills meant they struggled to find a job when they were starting out.

Philip Jones, Regional Director for The Prince’s Trust in Wales said: “While young people are painfully aware of the importance of getting good grades and under incredible pressure to achieve them, this report shows that the life and character skills considered key to success in their working lives are at risk of being overlooked.

“Students, teachers and workers across Wales agree that more needs to be done to ensure young people leave education equipped for life and able to reach their full potential in the workplace. By working together to support them to achieve this, we can ensure the next generation of employees hit the ground running and make a formidable addition to the work force.”

This research was based on a sample of 2,224 11-19 year olds, 2,675 workers and 1,000 teachers who took part in an online survey, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of The Prince’s Trust between the 13th and 29th of July 2017.