Bravegeneration Entrepreneurs KIDS Club | What are soft skills and why should kids be learning them?
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What are soft skills and why should kids be learning them?

Soft skills complement hard skills. These second are composed of technical knowledge and soft skills, as you may have heard, are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character, attitudes, among others.

More important than knowledge, experience on field or intelligence quotients (IQ), soft skills are much more related to the emotional intelligence quotients (EQ).  Daniel Goleman has been developing the theme and this “new” domain of skills. He describes this EQ with 5 pillars such as self-confidence, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. The good news is that EQ and soft skills are trainable and learnable. So everyone can develop their soft skills throughout daily practice in real situations, which makes any employee adaptable to any kind of unexpected or stressful situations.

 Why did soft skills become such a hot topic?

 Since the British Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reported that “Employers say many graduates lack “soft skills”, such as team working” and that “candidates are normally academically proficient but lacking in soft skills, such as communication and verbal and numerical reasoning.”(AGR,2007) soft skills became a very discussed topic worldwide.  

 But this theme began to gain relevance a while ago.  More than 40 years before the AGR statement, the German Engineering Association (VDI) recommended that 20% of courses of the engineering curricula should be about the development of soft skills. Engineering graduates should bring along knowledge of foreign languages, cultural awareness, should be team workers, and should perhaps have attended a rhetoric course (Ihsen, 2003). And indeed, the situation seems to be particularly bad in science and engineering programmes. Comparing the levels of soft skills between a fictitious graduate of Mechanical Engineering and a graduate of History of Arts, both freshly coming from university, the German Professor Dietrich Schwanitz rated the mechanical engineer at the level of a caveman (Schwanitz, 1999). Obvious reasons are that non-scientific academic programmes, in general, put more emphasis on soft skills, or they are themselves by nature very soft skill related. The English scientist and novelist C.P. Snow basically established this fact in his acclaimed speech titled “The Two Cultures”, in which he defined but at the same time regretted the separation of liberal education into a philosophical-humanistic hemisphere and a technical-scientific hemisphere, where the former is perceived as superior (Snow, 1968)

At the same time, another topic that we talk about is artificial intelligence and how most of the jobs will be replaced with robots. 

People have already started to think about what we could do to continue to be useful to society, and there’s an answer for that – soft skills. People who can manage these soft skills are considered essential for the efficiency of a company, especially for the companies that work directly with the public. After all, soft skills are indispensable to hear a client, identify problems and to solve them – all of this in a gentle and kind way. Adding to this, there’s the need for the employees to relate with each other at their working environment and the skill to turn that into a flowy and productive communication, this can be crucial in the results of a project.

 We now know that everyone can develop their soft skills, and we know that companies and most of the jobs are looking for them. Also, it’s scientifically proven that kids learn this soft skills way better and faster than adults and without much effort. 

Not only this is a plus for anyone who is looking for some self-improvement but also for those who are trying to get better results at work. But imagine that this was already teaching at schools to kids – If the practice of soft skills had already begun at a young age, people would be pros at their soft skills when beginning their careers! 

That’s what the Entrepreneur Kids Club intends to do – to start the improvement of soft skills at an early age, so the kids can begin to develop these assets naturally, being prepared to live the life that they want to live.

Filipa Sousa

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