The Hard Facts Around Empowering Today’s Youth; through soft skills training

Embracing the pace of change

Upon leaving school, college or university, today’s youth are entering a job market that is shifting and changing as fast as technology shifts and changes and as we are all too aware, the pace of change is happening at a faster rate than ever before. 

Today’s job market demands a lot more from the youth who are entering the workforce for the first time and no longer does it suffice for young adults to possess only a technical qualification when entering the workplace.  Nowadays, employers are looking for a different type of commitment from the individual, over and above technical competencies.  The new world of work requires that to be successful young people need to develop another type of skill set altogether to aid them along.  This skill set is commonly referred to as soft skills.  Providing the youth with soft skills training goes a long way towards bridging the gap between completing school, college or university and coping with the demands of the modern world of work.

Shifting trends – women in the workplace

Over and above the idea that one needs the intangible set of skills known as soft skills to succeed in the modern workplace, there are other factors involved that have led to the emergence of shifting trends of major significance.  For example, we can say that the time frame from about the past 50 years onward has seen more women entering the workforce in technical positions as well as positions of power.  Hence, the job market is not only affected by shifting technologies but also by cultural shifts.  Even in the Western world, as recent as only 40 years ago, women were still being typecast into job roles such as nurses, secretaries, hairdressers and teachers.  It was unheard of in the latter part of the 20th Century for a woman to be the head honcho of a major corporation.  In fact, in the 1950s and 1960s most women were far from being actively involved in the workforce in favour of their male counterparts.  It was quite normal in those days for a girl to leave school with a senior certificate, and while having obtained a university pass, not ever make it to university because ‘other expectations’ were held of her such as getting married, having children and becoming a home maker while her husband went out to work. 

Shifting trends – the ‘house husband’

The changing trends of the workplace have seen the roles of women changing in that there are now more women who head up multi-national corporations while their husbands are at home during the day looking after the children.  More men are taking on the role of ‘house husband’.  In the 1950s and 1960s and even as recently as the 1970s, it would have been completely unheard of for a woman to be the main breadwinner of the household while her husband tackled the tasks of house cleaning, cooking and looking after the children.  This is mainly due to historical cultural influences the world over leaning towards a more patriarchal society.  Nowadays, there is an emerging trend that sees more men in domestic roles than ever before. 

Soft skills training bridges the gap between school, college or university and the workplace

Global trends reveal that the use of technology is rapidly changing the nature of work on a global scale.  This means that now more than ever when young people leave school, college or university to enter the job market there is a dire need to provide them with the soft skills required to prepare them to enter the workplace.  Soft skills are the intangible attitudes, behaviours, personality traits and individual qualities that empower individuals to achieve their goals and objectives in working effectively with others. 

In the current job climate awareness around the need for soft skills training is growing rapidly.  Employers are beginning to recognise the value of soft skills in enhancing productivity and providing young people with a broader scope of competencies.  Developing soft skills in young people should be carried out in tandem with their technical skills development, hence, the two are not mutually exclusive as both skill sets serve to move individuals and business forward.

What employers are demanding from the youth in the current job climate is that the youth demonstrate that they are flexible, proactive, creative and are willing to collaborate. 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills can be defined as the set of skills, behaviours, attitudes, personal attributes and type of mindset that can be used by individuals to succeed in everyday situations both in business and in one’s personal life. 

In-depth analysis has found that soft skills development among the youth should be geared towards the following skill sets:

While this list is by no means exhaustive and while there are numerous other skills that fall under the soft skills umbrella, there is evidence to support the fact that developing these particular skills will lead to more positive employment outcomes.  Acquiring the right soft skills also goes a long way towards helping young adults to healthily mature and more effectively take on roles with greater responsibility as they grow in their chosen careers.

Helen Fenton, Senior Analyst:  Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTi)

Reference source:

  1. What Works in Soft Skills Development for Youth Employment? A Donors’ Perspective

Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTI) is a Johannesburg based, Level 1 BBBEE business.  As a Services and MICT SETA accredited company, we have trained thousands of individuals from over 650 companies and our extensive course offering consists of Short Courses, Soft Skills Training and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Learnership Programs.  In addition, we offer bespoke training programs designed to cater to specific business needs.  Our training courses are focused on knowledge and skills transfer and we pride ourselves in being able to provide training anytime, anywhere across South Africa.

How Banks Make Billions – You Too Can: Part 3

This is going to be the final post on this series. I hope you have found this to be very informative. Did you miss any? You can read part 1 & 2. see links here 1

and part 2 2

Someone talked about segmentation and not participating in every market. Yes that’s true but what most banks also do is they outsource management of some segments to third party providers or partner strategically. Because those segments might not be their core or it might be expensive managing and acquiring the customers there. Banks understand partnership, so they look for strategic partners to push certain kind of business to their market while they just provide support. So this could be the case for you in your business, Partnership is key. Let me also emphasize that it depends on your business model and what your business goals are.

So to the main discussions.

3. They look for where the crowd gathers

Banks don’t just open branches anywhere, they look for where the footfall is high and there is a genuine demand for banking service. With business presence and a lot of commercial activities and the banks can recover or break even in less, within 12 months or slightly more. Because it’s very expensive to start a new branch. Banks don’t want to waste funds, there must be business case that will justify the investment. Even in the bible it says who wants to first build a house and not count if he will be able to finish it. You must justify your investment in any business or even location. So, do the simple maths, project and show the potentials, banks don’t joke with that. This doesn’t imply that some of the banks have not made mistakes, in fact some have even closed or merged some of their locations as it turns out to be unprofitable over time.

I have handled a lot of financial projects both local and international and as the project manager of these projects, I must always show the business case and why we need to make that investment before the sponsor approves, nobody wants to throw his money away based on speculations there must be data to back it up.

That’s why you see banks like GTbank don’t open branches like every other bank, they are very strategic in their investment and they always get it right.

I believe that before you start a business or sell any product, you must be able to identify your market and where you will get the maximum of your customers, do the analysis and consider the size and their impact on the product or services you are about to launch. If your customers are on social media platforms, there is no need investing hard earned money on physical locations except there will be a general impact on your brand or product.

in a nut shell, identify and follow where the most of your customers are and pitch your tent there.

4. Always Concerned about Operating Cost:

Banks understand the impact of operating cost, so they don’t joke with it, that’s why you see that banks can sack thousands of people without blinking an eye lid. Because operating cost can wipe out all your income and put you in a loss-making position, they always seek ways to reduce cost and one of the easiest ways is to reduce the workforce. I don’t always agree with their style though, but this happens regularly. You won’t understand this except you are running your own business. I never understood this until I started running my business, a lot of cost were just dropping on my table, so I started watching all our expense lines and you know what? apart from power especially in Nigeria, staff cost is one of the highest.

As I close this series I will say, don’t just stop where you are, keep improving, keep growing and make a difference

I appreciate all who liked, made comments and shared their perspective. If this series have been very helpful, please share with your friends and on every platform. Also drop your message for more conversation

To Your Success

Lawrence Obi