Briefing Decision-Makers for the FuturePosted: June 28, 2012
On the 29th May, I got my first taste of a Thematic Network Group event. These bi-annual events look into key areas affecting both formal and non-formal learning.
Erasmus for All
The plenary session was a very lively question-time style debate, which centred around the Erasmus for Allproposal for the next generation of programmes which will be launched in 2014. Within the proposal is the consolidation of the current programmes, with a dedicated Sport and Youth strand. This streamlined approach will have a new name (a moot point for many) but regardless of the final form the proposals take, what was clear to me is that the passion for learning in that room was in abundance.
Learning from Projects
Next, we heard a short presentation from one of the projects that is funded by the LLP. And in keeping with the forthcoming sporting season, Terry, a beneficiary from the project StreetGames – a sports charity focused on engaging young people in disadvantaged communities, spoke of his experience from his unique learner perspective. It was fascinating for me and the rest of the audience to hear from this young participant and the positive effect this programme has had on his life. Terry is now a ‘young adviser’ of the programme but his ambitions doesn’t stop here, with his sights set firmly on his bosses position! I was able to speak to John Downes after his presentation, who told me about his passion for his organisation and why he is involved in his project:
Briefing for the Future
The afternoon workshops looked in more detail into specific areas. The group I chose to take part in focused on ‘meeting training and skills needs’ with an aim to reach a consensus on what makes up the ‘right mix of skills’ sought by employers.
Dr Susannah Constable, Project Manager for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, spoke about her teams recently published findings from their comprehensive Skills Survey. Perhaps the most startling figure which stood out for me was that:
41% of the 87,500 organisations interviewed had not provided any training at all for their employees within the last 12 months.
Reasons for this were varied, but that staff were already proficient, time, not being a priority were all listed as factors for non-training.
This was followed by small group discussions as we considered the importance of soft skills, with enthusiasm, dedication and confidence heading up the list. Technical skills and qualifications were also touched upon but it was a combination of both hard and soft skills which seemed to what employers are looking for. One participant summed up with discussion brilliantly stating, ‘It takes both hardware and software to make it work’.
The LLP team is always interested to hear your thoughts on topics related to employability. Why not comment below with your ‘must have’ soft skills you seek in an employee?