College works with BT to enhance soft skills

Students at Solihull College & University Centre’s Woodlands Campus have been developing soft skills by visiting BT for a BT Work Skills Boot Camp.

Recent surveys indicated that alongside being technically competent, employers look for their prospective employees to demonstrate “soft skills” such as being a good listener or thinking critically, but there still seems to be a gap finding students with both.

A group of major employers, led by McDonald’s, have called for measures to formally recognise and promote soft skills such as communication and teamwork. In their report, “The Value of Soft Skills to the Economy”, they estimate that the value of soft skills to the UK economy is around £88 billion, and that this could grow to more than £127 billion by 2025.

In order to develop soft skills among their students the College staff decided that a Boot Camp seemed an ideal way to demonstrate this further.  The Engineering Students across level’s 1, 2 and 3 gained valuable employability skills and an awareness and knowledge of what softer skills are, and how they are recognised within the workplace.

Thirty students attended the employability event which was hosted by BT Work Skills and MyKindaFuture. Students were involved in a variety of activities throughout the camp. They learned CV techniques, how to match individual skills to specific job descriptions, how to use social media in a professional capacity and interview techniques. The group also took part in a Q&A session where they had the opportunity to ask BT volunteers about their roles.  During the latter part of the day students took part in a ‘Dragons Den’ style product challenge.  The task was to promote and pitch their product to the rest of the audience.

Personal Tutor for Engineering Hayley Ridewood commented; “All students demonstrated enthusiasm, positivity and professional conduct throughout the whole day. I do believe that the day certainly captured the importance of ‘soft skills’ and how that these transfer into all career areas.  It was inspiring to see how the different groups and levels worked well together.’

Host, Owain Jones from MyKindaFuture offered the following comments from the day; “The students from Solihull engaged with the content with gusto and were ably supported by their staff. They were a pleasure to meet and talk to.”

Level 2 Student, Siraj, who attended the camp added; “All I can say is just keep it up! This sort of event is really helpful for young people like us.  Thank you very much indeed!”

To find out more about Solihull College & University Centre’s Engineering courses please visit www.solihull.ac.uk.