Fuente: Microsoft Europe
If you were an employer looking for a young person to recruit, would you rather hire someone with impeccable academic credentials or someone who you knew can communicate effectively, has good organizational skills, can take decisions independently, bring the best from others to achieve common goals?
‘Soft skills’ such as these are increasingly important in the labour market. These skills can be developed within the classroom, but also through other activities –in what is normally referred to as non-formal education. One of the main providers of non-formal education for young people are youth organizations. A recent study by the University of Bath and ICF-GHK, commissioned by the European Youth Forum, collected data from over 1,300 young people and 200 youth organizations in over 40 European countries. It also benefitted from discussions with employers and guidance services. The study revealed that:
• Communication skills, team-working skills, adaptability and flexibility, self-confidence and intercultural skills are amongst those skills developed to a greater extent in youth organisations. These are also some of the ‘soft skills’ most demanded by employers;
• Sustained involvement with youth organizations pays-off: those young people we surveyed who reported higher levels of involvement in the youth organisations’ activities (in terms of frequency and duration) also report higher levels of skills development;
• Likewise, those who have participated in non-formal education activities in youth organisations outside their home country, even for short periods, report higher levels of skills development, in particular in relation to language, intercultural and leadership skills (and the extent to which participation in youth activities abroad was seen to help across the full range of soft skills that we analysed was shockingly clear);
Critically, our research also suggests that young people are not fully aware of how to best present the skills they acquired in young organizations –which may require greater action by youth organizations, career-guidance services, employment agencies and other agencies. Young people also often mention their involvement in youth organisations too late in the application process.
Finally, getting a job is not all about your skills. Involvement with youth organisations helped in other important aspects that help to land into a job too. A large proportion of our sample of young people to develop networks and connections, or ‘social capital’, that can aid in obtaining information about employment opportunities as well as in securing employment.
The economic crisis and its disproportionate impact on young people all around Europe make it all the more important that we invest in our future young people.
Os dejamos con un interesante video sobre la importancia del youthpass