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Knowing Is Not Enough

Through my work with schools’ career programmes, I find myself discussing how important it is to prepare students to transition into employment by learning the softer skills that seasoned professionals perhaps take for granted. While being empathetic, resilient, and adaptable helps forge successful careers, we must not lose sight of the practical learning that comes from education and training.

In the modern world, the only constant in life is change, whether driven by advancements in digital technology or an increasing reliance on automation. And this is transforming the jobs market on a global scale, and the latest predictions suggest nearly 90% of workers will need upskilling in some capacity within the next decade. Continuous learning has become the norm focusing on a portfolio of transferable skills and technical knowledge. But this is only half the story. Knowing is not enough. Practically applying what you learned is what makes the difference.

In this week’s edition of Unleash the Power I am exploring transferable skills, why they are crucial for employers and employees, and how you can develop them through practice.

What Are Transferable Skills?

Having a mixture of talents that are relevant to a wide range of jobs are the skills that will be most critical for future success. Combining hard skills, such as languages, coding, or accounting, with softer skills, like empathy, resilience, and adaptability makes an individual transferable between industries. And successful businesses are recognising this fact at an increasing rate, with research consistently highlighting the following versatile traits.

Adaptable and Resilient

Collaborator and Critical Thinker

Leader and Communicator

Emotionally Intelligent

Creative and Innovative

Why Are Transferable Skills Important?

A pre-Covid government survey suggested the development of new trainees cost employers around £2,500 annually, compared to £1,500 for an existing employee. Coupled with the lack of funds being a significant barrier to training provision, it’s no surprise that transferable skills are coming to the fore. And in the current economic climate, this is becoming more prevalent as businesses search for candidates to address their recruitment challenges.

Everyone benefits from developing transferable skills. Employers recognise an individual can add value to the organisation from day one, having honed their skills across different jobs. For example, empathy can help resolve a retail customer’s complaint while alleviating challenges faced in an assisted living facility. It is just a different application of the same emotional intelligence skills. While employees can call on previous experience when encountering unfamiliar situations and challenges, improving productivity, reducing costs, and helping the individual’s professional development.

However, there remains stiff competition for many roles, with some industries remaining in a recruitment crisis. So being able to call on real-life applications to highlight your transferable skills has never been more crucial and will help you to stand out from the crowd. And could be the difference that secures the role of your dreams.

How To Develop Transferable Skills?

Personally, I prefer a blended approach to learning, striking a balance between formal training, vocational learning, and on-demand refreshers. But, the good news is there are a whole host of ways to develop transferable skills, whether it be self-reflection coupled with a personal development plan or motivating yourself through target and goal setting.

You can try more practical solutions to develop specific skills. Here are just three examples.

Adaptable and Resilient – Negative outcomes create feelings of disappointment, so developing techniques that maintain a sense of perspective is crucial to bouncing back. Think of it as a mental fitness workout.

Critical Thinker – When faced with an unfamiliar challenge take time to think of many interesting, innovative, or unusual solutions to the problem. Weigh up the pros and cons of each option before deciding on the right path to follow.

Leader – You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. Take responsibility for workstreams outside of your day job to help hone your leadership mentality.

Transferable skills develop throughout our lives and careers, so continually update the mental portfolio of evidence, and share practical examples when appropriate.

Remember, knowing is not enough.

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Chief Business Narrator, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

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