Scotland Shouldn’t Go Soft On Soft Skills

Scotland’s workers, current and future, are being told to worry less about academic achievement and technical knowledge, and focus more on “metaskills” such as creativity and critical thinking, if they want to be successful in years to come.

This is the stark message received more than 100 global directors, policy makers and educationalists who descended on Glasgow to attend “Skills 4.0: Work-based Learning for #AHumanFuture”.

The Centre for Work-based Learning (CWBL) symposium, now in its fifth year, was created in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help tackle some of the major issues related to the future of work and skills in this country.

Delegates heard from the likes of international tech firm AirBnB, the Edge Foundation, US-based Minerva Schools, PwC, and  ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (one of the top innovation Universities in the world) , as they debated how to develop the skills that will promote inclusive and sustainable growth for Scotland’s economy.

Centre director David Coyne said: “Skills 4.0 recognises that the world of work is changing, and to thrive in this new and fast-paced environment, businesses need resilient employees equipped with the right skills and knowledge.”

Coyne added: “For absolute clarity, we are not saying that you don’t need SVQs, Highers, or degrees or any professional knowledge, we are just saying - and there is huge consensus about this from all our speakers, and other experts around the world - that going forward these alone will not be enough to survive in the workplace of the future.

“Soft skills, or metaskills, will be vital for our personal as well as economic wellbeing and prosperity. We will all need to have the likes of emotional intelligence, cultural fluency and critical thinking in our personal skill set to cope with the future!

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