We must see sense over soft skills

23rd August 2013 at 01:00

I agree with the concerns of the British Chambers of Commerce regarding the UK education system not giving students the chance to develop the soft skills needed in the workplace. This highlights the contradictions at a government level. On the one hand, the Department for Education is fixated on academic achievement; on the other, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is pushing innovation and entrepreneurship.

Undoubtedly, there has been an overemphasis on sitting exams and hitting targets in recent years, which has been to the detriment of soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and teamwork. The UK education system is poor at fostering and measuring these skills. In the past the argument against doing so was that it was too difficult. However, technology is making it much easier to capture and measure such skills, so there is no reason why they should be seen as any less important or valid than mathematics or science grades.

Business and the government need to be on the same page or we risk holding back our next generation of workers.

Matt Wingfield, Managing director, TAG Developments.

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