About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1935-1941
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1382

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

SOFT SKILLS TO INCREASE EMPLOYABILITY

I. Pereira, R. Cadima, H. Menino, I. Araújo

Polytechnic of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
It is recognized that it exists a skill gap between graduates and employers needs [1], and recruiters look for new graduates with specific soft skills [2,3] like Integrity, Communication, Courtesy, Responsibility and Interpersonal skills [3] in different working areas.
Working-ready graduates are a concern to different higher education institutions around the world. Many of them implemented projects that can help graduates to acquire soft skills to improve their employability. For this reason it is important to identify the skills that graduates and professionals need to achieve that match with what is required by employers.
Erasmus+ project CommonS (Common Spaces for Collaborative Learning) is currently developing a web platform to enhance communities of practice. Through the cataloguing of Open Educational Resources it will be possible to build learning paths that can help autonomous learning. It can be a space of informal learning, where it is possible to learn in a community, sharing each findings and discussing about them. It is also intended to create tools for e-mentoring, allowing recent graduates to look for guidance by professionals with more experience.
On CommonS Project a survey was carried out by all partners involved in 2015 and from the analysis of the 487 answers achieved, it was found that the most needed skills were Interpersonal skills, Communication, Flexibility, Proactivity and Planning and organizing [4]. Some of these skills are also mentioned by employers [3].
For Polytechnic of Leiria, the Portuguese partner, it is important to know what their new graduates identify as fundamental skills to get and keep a job. For that reason the Portuguese data collected was analysed separately. The main findings will be presented in this paper. It also will help to guide the content to provide on CommonSpaces in Portuguese language.
The Portuguese version of the survey collected a total of 204 valid answers. We concluded that Portuguese respondents reveal satisfaction with their academic training, although they expressed interest to increase specific skills like: Proactivity, Communication, Practical experience, Interpersonal Skills, Employability and Team work. Some of these skills can be trained during graduation period, like communication and team work, but can also be improved in lifelong learning courses. Students and young graduates are interested to do courses and attend training sessions in order to be more competent on their works. They preferred face to face programs, followed by b-learning and the less preferred is e-learning.
CommonSpace platform is a space where new graduates could improve their soft skills and it is expected that it could increase their employability odds. For that reason, we launched some communities projects through the platform to start working on the soft skills identified as needed in the survey and we intend to evaluate if our expectations about it become true.

References
[1] Jackson, D. (2013). Business graduate employability – where are we going wrong? Higher Education Research & Development, 32(5), 776–790.
[2] Jain, S. & Anjuman, A. S. S. (2013). Facilitating the Acquisition of Soft Skills Through Training. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 7(2), 32–39.
[3] Robles, M. M. (2012). Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 453–465.
[4] Commons. (2015). CommonS survey of potential community members. Leiria [internal document]
@InProceedings{PEREIRA2016SOF,
author = {Pereira, I. and Cadima, R. and Menino, H. and Ara{\'{u}}jo, I.},
title = {SOFT SKILLS TO INCREASE EMPLOYABILITY},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.1382},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.1382},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {1935-1941}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Pereira AU - R. Cadima AU - H. Menino AU - I. Araújo
TI - SOFT SKILLS TO INCREASE EMPLOYABILITY
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1382
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 1935
EP - 1941
ER -
I. Pereira, R. Cadima, H. Menino, I. Araújo (2016) SOFT SKILLS TO INCREASE EMPLOYABILITY, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 1935-1941.
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