There’s no denying it: it’s a tough world for teens to grow up in, especially when it comes to education. South African schools are struggling, filled to the brim with learners, and facing a variety of operational challenges, while trying to teach the skills that teens will need to succeed well into their adult lives.
So, what exactly are those skills? Traditionally, formal high schools put teens on a path to developing hard skills that can contribute towards their future careers; like computer literacy, analytical thinking, and time management – just three examples, among many.
But what about soft skills? Traditional education channels fall short when it comes to teaching teens soft skills, in addition to academia, because they’re just so overwhelmed. Although we want our teens to be successful in their future careers, we also need them to be good, well-rounded people, with both hard and soft skills that enable them to become meaningful contributors to society; tools they will use in a multitude of contexts and conversations over the course of their lives.
According to studies, employers in Africa say that graduates are overlooking essential soft skills development when undertaking their degrees, which can negatively affect their ability to find work. This suggests that there is great benefit to your teen’s future career, and societal contribution, for them to get a head start on the development of these skills, while they’re still in school. And the key to making sure they learn soft skills is to educate them, while entertaining them – which is where eLearning platforms like the new ‘edumentary’ Playbox platform come in!
Five Hard Facts About Soft Skills:
1. 80% of recruiters say the ability to adapt is becoming increasingly vital in the workplace.
When it comes to living in tumultuous times, teens need to be prepared for their lives to change on a whim, in ways they won’t always have control over. To this end, they need to have the sort of resilience that can handle it. Ultra-trail runner, Ryan Sandes, tackles skills like resilience in his Playbox. He may be a mountain master, but the wisdom he shares goes far beyond the trail, as he teaches how to handle adversity, and come out on top. In his own words, he says, “Life happens fast. It’s unpredictable, fast-paced, and changing all the time.” By helping teens learn that everyone is running their own life trail, and that sometimes the going will get tough, you set them up for success – and a ton of fun while chasing it!
2. 9.7 million employees experienced workplace conflict in 2018 to 2019.
Soft skills teach teens that life isn’t going to be a walk in the park; that there will be bad moments, tragic moments, and tough moments. And that you can learn what it takes to overcome. This often means that your teens need to be capable of conflict management. Mogau Seshoene, lovingly known as The Lazy Makoti, is a famous South African chef, who lives by the motto: “Do it with the fear!” In her Playbox she speaks about the best way to handle conflict and continue in pursuit of your wildest dreams, even when everyone around you says no!
3. 90% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that empathises with their needs.
“When we understand empathy, and we learn how to use it to make the world laugh, that’s when empathy becomes our superpower.” These wise words are from Playbox’s homegrown funny guy and professional stand-up comedian, Joey Rasdien. Aside from some side-splitting lessons in comedy, he teaches us about the importance of having empathy – for yourself and everyone else. And whether your teen ends up leading teams or working in them, knowing how to be empathetic is essential because it teaches you how to talk to, and understand, people from all walks of life – which is something we could all use more of, as adults, as well!
4. Attitude is the number one important factor when hiring new employees.
Just like many of us, your teen will probably have to work for someone one day, or with them if they decide to start their own thing, and unfortunately, even if they’re brilliant at what they do, they’ll fail if they have the wrong attitude. Values and manners are the soft skills required to get through life and make positive connections along the way. Global soccer star, Lucas Radebe, goes for the goals in his Playbox, when he says, “Attitude is what sums you up as a leader, a captain, a true rocket of the game – that’s what sets you apart.” Those who have the right attitude are more likely to move forward in life, making it a skill that’s as important to learn as reading and writing.
5. Courage is one of the top seven qualities recruiters look for in the hiring process.
The Princess of Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, believes that in order to succeed, you need the guts to be different, and the grace to be human. As technological advancements in multiple industries render positions obsolete, teens may find themselves being told they have no place in a certain industry, business, or field. In such an event, they’re going to have to consider innovating and building something for themselves – from the ground up – and that’s where the guts come in. Once they make it, they need the grace to stay on top. It takes hard work to be successful, and these days, just knowing the ins and outs of your craft isn’t enough. You have to be brave and humble – the two go hand-in-hand as soft skills that’ll take teens far!
The Coaches on Playbox are the ideal mentors, offering up hard-won wisdom in easy-to-watch 10-minute episodes, teaching soft skills, and lighting a fire in the hearts of younger generations, inspiring them to work hard towards their dreams because this life can be a struggle sometimes and everyone needs a little hope. This is education like no other. This is about making a tangible difference. This is about living in a world where we all can, because they did; where the meaningful, teachable moments of some of South Africa’s greatest icons become the source of skills development that’s missing from traditional learning.
Irrespective of whether you’re a teen, or the parent of teens, we all need to invest in developing our soft skills. Now, more than ever, teens need mentors to give guidance and inspire them.
By witnessing the stories, the challenges, the failures, and the resilience, of the South African Playbox icons, who started with less, and made more from it, teens will find the motivation to believe that they can do it, too. And who knows, maybe one day, they’ll become a Playbox Coach in their own right!