Colleges help students meet industry demand for soft skills

April 8, 2015

An article in the Globe and Mail looks at how Canadian colleges are working to overcome a gap between the demands of employers and the skills of recent graduates. The article notes that recent US-based surveys have found that while 75% of education providers said that graduates were adequately prepared for entry-level positions in their field, only 42% of employers and 45% of youth felt the same way. 49% of employers felt that grads had adequate written communication skills, in contrast to 63% of education providers. In response, some colleges are working to enhance their soft skills offerings, providing instruction on communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, sometimes in collaboration with employers. The British Columbia Institute of Technology, for example, requires that students complete a hands-on consulting project for an industry client in order to graduate. BCIT has also collaborated with SAP Canada to develop a high-school course that has students working on real-world projects and learning about teamwork and job readiness. "I firmly believe you have to simulate what is done in industry if you are going to call yourself industry-ready," said Robin Hemmingsen, Dean of BCIT's business school. Globe and Mail