Skills for the future

Some of the world's leading businesspeople and entrepreneurs say there is more to being ready for the world of work than exam results alone.

For many young people, the month of receiving their exam results can be a daunting time. And no matter what the exam results may bring, it’s a time when many contemplate their future.

Whilst formal results and in-classroom learning inevitably contribute to future opportunities, many educators, policy makers, leaders and parents are now asking what other attributes young people need to be ready for the world of work of today and tomorrow.

For the first time this year, LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report highlights that 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers think that candidates with strong soft skills – such as confidence, resilience and adaptability - are increasingly important. In fact, it could make or break the hiring of the perfect candidate, as 89% feel that “bad hires” typically have poor soft skills.

Non-formal education, such as that offered by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has been heralded for helping to develop those ‘soft’ skills –   or ‘core skills’ or ‘universal’ skills, as the Award would prefer them to be called – which so many are now seeking.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation – has been exploring this further, asking some leading businesspeople what they look for when recruiting new employees.

In interviews with numerous leaders from around the world, all highlighted that developing skills outside of the classroom were essential in helping to prepare young people to be ready for the world of work:

“Nowadays, careers are constantly shifting and industries are changing. The ability to be adaptable, work with people and solve problems is a necessary skill.” Rob Acker, CEO,

“For me when I’m employing someone, it isn’t just a list of can they do this job. I’m looking for the full, rounded picture. Do they fit into this type of role? Will they fit into the team? Will they be able to really embrace this job? Will they enjoy it?” Deborah Meaden, Entrepreneur & Dragons’ Den Investor

“Skills like communication, confidence, resilience. You see it not just physically on the CV, but you can actually see it in the character of the person. It is something that’s imbibed in them, that comes out in their work ethos. As an employer, I look out for that.” Karishma Naina Sharma, Film Producer & Music Manager

In 2017, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation partnered with Cambridge Assessment International, to offer a non-formal education framework to their world-renowned formal curriculum. The partnership, which has piloted in a number of countries to date, continues to drive greater awareness around the importance of learning both in and out of the classroom.

Cambridge International’s Director of Education Tristian Stobie says:

“We believe that the Award provides an outstanding learning experience that helps young people develop skills needed for success in life. We are actively encouraging Cambridge International Schools to adopt the scheme and complement their academic curriculum with this programme.”

John May, Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation says:

“During the past few years, the Award has seen rising international interest in its work and outcomes. We are regularly approached by leaders in education, government and youth organisations who are interested in exploring the benefits of non-formal education and learning and the role it can play in developing universal skills such as resilience, confidence, communication and problem solving – skills which many deem essential for young people, as the world changes at a rate and in ways never seen before.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award currently operates in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, supporting more than a million young people to dream big, challenge themselves and find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

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