Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar.

Nnamdi Azikiwe

Many of the young women we work in our youth clubs with will end up in jobs that don’t yet exist. We can’t predict the future, but we can help young women to develop the crucial soft skills they need to adapt to Africa’s future. Whenever we deliver activities with and for young women, we give them the opportunity to develop their soft skills. 

Why does this matter? In fast-changing environments like the economies of our countries, adaptability matters, and in fast-changing workplaces, employers are looking for young people with soft skills.

Youth work can help young people to develop soft skills including:

  •  Communication
  • Self-Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Responsibility
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Decisiveness
  • Ability to Work Under Pressure and Time Management
  • Flexibility
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Unlike hard skills, such as coding, plumbing, or hairdressing, soft skills aren’t limited to being useful only in certain roles or situations. They are useful in every job and sector, in our lives as citizens, professionals, friends and family members. They relate to both personal competences, such as confidence, discipline, self-management, and social competences like teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence. 

Our work shows that developing soft skills is a continuous process that makes young women more confident in their abilities and their value. Youth workers have an important role in facilitating each stage of this process, although this will look different according to the age of your participants and context of your youth work.

Reflection Questions

  1. What soft skills do you have?
  2. What soft skills do you think your young women have already? Did they learn this at home, school, or somewhere else?
  3. What do you think they need to develop to be ready for the future?

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