What are Soft Skills and How Do They Benefit Apprentices?
Whether you have secured an interview, accepted the job or are already working as an apprentice - you will have already used soft skills to help you achieve your goals.
This quick guide will give you a greater understanding of your personal skills and how you can utilize them to boost your prospects and become the perfect apprentice.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills’ is the broad term referring to our personal character traits, how we interact with others and approach or respond to tasks and scenarios within our daily lives.
They include things like: active listening, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, empathy and collaboration. Compared to technical skills (like knowing how to use operate machinery or software), soft skills can be put into play any time that we interact with other people. This doesn't just mean on the job—you can also use these skills when you're out socializing or carrying out other everyday tasks.
You might already have some soft skills—and if not, don't worry! You can develop them by gaining work experience and learning from your personal life.
What are some examples of Soft Skills?
Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes and emotional intelligence.
Communication and collaboration
Ability to learn quickly
Adaptability and flexibility
Plan and prioritize work
Work well under pressure
Leadership (which may include conflict resolution)
How Can You Develop Soft Skills?
Soft skills are a group of traits you'll need to survive in the workforce. They enable you to:
Be socially intelligent and communicative
Work effectively in teams and collaborate with others
Use your emotions as a tool to solve problems—rather than letting them get you down
Master difficult situations and think on your feet
They're not just important for the workplace. They're essential for life, too. With soft skills, you don't just perform well at work; they also help you communicate better at home, focus more with your studies and become a more confident person overall.
For some quick soft-skills boosting sessions during your apprenticeship, why not try:
Getting To Know Your Colleagues Better
Getting to know your colleagues and building strong working relationships is just one of the many soft skills that you’ll pick up during an apprenticeship. Soft skills are an essential part of being a great employee, and they’re also something that employers are looking for in their new recruits.
You can start by finding out more about who you’re working with, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about what they enjoy doing outside of work.
If you’re stuck for something to talk about, then why not invite them for lunch? Most workplaces are likely to have staff rooms or canteens where you can sit down and chat together over lunch. It might be small, but these kinds of things can really help you build strong working relationships.
Demonstrate your Interest in Development
If you're an apprentice, showing an active interest in your development is not just a good idea—it's crucial to your success. But how do you demonstrate that interest?
The simplest way to show an active interest in your development is to ask questions and be curious about the work that you're doing. Asking questions shows your supervisor or mentor that you are engaged with what's going on around you, and demonstrates a desire to improve and grow.
It also helps establish trust between yourself and your supervisor as they realize they can depend on you to work autonomously without constant oversight.
It's okay to not know everything. It's okay to admit you need help. And most importantly, it's okay to ask for more tasks! If you feel like you can take on something new, then tell someone—especially your mentor. They will be thrilled to give you more opportunities to prove yourself and show off all the hard work you've put into getting ready to start this apprenticeship.
If you're feeling bored and aimless at work, try asking your supervisor if there's anything more you can do to help out. By taking initiative, you'll demonstrate how much you care about the company, and this will make it more likely that your boss will remember you when it comes time to hire people who have finished their apprenticeships.
Why are Soft Skills Important?
Soft skills are valuable because they help you communicate and interact with others. They’re also the most important part of becoming a well-rounded person, which means that soft skills will help you throughout your career.
For example, if an employer wants to promote someone from an entry-level position to a higher-level position within their company, they’re likely going to choose the employee who has strong soft skills over the employee who is just good at their job. This is because employers want employees who know how to get along with people and work well in teams.
Soft skills can make you unique. Everyone knows someone whose technical skills are impressive but who doesn’t have great soft skills (or perhaps even has poor ones). If you focus on developing your soft skills alongside your technical or hard skills, then you can stand out from the crowd. You may be one of many people looking for work in your field, but if you have strong soft skills then employers will want you on their team.
To get in touch with our team today to learn more about being a great apprentice and how it could help you kick start your career, fill out our contact form.
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to message us via our social channels.