Last updated: 06.05.16

Soft skills and workplace training 'crucial to business'

Fuelling the debate around the importance of academic qualifications compared to life experience, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently revealed that nearly 60 per cent of graduates are in jobs that don’t require a degree. 

According to former Dragon’s Den star and entrepreneur, James Caan, getting ahead at work and achieving business success is not just about qualifications, education or background.

In a recent article for HR Magazine, Mr Caan put his success down to soft skills, such as teamwork and time management, something that he believes everyone needs to thrive at work and beyond. 

Mr Caan also highlighted research by Development Economics which shows that more than half of UK employers value these skills more highly than qualifications. 

Businesses are increasingly turning to workplace training to develop their employees’ skill set, rather than hire those with the top qualifications. 

Candidates who possess soft skills are often more admirable to employers because if they already have these essential skills, workplace training can then build on more advanced and harder skills.

In almost any modern workplace, big or small, team-work, collaboration and customer interaction of one kind or another, are heavily relied upon. 

Further to this, three-quarters of employers claim that there is already a soft skills gap in today’s workforce. Mr Caan wrote that economists predict that by 2020 more than half a million workers will be significantly held back by a lack of such skills.

In relation to this, the CIPD stressed that skills development alongside vocational training is absolutely crucial.

“For many students a university degree will be the right path. However, we need to make sure that those who do go to university pay as much attention to their soft skills as their academic rigour,” wrote Mr Caan.

“And that those who don't go on to higher education have access to vocational routes into work and learning.”

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. We offer online learning resources and tools that help with workplace training at many levels of business. For more information, please visit: