Utilising soft skills training to enhance work readiness

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In February 2019, Bounce Australia was awarded a Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) contract to design and deliver a soft skills training program that would enhance the psychological work readiness of job seekers.

The successful trial outcomes have been released, revealing the benefits of equipping job seekers with valuable skills that build their confidence, resilience, motivation, satisfaction with life and career self-efficacy.

Working with trainers and employment providers in three states, the trial encouraged disadvantaged and disengaged jobseekers (Stream B & C in jobactive) to participate in a targeted training program delivered over a three-week period with a certified Bounce Trainer.

The trial results demonstrate the benefits of addressing the health and wellbeing of job seekers in the initial part of their journey into employment. Job seekers are more likely to feel optimistic and motivated to find work if they have a growth mindset and positive wellbeing.  

Why Wellbeing? 

Research has shown that for job seekers to succeed in finding and keeping work, employment preparation and training interventions must incorporate more than practical job search skills – they must support psychological wellbeing and include resilience, self-efficacy, and confidence. 

The DESE report identifies: 

Job seekers with more complex barriers to employment (and further education) will often require a significant change in personal circumstances and a conducive external economic environment to find work. 

Time spent unsuccessfully looking for work can also erode individuals’ confidence and reduce their motivation to search for work, compounding the existing barriers to employment. Long-term joblessness can therefore have scarring effects, resulting in a greater chance of future periods of unemployment, lower lifetime earnings and poorer physical and mental health.    

When a person is employed, regardless of the type (e.g. full-time, part-time, casual or volunteer), it leads to a further increase in overall wellbeing and satisfaction with life. However, for people considered long-term unemployed, their health and wellbeing are significantly impacted the longer they are unemployed. (AtWork Australia, 2021).

Several important behavioural skills or ‘soft skills’ have been identified as barriers to securing employment. If job seekers are not equipped with these skills, they may find it challenging to secure a job and keep it.  

These skills include:

  • Behavioural attitude
  • Resilience & coping skills
  • Self-efficacy
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Health awareness

The skills job seekers really need

More traditional forms of soft skills include communication, teamwork, time management and problem-solving, which are important once a person is employed. But before a person can achieve the goal of meaningful and sustainable employment, they need to be psychologically prepared to work.   

Most recently, soft skills development has been expanded to include psychological work-readiness indicators related directly to wellbeing, such as a positive attitude and growth mindset, self-esteem, confidence, resilience, and satisfaction with life. 

When applied in the training context, these indicators may improve job search effectiveness and, therefore, the likelihood of employment for long-term unemployed people.

The trial results showed that the Bounce Program improves the psychological work-readiness of job seekers, with the most significant gains in confidence, resilience and satisfaction with life

Results Snapshot

The trial focused on assessing the psychological work readiness of job seekers, including the following key assessment areas:

  • Self-esteem
  • Resilience
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Career Self-efficacy

The DESE Report presented the following findings:

Overall, the trial was successful at increasing Stream and C job seekers’ self-esteem, resilience and life satisfaction. While career self-efficacy was also measured, no effect was detected.

Results suggest that training that considers the breadth of soft skills (including psychological work readiness) can help disadvantaged job seekers with complex barriers build the confidence, resilience and motivation to become more job-ready.

Previous research with job seekers identified that improving aspects of psychological work readiness (including self-esteem and resilience) is linked with motivation to apply for jobs, talking to employers, and increased confidence at job interviews. This suggests this form of training, particularly when complemented with other relevant assistance, may help disadvantaged job seekers find employment, and with it, increase their living standards and wellbeing.

Download the full report here.

What do our results show? 

Results gathered internally from the Bounce Program, back up these findings from the DESE Trial. Bounce gathers a wide range of data from participants as they move through the program, with the results indicating a significant shift in how people feel about their journey into employment. 

Here’s what our results have indicated:  

Book a Demonstration Today

Contact us to book a demonstration of The Bounce Program and we can step you through how the program will give you the edge when it comes to servicing clients in the Workforce Australia contract.

We’re happy to consult with you about options to integrate our proven wellbeing and work readiness strategies into your organisation.

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