Employability skills

Giving students the opportunity to run their own projects doesn’t necessarily mean that they will develop skills along the way. We don't leave learning to chance, rather we  ensure that experiences are purposefully structured and facilitated to achieve specified outcomes. 

 

Deliberate practice

Our coaches apply the principles of ‘deliberate practice’ as defined by Anders Ericson (author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise). According to this evidence backed theory, for practice to be effective it must have four key hall marks:

  • it must have well defined, specific goals for that session,

  • it requires focus – it needs to be thought about and has to be the focus of that session,

  • it must involve expert and specific feedback,

  • it requires getting out of one’s comfort zone.


Focused workshops

We work with our business partners to deliver skills workshops at key points in the programme.  Each workshop is focused on a specific skill, such as creative thinking, presentation skills and problem solving, and is delivered in the workplace.

We deliver these workshops with business partners for three reasons:

  • students regard their business mentors as credible experts and therefore value their feedback, 

  • these volunteers are best placed to impress upon students how relevant the skills that they are developing through their projects are to the world of work, 

  • the sessions, which include presentations and networking, also enable students to build their social confidence through meeting a wide range of adults, who are often from very different social backgrounds.

Between these workshops, students meet weekly in school with our coaches who help them apply these skills to their projects. These sessions also build on learning through structured feedback and guided reflection.


Embedded skills development

Envision coaches also develop student’s skills by introducing a new technique through a focused 10 – 15 minute activity in weekly sessions.   Embedding activity blocks in a session means that students can immediately apply skills to their projects.

It’s not just giving context to skills that matters; learning is also enhanced by introducing skills at the right moment.  Coaches enable students to identify when things aren’t going well and use this as an opportunity to suggest a technique which could help improve the effectiveness of their projects.  This enables learning to happen through a coaching approach, which more fully engages young people.

 

Skills challenges

Students are aware of the competition scoring criteria from the outset.  Half of the marks available are for project impact and half for skills development.  Young people earn points, which count towards the team score, by completing personal skills challenges throughout the programme.  Each of these challenges requires a specific skill to be demonstrated by the individual within the context of the team project.