Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market. Having the right technical skills for a job is no longer enough. Employers are looking for skills that can be transferred, skills that make people good team players, skills that help people to navigate the tricky world of human interaction. Those skills are what we call soft skills, a term that broadly covers the skills we need to interact with others effectively. Soft skills can make a huge difference to how people work together, how messages are communicated, how ideas are brought to life and ultimately how a business stays sustainable.
Soft skills include things like communication, teamwork, problem solving, creativity, leadership, conflict resolution and self-confidence.
Soft skills are the X-factor that we need to take us from being technically competent to great at our jobs.
Soft skills questions will come up in interview through the likes of open questions such as “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer” or “Give me an example of a time you resolved a work conflict”. The secret to answering these questions is in understanding the soft skill being explored and being able to give a relevant example of your skills in action.
National and International Education & Training policy is now focused on the development of transversal and soft skills from early in the education system re-affirming the importance of these skills into the future. Bearing all this in mind, we were delighted to see our colleagues in Waterford Area Partnership have developed a suite of soft skills training programmes that they are running for FREE and are offering to all our clients.
If you think this training could help you or you want to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 051 841740 and ask for Maria or Margaret
We launched our new website and online services in late April with a breakfast event at Boxworks Co-Work Space. Cllr Adam Wyse, Mayor of Waterford City and County, officially launched the website and endorsed the importance of having a service that brings employers and jobseekers together. He expressed excitement at the change Waterford is experiencing with the launch of the Greenway and other future developments, emphasising the importance of building strong links between growing businesses and the local community.
We demonstrated how easy, quick and simple the website is to use. You simply complete a very straight forward online form and your job gets added to our website and social media pages. We are growing our visits and interaction rates steadily and have had very positive feedback from employers who have used the service. As well as free job advertising, Waterford City LES can put forward candidates for jobs from our own client base. We know our clients very well and we only recommend applicants that we know will be a good fit for the job. Employers appreciate this element of our service.
Waterford City LES works under contract for Department of Social Protection, thus we can offer advice with applying for state incentives such as €10,000 JobsPlus grant. Margaret Fleming of Dessert First who employs 24 people locally, shared her experience of using this grant to help grow her business. Having set up the business in 2010, during difficult economic times, Margaret explained the positive impact of having the extra cash flow afforded by this grant to facilitate growing her business. “It’s a no-brainer,” says Margaret, “it was straight forward to access and it’s essentially free money to help with the costs of a growing team.”
If you are a business seeking to grow your team or an unemployed jobseeker looking for work you’ll find plenty of help, just get in touch – we are waiting for your call
Waterford City LES acts as a bridge between unemployed jobseekers and employers. We recently expanded our offering through the creation of an online suite of services including free job advertising, a downloadable jobs & opportunities bulletin, links to online resources and a proactive social media presence. We built a new scalable website with the help of local web company UTD Web Design targeted at providing a more comprehensive set of services to both employers and unemployed jobseekers. This has facilitated us providing an end to end service for both of our client sets and is allowing us to be more responsive to market needs.
We will be officially launching the new website on Thur 20th April with a breakfast event in Boxworks CoWork Space in Waterford city. The event will be presided over by Cllr Adam Wyse, Mayor of Waterford City & County and will include case studies from local employers and a live demo of the website.
Apprenticeships have long been a way to gain skills, experience and qualifications, while earning money to support yourself. If you look to mainland Europe, apprenticeships are every bit as viable an education option as third level, take Germany for example, where there are 300+ apprenticeships available across a wide range of sectors. For some reason, Ireland has always treated apprenticeships as ‘second best’ to third level and so we have long encouraged our children to go on to third level, without much consideration for apprenticeship options. To be fair, there have traditionally been very few sectors where an apprenticeship is an option.
It’s great to see that this is changing. New apprenticeships have recently been introduced in sectors as varied as insurance and hospitality. There is an opportunity for many sectors to develop apprenticeships in areas where there is a real skills need such as ICT, engineering, pharma and professional services. There’s a body of work to be done in promoting apprenticeships as an option for school leavers and this can be achieved through educating people on the benefits of this model. In addition to the cost savings that are available by virtue of the candidate being paid, there are huge benefits in terms of the apprentice getting real on-the-job experience and building a network of relevant contacts. Employers get the genuine advantage of being able to train their future workforce to their own high standards.
You’ll see on our Jobs and Opportunities page that both ESB and GSK are currently recruiting for apprentices – we hope that this page will become full of apprenticeship opportunities as new and exciting programmes are launched over the coming years
Are you considering going back to education as a mature student this year? Maybe you’ve always wanted to study but life got in the way, or maybe you put off college until the kids were older, or maybe you’ve decided to change career. Regardless of your reasons, going to college as a mature student can be a daunting prospect. Being a mature student is different to coming straight from school, it’s not easier or harder, just different.
REGSA are running two presentations this Thursday 12th January to help mature students to navigate the CAO application, this is a helpful first step on your journey into third level.
Employers from all over the city, large and small, came together last Wednesday 7th December to learn more about the resources and incentives available through employment support agencies in Waterford. The employer event was hosted by Waterford Area Partnership in association with Department of Social Protection, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, WWETB and Waterford Local Employment Service at Parlour Vintage Tearooms. The agencies involved are aiming to create an Employer’s Network, where employers can be informed of the incentives available to them, can use the resources of the network to recruit and train employees and can help to mould the nature of services offered into the future.
Speaking at the event, Mags O Connor of Waterford City Local Employment Service said; “We are here to help, we are keenly aware of the fact that many employers do not know what incentives are available to them. We would like to work with employers to ensure we are meeting their needs, while ultimately driving our core aim of reducing unemployment in our city. There is a wealth of resources and incentives available to all employers, large and small, from the €10,000 available through the Department of Social Protection’s Jobs Plus Scheme to the new apprenticeships coming down the line through WWETB such as butchery, ICT and commis chef, and from the two week no risk work trial from Waterford Area Partnership to the generous training subsidies available through Waterford Chamber Skillnet.”
The Coffee & Connect event was an introductory employer event, there will be more to follow in the New Year. Waterford Area Partnership funded the event, which raised €250 for WLR FM’s Christmas Appeal in aid of St Vincent de Paul, donating €5 from every cup of tea and coffee that was enjoyed on the morning. “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the Christmas Appeal,” says Gayle Barry of Waterford Area Partnership, “When you hear that 1 in 9 households in Waterford need the help of St Vincent de Paul, you realise that, while the unemployment rate has fallen, there are still those who are less fortunate in our community so we are thrilled to be able to help in some small way.”
If you are an employer in Waterford and you are interested in hearing about the incentives available please sign up for our Employer Newsletter here and you will be kept informed of upcoming events and workshops.