New platform content: Career and Work life challenge modules
Dr Leila Khouja Walker, Chief Product Officer at Persona Education, introduces five new teacher-facilitated life challenge modules, recently released in Persona Life Skills. The new modules support students to learn, develop and apply Life Skills in workplace related scenarios, such as doing work experience, choosing a career path, preparing for their first job, and getting along with colleagues.
By Dr Leila Khouja Walker, Chief Product Officer
The employability skills gap
“The ultimate purpose of education is to prepare us for life.”
– United Nations, Transforming Education 2022
There has been a lot of discussion, swelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, about the purpose of education. Without a doubt, one purpose is to ensure that young people are workplace ready. But what does ‘workplace ready’ really mean for the workforce of the 2030s, 40s and 50s?
“By 2025, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million job descriptions globally. And as the economy and job markets evolve, 97 million new roles will be created.”
– World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report 2020
The future workforce therefore needs to be able to do the jobs that machines cannot. The World Economic Forum makes the case that future AI will not be very good at:
• Non-verbal communication
• Deep empathy
• Growth management
So alongside the technical and digital skills required for this future workforce, there is a massive requirement for a range of ‘softer’ skills, also known as transferable skills. But many education systems around the world have not caught up, with two in five employers (CBI) saying school and college leavers are not ready for the workplace.
How Persona Life Skills supports employability
Persona Education’s online social-emotional learning platform Persona Life Skills takes a unique approach to developing transferable skills in the contexts of a young person’s Social, Learning and Work lives, always informed by our practical and memorable personality insights framework.
The platform provides students with personalised insights and guidance on how they can consider adapting their thinking, communication and behaviour, to achieve positive outcomes in different situations.
All 22 Life Skills covered in the platform are relevant to the workplace. These span everything from Time Management to Effective Teamwork to Empathy, and are wrapped in six Skillets:
In Persona Life Skills, students are provided with tools and guidance to develop these skills in a scaffolded, personalised and age-appropriate way. There is even guidance on creating a spiral curriculum spanning several years of learning, to fit your school and your students’ needs.
Our growing library of (currently over 80) modules supports learners to learn, develop and apply these Life Skills in workplace related scenarios, such as doing work experience, choosing a career path, preparing for their first job, and getting along with colleagues.
The Life Skills and each module are mapped against Skills Builder, Gatsby Benchmarks and other personal development and learning frameworks popular with UK, India, US and international schools.
New career and work modules
Five new teacher-facilitated life challenge modules have recently been released in Persona Life Skills. These support students in preparing for life in the workplace, and maximising their chances of success as they start out on their future careers:
Work Experience – view (sign-in required)
Job Choices – view (sign-in required)
Getting Along With Colleagues – view (sign-in required)
Giving Presentations – view (sign-in required)
Leadership – view (sign-in required)
If you don't yet have access to Persona Life Skills you can register a free trial account to play through all these modules (and more) in Teacher mode.
On the student homepage, each module has been coupled with two self-directed skill-specific learning modules to create five new teaching and learning Units. The homepage Units form a ready-made intuitive learning journey that makes learning with Persona Life Skills super easy for any student.
For example, the Giving Presentations module is coupled with self-directed modules on Stress Management and Speaking Formally, while Work Experience is paired with modules on Time Management and Being Adaptable.
Now with 21 themed teaching and learning Units, and over 80 modules in total, there is plenty of choice for any school or college wanting to provide excellent Student Personal Development, through a programme that empowers students with an understanding of ‘self’ and ‘others’ to more successfully navigate work life challenges.
Let’s take a look inside some of the new modules.
In the new Work Experience module, students prepare for their first experience in a workplace environment, specifically working on their Time Management, Respect and Being Adaptable skills. Students begin to understand that any and all work experience is valuable – however short it may be, or lacking relevance to their future career ambitions or expectations it may appear to be.
Importantly, students identify the need for having a Growth Mindset. They consider how each experience at work is a step closer to their own career goals.
They recognise that work experience provides an opportunity to practise some transferable skills – such as flexibility, taking initiative and being empathetic – that will be useful in any future workplace setting or role.
In another new module, Leadership, students consider and practise the skills required to improve team engagement, as well as those needed while being led, for an effective and productive working relationship with their team leader.
The skills of Self-confidence, Conflict Management and Empathy are developed through a series of interactive activities.
As teachers we know the importance of healthy relationships at work for a successful and enjoyable work life. Being self aware, being willing to change and showing respect, are the building blocks with which great working relationships are constructed.
In our Getting Along with Colleagues module, students consider how they might adapt the way they think, communicate and behave in different situations, in order to work towards healthy working relationships with co-workers.
Specific skills targeted in this module are Respect, Self Awareness and Willingness to Change.
The understanding of personality styles – both their own and other people's – at the heart of Persona Life Skills, is a powerful tool for students to use in the new situation of working alongside unfamiliar colleagues, who may be very different from them.
Try out the new modules
If you are concerned about equipping your students with the self-knowledge, social-emotional skills and attitudes needed for their as yet uncertain future of the workplace, try out Persona Life Skills! It is a rich resource that can be used to enhance and support Careers Education, Citizenship, the PSHE curriculum, and Personal Development in tutor time or elsewhere.
Persona Life Skills can be facilitated in class, or delivered as self-directed learning – or both. Find out more here.
Enjoyed this article? You may also like:
Persona Education offers free access to its Persona Life Skills online learning platform for secondary schools and colleges interested in developing their students’ social-emotional life skills, to boost wellbeing and employability. To request a live demo of the platform please get in touch – we would love to talk to you!
About the author: Dr Leila Khouja Walker has been working in the education sector for 25 years. An ex-teacher and pastoral deputy head, she is now a respected edtech and pedagogy thought leader, leading development of the personality insights life skills e-learning app Persona Life Skills, at the Bristol based edtech company Persona Education Ltd. www.persona-life.com