I am a few days into an assignment on youth employment in Brazil. Many observations, some of which I will definitely share with you at some later stage. One preliminary observation that might not shock you: Life skills are still rocking your world!
Well, probably not your world, but definitely still the world of many.
Life skills training modules seem to be generally accepted as being key to the average course module, be it in entrepreneurship or employment training. Still, many education institutes are only beginning to understand that such skills are just as important as the technical skills. Here in Brazil some of the education institutes partners in the programme I am visiting are starting to adapt their courses after seeing the positive results in their partnerships with NGOsin which life skills courses are key. Companies partnering with youth support programmes stress the importance of such skills as well. In other words: Great that you were hired as an administrative assistant, but if you spend half of your day on Facebook chatting to your friends you are not very likely to keep your job. (That was probably one of the worst summaries of life skills curricula ever.)
Yet it would be foolish to overestimate the impact of life skills courses by itself. It is not just the content of life skills courses, but rather the innovative education methods (participatory, lots of group exercises) which create a safe environment. A safe environment in which disenfranchised youth are encouraged to talk about themselves and explore their experiences, feelings and goals in life.
A topic to get back to. In the mean-time, useful Life Skills curricula you know of and/or worked with and found useful, please send them to me. It would be great if we can list a few on this blog to be accessible to all of us. To start off, here is a guide by the Skills 4 Youth Employment (S4YE) coalition.