Schools, vocational education & training (VET) providers, employers and researchers are aware of the need for young people to have well-developed life and career skills (sometimes known as soft skills or employability skills) for successful transitions to employment.  Developing these skills among young people and documenting their level of acquisition is vital for successful entry into the workplace, particularly for those entering vocational pathways.

While some young people have the chance to develop these skills through employment opportunities before finishing their studies, others move straight from education into apprenticeships and traineeships. Youth, careers advisors and teachers and instructors want to understand better the nature of the life and career skills need, and the level to which they should have these skills to undertake successfully their apprenticeship or traineeship. Teachers and VET instructors are also seeking ways in which they can develop these skills in young people to the standard expected by employers upon entry, and are looking for ways in which to assess and document young people’s learning in these domains. This project seeks to address these issues.

Employers want, and young people need, good life and career skills to make a successful transition to work.

Project objectives

  • To identify the life and career skills required for entry-level positions in four key industry pathways experiencing employment growth;
  • To assist careers advisors and teachers to support better development of life and career skills among young people, strengthening their chances of securing employment, and of being successful in the work they obtain.
  • To develop a portfolio tool that allows teachers to evaluate young people’s attainment of life and career skills, and allows young people to document this attainment.
Students talking
Students on field study

Project outcomes

  • A profile of entry standards for life and career skills in four key industry pathways that young people enter, and where job opportunities are growing
  • A set of teaching and learning materials that will support teachers to develop these skills among the young people they teach
  • A portfolio assessment tool for school and vocational education and training educators to help them work with students to assess and document the degree to which they have attained these skills
  • A report for systems, schools and registered training organisations that identifies and communicates clearly the types of life and career skills identified by employers for entry level roles in the four key industries, and the level to which they need to be attained prior to entry to ensure a smooth and successful entry to the industry.

How will this lead to better outcomes for young people?

  • The project will lead to improvements in the quality of, and/or access to quality career information and advice by providing support to careers advisors and teachers so that more detailed and accurate advice is given to young people about what they need to be able to do to obtain and succeed in entry level roles in four critical employment areas.
  • The study draws on the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework and builds on the Life and Career Skills Self-Assessment Inventory to develop a complementary Life and Career Skills Portfolio Assessment Tool that is tailored to educational settings but designed to meet the needs of industry.
  • The project builds on existing tools and products to create new materials that will support the development of life and career skills in educational settings.
The project is funded by the National Careers Institute, an initiative of the Federal Government.