Who is responsible for soft skill development?

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University of New Brunswick


This qualitative research sought to answer four questions: what soft skills are perceived as important in Atlantic Canada, how are they learned, who is responsible for teaching them, and who is best suited to teach soft skills. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data from 15 semi-structured interviews with members of 6 stakeholder groups and a number of themes were conceptualized from the participant's responses. The results indicated that the soft skills deemed most important included communication, teamwork, and problem solving/critical thinking, as well as workplace and interpersonal skills. The majority of the participants felt parents were responsible for passing on soft skills to their children, with the educational system offering ongoing support to the foundation provided by the parents and adjusting the support as the individual progresses into high school. Regarding who is best suited to teach these skills, again, participants felt that parents had the most influence, coupled with the school system in the role of building on the parent's foundation or lack thereof. Key words: soft skills, employability, stakeholders, skill development.