Guiding Principles For Building Soft Skills
Among Adolescents and Young Adults
Soft skills are skills, behaviors, and personal qualities that help people to navigate their environment, relate well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals (Lippman et al., 2015). This report identifies guiding principles and strategies that foster soft skill development among adolescents and young adults, ages 12–29, across different program contexts and youth characteristics. It shows the most basic methods that enable youth soft skill development and explains why they are thought to be effective. The report also describes ways that the guiding principles can be used in programs and activities in out-of-school as well as formal education contexts; and how guiding principles are effective for developing soft skills in general. A subset of key skills are highlighted in the report that can help achieve positive outcomes across three different areas: workforce development, violence prevention, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). The report found that seven skills enjoy strong and wide-ranging support across one or more areas: positive self-concept, self-control, higher order thinking skills, social skills, communication, empathy, and goal orientation. Where possible, this report shows how certain principles may be particularly effective for developing these soft skills.