Families Helping with Employment Skills

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 1/6/2017 8:00:00 AM

Every employer seeks employees who have the skills necessary to do a given job. Employers understand that many youth lack technical skills due to inexperience; however, they do expect youth to possess work and soft skills discussed in a previous article for job success. Unfortunately, employers report that many youth are coming to work without these skills. When families take the time to understand what these skills are and help develop these skills to give their students a real advantage in obtaining and keeping a job

Real work experience is one of the best ways to prepare a person to enter the world of work and to maintain employment. A general lack of opportunity for work experience is hurting many youth, especially those with a disability.  Schools take some responsibility, but they can’t do it all.  So...how can families build these skills at home? We’ll explore this issue next.

Let’s go back and explore the four categories crucial to employment. We’ll start with communication skills. Asking critical questions can help to lead to ways to help you with gaining and maintaining certain skills.

People receive and process information from a variety of sources many times each day. Most of it is information which is then filtered out because it is not applicable to what the person is doing at the time. Young people need opportunities to practice critical observation and use relevant sources to gather information. Learning these skills allows an employee to gather needed information, and consider how that information impacts the job at hand. Let’s look at this a bit more.

Young people need to recognise, and take advantage of, their own learning style. Information presented in a variety of ways allows the student to learn best. This may look like someone who is looking, watching and observing (visual learner); by listening to people or recordings (auditory learner); using their hands and whole body to learn (kinesthetic learner) or from reading (print-oriented learner).

Families can plan activities that help youths develop their observation skills, such as nature walks or indoor games which encourage gathering, processing, and describing information. These could include “Clue”, “Twenty Questions”, or “Guess Who”.  Games such as these allow practice in applying information gathering in a structured and productive way.

In the classroom, students often work on safety and community signs. During car trips, ask the student to find and write down a few road signs. Ask the young adult if he or she can identify  the purpose of each sign and if the sign was important for the driver to arrive safely at their destination. Point out that some signs are useful, while others are only distractions.