Developing soft skills through sport activities
Project ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT aims at developing soft skills through sport activities designed for the needs of youth, including youth with fewer opportunities (with disabilities, social economic and geographical obstacles).
The project is developed in frames of Erasmus+ KA2 youth sector, exchange of good practices and innovation by My Future in collaboration with Norwegian organisation Collective Innovation and Portuguese company, EduPlus. In the frames of the project, the partners have decided to focus on digging deeper into the link between sport/active moment and soft skills development. The partners will create a set of 20 cards with e-guide which will facilitate the development of youth’s soft skills.
Idea behind this project
Research proves that soft skills are crucial to succeed on the job market (Warsaw School of Economics, American Chamber of Commerce, Ernst & Young 2012). It does not matter what profession a person is pursuing, soft skills are useful in all. It doesn't matter if one wants to be a doctor, architect, entrepreneur, teacher or footballer. In all those professions skills such as time management, empathy, stress management, negotiation, communication, group work and many more are crucial.
The majority of employers today are looking to hire, retain, and promote individuals who have empathy, good communication skills, time management and are ethical and self-motivated. Not to mention that soft skills also give the hard skills a chance to shine. If an individual has the ability to communicate effectively with others in a workplace, then his ideas are more likely to take off, and abilities utilised to their full capacity (National Soft Skills Association, The Value of Soft Skills in the Labour Market, 2019). Soft skills are very difficult to teach and it is difficult to measure their improvement, that is why very often they are not taught at conventional schools. What is very important to remember, is that research proves that individuals have higher chances of developing soft skills at a younger age.
How can we develop youth's soft skills? We all know that youth is energetic, impatient and in need of a healthy lifestyle and future career success. Digging deeper into research, we can understand that there is an important link between sport and soft skills development. As Dr Joann Lukins explains, sport isn’t just good for youth's bodies; it’s good for their minds too. It is a great vehicle for teaching and developing qualities within youth.
The challenging times connected with pandemic (COVID–19), made social interactions, thus the development of soft skills very difficult. As research proves, social interactions are an important part of development throughout youth and spending time with peers is an important part of that process. As education becomes more digitalised, youth spends more time in front of the PC, which makes the youth interaction and the development of soft skills more challenging. There is definitely a need for new solutions, which will allow youth to develop their soft skills, so they are better prepared to enter the job market.
Based on all the above, the My Future in partnership with Norwegian Organisation Collins experienced in Sport Field and Portuguese EduPlus experienced in youth work field joined the forces to dig deeper into the soft skills and sport/active movement relation and implement project ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT. In the frames of the project e-guide for youth leaders as well as 20 sport-soft skills focused activities digital cards will be developed.
The objective of the project is to increase the level of soft skills among youth, empower them as well as increase quality in youth work by providing youth leaders with new, innovative methods. What is more the projects aims to:
contribute to the better understanding of the link between sport and soft skills among the youth leaders;
contribute to the better integration of youth from various backgrounds (different cultural backgrounds, geographical obstacles, economical obstacles, inclusion of disabled youth, inclusion of LGBTQ+ community etc.);
foster the inclusion and employability of young people with fewer opportunities by increasing their soft skills level;
support youth leaders in access to new educational methods.
The partners are also aiming at developing the new, innovative cross sectoral learning method, which can be disseminated to different youth organisations, schools, sport clubs all over Europe.
The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA are responsible for them.
Active Development Video
See the Games
The Active Development project aims to increase awareness about soft skills through physical movement and sports activities. If you are a youth leader or a teacher, we encourage you to read the e-guide, which includes research behind the impact of sport on soft skill development and gives practical tips on how to use the game cards.
How do I use the games?
1. READ THE GUIDE
2. DOWNLOAD GAME CARDS
3. CHECK OUT OUR REFLECTION PLATFORM
More about the project:
Pilot Project in Norway: Collective Innovation volunteers organised a localised pilot activity at Labakken Skole in Faerder Kommune in April 2023 as part of the ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT project. The event, called "Active Development: Fostering Soft Skills Through Sports and Physical Activities," was designed exclusively for 10 young people aged 14 to 16 who had restricted possibilities. Two youth workers joined them, emphasising the need to provide them with instruments to assist skill-building through physical activities. The primary purpose of this pilot was to improve the youth's interpersonal and soft skills through engaging sports activities. This event's feedback and insights will be invaluable in developing the ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT programmes for a broader audience.
Pilot Project in Poland: In the beginning of 2023, in order to validate ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT games, My Future volunteers conducted pilot projects during which they tested games with ideas for activities. The participants were first-year students from five different high schools. The aim of the pilot project was to introduce students to the ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT project, emphasize the importance of soft skills on the labour market, and test the games developed by My Future. Based on the pilot project, the games were further developed and tested on an international pilot project in Portugal.
International Pilot Project in Portugal: In May 2023, youth leaders My Future, Collective Innovation, and EduPlus, along with selected participants from Poland, Portugal, and Norway, met in Braga to validate ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT games as part of an international pilot project.
Dissemination Event in Portugal:
In October 2023 in Braga, Portugal several youth leaders and young people joined the dissemination event about Active Development outputs. They experienced several discussions, presentations and workshops related to the project. Check the gallery bellow to see some of those moments: