StrongerBC Future Skills: My Experience with Essential Soft Skills Training at the University of Victoria 

By Marat Raimkhan

In the dynamic landscape of today’s workplace, acquiring soft skills is essential for professional success. My journey with the Essential Soft Skills Training at the University of Victoria, supported by the StrongerBC Future Skills grant, has been a transformative experience. 

The Essential Soft Skills Training (ESST) micro-credential – a five-week, part-time, instructor-led online program – addressed fundamental soft skills needed for success in digital work environments, covering organizational skills, communication skills, critical thinking, and team-building. Its flexible, self-paced structure allowed me to seamlessly integrate the training into my daily schedule. 

What set this program apart was its comprehensive assessment strategy. Instead of relying solely on traditional methods, it utilized personal reflections, quizzes, peer reviews, and instructor feedback to provide a holistic view of our skill development. Engaging with a diverse group of participants from various professional backgrounds enriched the experience, fostering an environment conducive to peer-to-peer learning. 

The emphasis on practical application was another highlight. The instructor guided us through applying learned concepts in real-world scenarios, empowering us to immediately implement these skills in our professional lives. This hands-on approach not only reinforced our learning but also enabled us to make tangible contributions to our respective workplaces. 

As I reflect on my journey, I express immense gratitude for the StrongerBC Future Skills grant, making this valuable training accessible. The course not only equipped me with a comprehensive toolkit of soft skills but also instilled the confidence to navigate complex professional environments with finesse and adaptability. 

For those interested, the StrongerBC Future Skills grant is available to British Columbians aged 19 or older, regardless of financial need. It covers up to $3,500 in eligible short-term skills training at public post-secondary institutions. Over 11,300 learners have already benefited from this initiative, and funding will be available in the winter 2024 semester for midstream learners who began their programs in the fall 2023 semester. 

Looking ahead, the government plans to refresh the list of programs funded under the StrongerBC Future Skills grant in 2024. This initiative aims to provide diverse and updated skills training options in fall 2024, catering to the evolving demands of well-paid, high-opportunity occupations. Keep an eye out for the refreshed list of program offerings, which will be posted in mid-late spring 2024. 

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