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Careers Column 4: Beyond Qualifications - recognising the value of transferable skills

12 July 2017

Throughout the summer our expert Advice Team is running a special Careers Column in the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Forest Citizen, offering advice to young people and their parents on the important factors to consider when making decisions about their education and future careers.

If you didn't catch it in the paper, don't worry - we will be posting the articles here on the GC news page every Wednesday.

Read the full article below or click on the image to see it as it appears in the newspaper.




The world of work is changing at a past pace, and with the constantly evolving face of technology and uncertainties of Brexit, there is a growing consensus amongst employers that formal knowledge is no longer enough to prepare young people for the workforce.

“The world is a competitive place and I’m a believer in looking at what people aren’t doing. Set yourself apart by looking for an angle to make yourself different.” Julian Dunkerton, Superdry Founder/Director and GC partner employer.

What are transferrable skills?

Research by the World Economic Forum shows that 65% of today’s primary school students will work in completely new types of jobs, which is why employers are quickly realising the value of transferable skills. These ‘portable’ skills will remain relevant across all industries and include:

  • Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Self-awareness
  • Flexibility and adaptability

Skills that differentiate employees from computers are also becoming increasingly valuable; namely creativity, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.

Why do I need transferrable skills?

Choosing a career has never been easy. When leaving education, very few people actually decide on the one career that they will stick with it for the rest of their working lives. However, with a greater number of potential careers than ever before, it is getting more difficult to choose between them all, which is why you may like to work on certain ‘soft’ skills, which you can transfer between roles.

At local level, the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership has recently set out a vision which aspires to have more young people enter the county’s labour market with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to make them employable. This aim is welcomed by the companies Gloucestershire College works with to train apprentices and full-time students.

Jenny Jones, Director of at Eagle HR says, “As a law firm, we have a culture of valuing skills and experience as much as traditional educational achievement.”

Gavin Dron, from Dumbleton Hall Hotel says, “When hiring a young person or apprentice we look for participation in extra-curricular activities, because working in the hotel industry means long hours of commitment.”

How to develop a skillset

When making choices for your next steps in education, it is useful to ask yourself what each option can offer, in addition to the qualification you will gain. This could include the opportunity to do work experience, volunteering and extra-curricular activities, which will enable you to interact with others and develop yourself as an individual.

A recent survey by the Institute of Directors found that 38% of their members were suffering from an inability to find the right person to fill a vacancy. The skills that these employers most often reported as lacking in young people fall under the broad umbrella of ‘transferrable skills’, with 33% worried specifically about a lack of communication skills, 35% concerned about team working and 36% citing a lack of resourcefulness (Institute of directors, 2016).


Employers are looking not as much for bright young sparks, but for people who can function effectively in the workplace. Transferable skills are valuable and give you the edge! Remember these are now as important as the qualification you decide to study towards.

The Student Development Team at Gloucestershire College works with all students to personalise their study programme by picking from a range of student development options. These include work experience with local businesses, volunteering in the community, participation in sports teams and the chance to work towards additional qualifications such as first aid.

Find out more at or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020

Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

We are here to help

0345 155 2020

90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
  • Our lecturers are passionate subject specialists
  • Employers value our students' skills

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