An exclusive soft skills training program allows ICTC Youth Dividend interns to explore the human side of being an employee and team member. The need for, and understanding of, professional soft skills is at an all-time high as interns chart their career paths in a highly competitive career market.

Soft skill development has been recognized to align directly and positively with interpersonal communications, relationship building, emotional intelligence, wellness, confidence, and overall ability to thrive at work.

We have heard it said many times that organizations are only as strong as their employees. Therefore, employees who demonstrate these skills also enable their organizations to thrive.

Soft Skills Are Critical for Career Development

The ability to communicate more effectively, think critically, accept and embrace feedback, handle conflict, develop and project confidence, problem solve, and collaborate in teams are just a few of the skills that Youth Dividend program interns hone and subsequently practice and apply in their internships before transitioning to full-time employment.

As an organization, ICTC takes a comprehensive and well-reasoned approach to soft skills training through its foundational program AIM (Agile Industrial Mindset) and continues to expand its skills-development offerings for success in digital careers. These career-enhancing tools are layered into various ICTC’s programs, including Youth Dividend.

All interns go through an intensive, rounded six-week soft skills training program, covering diverse topics ranging from conflict resolution to workplace success. This year, the idea of incorporating a career vision board—a powerful visual communication and motivational tool—to inspire interns to remain focused on goals, whether they be concrete career goals or more abstract emotional intelligence goals.

Youth Dividend interns were asked to visually manifest what they want their future careers to look like. This vision-board exercise really put their imaginations to work as they creatively designed, defined, and shaped a clear image of what they want now that they have transitioned into a tech career. In fact, Digital Marketer, Micaela Yawney said this exercise will carry over into her work because she is “often expected to see the big picture in a very creative, clear, and unique way.”

For many, creating an online vision board was completely new, and many interns were a bit unsure and skeptical of the process. But they were willing to give it try. They were asked to think about their current internship experience and team, technical and professional soft skills training, strengths and attributes, and their future career journey. The vision board would represent the path they would set out for themselves and how they would get there.

The outcome of this exercise proved to be personally rewarding and an effective, proactive way for the interns to visually set themselves up for career success.

Meet the Interns

As a digital marketer, Michaela felt the experience was therapeutic and helped to provide some much-needed inspiration for her future career. Her vision board was designed to remind herself of how strong she is and to embrace change. It represents “happy reinvention,” a career path that she has been on and will continue to pursue. Micaela’s vision board is an adventure that mimics her own life and the life she wants as she embraces change and any hardships that may come her way. “No matter how many times I look at it, I get a different important message each time!” she says.

Software developer Matthew Chiarelli dreams of being a digital nomad. He used his vision board to show what his ideal future work would look like. His current internship is the first big step in the process of designing his future career. It represents freedom, skill development, and overcoming self-doubt. Matthew used a baby chick to symbolize the importance of nurturing himself via positive experiences to help him grow. Many pictures in his vision board reflect just how far he has come in his professional journey, including the huge leap he took to get into software development as a career.

UX/UI Designer  Tuqa Alomari used her vision board to envision the kind of team she wants to work in and be part of. She wants to be part of team whose members collaborative and inspires one another to reach their goals. She is a visionary and loves to come up with new ways of doing things through brainstorming, discussion, and collaboration. Her vision board motto is, “If it isn’t perfect, go back and make it so!”

Business Developer Evan Friesen refuses to be boxed in by his future career. His vision board represents the endless ways he can reinvent himself. He believes in the power of validation and wants everyone to experience that, especially in any of the teams he will be part of. He likes to make people feel welcome, and his vision board reminds him to reflect on the importance of “the best-effort variable” (a personal standard of excellence), as he proactively creates enriching experiences along his career journey.

Conclusion

ICTC’s Youth Dividend program provides its participants a well-rounded career preparatory plan, a related digital internship, technical skills training, and soft skills training to help transition into full-time careers in software development, data analysis, data science, business analysis, UX/UI design, or digital marketing/sales. Creating a visual representation of what the Youth Dividend interns want in life proved to be a rewarding and enriching experience.

For more information about the Youth Dividend program, contact: [email protected].

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