Trades Win Skill Building

Woman with short blond hair sitting at a computer, looking at enlarged text.

Students begin the process by attending a series of six workshops that focus on how to properly conduct interviews. Together they learn how to ask meaningful questions and make interpersonal connections. While each team member has their own role in the process, their combined efforts form a functioning workplace setting. The students learn to support one another and harness their skills to move the project forward. While these interviews feature individuals of all ages and careers, one thing remains constant: all of these individuals thrive in their career through drive, hard work and self-advocacy.

The acquisition of new skills is an ever-present need in our lives. Working in a group setting, each student will expand their core communication skills. Meaningful interactions with team members and working professionals provide a deeper understanding of how to navigate the workplace. With every interview, students become acquainted with a unique career path. Each profession requires it’s own combination of “hard” and “soft skills.”

But what exactly are hard and soft skills?

The term ‘hard skills’ refers to specific technical skills and training required to succeed in a given trade. These are traditionally learned in a classroom or apprenticeship. A carpenter for instance, must know mathematics for measuring and how to use saws, drills, and other tools in the workshop. Most careers possess their own list of necessary hard skills.

In contrast, soft skills are social techniques used when interacting with others. We all use soft skills daily, and they develop and strengthen over time. Examples of important professional qualities include relationship building, conflict resolution, teamwork, time management and strong interpersonal communication. These traits are transferrable to most careers, and this program provides an excellent space to hone these skills.

Trades Win helps students learn both hard and soft skills. Graduates of the program walk away with skills in interview techniques, and based on their interests, in podcast production, video production, and writing. By working as a team to create a final product, they hone the soft skills needed to work on any professional work team. And while they are enhancing their own skillsets, they are contributing to a much needed centrally located archive of stories about successful blind professionals.