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Manufacturing Skills Training: Soft Skills versus Hard Skills

When you're getting ready for a career, you often think in terms of training for the specific job you'll be doing. This is called hard skills development or training; an example of manufacturing skills training could be learning how to weld or computer coding. Job training focuses on the hard skills you need to do the job successfully. And you need to learn those skills in any job you do. But skills training encompasses a broader way of approaching a job. Skills training includes the soft skills.

Soft skills are a combination of:
  • People skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Character or personality traits
  • Attitudes
  • Career attributes
  • Social intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence

All these skills enable you to navigate your environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve your goals with the complementing hard skills necessary to do your job. Soft skills are becoming more important in any industry, but especially in manufacturing.

A More Holistic Approach to Manufacturing Skills Training

A more holistic approach to manufacturing skills training ensures that all of your bases are covered. Hard skills are no longer all it takes to be successful in a manufacturing career. Soft skills training gives you more flexibility in your career, because instead of being trained for one job, you're being trained for a set of skills you can transfer across different manufacturing jobs, perhaps through different sectors, and throughout your entire career.


RBC released a report on the skills Canadians will need in the workforce over the next several years. RBC highlighted 6 basic skills including:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Active listening
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking
  5. Mathematics
  6. Science

And 4 content skills including:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Active learning
  3. Learning strategies
  4. Monitoring

The current 4th industrial revolution (the 4th major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century) is the perfect example of why you need to focus more on your skills; because this revolution is changing all industries.

Eastern Ontario’s high-tech, stable and lean manufacturing industry has changed rapidly with the introduction of technological advances. Manufacturing is having to work smarter, operate more efficiently, and be prepared to innovate. If the industry is having to embrace new ways of doing its work, then you as its employee will need to as well. And for that, you need both the soft and hard skills.

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