The importance of a skills-based approach

21st October 2019

When it comes time to settle on a career, students may have little idea of what they want to do, at least until they have given it serious thought or had the right work experience to help them choose a path. There are two main limiting factors; a lack of information on the work which is out there, or feeling locked onto, or out of, certain paths because of their degree of choice.

At Placer, we think the way through is a focus on skills. No matter what industry a company may be a part of, their roles will look for applicants with a set of key skills and every degree or bit of experience can help applicants develop their skill sets in things they may not even consider as valuable at first thought!

Empowering young people by helping them consider application of life skills, in a way which allows our employer members to bring that perfect variety of skills to their roles as well as helping the student develop them seems a great idea! Which got us thinking, how can we do this? How can we help employers think what skills they want from an applicant and get students to think what skills they may have developed across their varied life and work experiences?

We went with something visual, Placer uses a visual badge system where employers can choose up to five key skills which they look for and what the student will best develop during the role. We have grouped these skills together as being:

  • Business awareness - Applying yourself in a professional setting (Critical thinking, Innovative thinking, Risk taking, Information and digital literacy, Problem solving)

  • Communication - The way you engage with people on a professional or personal level (Listening, Numeracy, Writing, Making speeches or presentations, Persuading or influencing others)

  • Handling others - Manage business specific situations in relation to both yourself and others (Dealing with difficult situations, Managing or motivating others, Team working, Giving and receiving feedback, Self-control)

  • Personal attributes - Valuable personality traits which can positively influence the way you work (Creativity, Dynamism, Resilience, Curiosity, Objectivity)

  • Sales and customer skills - Converse and work with customers and clients successfully (Customer handing skills, Negotiating, Knowledge of organisation and products/services offered, sales/business development)

  • Self-management - A measure of the work you can put into yourself (Appearance, Time management, Task prioritisation)

These soft skills can come together to give a keen insight into what a job may entail, and help candidates think why they may be the perfect hire. Allowing them to have a deeper idea of how well they may fit when applying. As an employer, it's difficult to ensure that people applying for your roles have the right mindset on why they are best for your role, and by focusing on skills you can make sure you don’t miss out on anyone who could be perfect.

Over the next few weeks we will publish more blogs to cover the importance of a skills based approach, follow us on LinkedIn to get notified when we do! If you would like to find out more about getting your roles on our app, get in touch by emailing me at

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