Soft skills are what makes a individual well-rounded enough to find, retain and succeed at jobs, create their own sources of income, and handle the challenges of life.

She put aside her career as an Epidemiologist to venture into Soft Skills. She believes that Soft Skills are the under-appreciated weapon for success in employment, business, and life.

Qn: Dr Jane, please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Dr Jane Kengeya Kayondo. The Founder and Chief Executive of Rounding Up the Edges International, (ROUTE.) ROUTE is a not-for-profit company. We skill young adults in Uganda and other African countries, especially those aged between 18 and 35 years, with a set of soft skills that we have categorized into transferable Employability Skills, practical Business Skills and basic Life Skills. We reach young adults through A-level schools, universities, other higher institutions of learning, religious institutions, businesses and companies, Rotaract clubs, sports clubs and so on. We deliver the skilling program through in-person physical training – the classroom-type, we train virtually using Zoom, we have developed a self-led online E-learning platform, we also train on-air through radio and TV and through print media.

Qn: When most people hear the term soft skills, they get the impression that they are also hard skills. Could you share the difference?

There are hard skills and soft skills – hard skills are also known as technical skills or professional skills. They are the skills that make you well suited for a particular job, role or profession. Take for example, a journalist. To be a good journalist, you need research skills so that you can take a situation and analyse it so that when you report on it, you are sure of your facts. You need interviewing skills, writing and editing skills, proof reading skills and skills for verifying statements and facts. These are hard skills. They are technical skills. In my previous career as a health researcher, I needed skills in health care, data collection, data analysis, managing research projects, and skills for communicating and presenting research findings. A carpenter needs skills for handling carpentry tools. Teachers need skills for creating lesson plans, instructing students, working with administrators and interacting with parents. Tailors need garment fitting skills, design skills. These are all hard skills.

Qn: What then are soft skills?

Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, self management skills, interpersonal skills, business skills, the attitude and mindset change skills and professionalism skills. Examples of soft skills include; communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, critical thinking, decision-making, organizational skills, stress management, adaptability, conflict management, leadership, creativity, resourcefulness, persuasion, negotiation, openness to criticism, emotional intelligence, resilience, managing personal money. These skills are not specific to a particular profession or job. They are needed in all situations of life. That`s why they are also called transferable skills or life skills.

Qn: Why are soft skills important?

Soft skills are what makes a individual well-rounded enough to find, retain and succeed at jobs, create their own sources of income, and handle the challenges of life. People who stand out as high performers at work, it`s because they have soft skills. With only hard skills you can do your job but to excel at it, you need soft skills as well. An employee with good time management skills knows how to prioritize tasks to meet deadlines. When two candidates have a similar academic and professional background, an employer is more likely to hire the one who’s more collaborative and flexible. When an employer is looking to fill a junior position, it makes sense to look for a candidate who has willingness to learn, who has an adaptive personality. When hiring a salesperson, an employer wants a candidate who is resilient, knows how to negotiate and has excellent verbal communication skills. All employers looks for employees who value accountability, who are not afraid to take ownership of their job, who are decisive and have problem-solving skills. Most employers agree that it is a job seeker`s soft skills that set them apart, beyond the technical skills. Seventy-five percent of long-term job, business and life success depends on soft skills. Only twenty-five percent depends on hard skills. People with soft skills are more likely to turn their knowledge, hard skills, talents and experiences into effective employment, career progress, lucrative businesses and fulfilling lives. Individuals with higher levels of soft skills get jobs easier, learn better on the job, earn more and are in better health.

Qn: If soft skills are so important, why then are they an underappreciated weapon for success in life?

The education system almost exclusively focuses on providing hard skills and pays very little attention to soft skills. People are expected to learn soft skills through experience and in a haphazard, inconsistent and unstructured manner. Initiatives that skill youth, hardly any of them focus on soft skills. Almost all of them focus on hard skills. The majority of people are therefore not even aware of soft skills and have never had an opportunity to formally learn them. This is why ROUTE focuses on soft skills.

Qn: So what soft skills does ROUTE train people in?

Employability Skills, Business Skills and Life Skills. Under Employability Skills, we focus on skills for finding job adverts and making sense of them, writing a compelling CV, writing a convincing cover letter, tactics for excelling at a job interview, professionalism, rules and etiquette of work, problem solving techniques, managing relationship including team work, communication skills, time management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

In soft skills for business, we focus on how and where ideas for a business come about, steps of starting a business, the business market survey, the business plan, and factors that increase success in business.

In soft skills for life we focus on managing personal money, resilience, self-knowledge, behavior change, and navigating Power and Gender Relationship. We also have a small program for adults. we focus on how to practice professionalism at work, leadership skills, and skills for planning retirement.

The skilling program has been designed with excellent expertise to meet nationally and internationally recognized standards and is tailored to address contemporary issues and challenges in employment, business and life. We have a job bank, an online platform where employers post job vacancies suitable for young adults and where young adults find suitable job adverts and explore job markets and opportunities.

Qn: Who pays for the ROUTE raining? How much does the training cost?

We are a non-profit company but we need money to run and grow the company. We don`t have external funders or donors, and we haven`t yet accessed government funding. Individual learners, parents or sponsors, universities, schools, companies and businesses, and religious councils pay for the skills. Our skilling rates are unbelievably affordable. We charge 25,000 Uganda shillings per head per training when numbers are small but when the turn up is over large, we can even charge 15,000 per head or even 10,000 is possible. We offer an optional certificate of completion for each skill learnt. This has an extra charge of 20,000 shillings.

Qn: How can an interested individual get more information about your services?

People can find us at – S&S Mall in Nkumba on Entebbe road

Email us at:

Our Website –

Our office Telephone is: +256 414 672 497

Mobile Numbers: +256 785 067 193

WhatsApp: +256 705 067 193

By The GateWay News Paper