Soft skills in university education: a real experience. “Behave yourself!” Soft Skills Development Student Program at the Department of Economics and Business Studies, University of Genoa

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Soft skills are getting more and more important in companies’ talent supply rush. Increasing global competition, growing digitalization, fast developing technologies, are just some of the reasons why the labour market strives for employees possessing and showing that special “alchemy” of social and communication competencies, personality traits somehow, and emotional intelligence. Though highly regarded, soft skills seem to be a long way from a clear-cut arrangement, and the same applies for their learning and development. University courses rarely provide soft skills devoted programs, while the business world would claim for fully equipped newly hired graduates, thus highlighting a potential gap to fill.

On this basis, the Department of Economics and Business Studies (DIEC) of University of Genoa gave life to two Soft Skills Development Student Programs (Soft Skills Development I and II) in 2019. Both programs are provided in the present academic year as well. The paper provides a fast overview of cognitive and motivational frameworks for soft skills learning and development. Then it describes the DIEC experience with the “Behave Yourself!” Program, in terms of methodology, contents, and process. Finally, it summarises main achievements and the ongoing improvement process.