Vidyadhan India

Bridging the Soft Skills Gap

Interview with Vidyadhan Soft Skills Trainer- Ajit Kaikini (Director at Buoyancee)

Why are soft skills important for education and career development growth? 

   Soft skills are attributes that enable you to engage in meaningful interactions with others.  While academic learning is the foundation of education, a student’s skills, creativity and critical thinking should be nurtured and space created, to avail opportunities for better & bigger goals in life.

In the wind of academic pressure, jobs and competition, many often fall prey to the norms and structure fixed by the society.  To understand the reality and to encounter such conditioning, soft skills program should be given to students at an early age, to become a conscious decision maker.  Soft skills also help in collaboration, self-discipline, and conflict resolution.

Students should become aware about the importance of creativity in research and innovation, and analyze their creative ideas – harness through awareness.  These skills may be less easy to measure, but they are essential to a student’s overall growth and development. 

Though this seed was sown in 1984 when in Oman, my real journey in this path began when I joined as the first chief pharmacist of the first high tech hospital in India.  When I saw teens in tension and youngsters getting acidity and high blood-pressure, while some even dying of heart attacks, I decided to help them, which led to the birth of Buoyancee (where people can bounce back, to float in life).  In 1992, along with my wife Sadhana, we started planning the way forward, to help students to empower themselves.

I have been part of the training program with Vidyadhan for the last 5 years wherein we focus on improving communication, leadership quality, creativity, collaboration, Adaptability and Positivity.  It was nice visiting many cities to empower the youth of Vidyadhan.

  Please share your experience interacting with our Vidyadhan scholars and engaging with the state coordinators.

First of all, I would like to say that I have received immense love and cooperation from the scholars and state coordinators of Vidyadhan.  Apart from the support for studies, this program is designed for the scholars to reflect into themselves, and to realize many other life realities, apart from identify their core strength.

The sessions are activity oriented, engaging and embellished by real life examples.  Group-discussions and sharing of learning, expands their broad mindedness and also helps get better direction in life.

Due to Covid, the program went online and did create certain challenges.  Activities could not be done however, related short films helped us to bring about the learning that we aimed at. We kept the classes for a short time but spread through the  week for best impact.  Overall, being committed students, the impact was good; and this adversity opened up many more opportunities for all of us.  The coordination and cooperation from the state coordinators has been amazing and always supportive in organizing the sessions.

Importance of purpose with passion

“Belief in Self” is a powerful tool, which leads one’s focus on the achievements rather than on the failures. And having a compelling reason to do something is a must, as it helps create the right season to take the necessary steps. 

Purpose and Passion in one’s work gives depth and dimension to one’s direction.  Just like Newton could see gravity in the apple fall and Alexander Flemming saw Penicilling around the fungus, purpose & passion help one to Read, Reflect, Realize and Respond positively in all circumstances. 

It also helps to get clarity in the self and in the goals to be achieved, and bridges the gap.  Aspiration to acquisitions becomes easy and in fact, attracts the right people and situations  that help glide towards one’s goal.

Purpose & passion are like the convex lens, which converges all one’s energies towards a meaningful and a compelling goal, to develp the grit not to quit!

Why are failures/fear an important part of our life?

While fear is a power, failure is the best teacher, if we accept and respect it.  Fear releases adrenaline, which helps one to perform better – the fear of examination helps us to study better, and to concentrate for longer hours. 

Failure is a part of learning but we are psyched that failing is bad.  Whether to walk, talk, write or learn anything, we have failed.  Every time we failed, we pondered over the why and got an answer to go to the next level.  But later on, we were reprimanded for mistakes and failures and thus, an aversion was created.  Today, if some commit suicide, it is because of this mental conditioning, that failing is bad.  “Failures are stepping stones to success,” has only remained as statements in books!

Explore, Expose, Experiment, Experience, Evaluate to Emerge  is my formula to change. Identify and clarify your thoughts, develop a new perspective on the idea of failure and be more mindful and less caught up in the fear of failure.

What would be your message to our readers?

I am reminded of Swami Vivekanand’s saying – ‘Arise, Awake, and stop not till you reach your goals!” 

Students today have all the facilities and comforts, more than any previous kings that we know.  There are plenty of opportunities, food, clothing and many more.  This is the time to act and have the best generation India could ever think of.  However, the way the shift is taking place towards westernization and materialism, it could also be the last one – our values, culture and character are being replaced by someone else’s.

Many want to live a life surrounded by instant coffees, two-minute foods, plastic card purchases and EMI homes.   Comfort is promoted rather than Effort.  Surprisingly, having failed in that which our youth is expecting & accepting, many westerners are shifting to our culture of Yoga, Meditation and simple living!

Be aware and realistic. Our newspapers have more of negativity to read rather than what is positive. Are many so called role models glorifying negativity by setting wrong examples?  Conscious rather than a compulsive living is the need of the hour.  Harness your Awareness.

India has bright youth, they need to become better and bolder.  Be on the right path and think of empowering the self to empower India as a whole.  Jago India!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s