Front Line Workers using Soft Skills

Front Line Workers using Soft Skills

I am grateful to the Front Line Workers Fighting COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a great demand upon many medical vocations, and skilled trades. Problem Solving, stress management, self-discipline, and performance are some of the soft skills that are being used to fight COVID-19.

Problem Solving: When health officials asked industry to make medical approved masks, face shields, gowns, respirators and incubators industry across Canada and other parts of the world responded by converting production capabilities. Engineers designed new products for approval to ensure the medical equipment and PPE(Personal Protective Equipment) would be available. Medical, Academic, Scientific Front Line Workers are testing and searching for a cure. Engineering and Skilled Tradesmen/Skilled Tradeswomen work to keep essential facilities operational.

Self-discipline and stress management are a part of performance. Stress management skills by medical personal enduring discomfort (scaring behind ears due to face mask elastic is just one off many challenges) in order to comply with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) procedures and the consequences of isolation from family & friends while performing their duties. I cannot begin to imagine the stress the Academic, Scientific and Medical Workers are experiencing to find a cure for COVID-19.

Thank you all Front Line Workers.

James Sidney Harvey

This is an interesting article written by Emily Heaslip that originally appeared on

This is an interesting article written by Emily Heaslip that originally appeared on
Hard Skills VS Soft Skills: Are EQ Emotional Intelligence the Best Predictors of Success. Veroe Blog written by Emily Heaslip

In the world of hiring, soft skills have recently become the holy grail of recruiting. Soft skills – emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills like communication and empathy – are among the most in-demand qualifications a candidate can bring to the table.
According to one LinkedIn survey, more than half of nearly 300 hiring managers reported that the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity. Recruiters are getting creative in trying to find new hires with talent in communication, time management, negotiating, writing, listening, problem solving, and decision making. Soft skills – the more intuitive EQ – are seen as a better predictor of success than hard skills, which can be taught or trained.
Why are soft skills the best predictor of success? How can hiring managers design a recruitment process that takes these skills into account?
The Case for Soft Skills
Soft skills are in-demand in nearly every company and every industry. A Wall Street Journal survey of 900 executives found that 92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. But 89% of those surveyed said they have a “very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite attributes.” Likewise, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Report discovered that the four most in-demand soft skills are leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management.
Are soft skills a better predictor of success? According to one author, yes. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence at Work, found in his research of 500 executives that emotional intelligence – soft skills – was a better predictor of top performance than previous experience or IQ. CEOs at some of the world’s top companies (Amazon, Xerox, and Tesla, to name a few) lead with emotional intelligence have designed their entire corporate structure around soft skills.
And soft skills aren’t just great for creating a fulfilling and pleasant work environment. The link between profit and leaders with high emotional intelligence is clear. In one study, CEOs whose employees rated them high in character had an average return of 9.35% over a two-year period, nearly five times as much as companies with CEOs who had low character ratings. The case for recruiting for soft skills is strong: but, there’s something to be said for balancing good leadership and communication with individuals who have honed their talent.
Don’t Ignore Hard Skills
Have some recruiters overcorrected in their search for candidates with high EQ? Maybe, says one expert.
Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, believes that to have a successful career, you must develop skills that make you an expert in something. There will always be a market for those with a depth of knowledge in one thing; certain fields will always demand new hires with niche skills and technical training. Newport argues that he more mastery you have in a skill or field, the more control and satisfaction it’ll give you in your career.
While it’s true that technical masters do become top CEOs – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates come to mind – other experts note that eventually, soft skills and emotional intelligence must be learned. Many programmers, for example, have some of the basic hard skills that it takes to run a company. However, they fall short on key EQ traits like listening. The best leaders can learn soft skills over time, but start as an expert in something.
How to Hire for Hard Skills and Emotional Intelligence
Unfortunately, soft skills can’t be found on a resume, which is what makes hiring for them so difficult.
Companies who hire successfully with low turnover have learned how to construct their interview process to cover hard and soft skills. These recruiters ask candidates to perform tests mimicking real-world scenarios to get the best prediction of their success in the company. These skills tests then get triangulated with psychometrics and attitude testing.
Plus, the advent of AI has made it possible to weigh soft skills vs. hard skills equally. Where in the past a candidate might wow a recruiter in the interview, but have no mastery over their field, an algorithm can’t be easily biased by a resume or stellar presentation. Smart companies have even begun to customize their interview process for certain soft skills that are applicable to each open position: so your extroverts become your top sales people, while your listeners join your HR team. There’s a place for both hard skills and soft skills in the workplace: it’s up to your hiring team to find the right combination for success.

Emily Heaslip
Content writer @ Vervoe

2015 an Amazing Year!

2015, an amazing year.
The highlight of the year has been promoting my book “Seven Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons” at trade shows, webinars, expos, library presentations, college alumni events, online magazines, pod casts, TV interviews and in traditional print media.
Generally I found most correspondence and conversations regarding the book positive. Skilled trade’s people who are training apprentices complimented me on the book. Parents purchased books to give to teenagers considering a future in skilled trades. Teachers recommended the book to students who considering a career in the skilled trades. Apprentices found the book to be a good reference guide. Individuals who are skilled trades’ persons found the book to be motivational as they reinvent their career or strive to upgrade their skill sets. Some of the feedback I received came from countries outside of Canada and the United States. I was pleased to learn that there is an interest to inspire people to address the worldwide shortage of skilled trades.
People who train and educate skilled trades have suggested I write a text book on soft skill development of the essential skills required to learn and practice trade craft. The suggested format is APA (American Psychological Association) or other formal essay structures. This would be quite a change in writing format as I chose to write my first book as a conversation between skilled trades’ persons.
In 2016 I look forward to meeting you the people who inspire skilled trades’ persons.

Trust, respect and the skilled trades.

Trust, respect and the skilled trades.

Manufacturing’s skilled-labor crisis tends to be a one-sided debate. We hear that entry-level employees just don’t seem to care. Why don’t they engage? Why don’t they put forth the effort? No one really wants to work anymore. It’s the manufacturing manager’s point of view.


Link to full article

Students in the Skilled Trades

Students in the Skilled Trades

Students in the Skilled Trades

With many more Skilled Trades workers retiring from the industry than that of those entering, it is clear that this shortage is not the only issue that needs to be addressed, but the low awareness and promotion of Skilled Trades as a career option for our future generations as well.
According to a survey by Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and Skills Canada poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid, 60% of youth said their parents have not encouraged them to consider a career in trades and 71% said guidance counsellors have not encouraged them to consider Skilled Trades professions either.
Now, we are all aware of the conventional misperception that our youth should finish high school and go straight into College or University in order to get well-paying careers – however, this is simply not a reality for everyone.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program explains that many skilled tradespeople now earn six-figure incomes with excellent benefits. So, why such a negative perception on Skilled Trades careers?
Recently, I have been meeting with provincial representatives and other educational institutions on the subject of Students in Trade, in hopes of working together to make an even larger impact. By supporting and encouraging our youth to explore all of their options and letting them know of the exciting opportunities available to them through careers in Skilled Trades – we can work towards building a healthier, functioning Canadian economy.
In addition to sitting down for a great discussion with MPP and PC critic for Education as well as Training Colleges and Universities, Garfield Dunlop last month, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in three great initiatives over the month of May supporting careers in Skilled Trades in Ontario.
I was honoured to be a key note speaker at the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Expo in Oshawa. This event was an interactive Expo featuring experts from across the skilled trades sector including: Skills Ontario, Durham Workforce Authority, Ontario College of Trades and LIUNA. The Expo is aimed to provide people who are interested in careers in the skilled trades with the opportunity to gather information, gain experience and learn about new employment opportunities.
Also, the Explore the Trades event at OD/Park Secondary School in Orillia showcased over 25 local employers and allowed students to get a hands-on look at the types of careers in the trades that are available locally. I was able to engage with students and parents sharing my experience and expertise in the industry and providing on the spot coaching. It is my hope to encourage and inspire students towards a rewarding career in the Trades.

For another view on Students entering the trades, view my latest LinkedIn post entitled: The Power of Investing in You – four pillars of an economically fruitful career.
For more information on having me speak at other events, please contact me:
For more information on either of these events, please visit links below:
Further References:

Mentorship: Find Value in Others

One weekend when I was home from college, I attended a barbecue at the house of a former secondary school teacher who was a mentor to me. I said to him that I wanted to learn how to be a good conversationalist. His response was one word, “read”. “Read!” I said, “How is reading going to help me to be good at conversation in a social setting? “His response was, “reading newspaper articles, magazines and novels educates you on how other individuals communicate and behave.” – (p.91), 7 Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons.

He was right! And it was from that day on; I saw not only the value in reading but also the powerful impact of learning from others and fostering mentoring relationships.

Get out of your Comfort Zone

Do you find yourself in a work environment that is no longer stimulating? Do you want to make a career leap but are afraid to take the plunge? A mentor can encourage you away from your comfort zone and provide that motivation to make a change. Mentors often come to mind at the beginning of a career path, but a mentor can provide value throughout a career. In fact, having a mentor can give you that professional edge.

Just imagine having someone on your side consistently encouraging you to do more. This person will challenge you, push you to your edge, and inspire you to take the steps to achieve your dreams. When you find the right mentor for you, it will be someone who will invest the time to discover your potential and help bring your career dream to light. In addition, they can become that go to person who not only teaches new skills but also provides support during the transition of a new role.

Mentorships: A Life Long Relationship

When I found it necessary to reinvent myself from being a tool and die maker to industrial mechanic, I took the opportunity to learn something from whatever I could get my hands on, and from whomever I had the opportunity to speak with, watch or observe, always trying to keep my mind stimulated – (p. 26)

It was the late 80s; and due in part to the economic climate, my choice of trade as a Tool and Die Maker was no longer enough to secure steady, long-term employment. I knew it was time to diversify and it was through retaining strong mentor relationships that I was able to not only discover a gap in the trades but received guidance on how I could fill it.

Today, I am a Licensed Tool & Die Maker with Industrial Mechanic / Millwright skills and experience. My niche has become an industrial “Jack of most trade’s licensed in one” who not only gets the job done, but is willing to help train and mentor.

Finding that Perfect Fit

You need to be constantly learning from both the circumstances and the individuals that surround you. – Pg. 19

It is through developing a strong mentor relationship that you can become the employee or contractor that you want to be. The right mentor will invest the time to discover your potential and help bring your career dream to light. Ultimately, it is an individual that you would like to emulate, and whose experience you can benefit from.

If you want to give your career that edge: Get a Mentor. Nurturing a mentoring relationship will allow you to learn from another’s experience, challenge you and provide guidance ensuring that your actions are on the path to achieve your career dream.

James Harvey: Mentoring in Skilled Trades only part of solution.

TORONTO (March 24, 2015)  In light of a recently announced Ontario mentorship program advancing Women in the Skilled and Professional Trades,  skilled trades veteran and mentor James Sidney Harvey says while the program will resonate benefits, it’s only part of the solution to a three-party equation.

“While mentorship is always a great investment into our skilled work force, it shines the light on only the employer’s role – There are actually three groups that affect the Value Skilled Trades and the Ontario economy: the Employer, the Skilled Trades Person and the Government.” he said. “Essentially, when one party isn’t fully participating, it brings progress to a halt.”

James is a journeyman Tool & Die maker who has over 30 years experience in the Skilled Trades and now trains, coaches and advises corporations on advancing Skilled Trades in Ontario.

In his new book, Seven Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons, James puts the onus on the trades people themselves to contribute to their own talent pool.

“I’ve been on both sides of the mentor/mentee coin, and have learned that as a trade’s worker, you are only as valuable as your most transferrable skill set.”

James says the notion that training and mentorship is solely the corporation’s responsibility is a common, but dangerous misconception.

“Unfortunately, workers are at a disadvantage the minute they assume that they can rely on someone else to shore up their skill set.  Mentors are there to assist you in using the skills you have, but they can’t force you to have a vested interest in your role and where it could take you.”

In his book, Harvey urges skilled trade workers to wake up. He points out that corporate tides have shifted with smaller companies requiring multi-tasking staff to remain competitive and large companies hiring out temp and sub-contracts to avoid benefit costs.

“They don’t need you as much as you need them,” said Harvey. “Individually – if you get comfortable, if you aren’t contributing to value of your role, you’ll find yourself without a job in two to five years.”


Chapter 7 of his book explores transferrable skill sets and outlines how people’s skills may be more useful across multiple streams of employment than they originally may have thought.

“I want people to understand is that they are part of the SOLUTION rather than the problem.  If you can become a valuable component to your company, they won’t let you go unless they absolutely have to,” said James. “The lesson is, keep learning! Don’t expect to spend 3-5 years in your job and think you’ll know everything. If you are not adding value to that company – they aren’t going to keep you. They can’t afford to.”


The Next Wave of Apprentices are Coming – is your company ready?




Today’s students are graduating with an ease and comfort around technology and they’ll likely be bringing it to work. But are employers equipped to work with this next wave of technologically savvy apprentices?

In 2012, The Economic and Social Research Council found that social media, including instant messaging, texting, social networks and downloading video, was actively used by students 20 and under. Only 4.3 percent of those 20 or younger never using social networking sites, by age 35 the nonusers increased to 78.5%.


So what does this mean for trades industry and corporations? Graduates look at technology differently. Today’s apprentices will graduate with a high comfort level on the various uses of technology in the workplace and employers can either grab on and embrace it’s benefits or risk lagging behind for lack of innovation.

In my book, Seven Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons, I challenge both skilled workers AND employers to think about the tools they will need to adapt in their current roles and if they are truly committed to never stop learning on the job.

Smart phones, for example are for more than just texting, they can be used as a research tool, for sourcing parts, interactive communication (using Skype), even GPS to help you find the next jobFrequently used resources like the Ontario Building Code, Auto CAD, and other applications can also be accessed with a click of a button.


These kinds of tools are being used in College and training classrooms today because they enable people to source information more readily, solve problems quicker and talk to other experts as a part of career development.

But there is a disconnect between the skills graduates are trained on and what employers are willing to accept.

Having worked as a Tool & Die maker for 30 years and as an onsite mentor for various trades companies, I have helped bridge the gap between the technological knowledge of the student and the employer’s needs. I have surmised that despite the value, employers are resistant to accepting full use of technology at the workplace for two reasons: lack of knowledge and fear of change.


Employers should not let the potential abuse stop them from integrating new technologies, instead, they should put the tools in place to provide guidance, training and support on how to integrate technology.

On the flip side, if employers revert to an older model of teaching and resist suggestions for change or improvement, the apprentice may become frustrated with an environment that they feel is outdated and lacking innovation.

The truth is, it’s up to ALL parties to keep updated, add value to the job role and to seek out continuous opportunities for learning. For this to happen there must be willing and open channels of communication at all levels of the organization – one on one, top down, and down up! Bringing in a coach can help to break down barriers, foster communication and introduce new skills. They can demonstrate which tools should be integrated; provide training on how to use them and guidelines to ensure that the technology is used for work purposes.

Technology can be an afterthought, but it is a necessity for today’s trades environment.

Manufacturing Transformation has published my article “Are Trade Persons prepared for Today’s Manufacturing Environment?”

Are you or your industry in transformation?

The mission of Manufacturing Technology is to provide a community forum to discuss various facets of today’s global manufacturing transformation. Supply chain complexity, technological advances, the pursuit of lower costs and ever increasing customer expectations has created a manufacturing revolution – comprising of both opportunities and threats. Manufacturing Transformation is a place on the web where world-class manufacturing and supply chain operations experts and others can share perspectives, announcements, experiences and best practices.

 link to article

Featured article in Manufacturing Global digital publication

I have the Honor of having an article featured in the magazine Manufacturing Global.


Manufacturing Global is an innovative digital publication aimed at bringing business executives up-to-date with the latest news, information and trends from across the manufacturing industry. Its digital platform includes an interactive website and magazine experience that will brings readers inside the world of manufacturing, including comprehensive insight and analysis into the sector. Manufacturing Global is abreast of news and developments occurring around the clock.


Here’s the link to the article: