Soft skills trainings for support staff

The main benefit of this practice is that this kind of training improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the support staff work. It also increases the satisfaction levels of international PhD students and academic staff. As a result, the atmosphere in both administrative and academic teams becomes much better since a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings would be avoided and communication will run more smoothly.

The most important thing for this practice is that to achieve sustainable results such courses need to be offered on a regular basis.


Improved skills and knowledge Improved quality of service Better communication and cooperation Improved procedure/efficiency

Basic information
Categories Capacity Building of Support & Management Staff Institutional Processes
Mobility stages Institutional setup
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Important to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups Administrative staff Management staff
Practice setup

There are several steps to prepare for the delivery of such training:

  • Appoint the responsible person.

  • Conduct a survey and analysis of the training needs and existing soft skills

  • Define the needed knowledge and skills for instance:

    • time management

    • leadership,

    • teamwork skills,

    • foreign languages,

    • communication skills preventing/managing conflicts,

    • intercultural communication,

    • diversity and inclusion,

    • etc.)

  • Identify a level of the trainees' existing skills (based on the conducted survey).

  • Map available trainings,

  • Identify trainers and their availability.

  • It might be very useful to prepare a Training scenario template where the expectations of both sides (organizer and trainer) can be formulated (pre-training/posttraining activities, technical support (seat set-up, wifi, laptops, flipcharts, support materials, etc)

  • Prepare a schedule and a training program to develop each of the skills in focus (in cooperation with the identified trainers).

In order to maximise the effect of soft skill training, you need to plan to offer such training regularly. It is recommended that the training is combined with a lot of interactive practice of the specific skill in games, exercises, hands-on activities, roleplay, and simulations. This will ensure the consolidation of what has been learned.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Language centre
  • EURAXESS centre
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Training plan and programme designed

@ EURAXESS centre can help with booking a suitable trainer using the EURAXESS network database of trainers for various expertise domains, including intercultural communication, gender quality, etc. 

Practice delivery

  • Prepare and implement a survey on trainees' needs & level of soft skills and run an analysis of the results.

  • Get in touch with the identified trainers.

  • Assist the trainers in developing the training programme.

  • Prepare a schedule for the training events.

  • Set up and implement a registration procedure.

  • Develop a feedback collection procedure.

  • Support the trainer/trainers in preparing to deliver the training by providing facilities/tools, stationery, and ideas for interactive games.

  • Support the trainer/trainers in delivering the training.

  • Collect feedback and analyse it.

  • Discuss the feedback results with the trainer/trainers. Together, plan any necessary changes to the training programme accordingly.


Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • Study department
  • Library
  • Career development centre
  • Language department
  • Centre of language/studies preparation
  • Centre of continuous/adult education
  • Communications and Marketing
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • EURAXESS centre
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of trainings implemented annually
  • Number of support staff assisted

The closest EURAXESS Center (if there is no such at your organistion) may share experience and good/bad practice and support/participate in delivery process. There are a lot of very good trainers at EURAXESS network so you may also ask support for providing a trainer.

Examples of practice

Personal and professional development

University of Oxford offers to their staff members a number of opportunities for personal and professional development. Among all there are training courses on soft skills, mentoring, etc.

Intercultural awarness trainings


Workshops to raise awareness of internationalization are offered to administrative staff in order to improve the way members of the international community are welcomed to the university.