IELTS Speaking Part 2&3 #12 Describe a practical skill that you have

Describe a practical skill that you have (such as driving a car, speaking a foreign language, cooking etc.)
You should say: What this skill is
Who taught you this skill; (how and when you learned it) How long you learned this skill
And explain how this skill is useful to you.

Sample Answer:

Well one skill that I have is playing the guitar.

I learned it when I was young. I learned how to play because I had many friends that played the guitar and when they played and sang, I knew I just had to learn. At first it was a little difficult because to be quite frank, I really didn’t see myself as someone who was musically I inclined. I had to tell myself that I could do it and little by little, a note here and a chord I there, I managed to pick it up. Even now I have a long way to go with playing but I have found it enjoyable not just for myself, for others have said they enjoy it as well. I have had a few guitars and although there are different styles and qualities, to me it seems that as long as they have strings on them and you can tune them, they are fine.

I use the guitar to cheer myself up when I am feeling a little down and also use it to teach songs to others. I have never made money teaching guitar but I have made a little money playing and singing. I don’t know if I would want to pursue this skill as a career but as long as I still enjoy it, I am going to do it.

Follow-up questions:

  1. Can you compare the skills that are important nowadays with the skills that were important 20 or 30 years ago?
    Twenty/thirty years ago, traditional skills like weaving, knitting, sewing and earthenware pottery making were an integral part of people’s lives. But, nowadays, computer, management, language, and data analysis skills are given more importance.
  2. What skills are valued most in your country?
    My country is a developing nation and there are many sectors such as banking, manufacturing, information technology and tourism etc. In almost every sector, basic computer skills and communication skills are of utmost significance.
  3. What kind of skills might be important in the future?
    This is an interesting question. Considering the amount of data generated every day, I think that in the future the demand for research and data analysis skills will rise considerably.
  4. Why should companies invest a lot of money in training?
    Training programs are vital for the growth of a company. A company with the trained staff is more likely to outperform its competitors. Regular training sessions upgrade the knowledge and skills of employees which in turn leads to higher productivity and profitability. For this reason, many companies spend a major part of their annual budget on different types of trainings.
  5. Do you think schools and universities prepare young people well for the future employment?
    Not really. I think that secondary schools and universities in most parts of the world focus too much on conventional academic subjects like mathematics, science and history etc.
    Professional skills are often neglected. This imbalance between theoretical and practical knowledge has a negative impact on the future job prospects of young people.
  6. Compare the importance of practical skills and academic skills.
    Well actually both are much needed in society. It seems to me that practical skills such as knowing how to cook a meal or clean a house or take care of children arc slipping, whereas academic skills such as teaching a class or doing research seem to be on the rise. This is not bad in itself because there need to be people who are thinking about how things work and how to improve them, but the skills needed for everyday life shouldn’t be looked on as any less important than others.
  7. How can people learn practical skills?
    A lot of these skills can be learned at home with their mother and father and family. Skills such as sewing, budgeting or maintenance can be learned from an aunt or uncle, grandfather or grandmother. If more difficult trades want to be learned, such as plumber or electrician or mason, there are vocational schools that could leach those. The main thing to learning a skill is the motivation that is involved.
  8. Do you think children should learn some practical skills at school?
    I think that children should learn practical skills at school. This would help to prepare them for life outside of school. A lot of times not much thought is put into how to manage money or take care of an apartment but I think these skills would be helpful. Life in the working world can be a lot different than the sheltered life of schooling, so having some practical skills such as those learned from a part-time job would be beneficial to a student.
  9. How useful will these skills be to the children alter they leave school?
    Well as I was saying in the previous question, these skills would be very helpful to children after they leave school. When a teenager goes from high school to college he has to start managing things on his own without the security of mom and dad. Even more so when a young adult graduates from college or university, he would also be very grateful to have some practical knowledge on how to survive in the working world.
  10. Do you think it’s useful for adults to attend classes to further their education? Sure, why not, if it is something that they find useful in their lives and something that they enjoy. Learning is lifelong and I don’t know if it has to stop in old age. Now I know that a lot of times these adults are looked upon as teachers, but if they feel so inclined why not attend a class to further their education. If they are not able to keep up with the young students then this would be a detriment, but if there are no disruptions why not?
  11. What are some reasons why adults might attend classes?
    Well I guess one of the main ones is that they are working and they need to keep up with the latest technology that will help them to stay abreast of the latest in their fields. Sometimes they might even be thinking of switching careers so they take classes to get the training to do so.
    Other times they might just want to learn some things in their spare time that will enhance their life on a recreational level. Other times their bosses might want them to learn some special skill for the good of the company.
  12. Who do you think should pay for adult education—the government, the student or the company (if it is a work-related course)?
    Again it depends on the course and why they are taking it. If it is for personal gain or gratification then of course students should be responsible to pay for it. If the government is offering a course and adults are interested in it then it is already paid for. If it is going to move the company ahead and bring financial results then of course the company should pay for it.
    Now if the company can’t pay for it and it interests the individual then it is up to him to get the money together to attend the class.
  13. Other possible questions:
    Can you suggest a way that people can study together?
    Do you think government should pay for old people to learn something?
    Do you think of online leaning?
    Do you think learning materials on the internet are reliable?

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