Utilising soft skills training to enhance work readiness

In this session, Maria Smith from Bounce Australia will outline the key findings from a trial conducted in conjunction with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) to improve the soft skills of job seekers through behavioural economics.

The 2019 trial and a recent report released by the DESE suggest that training, which considers soft skills (including psychological work readiness), can help disadvantaged job seekers with complex barriers build confidence, resilience and motivation to become more job ready.

The session provides a glimpse into the training program, which will inform best practice across future employment programs.


Maria Smith Founder and CEO, Bounce Australia

Maria Smith is the CEO and founder of Bounce Australia. She is a communications and behaviour change expert with over two decades of experience in workforce engagement and activation.

Maria is the creative force behind the Bounce Program and the Bounce Job Coach Certification — two transformational wellbeing and work-readiness programs credited with impacting the lives of thousands of people across the world. Since 2006, Maria has grown Bounce to become a globally recognised company by expanding her programs into the USA, the UK and New Zealand.

Maria’s in-depth knowledge of wellbeing science and her unique skills in emotional intelligence, behavioural nudging and positive psychology are the cornerstone of Bounce’s training programs and make her highly sought-after for executive-level coaching and mentoring. Recognised for her energetic communication style and her dynamic story-telling ability, Maria delivers impactful content, backed up by scientifically proven methodologies, which are guaranteed to bring greater self-awareness and to influence behaviour change in the most positive way.

Passionately dedicated to personal growth and development, Maria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science, a Diploma in Positive Psychology, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) specialising in Managing and Leading People, and is currently completing a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (University of Melbourne).