Archive of European Projects

Evaluating the soft skills of unemployed youth
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

It is increasingly difficult for young people with low or no formal qualifications to find a job. However, even without formal training or labour market experience, young persons gather social and personal competencies. These “soft” competencies are essential for doing a good job. For some jobs, they may even be the most important elements of qualification. However, employers and those working with young people find it difficult to recognise and assess these informal competencies. Such assessment, though, is important to match employers with potential employees and to define training needs of an unemployed person so as to better satisfy the skill needs of a specific job. Globalisation, demographical change, technological advances, and the financial crisis have created major challenges for today’s societies. Individuals have to confront rapidly changing data and learn how to keep up with them. In order to function well in this “new” diverse world, the need for adaptability is no longer a choice. It is vitally necessary that individuals develop competencies in a wide range of fields, which will allow them to adapt to the evolution and the changing environment To conclude, solely mastering certain skills is not enough anymore. As a matter of fact the so called hard skills, mainly proven by academic certificates, are rated as being of less direct relevance to companies. Instead of paying attention to narrowly defined skills and qualifications companies are now placing more importance on the candidates’ personal qualities and attitudes which cannot be recognized through conventional diplomas and certificates (Grootings 1994). The workforce is expected to show flexibility, entrepreneurship qualities, personal responsibility, adaptability, innovation, creativity and in general a self-directed and a self-motivated attitude. While some European countries have developed widely accepted systems of competence assessment, others need to raise awareness on their significance and potential impact and to define the methods and procedures for competence assessment. The proposed project thus aims at a transfer of best practices of competence assessment for young persons. The proposed project concerns the systematization of existing competence assessment methodologies in Germany and Sweden and their transfer and application to the other participating project countries. These methodologies and tools relate to the process of evaluating soft skills of young people, which were non-formally and informally acquired. The main activities and outputs of the project, targeted towards VET trainers and staff and unemployed youth include the follwoing: - Needs analysis report: Need analysis report in each country to determine the existing situation with regards to vocational education and training and the evaluation of soft skills and to identify the soft skills that are considered to be necessary for unemployed youth to enter the labour market. The needs analysis is expected to reveal the need for well-targeted training areas and the development of tailored curriculum for the development of soft skills - CURRICULUM for unemployed youth to identify, develop and enhance their soft skills which will enable and promote the identification, development and enhancement of soft skills of youth. The curriculum will outline the skills, performances, attitudes and values that youth are expected to learn, while it will include the syllabus, methods to be implemented and other such aspects. - E learning platform that will be developed for the needs of the project, where the target groups will be able to attend on-line courses and receive training from a distance so as to enable the active participation of individuals from different regions who are not always able to be physically present to workshops/seminars/events. The e-learning platform will provide with the open on-line courses, will include an area of Community of Practice for open discussions and exchange and will also include an e-library with important and relevant resources. A number of online open courses/webinars will also be materialised for VET trainers and educators in the participating countries and beyond(10 hours of distance learning) - Toolkit (and user-guide of the toolkit) on soft skills for unemployed youth entering the labour market. The toolkit is designed using a number of different tools and methods for the development of soft skills, which will be taught to unemployed youth, in complementarity to the curriculum. The toolkit will include tailored tools specifically designed for the needs of the development of soft skills among young unemployed individuals. In addition, a pilot application of the toolkit on the target groups will implemented so as to put the toolkit to use and ensure that it is most effective and efficient and achieves the set goals and objectives.
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