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VALidating Informal Transversal Skills of young workers in seasonal tourism
Start date: Dec 1, 2016, End date: Nov 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The headline of the March 6th Edition of the Italian Newspaper 'Taormina Informa' “Enough with seasonality say workers in the tourism sectors” – announced by the regional secretary of Fisascat Cisl Sicilia – a Labor Union Federation for Touristic Activities in Sicily. This announcement was accompanied by a demonstration of the federation employees and tourism workers to express their frustration with poor payment and benefits for working in seasonal tourism jobs.Within the Tourism sector, which employs over 12 million people, many work on short term contracts and follow a pattern of intense high season activity followed by low season unemployment.The issue of seasonality in tourism has long been a source of concern expressed in EU publications and it is feared that the intense concentration of touristic activities in a relatively short period of time “may have dramatic negative impact on local economies for the whole year” (Ecorys Study in support of policy measures for maritime and coastal tourism, 2013). This is particularly true with regard to employment prospects of the tourism workers in the areas of a “marked seasonality” that is, those dependent on the “sun and beach” model or winter skiing resorts.Official reports have proved this cross-border trend is evident in most seasonal tourist hot spots. As an example, the Balearic Islands of Spain, the Rimini Province of Italy, and Austrian skiing resorts, have published statistics to show employment contracts usually fall by 70-80% by December compared to July in the same year. From these three areas, the 420,000 workers employed during the high season, 300,000 of them will be unemployed during the low season. ( Sources: Coyuntura Económica de las Islas Baleares Marzo 2013; Centro per L’impiego – Provincia di Rimini 2014; Annual Report by Austrian Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, 2009). This cycle disproportionately affects young people who resort to seasonal work to escape unemployment, but often become trapped in this cyclical process, where they are unable to follow more sustainable career options. And yet, seasonal workers within the tourism sector have already gained valuable skills that could be utilised for more professional careers. This project aims to break this cycle and help these young people find longer term employment opportunities by:Firstly, identifying a portfolio of fundamental informal transversal skills and competences,Secondly, create and develop a 'Validation Tool' that provides meaningful and graded assessment of any Informal Transversal Skills held by the user through testing rather than self-assessment, andThirdly, create and develop a 'Career Guidance App' that matches the users' identified transversal skills to longer term career opportunities that are required by other professional sectors.To identify the Informal Transversal Skills, the project will carryout an in-depth skills needs analysis targeting employees and employers within the Tourism sector.It is envisaged that the Informal Transversal skills identified will include accounting skills, Entrepreneurial skills, Customer service skills, Communication skills, IT and Digital skills, Language skills, Team working skills Organisational skills, Interpersonal skills, Marketing skills, Management skills, Problem solving skills, Office skills, Leadership skills, Decision making skills.The main results of this project will be increasingly disseminated to reach large numbers of those working in the tourism sector. Both the Validation Tool and Career guidance App will be launched at the final project conference in Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The invited organisations will include stakeholders that represent employers, workers, the ECVET community, employers unions, chambers of commerce, tourism sector groups etc.This project will provide the tools to break the unemployment cycle for short season workers. These tools will provide 1.) new opportunities for tourism sector workers who posses the informal transversal skills demanded by longer term jobs and careers,2.) help to accelerate the users' pathway to quality employment in a more linear, less interrupted or detoured way,3.) save employers time and efforts firstly in attracting and filtering the right kind of skills in their candidature that can also help them to base their recruitment decision on a transparent and concrete foundation instead of having to rely on subjective assessment and experiences,4.) make employers in the tourism sector more aware of the utilities of their employees’ skills and add new employment plans for them, including job rotation or promotion incentives,5.) add complementary tools to the existing EU skills and competency tools like Europass, EURES and ESCO.

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