Relating soft skills to employability: the ESSENCE Project is officially launched

IHF asbl joined the online Kick-Off meeting of ESSENCE – Enhance Soft Skills to Nurture Competitiveness and Employability, a project co-financed by Erasmus+ Programme

On February 17th, 2021, IHF asbl joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of ESSENCE (Enhance Soft Skills to Nurture Competitiveness and Employability), a Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, which brings together seven Partners from seven different countries (Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Spain).

The Kick-Off Meeting, hosted by University of Information Technology and Management (Rzeszow – PL), was originally planned in Brussels, but has been rescheduled online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

ESSENCE’s objective is to improve employability opportunities for HE students leveraging on soft skills development. The objective is to maximize their engagement in the labour market offering professional development paths through training and education on soft and “intangible” skills. ESSENCE develops and deploys a flexible and permeable learning pathway: users can access and exploit the training “on-demand” and “on a need basis” to enhance their soft skills literacy and professional self-empowerment.

Back in 2016, analysts from the World Economic Forum foresaw a major switch in what would have been by 2020 the “top 10 skills” for employability, recruitment, career development and business competitiveness. According to the report, the opportunity for fresh graduates and HE students to compete on the job market would depend increasingly on soft and relational skills, rather than mere technical competences…

WEF’s findings are corroborated by numerous international and academic resources that pinpoint with great emphasis the relevance of soft skills for employability in the new incoming decade.

Based on that, in the following two years ESSENCE will sustain the development among HE students of intangible and soft skills (such as sense of initiative, critical thinking, creativity and people management) to better strengthen their employability and competitiveness in the labour market; its innovative methodology relies on demand-drive and bottom-up approaches that will lead partners in the creation of several strategic results:

  1. Online interactive platform (OER Platform) in Multilanguage version
  2. Transnational report highlighting the “most wanted” soft skills for employability in the EU labour market (desk research + survey conducted among 100 employers)
  3. Online business glossary to be used as a concepts-map as well as a reference to orientate students across the universe of soft skills
  4. Custom-made training courses related to self-empowerment soft skills for employability
  5. Visibility Events in the participating countries and international awareness of the project

Moreover, Partners foresee that project results will be disseminated, mainstreamed, and made visible to an overall audience of more than 4 million contacts – as an estimated sum from the engagement of the public via offline and online communication.

In the Project, IHF asbl brings its expertise and experience as a key social player in international and European projects. In particular, IHF asbl ensures the “European Dimension” of the Project as it carries out all the technical tasks from a “European Perspective”, i.e. carrying out analysis of relevant EU policies and initiatives; extrapolating EU relevant case studies, lessons learned and best practices.

For further information on ESSENCE and other IHF asbl initiatives: