Assessing the present state of virtual skills building education and training:

A transnational and cross-dimensional analysis

Throughout the first implementation cycle of the VIBES project, partners looked into existing practices (if any) in building virtual team working skills at formal education level, including high-school, university and adult education settings.

The analysis took into consideration policy and academic papers, secondary literature sources, publications and resources from business associations and private sector’s representatives, contributions from third sector and civil society, more in general, any kind of documents that might display interesting findings of relevance for the scope of this specific research activity.

The geographical scale of this task includes all national contexts formally represented by the VIBES’ strategic partnership (and even beyond).

The most relevant trends and common dynamics emerging from consolidated findings seem suggesting that, although there are many different context-specific practices addressing skills and competences for virtual team working skills, there is not yet agreement on a common reference approach – leading the phenomenon to a great spatial fragmentation.

For instance, takeaways form the European snapshot indicate that when talking about virtual business skills, it is impossible to ignore the severe digital-gap existing among EU societies, economies and citizens. Not all national education systems adapt to new IT opportunities for teaching and education at the same rate: Northern and Scandinavian countries set the good practices and role models, while Mediterranean and Balkan countries struggle to mimic the same development and innovation strategies – with significant lags from the perspective of overall digitalisation of economies and societies.

This trend is somehow corroborated by national reports developed by partners: some country snapshots seem rather optimistic than others, but all and all, project’s research team stumbles across many gaps and lags relating to ICT-embracement on all considered levels (i.e., formal education as well as labour market and private sector).

Notable is the fact that partners came to the same conclusions in relation to skills needed for virtual team working, highlighting the fact that triggers of these new sets of competences emerge firstly and foremost from the side of culture and mind-sets, rather than mere IT literacy and technical proficiency with digital tools.

This is the dimension that partners wish to tackle with the provision of a new four-layer training curricula (formal Intellectual Output of the project) that looks at training and education from organisational, managerial, relational and person-centred perspectives.

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