What soft skills for employability?

Supporting capacity building and professional development of HE students

The main objective of ESSENCE’s project is to improve employability opportunities for HE students leveraging on the development (nurturing) of their soft skills. ESSSENCE is a transnational and cross-cultural project co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. It includes seven organisations from seven different EU countries representing the many different interests’ included by the scale and scope of the project: third sector and civil society, private sector and employment, academia and research.

The project stems from a 2016 report published by the World Economic Forum in which analysts predicted how the worldwide ecosystem of employability would change in the timeframe from 2015 to 2020. Evidences indicated that the global labour market were in the process of shifting towards a greater consideration of “soft” rather “technical” skills for valorisation of young talents and recruitment.

Results from the aforementioned analysis have been corroborated by a recent multidimensional report carried out by partners throughout 2021 and consolidated in late fall (available from free at: Partners focused their research efforts on literature sources and testimonials from targets so as to extrapolate key takeaways, recommendations and case studies highlighting the impacts of soft skills on recruitment and job-seeking opportunities for HE students and fresh graduates.

Based on findings (i.e., most desired soft skills for employability), partners are working on a training curricula that can help targets and students in acquiring new soft competences for their competitiveness in the labour market.

The curricula include seven modules, one per each identified skill, further elaborated in sub-didactic units so as to better facilitate targets’ learning process and the delivery of the material from coaches, professors and teachers. Every participating organisation is responsible for the development of one training module: roles, responsibilities and workload have been shared based on the specific know-how, expertise, background and experience detained by involved staff members:

PartnerTraining module
University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow (Poland)Complex Problem Solving
Internet Web Solutions (Spain)Coordinating with others
IDP European Consultants (Italy)Emotional Intelligence
Institute de Haute Formation aux Politique Communautaires (Belgium)Critical Thinking
University of Economics, Varna (Bulgaria)Judgement and Decision Making
University of Dubrovnik – Department of Economics and Business (Croatia)Creativity
Stockholm School of Economics (Latvia)Cognitive Flexibility

All training material will be developed in ENG and – post cross-review among partners –are translated in all languages represented by the ESSENCE’ partnership.

In a later stage, the curricula have been piloted and validated with 150 targets’ representatives (both primary and secondary groups) for evaluation and fine-tuning, this is to ensure better consistency and coherent to the underlying needs and gaps as identified by project’ background.

ESSENCE’s results and concrete deliverables – including training material – are available via the official project’s Operational Educational Resource (OER) Platform in free and open access. The platform represents’ also the main channel for project’s digital identify and one of the most important carrier for its visibility, mainstreaming and communication.