Intellectual outputs

OER Platform

ESSENCE project will create its own OER platform which will be translated into 7 languages to reach different international target groups.

Mapping

Here it is intended to link soft skills with employability. Mapping the most desirable soft skills among employers within the EU countries.

Toolkit

Training content will be developed (short, easy to use for teachers and intuitive to manage for users) for each soft skill identified as relevant in the process of mapping.

Guidelines

They consists of two components: guidelines for the exploitation of the project results and a soft skills manifesto.

What is essence?

The ESSENCE project intends to improve employability opportunities for HE students by stimulating soft skills development. Project objective is to maximize their engagement in the labor market through offering professional development paths that go beyond formal HE trainings.

In order to meet the expectations of entrepreneurs and recruiters connected with the most desirable soft skills, the courses are based on the demand-driven employers’ perspective.

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News

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Essentially good news for Christmas and New Year:

2021-12-29

The ESSENCE project intends to improve employability opportunities for HE students by stimulating soft skills development. In order to achieve this goal all, the partners have been working intensively to finalize the contents of the educational modules to make them available online in 2022. The modules will cover the topics that are considered as essential for soft skill development namely: complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, creativity, cognitive flexibility, decision making and coordination skills. All those skills are considered as crucial for employability in 2022 and beyond.
To maximize the learning effect from all the modules they are developed focusing on practical examples and case studies. In each of 7 partner countries at lest 3 best practices were identified. In addition at least 3 case studies were prepared. Those practical tools will be integrated with more traditional teaching tools like power point presentation for each module. To make the learning experience more comfortable for students a decision game has been developed and will be available in 2022.
All modules are developed in co-operation between partners from 7 countries. This ensures more added value of the ESSENCE project since it also includes transnational and cross cultural perspective. All the teaching material including game, case studies etc., will be translated in 7 languages to ensure that students and other target groups in each partner country can access and use the teaching material easily. To conclude it can be stated that all the possible barriers for use of the teaching material has been removed and next year it will be available for everyone who would like to improve the employability via development of the soft skills.

ESSENCE study material will be available in seven languages (English, Polish, Croatian, Italian, Latvian, Bulgarian and Spanish).

THE TARGET GROUP:  the material is prepared primarily for students from universities and other HEI. It will be useful and beneficial for all types of study areas e.g. natural since, IT, technology and engineering, social since etc. However, the material is developed in a way that it can also be used by the representative of other target groups who would like to develop and improve soft skills.

SSE Riga in the module development was actively utilizing the knowledge and skills possessed by SSE Riga faculty. The academic knowledge was integrated with the applied one to maximize the usability of the teaching material. For a number of years SSE Riga pays a special attention to the development of various skills including the soft ones. This includes regular and elective course as well as coaching and academic advising. All this capital was integrated in the ESSENCE project teaching material to benefit the future employees.

As Alber Einstein said: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand” and the ESSENCE project tools will ensure that and take each participant to the knew levels of understanding in the New Year 2020.

THE PARTNERSHIP: ESSENCE is managed by eight Partners from seven countries, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Belgium, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Spain, representing different backgrounds, and is co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.

For further information on ESSENCE and other SSE Riga initiatives:              

http://projectessence.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/Essence-107956864669490/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBkiHG_WcmI0x7lBCknLwPA
https://www.sseriga.edu/

 

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What soft skills do students need to enhance their employability? The ESSENCE project supports students’ competence building and professional development

2021-12-20

The main objective of the ESSENCE project is to improve students’ employability opportunities by developing their soft skills. ESSSENCE is a transnational and cross-cultural project co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. The project involves seven organisations from seven different EU countries that prioritise the project’s goals: NGOs and civil society organisations, private companies, academic institutions and research centres.

The project was initiated following a 2016 World Economic Forum report predicting how labour martets were bound to change from 2015 to 2020. Evidence indicated that the global labour market would focus more on “soft” skills rather than “technical” skills in young talent recruitment.

The WEF report findings were further confirmed by recent multidimensional research conducted by the ESSENCE project partners throughout 2021 and consolidated in a report (available at: http://projectessence.eu/mapping.php). Partners focused their research efforts on literature sources and testimonials from target groups to extrapolate key conclusions, recommendations and case studies, highlighting the impact of soft skills on recruitment and job-seeking opportunities for university students and fresh graduates.

Based on their findings in reference to the most important soft skills for employability, partners are working on curricula that can help target groups and students in developing new soft competences and gaining a competitive edge in the labour market.

The curricula include seven modules, one per each identified skill, further developed in units to better facilitate the learning process for both target groups and educators. Every organisation is responsible for the development of one training module: roles, responsibilities and workload have been shared based on the specific know-how and expertise of every module creator.

All training material will be developed in English and – post cross-review among partners – will be translated into the languages of the ESSENCE partners.

At a later stage, the curricula will be piloted and validated with 150 representatives of the target groups for evaluation and fine-tuning to ensure better consistency and coherence with the underlying needs and gaps identified at the beginning of this project.

ESSENCE results and tangible deliverables – including training material – are available in the project’s Operational Educational Resource (OER) Platform. This platform is also the project’s main channel to communicate its deliverables and tangible results.

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Soft skills for better employability and competitiveness in the labour market.

2021-12-20

The ESSENCE project’s objective is to improve employability opportunities for students by developing their soft skills. This will lead to   better engagement in the labour market as students will be offered professional development paths through soft and “intangible” skills training.

ESSENCE develops and offers a flexible module-based learning process: users can access the modules “on-demand” and “on a need basis” to enhance their soft skills and professional self-empowerment.

Back in 2016, analysts from the World Economic Forum predicted a major change by 2020 in the “top 10 skills” for employability, recruitment, career development and business competitiveness. According to their report, the opportunity for fresh graduates and university students to compete in the job market would depend increasingly on their soft skills rather than their technical competences.

WEF findings have been confirmed by numerous international academic resources that highlight the relevance of soft skills for employability in the new decade.

Therefore, ESSENCE will offer students opportunities for soft skills development (such as taking initiative, critical thinking, creativity and people management) to strengthen their employability competitiveness in the labour market. The project’s innovative methodology that will lead partners to the creation of several strategic results:

1.    Multilingual online interactive platform (OER Platform)

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 map of concepts as well as a reference tool to help students navigate across a range of soft skills

4.    Custom-made training courses in soft skills for better employability

5.    Visibility events in the participating countries and international awareness of the project

Moreover, partners believe that project results will be disseminated, mainstreamed and made visible to over 4 million contacts – an estimated number of users engaged via offline and offline communication.

The transnational and cross-sectorial assessment of soft skills for employability is available now online – the project’s second intellectual output deliverable: “Mapping soft skills with employability – the most desirable soft skills among job applicants”.

The executive summary includes three sections:

Part 1. Tools & Good Practices – Research has shown that, at the recruitment stage, the assessment of whether the candidate has appropriate soft skills is based on observing the person during the interview.

There is no evidence that companies carry out any special competence tests that show what competences (and at what level) a candidate has, although the examples presented later in the report show interesting solutions in this area, but in the context of employees. In the case of employees of a given organization, the most common form of evaluation is the regular observation by the supervisor of the employee’s behavior during the performance of duties, as well as the employee’s self-assessment in the hope that they will correctly recognize the areas in which they show gaps (in terms of soft skills and even technical skills).

In this aspect, several solutions are also worth mentioning, suggesting a departure from traditional forms of assessment or competence development.

Part 2. Country Report: National Approaches on Soft Skills and Employability – national public entities declare support in the area of preparing strategies and developing soft skills among youth people but these efforts are more related to the improvement of qualifications and technical skills, with the generic expression most commonly used being “competences”. There is no specific information on soft skills development in higher education, and therefore, any theoretical analysis and practical development about the employability of the group in question.

The actions of the universities appear to be more specific and will yield more benefits in the long term.

Collaboration remains the first step in improving the educational ecosystem. The public and private sectors and HEIs need to align objectives in order to enhance the effectiveness of policies and the impact of investments. It is essential to develop a shared agenda capable of aligning objectives and strategies to develop skills in young people.

Part 3. Primary Research on Soft Skills Mapping. The mapping of soft skills in terms of   employability was carried out with the full involvement of the project consortium.

The conducted research aimed at mapping soft skills and their relationship with employability has produced a lot of valuable information. Diversified in terms of industry and sector, and at the same time an international research sample, the obtained results are of a cross-sectional character and allow for interesting conclusions on the role of soft skills in the contemporary labor market.

Users can access the full report and the executive summary, which outlines main results and findings form the primary and secondary assessment (available in multiple languages: EN, PL, HR, IT, LV, BG, ES).

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