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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New ESSENCE cross-country report on soft skills and employability released

2021-10-18

In September 2021 ESSENCE consortium released publicly results of its mapping activities undertaken within Intellectual Output 2. The mapping was undertaken over spring and summer of 2021 covering almost 180 company representatives from 14 European countries. This activity undertaken by all consortium members aimed to unveil the palette of soft skills required by employers, the type of soft skills possessed by employees and the kind of training offered by employers to employees in order to boost their soft skills. Results obtained through in-depth interviews with company representatives across the Europe have revealed several stylised facts regarding the soft skills role in the employability.

The mapping yielded many examples of good practices in the area of soft skills development among businesses, education providers and also through informal trainings. However, these findings seem to contrast the information collected through in-depth interviews with company representatives. As these interviews revealed, the importance of soft skills is recognised and companies consider them relevant for own success but at the same time limited efforts are being invested in the development of such skills among the employees. Rather, it appears that the care about soft skills development is delegated to those in greatest need of them, the employees who are forced to search for ways of continuous upskilling.

It seems that in most companies the observing of person during the interview or at workplace still remains dominant method for assessment of whether the individual has appropriate soft skills. Across countries little evidence was found of special competence tests being carried out to establish the type and level of competences possessed by employees. More importantly, those responsible for the development of soft skills such as universities seem to opt for informal soft skills development through additional courses, trainings or workshops. This points to the mismatch between supply and demand of educational and training content which is not country-specific but rather systemic.

The added value of survey also lies in its identification of skills most sought by companies. As evidence revealed, skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, coordination or emotional intelligence increase the employability chances. However, at the same time most of prospective employees demonstrate the lack of these exact skills pointing to further misalignments.

What is most concerning from our survey is that the majority of surveyed companies do not provide their employees with formal soft skills training due to high workload and costs. In fact, most employees seem to be pointed to online sources in their efforts to improve own soft skills. This makes it clear that there is the need to develop trainings for young people looking to develop and improve their soft skills which is one of the objectives of the ESSENCE project. In next activities ESSENCE will prepare training and educational materials which aim to increase employability of young job seekers by boosting their soft skills. As results of these activities will be freely available they will help not only those in need of such trainings but also to all instructors in the area of soft skills thus creating widening effects far beyond the boundaries of ESSENCE consortium.

For more information on IO2 mapping results visit: http://projectessence.eu/mapping.php

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ESSENCE project deliverables were presented at an international interdisciplinary scientific conference

2021-09-24

The UE-Varna ESSENCE team presented their research from the completed first stage of the ESSENCE project (Enhance Soft Skills to Nurture Competitiveness and Employability) at the 14th International and Interdisciplinary Scientific Conference ‘Vanguard Scientific Instruments in Management'21’, organised online by UNWE and the Bulgarian Academic Simulation and Gaming Association between 10 and 14 Sep 2021.

Diana Miteva,  Petar Petrov, PhD, and Kristana Ivanova made an overview analysis of Bulgarian national policies focused on learners’ soft skills development. In addition, they outlined initiatives and programmes developed by businesses in Bulgaria for employees’ soft skills development. Achievements were highlighted, challenges and underutilised opportunities in the Bulgarian soft skills development area were discussed against the background of current global and European trends. The presented country report is part of large-scale research on soft skills development in Bulgaria involving the other significant  stakeholders:  higher education institutions that work in close collaboration with businesses on soft skills development.

Within this Erasmus+ strategic partnership project the team collaborates closely with universities and business organisations from seven European countries targeting soft skills development in students as a means of improving their competitiveness. In this first part of the ESSENCE project (2021 -2022), researchers from the seven  project partners have surveyed and analysed attitudes on soft skills development in employees/business organisations, as well as the way  the elements of the soft skills set are prioritised in their respective countries (Poland, Croatia, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Latvia, and Bulgaria).

At the beginning of 2022,   modules, activities, tasks, decision making games and case studies will be freely accessible on the ESSENCE platform. These online modules, developed by ESSENCE international team, are intended to develop in students, employees and trainees soft skills such as coordination, creativity, emotional intelligence, decision-making, problem solving, critical thinking and cognitive flexibility.

The expected project deliverables are aimed at graduates’ successful inclusion in the open labour market. The modules may be used for training employees in organisations from the public and private sector as well.

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Enhance Soft Skills to Nurture Competitiveness and Employability: Consortium joined the second Transnational Project Meeting of ESSENCE

2021-06-24

On June 24, 2021, Consortium joined the second transnational meeting of ESSENCE, a Project co-funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Commission, which brings together seven Partners from seven different countries (Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Poland, and Spain). The meeting was held in online mode due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The main aim of the meeting was the presentation of the literature review, country reports, tools and good practices, and surveys, including a detailed analysis from each Partner. Indeed, during the first phase of ESSENCE implementation, Partners were focused on the review of policy papers, studies, research, articles and other relevant sources and resources. The main objective of the research phase was to understand and analyse soft skills and their connection with employability roles, definitions, regulatory frameworks, quantitative and qualitative indicators and all the relevant trends useful to describe this phenomenon. 

The project management and methodology involve the development of personalized project management, quality assurance and dissemination plans, monitoring/evaluation tools. Thanks to the presence of Partners with a high level of experience and multiplication potential, the project will benefit from increased visibility and impact at national and European level.

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.

The ESSENCE Website is now online at http://projectessence.eu/, providing specific info on project aims, activities and results.
For further information on ESSENCE:

Website: http://projectessence.eu/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/projectessence.eu/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBkiHG_WcmI0x7lBCknLwPA

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