Social sciences are key to the understanding of many of Europe’s societal issues as they cover a wide spectrum of disciplines and sectors. Graduates in the social sciences fields are expected to provide a holistic understanding of multifaceted contemporary issues combining up-to-date technical skills with a broader theoretical perspective. However, despite the changes in the social and economic environment, most of the educational systems in the Southern European countries do not have built-in mechanisms for the young professionals to adapt themselves to current and future skills needs.
A lack of workplace experience and the related skills and competences is one of the factors contributing to the “skills gap” in the EU today. “While 5.6 million young people in the EU suffer the consequences of unemployment, 36% of employers’ report that they struggle to find new recruits with the skills they need. Something is clearly wrong” (EC, June 2013). According to EC’s policy recommendations the need to identify, adapt and adopt practices which can tackle this skills gap is urgent. Part of the solution can be found in high quality vocational education and training systems, in which the active participation of employers and a strong element of work-based learning can facilitate young people’s transition to work by providing the knowledge, skills and competences which they need for a successful first step into the labour market.
Furthermore, according to the Erasmus Impact Study on average 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills and by 2020, 20% more jobs will require higher level skills. Education needs to encourage the transversal skills needed to ensure young people are able to be entrepreneurial and adapt to the increasingly inevitable changes in the labour market during their career. Transversal skills refer to a broad set of skills that are critically important to success in contemporary careers and workplaces. Transversal skills have cross-cutting dimensions and do not stem from a specific vocational context, but instead are relevant both a citizen and employment level. Transversal skills have been shown to positively impact on employability, active citizenship and entrepreneurship. Investing in the development and transferability of skills can facilitate the professional mobility of individuals and broaden their employability.
Creating opportunities for high-quality work-based learning lies at the heart of current European education and training policies. ESTEEM project’s mission is to offer a work-based training methodology on entrepreneurial & transversal skills development in order to enhance social sciences graduates’ competencies which will provide them with more opportunities for employment and facilitate their transition from education to employment. ESTEEM aims at designing and implementing a training program on transversal by combining e-learning with a remote internship/mentorship program. The project will offer a dynamic approach on teaching transversal skills by incorporating e-learning with project-based work in order to maximize the learning outcomes for the trainees.
The main Outputs of the ESTEEM project are:
O1: Training Framework Design report
O2: Training Program on transversal skills
O3: E-learning Platform
O4: ESTEEM training program Guidelines
O5: Pilot implementation review and assessment
O6: Guidelines for VET providers
O7: Quality assessment and evaluation report