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VET_GPS 
Guiding tools for Professional Skills development in VET


Newsletter
Issue 2

New website

We launch VET_GPS new website. Here you will find project activities, resources and promotional materials. But also a specific section dedicated to the Profesional Development "where you can have access to the Programme for Professional Development of Trainers/Tutors allowing them to get inspired in preparing and providing activities and tools in their daily training classes, fostering the acquisition and development of soft skills by their trainees".

wwww.vetgps.eu
Survey “Soft skills of young workers”
VET_GPS developed a survey at a National and European level named “Soft skills of young workers”, aiming to identify a set of soft skills, suitable to be integrated in VET offer, fostering the full integration of young trainees in companies. Between May and June, the survey was disseminated and a total of 173 responses were collect by all partners, exceeding the expected result of 160 responses. Soon, the results will be completed and presented in a global report available on our project website.

Aims

Focus Groups

6 representative European Focus Groups made up of VET teaching staff, management and student trainees met throughout May-Jun 2018 to reflect on the present levels and perceived needs for future development of soft skills in VET training programmes.

Groups in Austria, Italy, Portugal (2) and Spain (2) debated 6 key areas (see below) and offered their shared experience and vision to the VET_GPS project. The insights provided from the Focus Groups along with prior international research into soft skills development in VET will be used to create the basis of a VET_GPS Guide for VET providers to support the sustained development of soft skills at all levels of vocational and adult training.

The results show a great deal of convergence of opinion particularly regarding the importance of Soft Skills Development in vocational education.  Find out more about the European Focus Groups
Focus Group in Austria
On the 30th of May, Blickpunkt Identität organized a focus group involving 5 coaches from different institutions.

As the job coaches are in contact with young people trying to get an apprenticeship teaching post as well as with representatives of the economy, they form an interface between jobseekers and employers. As such, they are very familiar with the problem that many young people, in addition to the required "hard facts" do not have the "soft skills" that are in demand in today's labour market in a service-based society.

In a two-hour guided discussion, these experts discussed, among other things, which soft skills are particularly in demand in different job segments. And they also wondered if soft skills had a kind of protective function that prevented young job-seekers with a variety of soft skills from quitting their training prematurely.
Focus Group in Italy
On the 5th of June, a focus group took place in Florence hosted by Pixel Associazione.

The aim of the event was to carry out a discussion concerning the theme of soft skills to be developed by young workers in order to be more attractive for the job market. There were five participants involved, two VET teachers, a tutor, the responsible for the internationalisation of enterprises of the umbrella organisation for SMEs in Bergamo and the coordinator of another umbrella organisation for SMEs in Teramo.

The discussion dealt with different topics concerning the aforementioned theme and the group reached interesting and useful conclusions for the development of the VET_GPS project.
Focus group in Basque Country (Spain)
On the 5th June, Politeknika Txorierri (Spain) organised its focus group with 6 student trainees from different disciplines, two teachers (one of which is Head of Studies) and the Employment Services Coordinator.

The group highlighted:
  • The importance of attitude and a healthy self-awareness which translates into balance and motivation/discipline/persistence/ commitment;
  • The importance of good interpersonal dynamics including effective communication (both of which elements leads to better teamwork and responsibility);
  • The importance of being flexible or adaptable - able to face challenges, show initiative, display energy and enthusiasm, and work under pressure;
  • The ability to solve problems which includes critical thinking and planning, resourcefulness, attitude and a lot of creativity .
The students feel that they are encouraged all the time to develop their teamwork and goal and project planning (problem solving) skills, but there’s never enough time to really go into how to improve weak spots. On the other hand, the staff feels that even though much more emphasis is placed on soft skills than before there are some students who need more development of their soft skills than others but all receive the same programme - usually because of restrictions in time and space.
Focus group in Madrid (Spain)
On the 7th of June, CECE organised a Focus Group for the project. It was a very dynamic and engaging experience to be able to talk exchange views, mainly with teachers and trainers, about soft skills and their perspective on their teaching progression and evolution with CECE organisers.

The Focus Group took place during CECE’s XI Entrepreneurship Awards Day, and most of the teachers and trainees that participated were award winners. The event was a success and we gathered a very valuable information that will surely have positive impact for VET_GPS development. We were able to talk about the current soft skills development situation, and how we should assess it to ultimately bring a better level and a better structure on how soft skills are being imparted nowadays.

There was a general agreement that there has been an improvement in the approach of schools and VET centres dealing with soft skills, however, it is important to take into account that this improvement doesn’t mean things are better, it just means they have slightly improve in regards with how they were before.
Focus Group: Equals to success!
Portugal
On 15th of June two focus group took place in Portugal, one hosted by Mentortec, in Matosinhos, and the other one hosted by ANESPO, in Lisbon.

These events aimed to validate the list of soft-skills identified as being relevant for companies, suitable to be integrated in VET offers. The two focus groups counted with a total of 20 participants from VET providers and companies in a successful working group with a fruitful discussion around the themes.

International Conferences

The Future of Education, Italy
On the 28th and 29th of June 2018 the international conference “The Future of Education” took place in Florence organised by Pixel.

Different lecturers, PhD students and professors came from all over the world in order to present their papers regarding the general theme of education. During the two days a poster session was organised where several posters concerning different researches and projects were shown, and among these Pixel had the opportunity to present the VET_GPS project.

Many participants were interested and asked questions about the projects’ aims and results achieved so far, opening discussions on the topic. Different VET_GPS project leaflets were handed to the participants who shown interest toward the project in order to help them to be kept informed on the future steps of the project.
Lifelong Learning Platform Annual Conference, Vienna
On 5th June, the Lifelong Learning Platform Annual Conference took place at the crossroads the Bulgarian and Austrian Presidencies of the Council of the EU. 
EfVET, as usual participant and member of LLLP, organised a successful presentation about VET_GPS project. VET_GPS is willing to develop and present a wide set of tools, guides and materials addressed to trainees, VET principals/managers, VET trainers/teachers. EfVET introduced to LLLP delegates the work done so far by VET_GPS partners.

So far, partners are keep working on the development of the toolkit for Professional Guidance’s and Coaching which is basically a document with guidelines and orientations to support curricula. Furthermore, the VET_GPS partner is expected to contribute to:
  • Increase the quality of VET provision and offer;
  • Reduce the mismatch between skills acquired in VET training and labour market needs.
The LLLP participants were impressed by the preliminary guide for integration of the Soft Skills in VET curricula results which highlights that soft-skills are indeed supporting VET providers and policy makers to integrated a new strategies and methodologies for the future integration of these skills in VET system.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. (Project Nº.: 2017-1-PT01-KA202-035953)
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