University of Economics – Varna

What soft skills do students need to enhance their employability?

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 online. 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.

20 Dec 2021