The overall aim is to increase cooperation between European VET systems & employers so that training methods meet the needs of employed & unemployed people who lack soft skills – leading to better employees & improved access to jobs. OBJECTIVES – Various approaches to developing soft skills for employees are growing in the UK, usually through off-the-shelf group training programmes. A review of provision in each partner country highlights awareness that soft skills training is growing but mostly in classroom environments. A model developed in Angus College which proved effective in VET in 5 countries (MASS project 2009), is now in demand for employers. 93% rate soft skills as important or more important than technical skills (MASS 2009) but employers lack resources & methods to improve these skills. Consequently activity will focus on developing competencies of workplace & VET trainers & transferring methods to business environments through these objectives:

  1. To work in partnership with employers & labour market agencies, to transfer methodologies developed & tested under TOI MASS project to employees & unemployed people in order to gain &/or sustain employment. European Commission, 2010 states the best match of workplace skills comes from a combination of transversal core skills & specific skills needed for a job. Leitch Review of Skills (UK 2006) shows job applicants lack key soft skills e.g. team working & customer handling skills. These are essential for negotiating the changing & unpredictable European jobs market.
  2. To establish a series of networks of VET actors, employer representatives & employers to exchange best practice & share new innovations in the measurement & assessment of soft skills;
  3. To ensure pedagogically sound learning outcome based resources & assessments are adapted & developed with partners from 7 countries for delivery in the workplace, to a range of sectors, which are meaningful & conducive to positive improvements in soft skills at work or for those entering the labour market.
  4. To develop lasting cooperation between VET providers, employers associations & employers sustainable beyond the NESSIE project.

NESSIE links to European PriorityLEO-TraInno-7, encouragement of cooperation between VET & the world of work by bringing together VET professionals, labour market agencies & employers to introduce soft skills training & assessment to aid employability & help existing employees improve soft skills to retain their jobs.

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