What balances more on the skills agenda for young NEETs?

Today, in a world with an evergrowing number of professions, people need to constantly keep investing in becoming their better selves, being able to meet the demands of a new labour market and an evolving style of communication, which accelerates the process of gaining innovative skills. As Europe continues to bravely address these challenges, it has been acknowledged that successful outcomes are the result of joint action and collaboration between individuals and entities, to fill in the gaps and create value for one’s self, the society, as well as the economy.

The European Year of Skills

Throughout 2023, the European Commission will encourage a more sustainable and inclusive professional growth, with focus on training, upskilling and matching the companies’ needs with people’s aspirations, as declared by President Ursula von der Leyen. In the European Year of Skills, SEPAL PRO will align its agenda to help achieve these goals, offering support to 300 NEETs, aged 18 to 29, to validate their competencies and find a job. During the first two years of implementation, the 5 partners from Romania, Spain, Lithuania, Greece and Poland, have realized that a successful on-the-job training requires special attention for the development of both soft and hard skills. It has been observed, though, that the lack of soft skills has generated unexpected impediments in finishing the apprenticeship stages.

As a consequence, SEPAL PRO’s consortium highlights the need to invest more in young NEETs’ training in this sector, providing them with a package of social and interpersonal skills, attributes and abilities, that will enhance their chances of collaborating better within the work environment, resulting in thriving performances and career advancements.

Training for Coaches & Mentors

If we were to create a list of today’s missing softs skills based on our prior experience, adaptabilitywould be placed among the first. The incapacity to mould in a new workplace at first, is one of the major triggers for giving up and heading towards a state of self-insufficiency and low motivation.

To help combat this issue, SEPAL PRO aims at extending the mentoring and enlarging the number of WISE specialists and coaches working with young NEETs, providing them with the support needed to overcome difficult situations and integrate on the labour market. So far, mentors and coaches from the above mentioned countries, have participated in two trainings, one in Szczecin (Poland) and one in Badalona (Spain), discussing various aspects related to soft skills.

In order to improve their competencies first, and then be able to offer specilized services for young NEETs, SEPAL PRO mentors and coaches have debated the importance of communication as an inclusive tool. An analysis of the personal factors affecting this process has been completed, followed by a series of practical workshops on how to improve weak points and the quality of relations with others. Module 2 was designed to facilitate a more common understanding of how to work with vulnerable groups, whereas the 3rd part focused on using mentoring and coaching techniques, to motivate NEETs’ participation and engagement. In the end, the last presentations were also dedicated to emphasize the importance of learning hard skills, such as digital and standard tools.

We believe that the workshops and trainings that have been done up to this point have contributed not only to the development of these specific soft skills, but have also extended the learning horizon, with challenges that have stimulated the improvement of problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, leadership, creativity, listening, time-management, teamwork, self-control and responsibility skills. With the help of the SEPAL PRO coaches & mentors that will work closely with young NEETs during their on-the-job stages within social enterprises, we’ll facilitate a smoother transition to the labour market, knowing that they will benefit from support whenever needed. Acting as mediators, these newly-trained experts will pass on their knowledge in the right contexts, working on specific issues one step at a time.

All in all, mentoring and coaching at the workplace are set to have a positive impact on the process of gaining soft skills this year, fostering an environment where critical thinking is encouraged, where active listening is seen as a form of naturally engaging in conversations, communication is at the heart of forming valuabe relationships, “teamwork makes the dream work”, responsibility gets the job done, and others more. Continue to invest in your training, keep your eyes open for opportunities and search for projects that have been specialy created to make the European Year of Skills, one of the best so far, for you!

Bucovina Institute


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