14.09.2023

Guidance and validation as a key success factor to support transversal skills

TRANSVAL-EU is a ground-breaking European initiative that aims to contribute to a more constructive and reliable validation and guidance process to make the validation of transversal skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) a reality.

The TRANSVAL-EU project is a policy experimentation co-funded under Erasmus+ implemented by a broad partnership of education authorities, education providers, researchers, social partners, civil society and individuals working together, between 2020 and 2023.

While validation of transversal skills is not at all systemic in European countries, initiative such as TRANSVAL-EU are showing that embedding it in existing services is indeed feasible.

As a general consideration, very little exists in terms of national standards and formal procedures for recognition and validation of transversal skills: while there is a good level of consensus on the (also growing importance) of these skills, strategies and implementation experiences are not yet systematic. In this regard, the TRANSVAL-EU experimentation showed that it is indeed feasible to embed such validation process withing existing services, while the research results proved as such an approach can have a positive impact on the candidates’ competences and level of social inclusion.

Frameworks and models to support implementation

The initiative developed a set of models and tools to implement the validation process within guidance services, such as a Transversal Competence Framework (TCF), a Competence Profile for practitioners, a Training programme to support practitioners in acquiring these competences, and Scenarios for validation and guidance pathways to support the practical integration into the services.

The Transversal Competence Framework identifies 12 core transversal competences that are then described, one by one, based on the 8 level of the European Qualification Framework.

Competence Framework example

An example of TRANSVAL-EU competence framework: Taking professional, social and cultural norms into account

The Guidance and Validation Scenario was developed based on research and co-creation processes and it is easy to use and to adapt to other contexts.

As for the Guidance and Validation Scenario, it was developed based on the results of an additional qualitative and quantitative research before and after the field trials, as well as a separate Design Thinking workshop for the guidance and validation practitioners organised in June 2023. Its approach based on Customer Journey and Service Blueprint models makes this tool very usable and easy to implement, with clear explanation of workflow, steps and related tools. Furthermore, the scenario offers also a example of personas, complemented by the persona’s needs mapped into the scenario itself, based on the project experience. These approach can result very useful also to enrich the practioners training, for example to design simulations, as well as to guide the design of new specific actions based on the scenario, in other contexts and in new services.

Validation scenario persona example

Example of the TRANSVAL-EU scenario personas

Promising results of the field trials

Pilot-based field trials adapted to country and context specific needs were organised in 6 European countries, based on the TRANSVAL-EU models.

National pilot actions (field trials) organised in six European countries (Austria, Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal) allowed to optimize the validation processes designed by the consortium. The national pilots were designed to provide preparation and implementation actions for the services participating, in each contexts: training for practitioners and a validation process with candidates in guidance services based on a competence’s framework adapted to country-specific needs.

The study conducted by a group of social and educational research in parallel with the pilots investigated the impact of the validation services implemented based on the TRANSVAL-EU models on both practitioners and candidates, in terms of awareness of transversal skills, active use of transversal skills in their practice (for practitioners) and the impact on employability and empowerment (for candidates).

The results show clear positive effects at both levels.

The provision of a training dedicated specifically to the validation process, also adapted at context level, seems to be a main influential for practitioners improved competences.

68 – 76% of practitioners experienced improvements in their competency level for transversal competences as well as in providing guidance and carrying out assessment, during the validation process. The provision of European and national training and related tools seems to be one of the core success factor for practitioners, both related to their competences and to a more structured involvement in these kind of processes, as well as their better understanding of the interplay between guidance processes and transversal skills and their role in employment services.

The opportunity to access a constructive process of validation and guidance was described by 89% of candidates as the most important success factor.

As for candidates, who were adults accessing the validation and guidance processes through existing services in the countries of the pilots, 30 – 50% of the research participants reported an increases in transversal competences, with the most significant improvements on Solving Problems and Reacting to the Unforeseen, Cooperating & Fostering Cooperation, Building one’s Career Path and Developing one’s Competences and Profile. 35-42% of the candidates also experienced an improvement in terms of social inclusion.

TRANSVAL project main aspects

TRANSVAL-EU – Interplay of success factors at international and national level

After the end of this initiative, the consortium is continuing their work to support further implementation of the validation processes. A community of practice on validation of transversal skills will be launched in early 2024, to expand the network to other organisations and contexts.

If you are interested to know more, to explore the opportunities to implement validation services in your context or to join us for future activities, please, get in touch with TRANSVAL-EU partners at www.transvalproject.eu/contact or through www.linkedin.at/company/transval-eu.

Text: Viola Pinzi

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