About Rural+

In today’s labor market, employers put the pressure on employees, demanding higher standards for employment. The high standards for employment are endorsed also by the labor offer present, which is growing every day. Considering these facts, how can a VET learner, gain competitive skills to secure the position that he wants? When analyzing the statistics published by Eurostat for the project countries, regarding the unemployment among the VET, the situation lists as follows: The EU average – 6,9%, IT–11,2, CY-12%, PT-9,8%, RO-4,7%. That could come as a paradox considering that Eurostat statistics state that 40% of European employers have difficulty finding people with the skills they need, put in the perspective of the soft/hard skills balance it is not a paradox at all. Education providers on the one hand and employers and learners on the other have different perceptions of how well prepared graduates are for the labour market.

In order to obtain jobs and to remain in employment, adults need to have an adequate mix of knowledge, skills and competence. Special attention should be paid to skills that are common to a wide range of jobs, lay the foundations for further learning and improve employability. Yet bot VET schooling system as well as company training tends to focus on job-specific skills and not on improving employability through competences that can be transferred between different working environments and even occupations, the so-called soft skills, like communication and presentation skills, teamwork and collaboration skills or problem solving and conflict management skills. The two skills, the learning to learn together with the business etiquette skill will increase the learners ability to work both collaboratively and autonomously and to organize and persevere with one’s learning, evaluate and share it, seek support when appropriate and effectively manage one’s career and social interactions. According to the study “The issue of digital divide in rural areas of the European Union”, by Joanna Kos-Łabędowicz, which tackles the digital exclusion of the rural areas, states that two of the main measures which can be undertaken in order to reduce the risk of digital exclusion are:

  1. Providing/gaining qualifications enabling to actively use ICTs, and also,
  2. Motivating potential users to make use of new technologies. Also, according to the study, “the lack of adequate competence to use ICT is becoming increasingly not just a problem of the entity affecting their ability to find a better job, but also (if it occurs commonly) is a factor in the development of the region or country’s potential”.

In its Regional Model Competency Standard, for Core Competencies, the ILO reveal some common elements of core competencies required from the employees:

  • Basic/fundamental – literacy, using numbers, using technology;
  • Conceptual/thinking – collecting and organising information, problem-solving;
  • Learning-to-learn – thinking creatively, systems thinking;
  • People-related skills – communication and teamwork skills.