Changes in society, technology and economy are accelerating in speed. The assumption in the economy, especially by the global players and in the academic world, is that one half of the know-how becomes obsolete within five years. At the same time the current know-how doubles. The gap between acquired competences and sought-after competences is increasing. As a result, there is a high demand for more flexible and higher level competences and skills of individuals. A survey, conducted by the polling institute Forsa, indicates the currently most asked competencies by the employers. They are: ability to cope with change, digital social competence, abstraction and analytic competences, self-organisation and learning to learn-competence. Although the companies are looking for professionals with these competences, career guidance counselors often aren’t able to deal with them, since instruments to support the development of these new skills are still based on old principles:
• Companies or other employers use simple, one dimensional techniques to identify training needs of employees or skills demands of specific workplaces – if they analyse such demands at all.
• Career guidance and counselling is based on standard procedures or tests and non-individualised information is provided to those looking for new opportunities. Most counsellors – public as well as personnel developers in companies – focus on formal competencies and leave informal and non-formal competencies aside.
• Education “educates” the labour force instead of “developing” it.
• Communication, cooperation and coordination between different actors rarely take place.
Cedefop states in a briefing note (20.03.2014) that one out of three employers has problems in filling vacancies as the candidates have wrong skills. According to Cedefop , employers claim that education systems educate graduates of tomorrow in the skills needed in the industry of yesterday.
In country studies reported in the literature, between 10 per cent and one-third of the employed are found to be overeducated and around 20 per cent are undereducated, which results in a total mismatch of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of the employed in European countries (International Labour Office, September 2014 “Skills mismatch in Europe”).
Central aim of the BRIDGE+ project
In the framework of the BRIDGE+ project, the participating municipalities, regions and their partners aim at building up, testing and implementing new strategies of skills development on a regional level – supported by innovative technology. These regional initiatives shall include relevant groups of actors, above all companies, career guidance organisations, educational institutions and individuals, and interlink them in the framework of personal and virtual networks and platforms. In trainings, these actors will learn how to use innovative technology for competence management and career guidance according to their needs. They will also be motivated to use the tools as “BRIDGES” to the partners, allowing a constant dialogue on future work and learning – the most important pillar of labour market skills intelligence.
These initiatives will be implemented in the framework of existing multi-actor career guidance and education networks of the 5 European regions Baden-Württemberg/Germany, Basque Country/Spain, Bretagne/France, Jämtland/Sweden and Steiermark/Austria.
The main goal of the project is to tackle skills mismatches between demands of the world of work and competences of employees or candidates. With the help of ICT tools, relevant skills and competences shall be made visible in the two directions of companies and individuals and be accessible for career guidance officers. Respective activities will be developed on regional level and like this in close cooperation with the relevant actors.