Lifelong Learning and Key Competences for Employment

CERF BOOKLETLifelong learning has become a necessity for all citizens. We need to develop our skills and competences throughout our lives, not only for our personal fulfilment and our ability to actively engage with the society in which we live, but for our ability to be successful in a constantly changing world of work.

The knowledge, skills and aptitudes of the European workforce are a major factor in the EU’s innovation, productivity and competitiveness. Growing internationalization, the rapid pace of change, and the continuous roll-out of new technologies mean that Europeans must not only keep their specific job-related skills up-to-date, but also possess the generic competences that will enable them to adapt to change.

The Council and the European Parliament adopted, at the end of 2006, a European Framework for Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. The Framework identifies and defines, for the first time at the European level, the key competences that citizens require for their personal fulfillment, social inclusion, active citizenship and employability in our knowledge-based society. So, competences can be defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context.

The Reference Framework sets out eight key competences:

1. Communication in the mother tongue

2. Communication in foreign languages

3. Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology

4. Digital competence

5. Learning to learn

6. Social and Civic competences

7. Sense of Initiative and entrepreneurship

8. Cultural awareness and expression

The Key competences are all considered equally important, because each of them can contribute to a successful life in a knowledge society.

There are a number of themes that are applied throughout the Reference Framework: critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem-solving, risk assessment, decision-taking and constructive management of feelings play a role in all eight key competences.

The CERF Training Curriculum aims to develop innovative training methodologies and curricula for five of the key competences according to European Reference Framework-ERF and a multimedia certification model for acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes of key competence: Sense of Initiative and Entrepreneurship.

The five key competences according to European Reference Framework-ERF which will be analyzed and developed by CERF project are:

• Communication in foreign languages

• Digital competence

• Social and Civic competences

• Sense of Initiative and entrepreneurship

• Cultural awareness and expression

 

PROJECT CERF IN SPAIN

CERF END 2DOCUMENTA, Instituto Europeo de Estudios para la Formación y el Desarrollo, as partner in CERF project, has to develop the curriculum and the trainer’s package in KC6 Social and Civic Competences and to validate it through a testing phase in Santander (Cantabria). To undertake piloting we proceeded to test the material with both, trainers and trainees (end users). Recommendations for improvement have been collected from the workshops done.

The innovative aspect of this methodology is that we start with the capabilities of the trainees as the main engine to manage new knowledge, that is, we focus on developing the potential of each one, where we encourage them to renew and expand knowledge and skills. With it, trainees will interiorize social and civic competences through simulation exercises and practices among peers. Communication skills, respect for the others’ point of views, the positive and constructive sense facing adverse situations and tolerance are some of the points that learners will apply in the course.

CERFEndCerf1Trainers pilot took place in December 2012 in a workshop which the community of experts in different user profiles was invited to evaluate the methodology and content. Twelve practitioners attended from various entities (Ayuntamiento de Santander, Cruz Roja, Asociación Cántabra de Lucha Contra el Paro, IFES Cantabria, Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Centro de Reinserción de Drogodependencias y El Centro Alemán). Their recommendations and evaluation enriched the learning material.

To finalize the pilot two end users workshops were held with the colaboration of Fundación Secretariado Gitano (April 2013) and Hogar San Pablo (May 2013). The number of participants was 18 people.

The evaluation of the workshops allowed us to reach the conclusion of the adecuacy of the curriculum and the trainer package with the project objectives, and especially check the excellent learning dynamics created in the classroom through exercises and simulations proposed.

On behalf of DOCUMENTA we wish to thank all help, advice and collaboration of participants. Without it our work would not have been possible.