"MyCompetence offers good practices and sets an example for other EU countries," states a report from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, published at the end of January 2020. The report presents key summaries of peer review of the National Competence Assessment Information System MyCompetence, created by the Bulgarian Industrial Association, in implementation of a project under the Human Resources Development Operational Program.

The report states that bringing education and training systems closer to the needs of the labor market is a key aspect of improving the employability of students and workers. Countries participating in peer review emphasize that it is vital for labor market participants to take part in discussions about education and training standards and the curriculum content.

"Key competences are an important part of competency assessment systems. This understanding must be reflected in the curricula of the education and training systems. The core competencies are evaluated by the employers. MyCompetence provides a good example of how professional skills and key competences can be integrated into the same competency system. In MyCompetence, each position is described in terms of technical competencies and qualifications, as well as the soft skills and behavioral attitudes that are essential to the respective job positions. The tool provides an opportunity for self-assessment of key competences and offers online training opportunities for their further development. Matching the description and terminology of competencies with ESCO, as identified by MyCompetence, is a good standardization strategy, "the report said.

The authors of the report recommend that MyCompetence expands with new economic sectors (except the 25 sectors covered so far) and integrate with skills forecasting systems and the vocational education and training systems. "In general, competency models and sector-specific standards should be made more visible through specific dissemination initiatives. Greater awareness of competency models and sectoral standards would encourage jobseekers and employers to use them as a guide for their choices, ”the report states.

Recommendations include:

  • Competence models are constantly updated to reflect changes in the labor market and to enable the forecasting of skills needed in the future. Participants in the labor market should be involved in this process and provide information.
  • The education and training system should strive to integrate transversal skills, soft skills and digital skills, key in curricula. To this end, 'learning to learn' is considered to be one of the key competences.
  • It is important to support the development of a common language and common terminologies for skills and competences shared by all actors in the labor market and in the education and training sector. The use of European instruments (EQF, ESCO) can help in this regard.
  • To upgrade the system with the possibility of validation of informally acquired knowledge and competences. Sectoral skills councils can potentially play a role in the validation process.
  • While online skills assessment tools are easily accessible to many people, people with low digital literacy and no access to a computer can be excluded from using such tools. Specific training to enhance digital skills levels or support the use of these tools could be an option to remove barriers for low-skilled people to use such systems.

Date: 24.01.2020

Source: Bulgarian Industrial Association

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