"SOCO-VET - Training of social competences in VET"

SOCO-VET aims to develop modules to train social, methodical and personal competencies in VET. The modules will imply skills, social and behavioural components including attitudes, values and motivations. The trainers will be able to train necessary competences by using the respective tools that will be compact, effect and situation oriented, authentic and practicable. Flexible and authentic training modules with special methods and tools to use by training key competences do not exist yet or at least they are not applicable for VET trainers. SOCO-VET will develop and improve social competencies and total quality management values like teamwork, participation in decision, openness to change, self initiative, tolerance to cultural, religious and personal differences, creative and critical thinking, conflict management, share common values with others, motivation and self-awareness and -confidence. Assessment and certification tools for validation and certification of key competences are also a further objective. The project focuses on the need to provide the trainers with tools and methodologies in order to be able to train social competences including materials to use in training. The direct target groups of SOCO-VET are teachers and trainers in the field of VET and educational staff of SMEs. The indirect beneficiaries of the project are the workers and students of these organizations.
It has long been realised that social, interpersonal skills are immensely important for success in all walks of life, including the world of work and also for the vocational training. (DeSeCo - Definition and Selection of Competencies, Strategy paper 2002 OECD). Globalisation and modernisation create an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and complicated world. The competences that individuals need to meet their goals have become more complex, requiring more than the mastery of certain narrowly defined skills. Companies today are recognizing that social skills are an essential component of organizational effectiveness. Business people are utilizing the concept in the workplace and developing mechanisms to assess and benchmark the level of social skills of their employees. In Turkey companies in our network (members of COSIAD) point out, that an employee with a modest technical capacity who is skilful in handling his or her feelings and those of others, in handling criticism and in communicating problems and ideas is much better at the job than an employee with a high technical capacity lacking these people skills. The companies in Germany complain that graduates have not enough social, methodical and personal competencies as well. Enormous defects in the general education concerning culture techniques and important key qualifications have become a heavy mortgage for VET. (Pisa results Slovakia, Turkey, Germany and further Eastern European countries). Not only in Germany and Turkey but in our partner countries as well the curricula for VET emphasize technical skills of students and trainers/teachers and do not consider the necessity of training of key competences. The attainment of social, methodical and personal competencies eases the student’s and employee's education and employment opportunities. Pupils, students and youth who could not receive a higher level of education or who have dropped out at these levels do not only lack technical skills but lack key competencies as well (Researches and statistics in DE,SK, SL,TR, RO) . The lack of experimental/flexible materials to use in VET often lead trainers to have difficulty in integrating to convey soft skills in the trainings.

The main outputs of the project will be
a) training modules with independent self contained tools with a guidebook of materials and methodologies which provides trainers and education staff of enterprises by training and teaching social competences in VET,
b) recommendations for assessment and quality criteria for identification, validation, and certification of social skills,
c) a project website