PEOPLE, TRANSVERSAL SKILLS AND EUROPE
We are currently living in an era of accelerated change as concerns not only technological developments, but also society on the whole. As a consequence, the skills and competences needed for work and life in the 21st century are continuously evolving. Policy is reacting towards these changes by calling for education to focus on the development of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (Council of the European Union, 2006). Broadly speaking the eight (8) Key Competencies are divided in basic and transversal ones, with the four (4) belonging to the basic competencies group (Communication in the mother tongue; Communication in the foreign languages; Digital competence; Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology) and the other four (4) to the transversal competencies group (Learning to learn; Interpersonal, intercultural and social competences and civic competence; Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; Cultural expression).
The recent “Rethinking Education Strategy” (European Commission, 2012b) again emphasizes the need for the development of transversal skills and basic skills at all levels. The “Education and Training 2020” (ET 2020) strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (Council of the European Union, 2009) underlines that all citizens need to be able to acquire the basic and transversal skills referenced in Key Competencies. Acquiring Key Competences is a priority for European and Member States policies, as argued at European level in the Europe 2020 Strategy (European Commission, 2010), in particular the flagships “Digital Agenda”, “New Skills and Jobs”, “Youth on the move” and “Innovation Union”. It is generally accepted that transversal skills have a profound effect in the employability (see for example “Employability Skills 2000+,” n.d., “Employability,” n.d., “How to identify your work skills,” n.d.; Turner, 2002). Unemployment among young people thrives in EU. In November 2014, 5.101 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU28, of whom 3.409 million were in the euro area. In some of the partners’ countries are as follows (“Eurostat – Data Explorer,” n.d.): IT13.4%, CZ 11.1%, RO 6.5, AU 4.9%. From the above it become obvious the tremendous effect in employability and entrepreneurship an effective training on transversal skills may have. At the recent years there is an increase of the available educational materials concerning transversal skills. Despite this trend, progress is still needed in teacher training, in the development of learning materials, and in the update of assessment methodologies (Redecker, 2013). To the best of our knowledge, even though there is considerable effort of developing transversal skills of corporate members, mainly middle to high level managers, and university graduates, as this is a market worth about 2 billion dollars annually, there is no easily accessible courses addressing the needs of disadvantaged groups, such as NEETs, unemployed, people with low educational level and even newly employed.