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As a complement to the desk research (collection of documents) and the questionnaires performed by the VET_GPS consortium between November 2017 and May 2018, partners structured and implemented a set of focus group in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany, aiming at validating the questionnaires results, in general and the list of soft skills, in particularly. Partners implemented a total of 6 focus group – 2 in Portugal, 2 in Spain, 1 in Italy and 1 in Austria – involving 51 participants, representatives from companies and business associations, VET organisations, counsellors and companies’ consultants.

The feedback from participants of these focus group allowed the partnership to know that:

  • work to develop trainees´ soft skills is advancing but more can be done to ensure that trainees develop the necessary soft skills for their future profession;
  • Soft skills are undoubtedly a key component in ensuring trainees complete their educational training and traineeships successfully:
  • Companies still report that not all trainees have the right level of soft skills and not all educational programmes consistently approach soft skills training in their methodologies.
Some suggestions were made to improve the approach of the soft skills in VET paths, namely the need of:
  • Including the soft skills training in the curricula available in VET organisations;
  • Promoting and strengthen the collaboration between VET providers, employers and society at large to detail the soft skills necessary in educational training;
  • Supporting and guiding trainees individually, allowing them to reinforce their weaker areas;
  • Evaluating and recognizing the soft skills achievement, namely by certifying these skills.
Despite the differences between countries in what concerns the identification of the most relevant soft skills, participants mentioned as being relevant the interpersonal skills and the capacity of self-awareness and motivation.

The results of the focus group are widely introduced in the document National validation of VET_GPS soft skills list, available here and based in these results, the consortium structured the Guide for the integration of the Soft Skills in VET offer, available at the VET_GPS website.

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