What is Employability?

Thinking about the employability I think always about my profession – youth worker. The term is being present almost everyday in my professional life – I open my mailbox and there is a new training offer on employability, I looks for youth exchanges for my young people – most of the topics employability, we write projects and what topic we can choose… EMPLOYABILITY!
To write this article I did same small investigation about the presence of the word employability in the ERASMUS+ programme guide, and yes it popped up a lot, especially in relation to the youth field. What catched my attention is how some of the objectives and priorities has been formulated. Here are some examples what you can find in that document:
  • The mobility activities supported under Key Action 1 are meant to produce the following outcomes: enhanced employability and improved career prospects;
  • AIMS OF THE MOBILITY PROJECT ARE: support learners in the acquisition of learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and competences) with a view to improving their personal development, their involvement as considerate and active citizens in society and their employability in the European labour market and beyond;
  • KA2 should have a positive impact on the persons directly or indirectly involved in the activities, such as: improved levels of skills for employability and new business creation (including social entrepreneurship);
  • HORIZONTAL PRIORITY of KA2: Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications to facilitate learning, employability and labour mobility.
  • FIELD SPECIFIC PRIORITY Youth (KA2) Promoting high-quality youth work. Priority will be placed on projects that: foster the inclusion and employability of young people with fewer opportunities (including NEETs);
  • As well employability is stressed out in the Knowledge Alliance and Jean Monnet
So as we can see there is a lot going on in the field of youth on the topic of employability, but how well we actually understand this concept? For my for a very long time I was thinking that employability is the ability to get a job, and while working with young people we need to focus mainly on the application process and the things that young people can put into their CVs. While I started working with the topic of employability I have discovered that it is much more.
If someone would ask me right now what the employability is, I would state that it is the ability to get a job, do the job, keep a job, develop within the job and move on to the next job. Taking this approach while working with young people we need to focus on preparing them for being employed, for example how to be efficient, how to find the balance between personal and professional life, how to be responsible and how to take care about the personal development and life long learning.
Therefore whenever we are talking about the employability competences we are talking about something transversal, skills that everyone need to some extend and they are not really connected with the application process, rather with the soft skills. Within one of the projects that we have implemented within the KA2 – Strategic Partnership in the field of youth that is called OVPELO we have identified based on research the set of 9 main employability competences that are:
  • Learning to Learn
  • Taking the initiative
  • Social competence
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Organizational competences
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-management
Since to some extend each young person poses those competences, developed at school, in the social life, doing volunteering etc., and on the other hand many young people are not really aware of this, we have created the new tool – portfolio of the employability competences, that aims to help young people to self-evaluate and realize where are they, on what they want to work and were to improve. The tool soon will we up, so stay tuned!
This article I have prepared for the blog of OVPELO project, where it was originally published.

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