On November 2, 2022, the CREDO Research Center of the University of Dubrovnik organized an event with a multiplying effect as part of the project ESSENCE – Enhance soft skills to nurture competitiveness and employability. In 2020, the World Economic Forum pointed to growing gaps between required and available skills in the labor market, with special emphasis on skills such as critical thinking and analysis, problem solving, self -management, stress management and flexibility. According to the same report, over 40% of employees will require the development of completely different skills than the ones they currently possess in the coming decade.
The group particularly affected by these challenges are the future young people. The European higher education area still does not pay enough attention to the so-called soft skills. Research conducted as part of the Essence project among employers in Croatia and six other European countries confirmed attitudes about the gap between existing and available soft skills among job seekers. However, despite the existence of awareness of the importance of this group of skills, its development is still not given sufficient attention within organizations, which is particularly evident among small and medium-sized companies.
On the basis of existing knowledge and collected opinions of employers, the ESSENCE consortium designed, created and after testing offered in the form of an open educational platform seven educational programs for training in the field of soft skills through gamification and creative problem solving. The multiplicative event brought together over 40 participants from a number of European Union countries and the rest of the world who had the opportunity to experience the educational offer of the project, but also to participate in the discussion about the importance of soft skills for the employability of young people in the modern labor market.
The ESSENCE project is co-financed through the Erasmus+ program of the European Union, and gathers a consortium of six partners from Croatia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria and Latvia under the coordination of the University of Information and Technology Rzeszow from Poland. On behalf of research center CREDO, the project is carried out by prof. Nebojša Stojčić and associate professors Perica Vojinić , Katija Vojvodić and Marija Bečić.