How to work with transversal competences? The TRANSVAL-EU recommendations are here!

As the TRANSVAL-EU project is coming to an end, the partners focused on policy considerations that will conclude our two-year efforts. One of the final results are recommendations on how to incorporate transversal competences into guidance and validation. They were developed with and for the practitioners from five European countries and are now available in the report: Gmaj, I., Fijałkowska, B., Pierwieniecka, R., Śmigiel, J. (2023). Guidance and validation scenario for transversal competences. Who are the users and what are the steps to take? TRANSVAL-EU policy recommendation. Warsaw: TRANSVAL-EU. 

Including transversal competences into already established processes is not an easy task given the importance of this type of skills is often spoken of but rarely put into practice, therefore they are hardly ever part of national standards and formal procedures. But the TRANSVAL-EU experimentation during the field trials showed it can be done without significant interference and the research results proved it had a positive impact on the candidates’ social inclusion. 

The scenario was developed in the form of a diagram based on an analysis of qualitative and quantitative research data gathered in the project before and after the field trials, as well as a separate Design Thinking workshop for the guidance and validation practitioners organised in June 2023. The structure of the diagram was based on the Customer Journey Map and Service Blueprint techniques. 

As such, the scenario illustrates the following elements:

  • the results achieved by the candidate taking part in guidance and validation when working with transversal skills, 
  • the subsequent steps to be taken by the practitioners in order to introduce transversal competences into their workflow and help the candidate achieve these results, 
  • the communication channels and resources (including tools) needed for the whole endeavour, divided into the frontstage level (where direct contact with the candidate takes place) and backstage level of the guidance and validation provider’s internal procedures. 

When developing the scenario, two important factors had to be considered – one is the transferability of the results across European countries despite significant differences between their guidance and validation systems, and the second was the different learning pathways of candidates who partake in these processes that condition their needs and motivations. To account for both, one comprehensive scenario has been developed with the assumption it can be customised in different countries and by different providers. Furthermore, the learning pathways of the candidates were translated into a set of profiles created using a custom Persona template (another Design Thinking technique). The scenario has been then linked with the profiles by mapping the needs of the different candidates onto the scenario by highlighting the steps or resources important specifically for them. 

The result is one core scenario/diagram, five candidate profiles/personas and five versions of the core scenario with the personas’ need mapped onto them (one for each persona). We present these recommendations with an understanding that in their raw form they are not a fit-for-all but rather an inspiration to understand what is needed to work with transversal competences and a starting point for developing custom solutions fit-for-purpose. By this the project aimed at bridging a gap between very specific and fairly rare practices related to transversal competences and an European approach to including them in guidance and validation with the benefit for the learners at its core.

A summary of the report with the scenario and personas translated into 7 languages can be found here under the title: Guidance and Validation Scenario for Transversal Competences.

More information on the impact of the TRANSVAL-EU experimentation on the candidates and the practitioners can be found in the TRANSVAL-EU European Research Report:

De Greef, M., Fellinger, J., Dhengozova, M., Gmaj, I., Fijalkowska, B., Pierwieniecka, R., Wójcicka, A. & Auzinger, M. (2023). The impact of validation and guidance of transversal skills: Scientific impact study of the field trials of the European project TRANSVAL-EU. Brussel/Vienna: TRANSVAL-EU.