Innovative approach

There are insufficient diagnostic tools available for determining the social and emotional skills of young people with cognitive impairments who are undertaking vocational training. There is also a lack of training programmes and methods for professionalising staff in this area. Our project aims to address these inadequacies and cooperatively develop innovative methods and relevant tools.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aims to help every person flourish and enable them to participate in society. This project implements key features of a new, modern model, such as inclusion, participation, self-esteem, empowerment, equal opportunities, accessibility and cooperation for vocational training of people with impairments.

The project incorporates the “shift from teaching to learning” Bologna process and focuses on a learning rather than teaching-oriented approach. “SEC4VET” supports this change in teaching and learning culture, and focuses on learning outcomes. This shift towards learning outcomes benefits tutors and students alike.

A study by Monnier (2015) suggests that there is no generally recognised set of concepts in this field. It impressively portrays the confusion regarding terminology and covers a wide range of methods used. It provides a classification of social and emotional skills upon which we can orient ourselves. The author categorises the tools available in this classification which focuses on healthy adults. These tools are not useful for adolescents and young adults as they are cognitively very demanding. The tools are also of a more general nature with no specific focus on training area. In order to meet the need in this area, Monnier (2016) developed an assessment procedure for training medical assistants. We can use these underlying methods in combination with the diagnostic expertise at the University of Bamberg to develop a vocational assessment tool for young people with learning difficulties. An equally important question for us - namely how these results can be used to develop social and emotional skills - remains unanswered in the abovementioned study.

The third study (for development of “emotional literacy” in teachers) is interesting for us in this respect, since the teachers surveyed have had no training in emotional literacy, emphasising the need for further training in the area of social and emotional skills.

We can assume - based also on our own teacher training experiences - that this fact still applies, even Europe-wide: the education process for participants is not systematically based upon the subject of social and emotional skills.

Our project therefore reviews national and international projects and discourses, materialises them and implements them in a specific manner whereby

  • an assessment method is developed for young people with learning difficulties in the area of vocational preparation/training that previously didn’t exist
  • support tools are compiled, adapted and integrated into a comprehensive system for individual development of social and emotional skills whereby partners are enriched through European exchange and set new quality standards by pooling and clustering different methods
  • a handbook of basic terminology is presented in which practical and theoretical references between participating partners are explained and thus clarifies terms and builds expertise within the partnership
  • training modules sustainably anchor project results - modules arise directly as a result of the overall context of the project and are thus new creations.