As the labour market becomes increasingly global and mobile, the importance of having a holistic approach to mapping jobseekers’ previous qualifications, prior work experience as well as hard and soft skills is now essential. The need to identify the full potential of the European labour force has intensified due to the ongoing refugee crisis where large numbers of people have either not acquired a high level of formal education or cannot document their qualifications. As a result, there is increased importance of recognising jobseekers’ soft skills, rather than simply relying on their prior qualifications. Therefore, a comprehensive approach is required to develop tools that assess these skills and link them to suitable occupations/job roles.
There is currently no universal method to profile the skills of migrants, offer them support or define soft skills, even though the importance of these attributes is emphasised across Europe. As a result, the aim of Work Package 3 (WP3) is to reach an agreement on the identification and certification system used to assess non-formal hard and soft skills. This will improve the inclusion of migrants in host communities as well as form the basis for the development of the skills assessment tools for migrants and refugees.
The WP3 report highlighted the success factors and main challenges of 25 skills assessment procedures for migrants across Europe. The main ways in which the NADINE tools can contribute to better skills assessment in the EU regarding migrant groups were also identified. Existing competence frameworks were examined (task T3.3) which demonstrated the importance of cognitive and non-cognitive skills, attitudes, values and transversal skills, as well as personality characteristics. From this research, the NADINE Universal Skills Framework for Migrants & Refugees was developed which details the 10 core skills needed for labour market integration, all of which are applicable to a wide range of industries:
- Language & literacy
- Technical and manual
- Cognitive and Analytical
To confirm the suitability of these skills, as well as identify the hard and soft skills that are important in the labour market, a survey was conducted across three European countries (Greece, the UK and Belgium) involving 37 organisations. A similar survey for migrants and refugees was also conducted which obtained information about the hard and soft skills that they deem important, based on their experience in both their native and host countries. In both groups, the 10 skills were all deemed suitable and relevant, with soft skills regarded as more important than hard skills.
The skills framework set the groundwork for the NADINE Methodology for migrants’ / refugees’ hard and soft skills assessment which ensures that the psychometric tests on the NADINE platform are suitable for migrants and refugees, and are of a high quality. It also introduces the method for integrating aspects of gamification into these tests – serious games and game-based assessment practices and tools – based on the identified universal skills.
A thorough literature review was then conducted to explore the existing barriers to social and labour market integration for migrants and refugees in relation to skills acquired through non-formal and informal pathways. This included data from interviews and focus groups with employers, stakeholders, as well as migrants and refugees themselves.
The NADINE development of WP3 – universal skills identification, skill assessment methodology and tool standardisation – will contribute to the development of time and cost effective ICT-based standardised psychometric tests for migrants and refugees. This will ensure that results are valid and reliable across Europe but also facilitate the shift from simple self-assessment of skills to comprehensive qualitative and quantitative assessment and measurement of these skills.