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How can students in the economic and administrative sector develop social and personal competences?
Thursday, 27 April 2023

In the era of the development of technologies, which more and more often replace human input of repetitive and easy to automate activities, personal and social competences become crucial on the labour market. Our competences define whether we will be able to cooperate in a team, solve conflicts, or understand others. Here we suggest where to search for more information on how to develop them.

The bad news (although, of course, not for all) is that it is impossible to function without social and personal competences. Soft skills, which do not require substantive knowledge of a specific field, appear in most job advertisements. Regardless of whether the search concerns programmers or specialists in the economic and administrative industry, employers focus on the skills that cannot be replaced with machines and systems. It is hardly surprising that the personal and social competences of the team often decide whether a company is to be or not to be, especially in a highly competitive market.

Materials to support your development
Fortunately, there is also good news. Social and personal competences can be shaped and trained, meaning that they can be constantly improved. Every social interaction is an opportunity to develop them. Practicing competences seems a bit more difficult in the world of remote work and communication, but there are tools designed for it. For example, students from the economic and administrative sector can refer to a guide on the issues of remote education and the development of personal and social competences. The publication is available on the Platform of the Foundation for Education, Development and Innovation (FERI); the leader of the international consortium that worked on the project "Transversal skills in time of COVID".
Social and personal competences – the theoretical foundation for students
The guide explains in detail what social competences are, and highlights competences which aid in the ability to cope with situations which:
● Are intimate or private,
● Are of the social nature,
● Require assertiveness.
The authors of the guide also draw attention to the contexts in which social skills are essential. The publication also contains a catalogue of personal skills (e.g., responsibility or initiative), and example situations that favour their development. From the guide, students from the economic and administrative sector will learn what skills employers value, what makes up interpersonal communication, and learn the code of verbal and non-verbal communication. Part of the study deals with the barriers that stand in the way of effective communication, as well as politeness and the language of non-acceptance, standing in opposition to each other. A separate section is devoted to remote communication tools, as well as the development of remote work culture.
“Transversal skills in time of COVID”
The aim of the Polish-Irish-Cypriot project was to develop materials facilitating the acquisition of personal and social competences, as well as raising their level. That is why the website contains content prepared both for students and teachers - guides, reports, decision games, podcasts, and lesson plans. Through the use of these materials, students can learn about competence development methods on their own, however, the involvement of educators is essential for effective learning.

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