According to the 'New Skills for New Jobs' report (Feb. 2010), written by an independent panel established by the EU Commission workers who are trained do not always have the right skills that employers are looking for, thus creating mismatches in the labour market. The skills mismatch is a striking problem in partnering countries. The symptoms of the skills mismatch are high (youth-) unemployment and difficult transitions from school to work on one side, and complaints of employers about a lack of job-relevant skills on the other side and training programmes available which are often out of date and do not meet the needs of industry. SMART KNOW NET intends to build on the success of KN, developed by IRFI and currently operating in province of Rome, by developing the software product and experiences gained, by enhancing the cultural and national diversity offered by a Latvian University and an Italian University, an experienced ITC SME in Greece, a Chamber of Commerce in Poland and a Public Employment Agency in Spain. KN is a development process, supported by a software tool, which helps VET, other professionals and SMEs in assessing skills mismatch, providing evidence of professional development needed to meet the requirements thus offering greater precision in HR development and training.
Main objectives are: transfer and validation of KN at EU level developing a standalone software tool to SMEs and VET to assess skills mismatch and plan continuing professional development, against individual and corporate goals as well as a conceptual framework and the associated processes for analysing and processing skills mismatch; create a pan-European tool, localised for different countries, to help SMEs and VET describe competence in a transparent and transferable way; offer the KN software in the public domain and to establish a network of providers of KN support services.
Main outcomes: Consolidation of the existing KN infrastructure by guaranteeing the adoption in other countries of those activities and services that currently contribute to the effective support of skills mismatch assessment and processing to support the drawing up of professional development plan. Evolution of this infrastructure towards a robust and persistent European system, by enhancing the existing services, by deploying new services/tools including support for adoption of common taxonomies.
Part of the power of KN, however, is that it is more than just a skills mismatch assessment & professional plan development tool. It also constitutes a public record of the skills and personal competences offered and asked for, which can be made available to the wider world of the business sector, VET and decision makers. Further linking technical and vocational education with industry and availability of timely and relevant labor market information is an important innovation crucial to bring about a proper match between technical and vocational education and the needs of the industry.