The Bruges Communiqué on enhanced European Cooperation in Vocation Education and Training 2011-2020 refers to the need that VET provides learners with both specific vocational competences and broader key competences, including transversal competences, that enable them to follow further education and training (within VET or in higher education). The knowledge, skills and competences which people acquire in VET should enable them to manage their career and to play an active role in society. These actions will positively influence in the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship.

According to CEDEFOP (The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), Competence is the ability to apply learning outcomes adequately in a defined context (education, work, personal or professional development). It is completed by a comment: ‘competence is not limited to cognitive elements; it also encompasses functional aspects (involving technical skills) as well as interpersonal attributes (social or organisational skills) and ethical values’.

On 2006, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the European Framework of Key Competences, which defines eight key competences:

  • Communication in the mother tongue.
  • Communication in a foreign language.
  • Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology.
  • Digital competence.
  • Learning to learn.
  • Social and civic competence.
  • Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.
  • Cultural awareness and expression.

It is stressed that:

1) all these competences should be regarded as equally important, since each can contribute to a successful life in the knowledge society.

2) to some extent, they overlap and interlock.

3) many themes should apply throughout this framework as they play a role in these key competences: critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision taking and constructive management of emotions.

The integration of this type of competences to technical competence models brings VET institutions to new and more flexible teaching and organizational situations that, at the same time, demands new learning scenarios. Learners under this model are more committed, involved and willing to work.

The combination of “technical” and “transversal” competences is referred as “professional competences“. The implementation of professional competences to educational systems is in constant development and brings important benefits. However, these benefits are accompanied by the difficult of the process of assessment by trainers.

Based on their own experience, the participants of this project have concluded that the “assessment” of professional or transversal competences is the core issue to be addressed in a competence-based training model.

We believe that counting with good systems of assessment is the best way to accelerate the implementation of active learning methodologies to facilitate the acquisition of technical and transversal competences:

Changing the competence assessment will change the way of teaching, planning and organization of learning.

Teachers will adapt learning methodologies according to the form of assessment that will be applied to the student.