How to design an adequate model and an eficient solution?

Collective competences of a team and a network:

  • Understanding of organizational aims, culture,
  • The ability to cooperate,
  • The ability to learn from experience,
  • Problem solving,
  • Intercultural competence,
  • Ability to work in a network.
Competences related to motivation (self-motivation and motivation of the others) and empowerment:
Competences, related to management of the change:
  • Lifelong learning and development,
  • Communication,
  • Self-confidence,
  • Decision making,
  • Pro-active approach.
  • Assertiveness,
  • Analytical thinking,
  • Flexibility and adaptability,
  • Work under pressure,
  • Ability to take responsibility.

The guidance and training model


The output of the CoMWork project second phase was the processing of the Guidance and Training Model.

The Guidance and Training Model for recognition and validation of competences of social and educational professionals will support to put in practice/implement the Learning Units that are also developed within the project.

This new phenomenon called NEETS is widely spread across Europe. Specific set of transversal competences is required in the work with NEETs in order to tackle the issue with the increasing percentage.

The Guidance is meant to give general direction to trainers in order to provide them with contextualization of the training of social and educational professionals.

The training of operators includes analysis of the relationship between structure and agency, at the level of political power in constructing category of youth (Cohen, 1999). Therefore, that Biographical work should always be aware of the context and of identity capital and helps to deconstruct categories (Cote, 2002).

The competence approach has to incorporate suggestion from the capability approach, so that the pedagogical and social work helps the trainers to (re) activate substantive freedoms as functional capabilities (Nussbaum, 2011). Keeping in mind the balance between risks and protection factors related to class and race belonging (Case S. and K. Haines, 2009).

Objectives and contents of the model

In accordance with the research work and the co-planning done by the group of CoMWork, the guidance and training model has the aim to offer some concrete suggestions and some operational directions concerning:

  • an experiential training for professionals, who through this method can also acquire the tools to re-transfer the experience;
  • an active training which is able to communicate with concrete contexts and therefore flexible;
  • a formative path, for each Area of Competences, which includes Learning Units achievable in a number of hours that range from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 35 overall, depending on the applications and the skills of the operators;
  • a formative path in which, each Learning Unit is planned in a self-consistent manner and therefore it is able to engage in different moments, contexts, paths.

The Guidance is meant to support the trainers in their job. The below described points are the basics when planning and implementing a training for social and educational operators working with NEETS. They are only a framework, which could be taken as a starting point and adapted to specific situation.

The overall objective of the training is to develop certain competences within the three areas of strategic competences based on the needs of every particular group/individual.

Additional to the Training and Guidance Model, there is a methodological guide for trainers, which includes detailed methodological steps useful in order to achieve the goals.

Training objectives

The aim of the training is to achieve development of certain competences, which are recognized as essential for social and educational professionals.

Competence is a different individual mix of: different skills that enable to combine knowledge, practical, operational, relation and emotional resources; different level of motivation and commitment (I want to act); capabilities related to context, organisational and social settings making possible for people to assume personal responsibility for their tasks and lives and risks (Le Boterf, 2000).

The concept of competence is useful and necessary and it allows us to face the new forms of competiveness and the increasing complexity of work situations, requiring not just technical skills but also personal qualities, making the difference by objective identical situations.

The work carried out together with socio-educational operators, through focus groups and interviews realized in the four CoMWork partner countries, it has given rise to three main areas, which will be the subject of the training activities:

  • Collective competences of a team and a network:
    • Understanding of organizational aims, culture,
    • The ability to cooperate,
    • The ability to learn from experience,
    • Problem solving,
    • Intercultural competence,
    • Ability to work in a network.
  • Competences related to motivation (self-motivation and motivation of the others) and empowerment:
    • Lifelong learning and development,
    • Communication,
    • Self-confidence,
    • Decision making,
    • Pro-active approach.
  • Competences, related to management of the change:
    • Assertiveness,
    • Analytical thinking,
    • Flexibility and adaptability,
    • Work under pressure,
    • Ability to take responsibility.

Due to the very broad list of abilities required to work with NEET it is necessary to give operators a large and differentiated set of tools.

By the end of this training, the trainees will be able to use different methods in their daily work with NEETs. They will be able to adopt different techniques according to the specific situation and the individual NEET.

After the training, operators will have competence to choose and to use the proposed tools depending of the target they face. More in general, expected outcomes of the training are:

  • trainees will be able to understand the overall picture of the organizational culture, common language and ability to cooperate;
  • trainees will know about group dynamics, with particular attention to evident and latent dynamics;
  • trainees will be motivated to work with NEETS as well as they will know how to motivate NEETs to cope with their problems;
  • trainees will develop intercultural skills and competences, team work;
  • trainees will know how to empower NEETs to influence and make decisions that affect their own lives;
  • trainees will know how to help NEETs in self-development and self-empowerment;
  • trainees will know how to support NEETs to act in appropriate way in accordance to internal and external factors.

Identification of the trainees

Who are our trainees and where to find them?

The trainees are professionals from educational and social sphere who are directly working with NEETS:

  • Labour Market offices (psychologists, psycho-pedagogues, labour market mediators, jurists);
  • Employment Agencies (project managers, HR professionals);
  • Professional Associations (labour psychologists, HR professionals, psychologists, psycho-pedagogues);
  • Educators (trainers, VET teachers, coaches, educational and social workers);
  • NGO sector (trainers, project managers, group leaders, youth mediators, educational and social workers);
  • Universities (psycho-pedagogues, lecturers);

In a European dimension, it is relevant to attribute the EQF level of the trainers’ qualification.

The proposal of CoMWork is the 6th Level of EQF; this level refers to the following knowledge, skills and competence.

Knowledge Skills Competence
In the context of EQF, knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual. In the context of EQF, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) and practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments). In the context of EQF, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.


LEVEL 6 advanced knowledge of a field of work or study, involving a critical understanding of theories and principles


advanced skills, demonstrating mastery and innovation, required to solve complex and unpredictable problems in a specialised field of work or study manage complex technical or professional activities or projects, taking responsibility for decision-making in unpredictable work or study contexts

take responsibility for managing professional development of individuals and groups


Methodological approach

The aim of the Training is to develop strategic competences of socio-educational operators, which are essential for the performance in the area of working with NEETS.

The three areas of strategic competences, which are subject of this Guidance and Training Model, are result of the National researches and focus groups conducted in each partner country.

The Training will be based on the principles of non-formal learning and experiential learning.

Non-formal learning gives trainees the opportunity to influence their own learning process and their learning outcomes since it foster self-directed learning.

Essential features of non-formal learning are:

  • balanced co-existence and interaction between cognitive, affective and practical dimensions of learning;
  • linking individual and social learning, partnership-oriented solidarity and symmetrical teaching/learning relations;
  • participatory and learner-centred;
  • holistic and process-oriented;
  • close to real life concerns, experiential and oriented to learning by doing, using intercultural exchanges and encounters as learning devices;
  • voluntary and (ideally) open-access;
  • it aims above all to convey and practice the values and skills of democratic life.

We may outline several common elements in existing definitions of non-formal learning such as purposive learning, diverse contexts, different and lighter organisation of provision and delivery, alternative/complementary teaching and learning styles, less developed recognition of outcomes and quality.

Non-formal teaching/training and learning methods:

  • communication-based methods: interaction, dialogue, mediation;
  • activity-based methods: experience, practice, experimentation;
  • socially-focussed methods: partnership, teamwork, networking;
  • self-directed methods: creativity, discovery, responsibility.

Specifics of the trainees:

  • What key competences are required?
  • What key competences are available?

Before the session. You should be aware who is in the group. What kind of competences do they have? What kind of competences do they want to obtain?

Where is the gap?

For implementation of the methodology, trainers should follow the recommendation for each module, which is developed in the Learning Units as part of the Training curriculum.

The Training curriculum includes:

  • learning objectives of each LU,
  • content,
  • assessment instruments,
  • exercises,
  • subject matter analysis,
  • lesson planning and media selection.

Requirements for the trainers are:

  • Experience in adult training,
  • Experience in personal development trainings.
  • Requirements for the training premises:
  • Good Internet connection,
  • ICT equipped,
  • Appropriate training rooms.

CoMWork Learning Units will be strictly related to this and can be represented as continuous relation between the time training with the experience of the operators and their practical activities:



Each one of the Learning Units is designed according to its increased relevance and consistency with the corresponding area of expertise, such as “auto-case” and the area of “collective competence of a team.” However, given the holistic construct of competence that we have taken as a reference; given the “core” competencies that characterize social-professional and guidance operators/professional involved / engaged in working with NEET; given the cross reflective approach that covers all competences; given all that, it makes no sense to talk about a match between the total and mechanical areas of competences and LU suggested. If anything, it is more correct to speak of cross LU that across all areas of competence or, LU that bind so prevalent and more competences directed to an area of competence rather than another.


The areas of strategic competences


The project development process, through its various stages passed so far (surveys, interviews, reports, transnational seminars), has allowed us to delimit the scope of the research. Besides, it also has made possible the identification (for conventional agreement) of the areas of strategic competences of socio-educational operators and vocational guidance counsellors, which need, first and foremost, to be dealt with. Intervene as a priority through the development of appropriate Learning Unit think along the lines of reflective training.

The areas of strategic competences identified are three:

  1. The area of the collective competences of a team and a network;
  2. The area of motivational and empowerment competences;
  3. The area of planning and change management


Area of the collective competences of a team and a network


In socio-educational work and in guidance activities in general, the temptation of the solitary hero must be prevented from the beginning, especially when dealing with a barely identified and hardly approachable audience such as “pure” NEET. He/She is someone who is armed with empathy, who is willing to sacrifice himself for the cause, in line with his value reference frameworks and mainly relying on his own more or less pronounced pro social aptitude.

This kind of work takes place/should take place in facilities where a multiplicity of operators and professionals operate. The optimisation of the work lies, therefore, on a mastery of the collective competences of a team as well as, of course, on the individual core competences.

What do we mean by collective competences of a team? Following Le Boterf’s footsteps, we talk about collective competences of an organization or a service organised as a network of competences. The concept of collective competence is then not merely reduced to the expertise of an enlarged liability team or a team made up of different elementary units. Nor collective competences can be considered the sum of individual competences.

Collective competences emerge whenever criticality occurs, or rather, a new problem arises, a new project starts or a quality audit has to be carried out. They represent the intelligence of the organisation and the collective memory in action. They are forged through experience and collective commitment facing the test bed of reality. Their operation greatly depends on the quality of the interactions between people.

The collective competences of a team (équipe)

The main features of the collective competences of a team are:

  • Having a common operational picture; that is, having a common representation of the problems to deal with (planning and solution). A common operational representation is achieved if each individual assimilates the overall picture. The whole is contained within the part. The framework of meanings is shared and integrated;
  • Having a common code and language; that is, having a “dialect” of the organisation built through the experience made within the organisation itself. This allows to “read between the lines of the organisation” and to intercept both rational dynamics within the group and especially the irrational ones that are lying in all organisations;
  • The ability to cooperate. Knowing how to work together presumes collaboration among people with different cultures, resources, statues and roles. It allows, for instance, to know how to manage and resolve conflicts while, at the same time, it promotes – acting on a higher level – the development of the ability to learn from experience. It is about learning from and through action in a collective form and through the organisation. Basically, it is about learning from considerations made during and after the action carried out in terms of organisation or service.

The collective competences of a network

They mainly rely on having the ability to work in a network, in local networks of services and in social networks; this ability adds up to those that are at the basis of the collective competences of a team about which we just talked.

The more effective models of social services organisation are characterised by their systemic-local-integrated planning which makes them work as “networks of competences”, where the competences of each compose and integrate network expertise and vice versa. Furthermore, network competences convey and enhance “precious” competences such as those that promote innovation from the knowledge assets owned (formal and tacit) and the accumulated experience. In this way, by the way, they break down boundaries between competences and enable their mutual permeability without which there is no value added on a professional level (see the role of the interface competences mentioned for instance by Le Boterf [1994]).

Methodological introduction. The auto-case method

It suggests adopting the method of auto-case (Ibba, 2009, Chestnut, 2001; Bruscaglioni, 1991). It is a mode of training of reflective type, based on the enhancement of the experience. It takes place in-group mode and mobilizes all three of the main attributes of the collective competences in équipe (and in some ways, the collective network competences). It is divided into three phases: setting phase; storytelling/narrative phase; analysis and interpretation phase.

Setting phase

The setup phase, also called the methodological introduction, aims to explain “the rules of the game” and to enter into the training agreement.

A brief introduction will clarify and make explicit the ethical rules, which govern the path:

  1. do not intrude in the privacy of the individual and strict confidentiality on experiential report of the participants;
  2. do not foster unrealistic expectations.

Still in the process of setting, it is necessary to define the characteristics of the auto-case and the management rules. It must be cases: real; still open; problematic and significant in relation to the profession held by the person involved into the LU and compared with the course itself. When exposing the story of the auto-case, it cannot be interrupted. During the in-depth analysis following the story (request for further information on the case, requests for clarification, etc.) it is not allowed to make hypotheses or value judgments, let alone anticipate conclusions.


You can work as a group or, if this is too large, you can divide into subgroups. Participants can expose synthetically a real case that occurred to him or her or where they were involved or where they were a direct witness. Therefore, the group or subgroups select the case and discuss it collectively.

In choosing the auto-case to discuss, care must be taken with the help of the trainer / facilitator, to reject arguments outside work, in favour of professionally significant arguments that can cause a high level of emotional involvement.

Narration of the auto-case and discussion

Once identified the auto-case the “bearer” (the presenter of the selected auto-case) conducts its narrative in an appropriate timing, but not too long (20-30 minutes) and exhaustively but not minutely detailed.

At the end of the narrative, the “bearer” expresses the “demand / problem” that intends to address to the group and invites participants to request more information or to deliver in-depth questions. Once all the requests are collected, participants, under the direction of the trainer / facilitator, are called upon to articulate their own comments, to make observations and then to formulate their own hypotheses of response to the question posed by the “bearer”.

Analysis and interpretation

The exposure of the case follows:

  1. a free brainstorming;
  2. a moment of collective construction of some suggested solutions or possible actions.

It is common that questions from members of the group lead to questioning; or open other “tracks” of interpretation and in-depth analysis; or even, do emerge more elements than those in the narrative of the “bearer”. All these elements should not be dropped, but appropriately verbalized so that they are present.

It is good to leave space for the most creative interpretations, to allow everyone to confront the complexity of the problem, without bottlenecks or conceptual constraints.

Therefore, it is essential to remember:

  • the method works on subjective perceptions;
  • the analysis of the auto-case is not an objective procedure research, but a qualitative method of training;
  • its focus is mainly to the process management;
  • more than a tool for problem solving is a tool for problem setting (setting and management problems);
  • it allows the group to develop their own hypotheses, without direct or indirect conditions or restrictions;
  • stimulates and develops reflection, rather than the reactivity;
  • Aims to compose divergences, discouraging and avoiding any kind of ideological confrontation, and encourages and supports the development of the capacity of the dialectic.



Learning unit 1. Collective competence of a team and a network Hours
Module 1. Collective competences of a team (équipe) 18
Module 2. Collective competences of a network 16








Table of didactic tools


Area of motivational and empowerment competences


The area of motivational and empowerment competences plays a pivotal role in the different areas of competences of the socio-educational professional and/or the guidance counsellor who are involved in social activation of NEETs. Precisely because the lack of motivation and empowerment represent the two main barriers to be removed in “pure” NEETs.

In fact, these two barriers separate them both from education and training, and from work and job seeking. To the NEETs, these barriers are perceived as insurmountable walls, which can take different and extreme forms. As in the case of the self-fulfilling prophecy that often hangs over them:

  • on the one hand they do not perceive themselves as able to be trained and employable (they are rejected from school and therefore they refuse training; they are expelled or rejected from work and therefore they refuse to look for a job),
  • on the other hand, society (politics, institutions, etc.) perceives them as hard-core subjects who can hardly be helped by effective policies. Yet, the correct use of appropriate motivational and empowerment strategies can be the keystone of effective interventions and policies for the NEETs.


The term motivation is relatively recent.

As a matter of fact, it appears both in the philosophical and the psychological vocabulary only in the first decades of the last century (Quadrio Aristarchi, 1996). Despite its previous lack, it has become very common especially in psychological sciences. Psychology has devoted increasing attention to the term social and individual motivation so that some scholars (Cofer, 1972) went so far as to say that, in psychology and in other behavioural sciences, the 20th Century could be defined as a motivational period.

It is not our task here to account for the different theories and approaches that have been adopted in the area of motivation. It will be enough here to recall the two main approaches that refer to two different “fields of competences” equally crucial for our operators as they outline two different profiles and two different professional models.

The first approach, which we could call “experimental” and “unhistorical”, aims at defining the immediate causes of behaviour, and at specifying and determining the connections between the different variables involved, thus building behaviour models.

The second approach, which could be defined “clinical”, aims instead at rebuilding in a more global way the sense of individual experience. Both, the present and the past one, at identifying the ways an individual pursues his social adaptation and his personal fulfilment, and at grasping the reasons that prompt an individual to act or not to act, and possibly the sense attributed to it.

This second perspective opens to horizons of competences, which are relevant to socio-professional educators who work according to a holistic approach that drives a person to transcend his given balance in order to open up to new experiences, to design projects and to anticipate reality mentally, according to the thesis of Nuttin (1959).


If the term motivation is relatively recent, the term empowerment is even more recent. Moreover, it also spread widely in a short span of years. That occurred both in studies of scientific approach and in public debate on facts and social processes involved in various areas starting from the sphere of labour. Although often the discourse on empowerment has been trivialised and over the past three decades this construct has been overworked, it would be a mistake to neglect it. This fact, if anything, can be seen as indicative of a major change in human resources culture, and an essential element in competences culture. Synthetically, we can define empowerment as the process through which “disadvantaged” people strengthen their capability to choose, enhance self-determination and self-regulation developing a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy and reducing the feelings of helplessness and distrust (Piccardo, 1995). This definition takes us already to the core of the discourse on NEETs. However, it could lead to a kind of semantic misunderstanding and therefore to a misinterpreted approach to the beneficiaries of empowerment because they would risk being considered as individuals somewhat lacking of empowerment.

Actually, the term empowerment has a far wider meaning such as “enhancing, enabling someone to” or “increasing opportunities” in terms of competences and capabilities as mentioned by Amartya Sen.

It is a complex construct that is configured as a multiplicity of elements organised between them, and it defines both a result (a psychological construct, which is a characteristic of the subject in his interaction with the environment) and the operational process that generates it.

This complexity is introduced from the etymology the word that suggests a division into three separate sections: em-power-ment. The prefix em is used to mean “put in a position” or “go to”, referring, then, to a purposeful movement toward something. The noun power is usually literally translated as “power”, “be able to”, and “power to”. Finally, the suffix ment defines, at the same time, both a process that enables individuals to enhance the ability to actively control their life and the result of this process. Generally it relates to the set of knowledge, competences and relational ability that allow an individual or a group to set goals and develop strategies to achieve them by identifying and utilizing the many existing resources, internal and external (Nicoli, Pellegrino, 2011).

Furthermore, empowerment is closely related to the concept of change but not in the meaning of replacing the old with the new. It rather regards change as an additional process that while proposing new alternatives it doesn’t force to abandon the already known but it encourages to combine new opportunities with those that are already known. Empowerment is, therefore, a method for planning and acting in a realistic and effective way, a technique to take back control of one’s own life, and to gain that feeling of “leadership” given by the fact that the person can choose between his different opportunities. Even more represent an applicative guidance approach that guides methodologically and procedurally on the” making operating” (Bruscaglioni, 1994), a new epistemological approach, a new capability to think the change as increased ability of choices and therefore of freedom and not finding the best solution (Bruscaglioni, 2007).

In this sense, empowerment serves the function of a connective tissue of a wide range of resources constituting the personal and social competences according to Goleman’s model (1995). Personal resources such as, for instance, emotional awareness, appropriate self-assessment, initiative, optimism, etc. Social resources such as empathy and social competences as, for instance, the ability to initiate and lead change, the ability to promote and nourish useful links, and teamwork (see previous section on emotional competences).

Methodological introduction

Training empowering integrates affective aspects, inherited from the principles of social-affective education, and attention to social contexts (community psychology), which aims to promote the quality of life by improving the interactions between individuals and social systems, conceived as relations between elements of increasing complexity: individuals, small groups, organizations, local and global communities. Aspire, therefore, to increase the degree of empowerment of individuals, so that they have greater confidence in their future and a greater awareness of the role that they can play independently or in conjunction with others in grabbing the opportunities of the contexts in which they are inserted and influencing events (Francescato, Tomai, Ghirelli, 2002).

Empowerment is configured, therefore, as a multilevel construct, where each level is closely interconnected with each other because is the cause and at the same time result: individual, organizational and community empower.

The individual empowerment / psychological gathers from a combination of three main components:

  • the interpersonal component, that is the perceived control and beliefs about the ability to influence decisions that affect their lives;
  • the interactional component, that is the critical awareness, the ability to understand and analyse their social and political environment also by understanding the causal agents, the resources available, their interaction, as well as factors that influence decisions;
  • the behavioural component, namely the participation that is the practical aspect of empowerment (Santinello et al, 2009), that is the attempt to exercise control with the involvement of different individuals.

The organizational empowerment regards, however, the processes and organizational structures that increasing the participation of members improve its effectiveness in achieving the goals. Even here, we identify two forms:

  • the organization’s ability to provide the opportunity for its members to increase control over their lives (organization “empowering”);
  • the ability of an organization that develops successfully and influencing political decisions (organization “empowered”).

The empowerment of communities, finally, relates to collective action aimed at improving the quality of life and the construction of “relevant community” (Iscoe, 1974) in which citizens have “the competence, motivation and resources to affect the improvement of life”.

Empowerment is closely related to a process of knowledge and awareness, it is, in fact, enhanced when an individual acquires the tools to understand and evaluate himself (motivations, attitudes, values, strengths and problem areas), small groups and the organizations in which it is inserted, their community and the “mass-mediatic culture”. Fundamental components of the empowering training are, therefore, to promote understanding of themselves, their society (socio-political empowerment) and the creative research of a congruence between what you aspire to do and the opportunities provided by the environment (inter-systemic accommodation).

The model: two training modules

Specifically, following the training model suggested by Francescato (Francescato, 2004), the group activities are divided generally into two modules, three days each.

The two modules are separated by a period of about two weeks to allow reflection and re-elaboration of the content and abilities acquired and above all the integration of these in the symbolic and concrete experimenting of new ways to reach the objectives identified in the first three days, producing the triggering of the start-up action: starting to change.

The sequence of activities is driven by the multilevel nature of the construct. From here the subdivision into modules.

The first module considers, in fact, a work focused on the individual and the group. This is done through the use of creativity techniques such as brainstorming, projective tools (creation of a drama on the work context or role) and work organized into subgroups.

The idea that guides the whole process is the possibility to observe yourself and the world in a new way, taking on the critical issues as opportunities for change. For this, action on individual and relational variables (such as the personal devaluation of staff and lack of relational gratification) means guide individuals to reinterpret the past, processing the negative feelings associated with the experience, for example, professional (impotence, anger, depression, self-blame), to understand the present and re-imagine the future by building a new capability to think positive and mobilizing the desiring energy.

This enhances the experience as a tool for personal and social growth and not only professional to arrive at an assessment of their own motivation, competences and aspirations and increased self-esteem. The topics around the work in the classroom are, therefore, the importance and the meaning attributed to study, education, culture and work, the previous professional experience, the imagination in relation with the approach to the business world assuming the perspective of growth and development.

The reinterpretation of the past and the construction of a new capability to think of the future is mediated by reflection on the links between motivation, commitment and self-efficacy; on how these factors reinforce each other and are crucial for success and how they are subject to the influence of our life contexts and, in the age of mass media, the influence of television, advertising, and the web.

Empowering Training according to this model in the first module aims to:

  1. promote a sense of belonging and increase the cohesion of groups facilitating the birth of rewarding relationships, including through an increase in cross psychosocial abilities with high potential for transferability to different contexts: social, education and employment;
  2. operates a reinforcement of feelings of trust, cooperation and solidarity;
  3. develops capabilities of mutual aid and support, and “peer education”;
  4. better understand themselves and own surroundings, making the subjects able to choose appropriate paths related to the opportunities and personal and environmental constraints;
  5. promotes cope strategies and problem solving;
  6. stimulating proactivity and participation of trainees as active participants by providing them with tools to solve problems and make informed decisions.

In this phase, the subjects move the focus of attention from ‘”I” to “We” and begin to observe their own groups in terms of strengths and areas for improvement and, through the technique of problem solving, try to find possible solutions, analysing the steps to be taken to deal with the areas of improvement and to enhance the strengths. The transition from ‘”I” to “We” also brings with it an assumption of responsibility of the individual to the group and the objectives of the group and the transition to action, for this, it is preferable that each one take on a commitment to change to be fulfilled in the interval period between the first and the second module.

The second part, after a moment of self-assessment of the achievement of the objectives identified at the end of the first three days, provides a further opening to the outside: the organizational reality of belonging and the local community.

Since the contexts that surround us pose obstacles and limitations in our work but also offer resources and opportunities, it will need to be able to perceive these aspects (critical awareness) in order to implement the most possible appropriate behaviour. Community psychology offers two reading tools (the Multidimensional Organizational Analysis and Community Analysis) that help to gain articulate and multi-prospective approach of reality under consideration. To apply these analysis methods means to have the possibility to identify the opportunities and highlight specific changes to be promoted in the organization and in the community to act on areas for improvement, finding, the possible plots among desires, propensities, individual ability and opportunities or environmental constraints (Francescato, Tomai, Ghirelli, 2002). The reading of the contexts, in subjective and objective dimensions, has a very important function, as it allows the awareness of the variety of possible interactions between the different intervening variables increasing the ability of individuals to affect events.

Once acquired elements to better assess and understand themselves, the group, the organization and the host community, and at the conclusion of the work, the subject is invited to revive exploration, through the use of projective techniques, their perceptions of professional experience. This will reflect on possible changes following the acquisition of a new level of awareness during the training course.



Learning unit 2. Motivation and empowerment competences Hours
Module 1. Motivation 20
Module 2. Empowerment 14










Table of didactic tools

Area of planning and change management competences


The last few years not only have left a legacy of costs, inequalities and contradictions; they also have left the ability (still to develop and strengthen) to rethink their own priorities at European level, to evaluate with a critical approach the ambitions contained in Europe 2020, and to re-launch a new governance cycle based on partnership and reforms. That is, a new cycle that clearly points out the directions that need to be taken.

We reckon that for our project we need two key elements:

  • targeted initiatives, priorities selection, achieving the commitments made;
  • the need to support the change, which is creating the conditions so that the implementation of reforms becomes the basic issue of the political debate within each member states.

To be credible and viable these two directions should have some priorities among which:

  • to ensure that knowledge and innovation at all levels, represent the heart of European growth;
  • develop policies that allow European businesses to create more and better jobs that result in the need to attract more people into work, modernize social protection systems, increasing the adaptability of workers and enterprises, increase investment in human capital through better education and qualifications.

These are very ambitious goals that revolve around the word change. As a result, there are two questions no one can elude: what tools can we use to support the change, and what are the competences required to professionals who work in the area of change management, that is not only to highly specialised professionals of the knowledge society but also to trainers, teachers and socio-educational operators?

It is quite evident that the training level, into the perspective of lifelong learning rather than only in the formal education, plays a decisive role. And since training and learning come to life through the professionals who work there, what is the wealth of resources expected of these figures (in terms of knowledge, abilities, competencies, meta-competencies). Obviously, taking for granted the wealth of methodological and teaching resources?

Several European documents and other research from various institutional sources and of various scientific backgrounds, converge in identifying the following capabilities:

  • use strategies of systems analysis in the design of programs;
  • use the needs assessment, statistical data, the documents produced by the organization, research, etc. to adapt the programs to the needs and specific clienteles;
  • making effective the use of the mechanisms of design, such as councils, committees, working groups, etc. .;
  • design or implement a program within the constraints of a limited budget and according to specific quality standards; be convincingly interpreters at policy makers of the modern trends in adult education;
  • prepare requests for financial support and identify potential funding sources.

It is quite clear that we are talking about abilities that mainly nourish soft and behavioural competences. In addition to the technical and professional competences, of course. More precisely they feed the meta-competences such as learning to learn and learning to know; learning to do; learning to live together (discovering the other, tending toward common goals); learning to be, according to the fourfold of the four “pillars of education in the 21st Century” (Delors, 1996).

We can define meta-competence a class of logic order higher than competences which highlights the quality linked to the consideration made with regard to competences, and which has the following features (Pepe-Isfol, 2077):

  • it concerns general, broad and open cognitive competences;
  • it has non-specific characteristics, as it transcends the job, the position and the role within the specific work context, although it is expressed precisely in the latter;
  • it involves mainly reflective mental processes;
  • it can be considered a competitive value in the training of human resources;
  • it guarantees flexibility of the professional profile of the employee;
  • it enables self-updating, enrichment, and continuous improvement;
  • it contains profiles of high portability in different contexts (work and life);
  • It allows facing highly complex, uncertain and variable situations.

These features of meta-competence expand in five large meta-competences that are strategic for change management (Pepe, Isfol):

  1. management of emotional resources and development of self-empowerment meant as a process that tends to widen the range of choice, and makes transformations feasible and achievable at individual level;
  2. sense-making and development of generative thinking: learning to learn meant as the ability to consciously change behaviour and cognitive models in order to interact in a more appropriate way with internal and external environments;
  3. development of networking competences: being able to interact and work within a network enhancing the opportunities provided by communication systems on the network;
  4. development of evaluative thinking and assessment of complexity meant as a cognitive process aimed at building and using evaluation systems on complex situations/processes/projects;
  5. planning and evaluating meta-competences meant as the ability to detect the need of training to gain meta-competences in various types of recipients, and therefore the need of implementing learning paths to gain them.

Development and training of meta-competences for the change

The assumption that formal training/education looks like a generator of more productivity of individuals is nowadays greatly reduced. According to the teachings of the modern theories of constructivism and constructionism, the key variable for the development of knowledge is not so much the organized and formal education, but the emotional and socio-cognitive experiences. As noted by Nacamulli (2006) competences in the era of “flexible specialization” are built through enlarged training processes where the training mode for learning converges by doing with high social intensity on the workplace typical of craftsmanship together with encoded training typical of mass production. For the development and enhancement of competences come into play a number of actors (public authority, companies, and individuals) and a wide range of content and training methods is mobilized. As Nacamulli claims, into the diction of “enlarged training” converge very diverse definitions of training as: general training vs. specific training; explicit Training vs. implied Training; institutional training vs. training as operational mechanism.

With regard to the training of the meta-competences of social and educational operator/professionals, we find the model for trainers developed by ISFOL1 interesting. Due to its characteristics, purposes and transferability we think it is extensible and, therefore be suggested to the operators of our project in terms of Learning Unit.

It is a model of training based on reflexive learning of trainers’ meta-competences for change and the following specific objectives:

  • management of emotional area and development of self-empowerment;
  • search for meaning and generative thinking: learning to learn;
  • Thought evaluation and assessment of the complexity (within which develops specific competences for trainers on the design and evaluate courses that focus on developing meta-competences.

The plan is developed and divided into five main phases: planning, analysis of personal resources owned and resource expectations, design, delivery and evaluation. The sequence of these steps, however, should not be considered in a logical hierarchy but of circular and presents the strong integration between the different phases, due to both the characteristics of the object of learning, and the need to develop competences in planning and evaluation on theme.

Creativity and innovation

In our interconnected and global society, as claimed by Gardner (2007), creativity is a good researched, cultivated and magnified. In fact, never as in these times creativity was emphasized[1], and associated to innovation. Like all the words of success, however, it is likely a semantic and practical weakening (in the sense of its actual practicability) because of his own fortune.

For the purposes of our argument along the axis reflexivity-competence-innovation, creativity should be put away for at least three risks of misunderstanding:

  1. The first risk is linked to a common sense that tends to equate creativity with an industry sector or production or a business field (fashion, design, Made in Italy). Of course, it is true that in these areas the level of creativity is very high. However they cannot under any circumstances vindicate the exclusive;
  2. The second risk is more subtle and less easy to avoid. It is linked to the idea that creativity is a characteristic of singular people, almost unique, with a kind of light bulb that lights up suddenly, or visit as a sort of daemon (Panzarani, 2007) that “romantically whispers in’ ear of our mind sentences inspired ideas and shocking;
  3. The third risk is of conceptual order; it is very common and tends to coincide simplistically creativity and innovation.

Always in the footsteps of Gardner (2007), we define creativity as that which arises from the interaction of three elements independent of one another: a) the individual who has full mastery of a discipline or technique or an area of competence and produces regular variations in these areas; b) the cultural field in which the individual works, with its models, with its prescriptions or proscriptions; c) the social environment: the individuals and institutions that offer access to opportunities to engage their capabilities.

Innovation, on the other hand does not live without the creativity that is the lifeblood and at the same time the trigger. However it lives and progresses through the individual intelligences, the collective intelligence, to individual and collective competences. It stems from the confrontation of ideas rather than isolated individual intuition and requires a society production of knowledge oriented and not a society that just delegate a few creative the task to run the head (Panzarani, 2007); that is, a society able to compete with the complexity and innovation equipping itself recursively, of a culture, in turn, innovated and innovative that see the individual as a dynamic entity that grows and moves within a structuring milieu.

In this context, it makes sense to speak of innovation processes as processes of living of dialogue and discussion; continually fed by cultural development and knowledge; the development of scientific research and the socialization of its results. Just as it makes sense to talk about innovation only about a society supported and backed by a solid and capillary competences: exactly what is lacking in their social areas of steeper stretch mark where various social groups most vulnerable, including the NEET.

The strong emphasis to date on the social dimension that characterizes the axis creativity-innovation-competences does not exclude the possibility that creativity can be “taught” individually or in groups for adults, adolescents, educators, parents and even institutions as one of the leading international experts in applied creativity and innovation management, Hubert Jaoui (2008) teaches us.

Following the model of Jaoui, we propose a training program based on the following exercises:

  • to develop the five senses;
  • to develop curiosity;
  • to train listening;
  • to train the will: individual exercise diluted during the day and applied to the life of a day;
  • for assertiveness training: individual and group exercises;
  • the develop creative process: group exercise.



Learning unit 3.   Planning and change management competences Hours
Module 1. Meta competence for the change 20
Module 2. Creativity and innovation 14



Table of didactic tools



Methodological note and the summary of the Learning Units


Each Learning Units is designed according to its increased relevance and consistency with the corresponding area of expertise, such as “auto-case” and the area of “collective competence of a team”.

However, it makes no sense to talk about a match between the total and mechanical areas of competences and learning units suggested, because:

  • the holistic construct of competence that we have taken as a reference;
  • the “core” competencies that characterize social-professional and guidance operators/professional involved / engaged in working with NEET;
  • the cross-reflective approach that covers all competences.

If anything, it is more correct to speak of cross learning units that across all areas of competence or, learning units that bind so prevalent and more competences directed to an area of competence rather than another, but that interact synergistically with all.



[1] The model was developed as part of the investigation from the Structural and Human Resources of the Training Systems Isfol by the PON “System Actions” Ob.3 Measure C1 Action 4 “and contained in D. Pepe and V. Infante (2007).