The purpose of IO3 is to develop a program aiming to train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative professionals in the field of guidance able to develop and use Social Emotional Competence in order to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into more client- centered services benefiting diverse target groups and users of career guidance services.

In order to define the content of the training program, the partnership at first made a research and analysis on the definition and factors of Social and emotional Intelligence (SEI), a review of the theories currently used to explain SEI and its dimensions and an exploration of the existing training methodologies, relevant tools and instruments which can be adapted, allowing for the elaboration and further elaboration and development of specific strategies and methods to provide theoretical and practical training for the improvement of career guidance practitioners’ skills (IO1). Furthermore, a need analysis on career practitioner’s training needs was conducted under IO2, to find out how important career practitioners find social-emotional competences, how they relate to the requirements of daily practice and moreover whether there is a systematic lack of certain social-emotional competences among practitioners, that will be the basis for defining the training modules.

According to IO1 results, 13 social-emotional competences were identified as important for career practitioner’s efficacy. For strategic purposes, the 13 social-emotional competences were combined in five clusters, as following:

  1. Empathy Skills: Affective empathy and Perspective taking/Cognitive empathy
  2. Emotion-Management Skills: Understanding emotions, Emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control
  3. Diversity Management Skills: Social concern, Tolerance, Diversity and intercultural competence
  4. Active Listening Skills: Attentiveness & Active listening
  5. Cooperation Skills: Collaboration, Conflict Resolution

IO2 survey results revealed that all clusters were prioritized quite frequently in terms of training needs, indicating that career practitioners value all five domains of social-emotional competence. As a result, the STRENGTh project will develop and disseminate innovative training modules for all five clusters of social-emotional competences.

Therefore, the program consists of 5 training modules/sections as mentioned above.
Each section has four parts: a theoretical one that is covered through the review of the relevant modern literature, a practical-experiential one, which is implemented through case studies from the counselling practice and experiential exercises, an evaluation part and a part for further study. Specifically, its structure includes the following parts:

A. Theoretical background, where important definitions, principles and useful information on methods for improvement are presented

B. Activities to improve socio-emotional skills: Taking into account that socio-emotional intelligence is best learned by actually engaging in activities and “learning by doing” (Cockburn-Wootten & Cockburn, 2011 ) and through rehearsing, shadowing, and role models, the program activities focus mainly in using participatory activities and exercises. Additionally, the program’s activities are based on methods that proved to be effective on Socio-emotional competence improvement, as they came out from IO1. More specifically, from the analyses of existing methods, the training activities will have as basis the following principles and learning concept:

  • Cognitive training
  • Cognitive and Behavioural training
  • Role-play, experimenting
  • Awareness / Mindfulness
  • Feedback and Supervision/Reflection
  • Critical incidents

C. Self- evaluation exercises, including 5 questions for testing whether trainees have learned basic concepts of the training unit, and

D. Resources for further study and references.

The program is addressed to:
Practitioners specializing in career guidance
Practitioners with more than 3 years’ work experience in career guidance
Graduates and students of career counselling departments

Implementation of the program

The STRENGTh training program will be in form of a synchronous and asynchronous webinar, but could also be done in classroom in real time.

In distance education, the training is conducted through the internet, offering the trainee “autonomy”, i.e. the possibility of studying independently of limiting factors, such as the obligation of his physical presence in a specific area. The educational material of the program will be available per teaching unit on the electronic platform of STRENGTh.
An expert in career guidance, who will be the trainer, will be responsible for the teaching of the content of the modules. S/he will guide the trainees how to go through the different parts of the modules.

The trainees will be able to study the theoretical part of each module asynchronously in ppts, notes or videos format, before the beginning of the practical part.

For the practical part of the training, participants will be guided by the trainer to implement the experiential exercises and discuss their experience. The activities will be implemented under the supervision of the trainer, either in groups or individually. The trainer will explain the scope and the instruction of each activity and facilitate the reflection process.
Trainer and trainees will meet in the training platform to go through the training activities. Most of the activities will be interactive and of different forms, such as drag and drop, matching game, online filling of form, meeting rooms for group activities, multiple choice answers, “post-it” forms, etc., in order to make the training more interesting. The material will be also available in downloadable forms (that can be used if training is implemented in real classroom).

At the end of each module, the trainee is required to complete electronically the corresponding assessment test, which may include multiple choice questions, true / false statement.

In addition, before and after the program, participants will complete an evaluation form to demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of the program on the development of career practitioner’s socio-emotional skills.

The duration of the project is:
34 hours (Theoretical part: 5.5 hours, Exercises: 26 hours, Evaluation: 2.5 hours)

Unit 1 Empathy Skills:
6 hours (Theoretical part: 1 hour, Exercises: 4.5 hours, Evaluation: 0.5 hours)

Unit 3 Diversity Management Skills:
6.5 hours (Theoretical part: 1 hour, Exercises: 5 hours, Evaluation: 0.5 hours)

Active Listening Skills:
8.5 hours (Theoretical part: 1.5 hour, Exercises: 6.5 hours, Evaluation: 0.5 hours)

Cooperation Skills:
6.5 hours (Theoretical part: 1 hour, Exercises: 5 hours, Evaluation: 0.5 hours)