LATENT TALENTS Project
Project for the exchange of good practices, research, and experimentation for the validation of skills and competences in neurodiversity
Not everything that matters can be count, not everything that can be count matters.
People with significant cognitive neurodiversity (Autism, Asperger's ...) are colloquially called "disabled people" underlining a certain degree of work inadequacy, that is, not being able to perform certain tasks. On the contrary, despite the intrinsic limitations, these people are able to offer a work contribution. Sometimes they have excellent skills. The project investigates, measures, highlights the peculiar characteristics of these people, overcoming the cultural meaning of incongruity, difference, discrimination that recalls a form of minus artes that in fact can translate into recognised, useful and available skills.
The project therefore compares and develops criteria, methodologies and statistics useful to face this situation in a new way. It will provide a model and structured tools to be able to trigger repeatable processes so that the inclusion of the disabled does not depend as it does today only thanks to the occasional sensitivity of individual social workers, employment agencies or compassionate entrepreneurs.
People with neurodiversity, which impact on cognitive abilities resulting in the need for ongoing assistance and considerable difficulties in finding a job, are a relevant phenomenon (about one in 70 people). Many people, despite having latent skills that could potentially be spent on the labor market, remain outside the active life, burdening families and welfare expenditure.
This happens both because there are currently no suitable tools to highlight and enhance these latent skills and competences, and, because there is not even a sufficiently widespread awareness that this can be possible, how it can be done, and the results it can give.
One of the aspects we want to face, it is the computability of competencies. Currently the collection of competencies (ESCO, etc) is mostly a sort of big taxonomy - a collection of classes and subclasses built from a repertoire of standard occupations, each of them tied to sets of formally defined skills and knowledge, each relevant to the considered occupation.
This top-down approach (from standard occupation down to the required set of competencies) reflect the customary organization of labour and formal training, but, and this is our point, has some limitations:
- it is not well suited to reflect the future of work and training, because we are going towards a world where continuous learning, microcredentials, and completely new, yet-unknown interdisciplinary and time-changing occupations will be the rule in a non distant future;
- it cannot express the full range of competencies a person could have, both cognitive and non cognitive;
- it doesn't allow to apply Artificial Intelligence successfully to the (big) data collected;
- it doesn't allow to successfully compute inferences by means of Artificial Intelligence applied to both big data, and to the specific set of fundamental competencies assessed for an individual.
We propose instead a bottom-up approach: to compile Ontologies for cognitive and non-cognitive competencies, starting from the more basic ones to be able to build up from them all more complex combinations without having to know in advance which they can be in a future. Something similar to the periodic table of elements we have in Chemistry. Ontologies are the computer science way to describe knowledge, and let it be computed and inferred both by algorithms and artificial intelligence.
The Partnership and network of the Erasmus Plus project, as part of its complementary research activities related to skills, faces the challenge of researching, sharing and experimenting in the different European contexts the appropriate tools to be able to carry out a screening on people with neurodiversity, and to trigger a virtuous and structured process to maximise the opportunities for employment of citizens with neurodiversity.
The frameworks on potential cognitive and non-cognitive skills in neurodiversity situations shared and developed through the project will allow them to be assessed, measured and strengthened, allowing institutions and service operators at work to address the problem more effectively, companies to be able to make use of people who never thought they could successfully integrate them into their businesses, and for families to regain confidence for a possible future for their child.
Validation of skills and competences is the proposed process that allows identification, documentation, assessment as well as certification that can be applied to training, research and selection of personnel, to the management of human resources.
The project exchanges, adapts, experiments frameworks and processes for identifying and validating skills and competences - including microcredentials - for people with neurodiversity in favour of employability and inclusion with a view to enhancing "TALENTI LATENTI” (Latent Talents).
European added value and links to policies
The aim of this project is to identify best methods on how to best apply the proposed European policies and implied methodologies to the special target group in focus. Persons with neurodiversity conditions often have more difficulties making their competences visible due to e.g. social restraints and require enhanced measures in terms of guidance. Microcredentials combined with validation and guidance processes provide a low-threshold approach to competence accumulation and making their skills - including transversal skills - visible. These approaches can greatly enhance better matching of skills and job requirements and hence boost employment among the special target group.
Main policies this project is aiming to strengthen:
- European Skills Agenda, with special emphasis on the European Pillar of Social Rights: access to education, training and lifelong learning for everybody, everywhere in Europe
And more specifically to:
- Council Recommendation on Validation of non-formal and informal learning
- Upcoming: Recommendation on microcredentials
- Upcoming: ESCO on transversal skills
Hypothesis of WP
- Project & network management
- Comparative analysis and common proposal (national frameworks + Esco, validation procedures, descriptive of non-cognitive skills) and sharing of maps on skills for neurodiversity and development of shared frameworks for the validation of skills for target users
- Validation model for neurodiversity 3.1 Testing of procedures and descriptions and assessment for the validation of skills in 3 countries. 3.2 Creation of a training course for tutors and online validation assessors in English. 3.3 Model: preparation of non-cognitive skills frameworks with indicators, assessment sets and tested procedures.
- Creation of online tools: taxonomy, ontology and architecture, creation of a platform for consulting frameworks, best practices, and training (CEQF).
- Dissemination of the results of the experimentation also through seminars, meetings, presentations and the promotion of the platform with data analysis tools for national and community institutions, employment agencies and platforms.
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project leader: SISSA - Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati – Italia Trieste – with the Laboratory of Neuroscience and Society (https://www.sissa.it/)
Partner: CEQF Competency Evaluation and Qualification Framework – Italia Milano – with the scientific team that deals with the construction of frameworks on non-cognitive and cognitive skills for neurodiversity and competence certification systems (http://ceqf.org/)
Partner: Globedu - Finland - expertise on European education policies and their implementation to practice, training of trainers, Validation and Lifelong Guidance, quality assurance (www.globedu.fi)
Other partners: under negotiation
Transnational Network: Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia ...
Stakeholders: national Autism and Asperger associations, institutions, trade associations, big corporations
Call: Erasmus Plus 2021 KA2 (ADU) (20 May 2021, Rome)