It’s time to re-act. Together

I’m Giuliana Tumia, Junior Work Placement Officer in the spanish agency Tribeka Training Lab, located in Málaga.

As a part of the staff involved in different European projects and programs, in my daily routine I see a lot of CVs from our VET students, I am constantly in contact with companies and tutors to monitor internships and to find the most suitable work placements, matching each student with the local businesses.

But today is not part of my daily routine, today I’m writing from my home in Spain, in my fifth day of forced quarantine. Today I need to write to you as Giuliana, with your same doubts, fears about our present and, obviously, our future.

I used to act in a world without borders, in a continuous social interaction, meeting people from all Europe: there was no limit to our opportunities to travel, move, interact.

Now we are forced to stay at home to protect our health and, at the same time, everybody’s health. Our actions are stuck in a moment and we don’t know until when it will last. This constant uncertainty and the impossibility to move make us feeling lost, powerless and fragile.

Human feelings that – believe me – everybody, beyond any social context, nationality or personal situation, are living. You are not alone, you are not the only one.

This is the first step to go on through this black tunnel, the most difficult but also the most important step we have to do.

For the first time for my generation, we are all in the same situation and it is the first time I see so much desire to share, help and “hug” humanity. It is like a big lesson of empathy but this time is easier to feel it because we are exactly in the same human situation of everybody.

Closed in our home walls we are understanding the real meaning of social cohesion, of cooperation and sense of initiative. We are discovering our talents, we are testing our creativity, we are making us more responsible of our life and of others’ life.

We are watching things from a different perspective and we are enjoying our free time as an incredible opportunity to change us, to develop new ideas, to inspire ourselves to be less selfish and more human.

We are using social networks to share, to tell and not only to show: we are discovering their good side. We are not here to show that we are the winners, the best ones, we are here to feel that all together we can win.

To our participants in the Youthcoops project I want to say that this is your time to feel this sense of community, this need of helping and try to study and develop new ideas to give your social contribution.

To all the students, teachers and tutors we met in the last years, specially all those who helped us with Skills act 4 Vet survey, I need to say to re- think in your experiences to improve and work on your abilities, share your experience with your schoolmates and future participants.

To our students and schools, Thank you to believe in us, to desire coming back soon when everything will be ok, don’t forget how lucky we are to share these opportunities.

To our companies, I want to thank you for what we did together until now, I want to give to you my support for your present situation, knowing everything will be all right and we will be stronger than before.

To everybody I want to say that right now we can’t act because it’s time to RE-ACT.


The results of the survey Transversal Skills Activation for Vet Mobility Experiences

Erasmus Plus 2019-1-ES01-KA202-065610


A Skills Act for Vet project meeting was held on March 30th, 2020. The meeting, which had previously been planned in Bologna, was held online due to the coronavirus lockdown. The main aim was the analysis of the results of the survey created by Elidea, which involved students, teachers and various companies.

The primary purpose of this survey was to determine which soft skills are most important in internships. So far, 705 students, 226 teachers and 70 companies have responded to the questionnaires.

The framework

1. The students s2

The students who took part in the survey are from more than ten different EU countries and are 16 to 19 years old. Most of them come from Italy (24%), Bulgaria (33.6%) Poland (27.37%) and have carried out at least one internship. Most of the internship are three or four weeks long and the main sectors involved are information technology, tourism and gastronomy. The favourite destinations are Spain followed by Italy and Germany.

2. The teachers s3

As for the teachers, they are from different EU countries, but mainly from Italy (29%), Poland (26%) and Bulgaria (34%). According to the teachers the most important students’ preparation for mobility is language courses, but cross cultural training is also critical.

3. Companies s4

As for the companies, 45% of them are Spanish, 25% Italian, 21% Bulgarian, while the remaining are from other EU countries. 71% of the companies hosted internships at least once. The majority of the companies involved, are in these sectors: tourism, gastronomy and education sectors; the others are related to the IT, advertising, economics, mechanics, electronics, publishing, gardening and agriculture sectors. In most of the companies the internship lasted three or four weeks.

The main difficulties faced on stage: knowledge of the language


Students as well as teachers and companies consider internship an extremely positive experience, nevertheless they believe there are some difficulties in carrying it out. The main difficulty concerns communication in the language of the country hosting internship, this difficulty is at the top students’, teachers’ and companies’ ranking. Cultural differences are the second main obstacle according to teachers and companies, while students put it third after homesickness.

Skills gained from internships according to students, teachers and companies

According to the students internship is first of all a good chance to improve a foreign language, second to become more autonomous and third to learn to work in a team.

The Teachers, on the other hand, believe that internship first increases students' self-awareness, second improves their sensitivity towards different cultures and third fosters their sense of initiative.

Finally the companies think that internship first improves students’ ability to work in a team, second gives them an important experience of the workplace.

Important Soft Skills for Workplace Success


It is interesting to notice that students and companies, unlike teachers, have the same idea about the most important soft skills. Both of them consider self-confidence, i.e. a strong knowledge of one's own strengths and weaknesses, the most important skill, while teachers believe it is the ability to manage one’s emotions.

According to students and companies the second most important skill is "followership", i.e. the ability to support one's chiefs and colleagues and to work in a team trusting one other. According to the teachers, this skill is less important than cultural awareness of the context.

Finally proactivity is considered very important by companies, but not so important by students and teachers. Proactivity means taking action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens.


The results of the questionnaire show that the five main difficulties that students face during internships are:

1) difficulties in the language of the country hosting the internship;

2) difficulties in communicating in a different cultural context;

3) emotional / psychological difficulties such as homesickness;

4) difficulties in carrying out some practical activities in the internship workplace;

5) difficulties connected to the different organization of the working times in the country hosting the students.

As to the most important soft skills, according to the results of the questionnaire the top five are:

1) CONTEXT READING and ADAPTABILITY : It is the ability to act properly in both new and known contexts, adapting to their specific characteristics and recognizing the values, beliefs, resources and limits of the environment and people. It is also the ability to recognize one’s own and others’ role expectations. In multicultural contexts, this capacity implies the linguistic-communicative adaptation to specific environment;

2) SELF CONFIDENCE : recognizing one's strengths and weaknesses;

3) FOLLOWERSHIP: Supporting ones own referent/superior and co-workers at the workplace and showing collaboration, trust in the group's members and cohesion capabilities;

4) CULTURAL AWARENESS : Respecting and being aware of cultural differences and working effectively with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds;

5) PROACTIVITY: Acting in advance of a future situation, rather than just reacting to it.