Socioemotional Skills and Employability in FP

“Conventional ways of educating need a change of frameworks, cultures and mindsets to build a solid collaborative process based on social-emotional competencies needed for this 21st century.”


The I International Congress for the Development of Socioemotional Competencies arose from the need to create a space for debate to help reflect on the key competencies that should be promoted by academic institutions and organizations.

The objective of this Congress – which took place on February 22 and 23 virtually and in deferred mode to facilitate the participation of the entire educational community – was to contribute to a positive approach to human functioning from which to offer answers to the demands arising from the changes occurring in modern societies at the present historical moment. It highlighted the role of the educational system and institutions in fostering the development of socioemotional competencies, multiple intelligences and diversity, through the use of innovative digital and pedagogical methodologies.

Proposals were presented in several languages, and all the papers defended during the congress will be part of different books published by Dykinson, Ediciones Egregius, prestigious publishers included in the SPI Index.

The team of the Integrated Center of Vocational Training of the Sea presented the project “Evaluation and Orientation of Socioemotional Competences applying Artificial Intelligence: An Innovative Approach for the Development of Employability in Vocational Training”; a training project in competences using the Human AI tool.

Impact of social-emotional competencies in FP

Social-emotional competencies are non-cognitive skills that are fundamental to people’s ability to adapt to social and professional situations. In the field of Vocational Training, international organizations such as the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) recognize the importance of developing these competencies, applying the Big Five personality model, also called OCEAN, as a reference framework. Along the same lines, Organic Law 3/2022 on Vocational Training defines socioemotional competencies as “those that are considered necessary for personal fulfillment and development, to participate actively in society or to improve employability whose development is carried out by multiple means, and is incorporated in any vocational training offer insofar as it promotes the integral development of the person” and establishes their analysis and learning as an obligation.

On the other hand, the literature on labor market prospection studies and analysis of the skills demanded for employment suggests that together with the specific “know-how” of the technical competence of each position, companies are increasingly demanding and prioritizing socioemotional skills as a key factor in the hiring and promotion of their workers.

Assessment and Orientation of Socioemotional Competencies applying AI

Considering this background, the Integrated Vocational Training Center of the Sea of Gijon assumes the objective of facilitating self-knowledge, reflection and training of socioemotional competencies of its students, as an essential part of their professional profile and the formation of their character and personal maturity.

To achieve this, it uses the Human AI application. This artificial intelligence model processes natural language in context so that from a text of about a thousand words it identifies and describes 35 personality parameters and socioemotional skills based on the OECD model.

Three personalized reports are generated for each student focused on three basic dimensions for professional and personal training: the general analysis of socioemotional skills, their relationship with entrepreneurship and their assessment from the perspective of employment orientation.

Employability benefits by applying Human AI

The employability development model, based on the use of the HumanAI application, used by CIFP del Mar represents an opportunity to systematize a methodology for the assessment and comprehensive development of employability competencies, helping students to improve their knowledge of socioemotional competencies and understood as opportunities and strengths, allowing them to transfer them to their curriculum vitae and personal brand.

This model also allows group and individual activities for the training and development of these competencies to be carried out during the course, in the different subjects of the training curriculum. In addition, it allows to know and prioritize the learning of socioemotional skills that companies in the maritime and fishing sector consider key to employability. And, finally, it allows to follow up the students, once they have finished their studies, to know their degree of professional insertion and relate it to their socioemotional competences.


After the presentation of the project on this platform, the possibility of participation was opened, in which participants were able to launch their doubts, questions and queries about it. The CIFP del Mar team – Indalecio Estrada Lozano (Director), Javier Sánchez Piquero (Secretary) and Roberto Suárez Malagón (Professor of Vocational Guidance and Head of Accreditation of Professional Competences in Vocational Training), and on behalf of Human AI Beatriz Abad-Villaverde (Psychologist of the National University Pedro Henríquez Ureña) were answering the corresponding queries.

“Has it already been possible to test the outcome on the employability of the students?”.

“We have been applying this tool for two school years with an important group of our students during their formative period (two school years) at the center. All of them have a socioemotional competencies report that firstly serves as a basis for self-reflection and to improve their self-analysis.

Secondly – based on the content of the report – some group and individual activities are carried out in the classroom to develop and improve the areas for improvement and the competencies that we consider key for employability (given that the companies where these students are going to do their mandatory internships have also answered a basic questionnaire on which competencies they consider key in their work environment).

Thirdly, the students leave their personal e-mail address so that we can follow up on their professional situation two years after the report has been completed (where they work, in what professional category, what socioemotional competencies they see as most important at that moment in their lives). Except for some cases of students who have continued their training (for example in the university degree of marine or nautical or also in other training cycles) all the students who have answered us are working in the maritime fishing sector and confirm the importance of the competences they learned in their training period through this activity. Roberto Suárez Malagón.X

To what extent do students feel a sense of ownership of the reports they get?”

Regarding student identification with their personal reports, on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is little identification and 4 is maximum identification, the average is 3/4; especially, curiously, in the section of the reports that determines the areas for improvement (those socioemotional competencies that the participating student has below average and that should be improved). Roberto Suárez Malagón.

Is there an instance where, once the student has read the report, he/she is given feedback on the results? Do you have teachers/tutors who propose concrete actions to improve those less pleasing aspects?

The reports of the students participating in the project are socialized mainly by three teachers of the center. The project is coordinated by the Training and Vocational Guidance Department of the center. And within this project there is a counselor who knows many of the participating students through regular individual interviews focused on personal guidance and improvement of emotional well-being.

In addition, some tutors of the groups of participating students also collaborate by analyzing the content of the reports and giving their assessment of their content, taking into account that in formal vocational training there is not formally a specific tutoring period, as is the case in the non-university compulsory education stage.

On the other hand, the main socioemotional competencies of the OCDE’s “Big 5” model, which we use as a reference in the center and in HumanAI, are developed and trained through specific activities carried out in two modules: the Training and Work Orientation module and the Business and Entrepreneurship module.

Examples of activities: critical analysis of the content of news and reports and oral presentation of the conclusions; development of oral communication and assertiveness; time management activities, planning and determination of achievements/goals; work with business management simulators to develop skills such as initiative, planning, collaboration and teamwork…etc.

These are two transversal modules that are included in the curriculum of all vocational training cycles at both the intermediate and higher levels (and with the changes introduced by the new Organic Law on Vocational Training 3/2022, they continue to be included in the curriculum, becoming even more important with a specific reference to working with socioemotional competencies and are now called professionalizing training itinerary I and II).

In the teaching-learning process of these two modules and especially in the Entrepreneurial Initiative Enterprise (EIE) module, specific activities for the development of socioemotional competencies are worked on according to the mentioned OECD model.

In fact, the socioemotional competency reports serve as a first starting point for self-knowledge and reflection and to organize these competencies according to the interests and starting point of each student. Roberto Suárez Malagón.

In early stages of the development (or approach towards the development) of socioemotional competencies, don’t you think that the ability to self-perceive or self-recognize emotions and their expression in the individual may be more relevant?

Certainly, talking about socioemotional competencies and emotions is closely related and many of the factors included in the OECD model of the Big Five fit into the field of emotions. We, with vocational training students who are older and more and more people who are working and therefore already have an important maturity and experience, try to redirect the idea of socioemotional competencies to this approach of self-knowledge and emotions, how the world is perceived and how one reacts to stimuli of all kinds. But what is really fundamental is the recognition of one’s own emotions.

Do you think that the extension of this amount of parameters and reports can cause an over-complexity of the subject that prevents students from improving effectively? Do you think it would be possible to approach it from basic socioemotional competencies whose mastery could facilitate the development or assimilation of dependent or more complex competencies?

Indeed, we talk about 35 factors that are explained in the reports we give to the students, although we then redirect them to a maximum of 5 or 10 factors that we consider key, for example, responsibility, assertiveness, the need for achievement or emotionality. We agree that it is necessary to simplify the list in order to focus on these basic emotions.

In the current learning context, the identification of tools that enhance the employability of our graduates is of great interest. Do you consider the proposed model replicable in the field of higher education? Specifically in the field of Architecture and Engineering studies.

“We are currently collaborating with several universities that have implemented programs aimed at increasing the employability of their students using our artificial intelligence tool.

These programs apply Human AI to evaluate the socioemotional competencies of their students and use these evaluations to design personalized training itineraries that allow them to acquire transversal competencies for employment. Thus, when they finish their university studies, students who have participated in these programs have the knowledge and technical skills specific to their degree and the employability skills that are most valued by companies and organizations when hiring employees”. Beatriz Abad-Villaverde

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