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Tacit forms of key competences for changing employment
Concept Findings Practice Challenge
Synopsis This project has analysed how far it may be possible to promote the labour market relevance of tacit competences by strengthening workers in relying on their 'tacit' or 'implicit' knowledge/ skills which they actually have at their disposal, often through informal learning and training, without being aware of them. It may be assumed that these competences are playing a decisive role in the transformation of capabilities into new contexts that are not sufficiently recognised. Accordingly the project's interest in helping people to get more aware of their tacit competences aims not only at opening better chances on the labour market (although this is the main practical impact of the project) but to enable them to shape their own lives. Thus the concept of tacit competences might be understood as an approach for democratising learning and for promoting more equal opportunities.
    Formulations of key competences have come from different origins and are controversial in different ways. While the ideas behind key competences in the German and wider European understandings contain rather broad conceptions of skills and competences, competences in UK have to be understood comparatively in a rather narrow sense. In the TACITKEY project a more holistic approach to competence was needed which would refer not only to occupational needs but to needs of the individuals with respect to enabling them to manage their personal biography as a whole. A new learning culture also had to be envisaged which would refer to competences which are generative of future individual and group performance rather than based on reductions of present individual work activities. 
    Since all possibilities could not be explored simultaneously, the 'starfish' model was developed. This identifies five clusters of abilities which may be associated with successful adaptation as well as high levels of performance in occupations:
- work content/subject matter related competencies;
- learning competencies; 
- methodological competencies;
- competences related to values and attitudes; 
- social competencies.
These are not de-contextualised 'transferable skills' but abilities which have to be situated within the culture and context of the work environment (Heidegger et al. 2000a, pp. 2, 23, 24, 27f., 31).
Reference The conceptual framework of the project is outlined in the chapters 3 and 4 of the final report (Heidegger et al. 2000a, pp. 16-32) and in the underlying common report 1. 
See also project info on TACITKEY.
Descriptors D-CDO            
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO