1. Competencies catalogue as a matrix for the selection of learners

During the preparation stage of a transnational mobility, the main challenges for sending organizations are the selection of learners, the definition of the expected learning outcomes, the professional preparation according to them, project administration issues (legal aspects, insurances…), the flow of information between all parties involved as well as the linguistic and cultural preparation of the learners.

Although you have already identified your target group in the proposal submitted and approved by your National Agency, having a well-planned strategy for the selection of learners will support you in identifying the most appropriate learners, providing, at the same time, useful information to be exploited at a later stage, when you get to the matching of learners’ profile with the schools offer and with the available companies, in cases of on-job-training.

This tool presents a competencies catalogue and some guidelines to set up a matrix for the selection of learners (Competencies Assessment Tool before Departure) and their assessment upon arrival (Competencies Assessment Tool upon Arrival), with operational comments on how to integrate the information collected during the selection phase in the ECVET Learning Agreement.

The tool is meant to be used by the sending organization that can in this way evaluate the learner’s performances and progresses.

2. Competencies for transnational mobility

A transnational mobility abroad, especially if implemented during high school, can be considered as a whole-person experience that will certainly affect the future personal and professional growth of the learner.

Depending on the peculiarities of each single project, different competencies may have a different weight for the selection of the candidates, but they surely all have to be taken into consideration for ensuring the quality of the single mobility and the development of desired learning outcomes.

There are four main categories of competencies that need to be assessed in combination with other eligibility criteria specifically indicated in the proposal (e.g. special needs, social, economic and cultural vulnerabilities, etc.):

  • Personal/social competencies – Including here motivation, responsibility, punctuality/regularity, adaptability, tenacity, resourcefulness.
  • Professional competencies – Referred either to the overall academic performance or to specific units of learning outcome (interested by the mobility), as well as other soft and hard skills acquired during previous work based learning and/or voluntary activities.
  • Language competencies – To be evaluated in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • Digital competencies – To be evaluated in line with the Common European Digital Framework (DIGICOMP)

Therefore, if the combined evaluation of all these competencies is crucial for a complete assessment of mobility candidates, as already mentioned above, it is also important to plan and conduct the evaluation activities with the most appropriate methodologies and tools for the purpose of the selection itself.

For example, if the transnational mobility will be implemented in field of Web Marketing and the target group identified in the project are VET learners in Graphic Design, most probably the assessment of their professional competencies will already cover some of the DIGICOMP topics (e.g. Content Creation) and it will be enough to take into consideration the self-assessment provided with the Europass CV provided by the candidates during the application phase.

On the other hand, if the participants are VET learners in Cookery sector and they are applying for a traineeship period abroad, it can be anyway included a test on Digital Competencies with a lower percentage as one of the activities for the assessments of the candidates, considering the fact that digital competencies are not the most important competencies for their area.

In fact, “digital technologies are key drivers of innovation, growth and job creation in a global economy. Not everybody however, has the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to use digital technologies in a critical, collaborative and creative way. This digital competence is becoming a must for employability and active citizenship. (…) Having not the necessary digital competences has direct consequences for employability. In the EU 42% of people with no core computer skills are inactive in the labour market.” (Erasmus+, “DIGICOMP Brochure –  A common European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens”)

Remember!!! The beneficiaries of a Erasmus+ mobility project are not only those who will be selected for the learning period abroad, but also those who will directly or indirectly take part at the preparation, evaluation and exploitation activities. In fact, the use of the European tools for the certification of competencies, as well as the involvement in a selection procedure, has to be considered as a great opportunity for the personal and professional growth of the learners.

3. Planning the selection of learners

Planning and commitment are two fundamental elements to ensure the quality of a mobility project, in all its phases. If you have been responsible for drafting the project proposal, you have already demonstrated a high level of commitment, which you need to maintain for the duration of the project.

One of the first activities to plan and implement at the preparation stage is the selection of learners.

On Table 1 you can find a catalogue with the most important competencies that a learner should demonstrate to have before the departure.

Table 1: Catalogue of Selection Criteria.

Personal/social competencies
Motivation What are the expectations of the candidate about the international mobility experience? Is he/she able to clearly justify the reasons why he/she applying for the learning period abroad?

Motivation usually results from the consciousness of owns plans and priorities. Therefore, the learners should be able to argument how he/she will benefit from the mobility abroad, with reference both to his/her academic path and the personal and professional future growth.

Responsibility I-VET school learners are teenagers to all effects. Anyway, their maturity level can vary greatly depending on many different aspects. This competence should be assessed according to the characteristics of the mobility (duration, presence of accompanying person, tasks of the trainees) and normally evaluated by the teachers/mentors.
Punctuality/Regularity Punctuality is the characteristic of being able to complete a required task or fulfill an obligation before or at a previously designated time. Being punctual at the classroom/workplace, it relates to both “time management” and “etiquette” and it is a competence that can be easily evaluated according to the general behaviour of the learner at school.
Flexibility The extent to which a person can cope with changes in circumstances and think about problems and tasks in novel, creative ways. In other words, the creative thinking skills of the beneficiary. Again, easily evaluable according to the attitude and the behaviour of the learner at school, but also in consideration of previous similar experiences (youth exchanges, multicultural families, study trips, etc.)
Resourcefulness What are the learner’s desires, hopes, fears regarding this experience? Why does he/she think to be the right person to go abroad?

Although preparation activities can contribute to empower the readiness of the learners selected for the mobility, curiosity, positive attitude and personal inclination to problem solving should be already owned by the candidates at a selection stage.

Professional competencies
Academic performance You may want to reward the learners who have achieved better results in the examinations and continuous assessment for the verification of their educational goals.
Units of learning outcome Alternatively and/or complementary, the selection of learners can be done based on the extent to which a learner has achieved specific units of learning outcome, which are particularly relevant for the mobility.
Non-formal learning Has the candidate already being involved in a working experience or traineeship during his/her training path? If yes, it would be worth to investigate on the professional competencies he/she has may developed and if and why he/she thinks this was a useful experience.
Language competencies
Working language Within the framework of language competence, the most important aspect to be assessed is the knowledge of and capacity to work with the language that will be used during the stay abroad. For mobilities longer than one (1) month, the European Commission requires that the beneficiaries implement an online assessment before and after the transnational experience through the Online Linguistic Support (OLS), a platform that offer also online courses in different EU languages. Anyway, the OLS platform does not provides (yet) a system for the acceptance/rejection of learners and licences can be assigned only after the selection of the learners.
Language of the hosting country Knowing the language of the country where the mobility will take place could be another aspect to be assessed for the selection of learners.
Digital competencies
Job/project related Several digital competencies may be necessary for the correct execution of tasks related to the position covered during the stay abroad, as well as for the successful implementation of training and evaluation activities provided by the project itself.
Mobility related During their stay abroad, learners will have different needs and problems that might be better satisfied and solved through digital means. Being able to purchase tickets online, using skype to stay in touch with friends and family, produce a digital video with smartphone to document the experience, being aware of possible digital risks and solving simple problems with the hardware; these are competencies that, if already owned by the learner, will make the whole experience smoother and even more memorable!
  1. Balance of the competencies for selection

Depending on the objectives and the methodology described in your mobility project, you should have already assigned a different weight to each of the four competencies’ categories listed above. This can be easily done in terms of percentage value, thus facilitating the elaboration of a graded list once that all the eligibility check and assessment activities will have been completed.

On Table 2, you can find a table that takes into consideration different types of evaluation and highlights how you can use the collected information at later stage of the project implementation.

Table 2: Balance of the Competencies for Selection.

INTERNAL EVALUATION CV/CERTIFICATES INTERVIEW / VIDEO PITCH WRITTEN TEST / LETTER How to use the results collected during the selection of learners
Personal competencies (e.g. 35%)
Motivation Matching with schools/companies and Section 4 of the ECVET LA
Responsibility Training to empower learners
Flexibility Matching with schools/companies
Professional competencies (e.g. 35%)
Academic performance Section 3 of the ECVET LA
Units of learning outcome
Non-formal learning
Language competencies (e.g. 20%)
Working language Training to empower learners and Sections 3/4 of the ECVET LA
Language hosting country
Digital competencies (e.g. 10%)
Job/project related Training to empower learners and Sections 3/4 of the ECVET LA
Mobility related

Remember!!! Besides weighting the competencies for the selection of the beneficiaries, you should design each evaluation activity so that results can be marked between 0 and 10.

4. Matrix for the elaboration Of the graded list

By using a software, you can set automatic calculations and other useful formulas for the elaboration of data (e.g. LibreOffice), you can create a spreadsheet that supports you in calculating and summing the weighted average of the results from the different evaluation activities participated by the candidates.

In the following example, learners were chosen based on their personal, professional and language competencies.

Table 3: Example of the selection criteria breakdown.


Remember!!! With spreadsheets, you can also correlate cells between different sheets or even different files. Once you have created your internal software, this will facilitate the administrative work for present and future projects.

5. Competencies assessment TOOL

The Competencies Assessment Tool is available for download.

The resource is elaborated in such a way that has flexible fields of competencies selection and flexible fields of selection criteria breakdown. The Tool can be directly filed by partnerships that are promoting European mobility projects, in order to obtain immediately the results of the competencies assessment after the insertion of the required information.

The Competencies Assessment Tool is divided into three sections:

Competencies Assessment Tool – before Departure: to be applied by the sending organization, during the selection process, with a view to select learners for the mobility programme and to get know participants profile and their competencies before their participation in the mobility programme.

Here it is the direct link to access the Competencies Assessment Tool – before Departure.

Phase and Stage of the Pedagogical Circuit in which the Tool should be used:

Phase 1: Before Mobility

Stage 3: Selecting the Learners for Mobility

Competencies Assessment Tool – upon Arrival: to be applied by the sending organization, upon arrival of participants, with a view to get know participants evolution after their participation in the mobility programme.

Here it is the direct link to access the Competencies Assessment Tool – upon Arrival.

Phase and Stage of the Pedagogical Circuit in which the Tool should be used:

Phase 3: After Mobility

Stage 6: Verifying Competencies

Catalogue of Selection Criteria: it is a catalogue of competencies divided into four main clusters, with a view to support the sending organization on the competencies assessment.

Here it is the direct link to access the Catalogue of Selection Criteria.


Vuorikari, R., Punie, Y., Carretero Gomez S., Van den Brande, G. (2016). DigComp 2.0: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. Update Phase 1: The Conceptual Reference Model. Luxembourg Publication Office of the European Union. EUR 27948 EN. doi:10.2791/11517.

Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission (2018). Erasmus+ Programme Guide. Version 2 (2018): 15/12/2017.