This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The author is solely responsible for this publication (communication) and the Commission accepts no responsibility for any use may be made of the information contained therein. In compliance of the new GDPR framework, please note that the Partnership will only process your personal data in the sole interest and purpose of the project and without any prejudice to your rights.

In today’s world, certain tools stand out for their versatility and insightful impact on personal growth and skill development. Journaling, a key component of the BE-21-SKILLED toolkit, aligns with the project's mission to integrate 21st-century skills into education. The BE-21-SKILLED project recognises the potential benefits of introducing these skills into STEM curricula. This tool has been designed to guide STEM students how to acquire self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance.

Journaling for self-management

Self-management skills require individuals to act consciously and responsibly, accept feedback, adapt to change, and seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. This comprises traits like self-discipline and a professional attitude (Līce, et al., 2023). Journaling provides the perfect platform for cultivating self-management:
Time management: Through journaling, individuals can develop effective time management skills by setting priorities, allocating time for tasks, and reflecting on their time usage and productivity patterns.
Goal setting: Setting and monitoring goals becomes more achievable through journaling. The act of breaking goals into actionable steps and regularly tracking progress enhances decision-making abilities.
Reflection and self-awareness: Journaling encourages self-awareness by prompting individuals to reflect on their choices, reactions, and outcomes. This fosters a proactive approach to managing tasks and responsibilities.

Journaling for purposefulness

Having a clear sense of purpose is vital for staying motivated and focused on long-term objectives. Purposefulness refers to “the quality of having a sense of direction and a strong motivation to achieve a specific outcome” (Līce, et al., 2023, p. 30). Purposefulness gives life meaning and direction. Journaling plays a vital role in cultivating this sense of purpose by means of:
Clarifying aspirations: Journaling allows individuals to define and articulate their goals and aspirations, particularly relevant for STEM students seeking a clear path.
Self-discovery: Through journaling, students can enhance their self-awareness by reflecting on their strengths, interests, and values. This self-discovery process connects their goals to their larger aspirations.
Organizational skills: Regular reflection and goal setting in journals also help students develop organizational and time management skills.

Journaling for perseverance

Perseverance highlights the capacity to store energy over the long term, conquer obstacles, and maintain a solid commitment to reaching goals (Griban et al., 2020, as cited in Līce et al., 2023). It's a quality that distinguishes those who achieve their goals from those who don't. Journaling is a valuable tool for cultivating perseverance by:
Cultivating a growth mindset: By reflecting on challenges and setbacks in their journals, individuals can cultivate a growth mindset, which is the belief in the capacity to learn and improve through effort.
Resilience building: Documenting strategies used to overcome obstacles in journals strengthens resilience, allowing individuals to better navigate adversity.
Self-motivation: The act of journaling itself can enhance one's ability to self-motivate and stay committed to their goals, even in the face of difficulties.

Journaling is more than just putting pen to paper; it's a journey of self-discovery, growth, and skill development. Whether you're aiming to enhance your self-management, clarify your purpose, or reinforce your perseverance, journaling can be your guiding light. STEM students, educators, and professionals alike can connect the power of journaling with the BE-21-SKILLED project to chart a path to self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance in the 21st century. So, pick up that journal and start writing your way to success in the 21st century, with the support and resources provided by the toolkit of the BE-21-SKILLED project.
The BE-21-SKILLED The BE-21-SKILLED project has become a pillar of cutting-edge educational strategies to develop important skills in STEM students. For more information and access to the tools, visit


Līce, A., Lapiņa, I., Kamola, L., Gaile-Sarkane, E. (2023). European Skills Panorama. Building an Ecosystem for 21st Century Skills Education in STEM. Riga Technical University (RTU). Doi

In an era dominated by rapid technological advancements and an ever-evolving job market, the need for a robust and relevant education system has never been more critical. Particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, where the pace of change is constant, graduates not only need to have strong technical knowledge but also require a comprehensive set of 21st-century skills (21CS) to thrive. These competencies, which are difficult for artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to replicate, are crucial in securing a place in the future workforce.

Understanding 21st-Century Skills

21st-century skills encompass a broad range of competencies that are vital for success in today’s global and digital society. These skills include, but are not limited to, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and digital literacy. As automation becomes more prevalent, the ability to perform tasks that require these skills becomes increasingly important. These skills enable individuals to handle complex problems, devise innovative solutions, and manage interpersonal relationships effectively — aspects of professional life that machines are unlikely to take over completely any time soon.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

In STEM fields, critical thinking and problem solving are paramount. The ability to assess situations critically, analyse data comprehensively, and devise effective solutions is invaluable. This not only involves mathematical or technical acumen but also the capability to think outside the box and approach problems from innovative angles. As problems become more complex and nuanced with technological growth, these skills are increasingly in demand.

Creativity and Innovation

While machines can optimise processes and perform tasks with precision, they significantly lack the human ability to create and innovate. Creativity is not just about artistic expression but is essential in STEM for developing new methods, imagining cutting-edge technologies, or solving problems through unconventional means. This skill ensures that STEM graduates can drive innovation and keep up with technological trends that reshape industries.

Collaboration and Communication

The stereotypical image of the lone scientist or engineer is far from reality in today’s interconnected world. Collaboration across different teams, disciplines, and cultures is now the norm. Effective communication and teamwork skills are necessary to manage projects, lead diverse teams, and bring complex ideas to fruition. These skills ensure that individuals can work well in a variety of settings, which is often where AI falls short.

Digital Literacy

As the backbone of modern STEM fields, digital literacy is a must-have skill. This does not just refer to basic competencies like using software or navigating online platforms; it involves understanding cybersecurity principles, data privacy, and the ethical implications of digital work. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, having a solid grounding in digital ethics and security practices becomes more crucial.

Socio-Emotional Skills

Often overlooked in the technical domains, socio-emotional skills such as empathy, grit, and resilience are critical, especially in challenging and high-stakes environments. These skills help professionals manage stress, persevere through difficulties, negotiate effectively, and maintain morale among their teams. They are essential for leadership and for fostering a healthy, productive workplace culture.


As we look towards the future, the landscape of STEM careers will continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate. The integration of 21st-century skills into STEM education will not only enhance the employability of graduates but will also prepare them to meet the challenges of a dynamic and automated world head-on. To future-proof our education system, we must ensure that these essential skills are embedded in STEM curricula, providing a well-rounded foundation that will enable graduates to innovate, adapt, and excel no matter what the future holds.

The need for a transformative educational approach that anticipates the demands of the future workforce is clear. By nurturing these indispensable skills, we can equip the next generation of STEM professionals to drive progress and spearhead innovations in their respective fields, ensuring that they are not just participants but leaders in the digital age.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the demand for graduates equipped with robust 21st-century skills (21CS) is at an all-time high. These skills, which include critical thinking, ethical judgment, and socio-emotional intelligence, are increasingly recognized as indispensable for success in the modern workforce. This is particularly true in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), where technological advancements and digital transformation are defining the future. The BE-21-SKILLED project stands at the forefront of this educational revolution, aiming to reshape how these essential skills are integrated into STEM curricula.

The Imperative for 21CS in STEM

The traditional educational models, with their focus on rote learning and standardized testing, are proving inadequate for preparing students to meet the complex challenges of the 21st century. As automation and artificial intelligence continue to transform the workplace, the skills that cannot be replicated by machines—such as creative problem-solving, empathy, and adaptability—become more critical. The BE-21-SKILLED project is designed to address this gap by fostering these skills through innovative educational tools and teaching methods.

Innovative Tools to Enrich Curricula

One of the primary objectives of the BE-21-SKILLED project is to develop innovative tools that enrich the STEM curricula. These tools are not just about imparting knowledge but are crafted to enhance skills like ethical judgment, relationship maintenance, handling ambiguity, and strategic negotiation. By integrating these competencies into the curriculum, the project aims to equip students with the necessary skills to thrive in an AI-driven world.

Rethinking Teaching Methods

The project also puts a strong emphasis on innovative teaching methods that break away from traditional routines which often contradict the ethos of 21CS. These new methods are designed to not only instill necessary skills but also to disrupt the conventional teaching dynamics, making learning more interactive, problem-based, and reflective of real-world scenarios.

The Central Role of HEI Teachers

At the heart of the BE-21-SKILLED initiative are the Higher Education Institution (HEI) teachers, who are instrumental in the development of student skills and competencies. The project acknowledges that many HEI teachers may not currently have the 21CS needed to effectively teach these skills due to their traditional training and the lack of professional development opportunities focused on these areas.

To tackle this, BE-21-SKILLED aims to:

The project targets three main groups:

STEM HEI Teachers: By upskilling teachers in 21CS, the project ensures that educators are not just transmitters of knowledge but facilitators of skill development.

STEM Students: The focus on upskilling students in 21CS aims to better prepare them for the demands of the labor market, particularly in terms of soft skills and adaptability.

Female STEM Students: Special attention is given to female students who face unique challenges in STEM fields. By fostering skills like grit and empathy, the project supports their retention and success in STEM disciplines.

In essence, the BE-21-SKILLED project is not just about teaching students to excel in STEM fields—it’s about shaping the innovators, problem-solvers, and leaders of tomorrow. This project, with its holistic approach to education, is a beacon for the future of learning, where development of the mind is complemented by the cultivation of the heart.

In today’s rapidly evolving global landscape, where technology and innovation drive economic growth, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education has become more critical than ever. However, to truly prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, educators must go beyond traditional teaching methods and curricula. Integrating 21st-century skills—such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication—into STEM education is essential for developing students who are not only technically proficient but also versatile and innovative thinkers.

The Gap in Current STEM Education

While STEM education focuses on imparting hard skills like mathematics and science, there is a growing recognition of the need for soft skills, which are often overlooked. Today’s employers look not only for technical ability but also for skills that machines cannot easily replicate. These include emotional intelligence, ethical judgment, and the ability to work collaboratively across global networks. Unfortunately, many STEM programs do not sufficiently address this need, leaving students ill-prepared for the complexities of the modern workforce.

Why 21st-Century Skills Matter

The integration of 21st-century skills into STEM curricula is not just about enhancing employability. These skills foster intellectual engagement, critical thinking, and the ability to approach complex problems from multiple perspectives. They are crucial for:

Innovation: Creativity and problem-solving skills encourage students to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.

Adaptability: In a fast-changing world, being able to adapt and tackle new challenges is crucial. Skills like adaptability and continuous learning are therefore indispensable.

Collaboration: Most modern STEM fields require teamwork, often in diverse and globalised teams. Effective communication and interpersonal skills are vital for working successfully in groups.

Ethical Judgement and Social Responsibility: As STEM fields play a significant role in shaping the future, ethical judgement and the ability to evaluate the social impacts of scientific and technological developments are more important than ever.

Strategies for Integrating 21st-Century Skills in STEM

1. Project-Based Learning (PBL)

PBL is an effective educational approach that challenges students to learn through engagement in real-world problems. Projects are designed to address complex questions or challenges, requiring students to engage in investigation and problem-solving, develop their knowledge and skills, and potentially come up with a solution or response. This method promotes not only technical skills but also critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

2. Interdisciplinary Approaches

Integrating interdisciplinary studies into STEM education can enhance learning outcomes by connecting scientific and mathematical concepts with broader social, cultural, and ethical issues. This approach helps students understand the relevance of their technical knowledge and develops their ability to think critically about the role of STEM in societal issues.

3. Focus on Soft Skills Development

Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence can be integrated into STEM lessons through group projects, presentations, and peer-to-peer teaching strategies. These activities encourage students to express their ideas clearly, work collaboratively to solve problems, and support their peers in learning.

4. Use of Technology and Digital Tools

Leveraging technology not only enhances technical skills but also helps in developing digital literacy—a key 21st-century competency. Tools like virtual labs, digital portfolios, and coding exercises can provide hands-on learning opportunities that are both engaging and educational.

5. Continuous Professional Development for Educators

Educators play a crucial role in the successful integration of 21st-century skills into STEM education. Providing teachers with ongoing professional development opportunities can equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively teach these skills.


As we look towards the future, the need for a holistic approach to STEM education becomes increasingly clear. By integrating 21st-century skills into STEM curricula, we can prepare students not just to succeed professionally but to lead and innovate in an interconnected world. The shift from traditional rote learning to a more integrated, skill-focused approach is not merely educational reform; it is a vital strategy to prepare the next generation of thinkers, leaders, and creators who will face the complex challenges of tomorrow.

This approach not only benefits the individual student but also enriches the global community by fostering a workforce that is capable, ethical, and visionary. The time to embrace this change is now, as the intersection of technical proficiency and broad-based skills will define the trajectory of our collective future.

In the landscape of STEM education, the demand for more than just technical knowledge is becoming increasingly evident. Soft skills, particularly those related to emotional intelligence and empathy, have taken center stage as the BE-21-SKILLED project emphasizes. Role playing emerges as an innovative tool to foster empathy and emotional intelligence among STEM students. In this article, we will explore the world of role playing and how it plays an essential role in cultivating empathy and emotional intelligence, equipping students to excel not only in their technical domains but also in the complex world of human interaction.

The role of role playing

Role playing is a dynamic educational technique that places students in simulated scenarios where they assume different roles and perspectives (Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, 2023). These scenarios often mirror real-life situations and are designed to elicit emotional reactions and thoughtful responses. While role playing is a versatile tool applicable across various fields, it holds a special place in STEM education for several compelling reasons.

Empathy building through role-playing

Sala et al., (2020) as cited in Līce, et al., 2023), argue that empathy is the basis of comprehending and connecting with others on an emotional level. It is the capacity to be aware of someone's emotions. Role playing provides a unique platform for students to step into the shoes of others, experiencing situations from multiple perspectives.

Here's how role-playing fosters empathy among STEM students:

Experiencing diverse emotions: Through role-playing scenarios that involve emotional interactions, students get the chance to experience and understand a wide range of emotions, helping them connect with others on a deeper level.

Effective communication: Role playing hones communication skills, enabling students to express their thoughts and emotions more effectively. This skill is invaluable in STEM fields where clear communication is vital for collaboration and project success.

Navigating complex situations: Role playing allows students to practice ethical decision-making and navigate complex interpersonal situations. This experience equips them with the ability to handle difficult scenarios with empathy and tact.

Enhancing emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence entails having the capacity to process emotional data and apply it to reasoning and other cognitive task American Psychological Association (2023). It's a skill set that is particularly valuable in STEM careers, where teamwork and effective collaboration are key to success.

Role playing contributes to emotional intelligence development in the following ways:

Self-awareness: Role playing encourages self-reflection and self-awareness as students analyze their own emotional responses to various scenarios.

Social awareness: By engaging with others in simulated situations, students learn to recognize and understand the emotions and perspectives of their peers, contributing to improved social awareness.

Effective expression: Role playing enhances the ability to express emotions and ideas clearly and empathetically, a valuable skill in STEM fields where conveying complex technical concepts is often required.

Teamwork and collaboration: Through role playing, students develop teamwork and collaborative problem-solving abilities, which are critical for success in STEM projects and research.

Role playing is a transformative tool in STEM education, enriching students with vital skills in empathy and emotional intelligence. By engaging in simulated scenarios and exploring various perspectives, STEM students not only enhance their interpersonal and communication skills but also develop emotional intelligence. Through the toolkit of the BE-21-SKILLED project, these abilities are recognized, therefore, it aims at introducing them into the STEM curricula.
To learn more about the project and to access the tools visit


American Psychological Association (2023). Emotional intelligence.

Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, (2023). Role playing

Līce, A., Lapiņa, I., Kamola, L., Gaile-Sarkane, E. (2023). European Skills Panorama. Building an Ecosystem for 21st Century Skills Education in STEM. Riga Technical University (RTU). Doi

In the domain of skill development, few tools are as versatile and impactful as SMART Goals. This structured approach to goal setting has the power to transform individuals, particularly STEM students and professionals, by fostering three crucial skills: self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance. The BE-21-SKILLED project is aware of the advantages that could result from including these abilities in STEM programs. In this article, we'll examine how SMART Goals act as the link connecting these crucial characteristics.

SMART Goals for self-management

Self-management skills require individuals to act consciously and responsibly, accept feedback, adapt to change, and seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. This alternatively comprises traits like self-discipline and a professional attitude (Līce, et al., 2023). SMART Goals provide the blueprint for self-management by:

Setting priorities: SMART Goals help individuals increase their ability to set realistic and meaningful goals. This process inherently promotes prioritization.

Time management: By defining specific and time-bound goals, individuals improve their understanding of the importance of prioritization and time management.

Planning and organization: SMART Goals require detailed planning and organization to achieve desired outcomes. This cultivates planning and organization skills.

Self-discipline: Pursuing SMART Goals instills self-discipline and self-motivation, important components of effective self-management.

SMART Goals for purposefulness

Purposefulness refers to “the quality of having a sense of direction and a strong motivation to achieve a specific outcome” (Līce, et al., 2023, p. 30). SMART Goals guide individuals toward purposefulness:

Defining aspirations: SMART Goals encourage individuals to define specific and meaningful goals. This process helps clarify one's aspirations.

Actionable plans: To achieve SMART Goals, individuals must develop actionable plans, aligning their objectives with their larger purpose.

Time management: Effective goal setting through SMART Goals cultivates time management skills, allowing individuals to make efficient use of their time.

Resilience and growth mindset: The process of setting and pursuing SMART Goals fosters a growth mindset and resilience, as individuals learn to adapt and persist in the face of challenges.

SMART Goals for perseverance

perseverance highlights the capacity to store energy over the long term, conquer obstacles, and maintain a solid commitment to reaching goals (Griban et al., 2020, as cited in Līce et al., 2023). SMART Goals are instrumental in cultivating perseverance:

Specific goals: SMART Goals, by their nature, involve specific objectives. This specificity helps individuals focus on their goals and maintain determination.

Measuring progress: SMART Goals emphasize the importance of measuring progress, which enhances an individual's belief in their capacity to achieve their objectives.

Actionable steps: Breaking down SMART Goals into actionable steps promotes resilience and perseverance in pursuing these objectives.

Accountability: SMART Goals require individuals to take accountability for their personal goals, a practice that reinforces perseverance.

SMART Goals empower individuals to excel in self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance and the BE-21-SKILLED project aims at including those soft skills into STEM curricula. To learn more about the project and to access the tools, visit

In the evolving field of education, the integration of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities is proving to be invaluable. For educators who excel in SEL but hesitate to lead science experiments due to a lack of confidence, STEM activities present a unique opportunity to foster essential life skills.

The Convergence of STEM and SEL

SEL in the context of STEM education is not just an added benefit but a fundamental component that enhances the learning experience. It prepares students not only academically but also emotionally by developing resilience, empathy, and effective communication skills. These competencies are crucial for personal and professional success.

The Role of Educators in SEL

Educators like Katryn, who initially lacked confidence in leading STEM activities, have found that incorporating SEL can significantly boost both their and their students' confidence. Tania Dearden, a STEM Program developer at foundry10, observed these changes firsthand in her collaborations with educators. She noted how seamlessly SEL was integrated into STEM activities, transforming potential frustrations into learning opportunities about teamwork and empathy.

SEL Skills Developed Through STEM Activities

1. Self-Awareness:

Students learn to identify and reflect on their emotions, recognising their strengths and areas for improvement. This is particularly evident during challenging tasks where emotions can range from frustration during failure to joy in success. For example, during brainstorming or testing phases, students often experience a mix of excitement and disappointment. Educators can facilitate self-awareness by prompting students to express their feelings using metaphors, colors, or even emojis.

2. Self-Management:

Effective self-management involves regulating emotions and handling stress. Techniques such as deep breathing, positive visualisation, and creating personal spaces help students manage their responses to stress. These practices are essential during intense project phases and can dramatically improve students' focus and emotional resilience.

3. Social Awareness:

Empathy plays a critical role in collaborative projects. Students must understand and respect diverse perspectives, which is crucial during team conflicts or brainstorming sessions. Educators can foster this understanding by setting group norms and encouraging perspective-taking through reflective discussions.

4. Relationship Skills:

STEM activities require constant collaboration, making relationship skills vital. Conflicts over project roles or design choices are common and provide opportunities to practice communication, conflict resolution, and active listening. Assigning team roles and guiding structured conflict resolution conversations are effective ways for educators to enhance these skills among students.

5. Responsible Decision-Making:

This involves identifying problems, evaluating possible solutions, and considering their impacts. The Engineering Design Process is a structured method that mirrors responsible decision-making. By practicing each step of this process, students develop a systematic approach to solving problems, which they can apply in various life scenarios.

Implementing SEL in STEM Education

To effectively incorporate SEL into STEM activities, educators should:

Establish clear group norms that promote inclusivity and respect.

Utilize reflective questioning to enhance self and social awareness.

Teach and model self-management techniques to students.

Design activities that require teamwork and provide opportunities for relationship building.

Guide students through the Engineering Design Process to improve decision-making skills.


Integrating Social Emotional Learning into STEM activities not only enhances educational outcomes but also prepares students for the complexities of real-world interactions and workplaces. By focusing on SEL constructs, educators can provide a more rounded and impactful learning experience that fosters essential soft skills alongside technical prowess. As such, STEM activities are not just about learning science and mathematics; they are a platform for developing critical life skills that help students navigate their educational and professional journeys with confidence and competence.

Educators are encouraged to start with one SEL skill focus per STEM activity and gradually integrate more as they grow more comfortable with the practices. This approach ensures that students receive a balanced education that prepares them adequately for the future.

In the increasingly complex landscape of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), technical expertise remains critical, but the importance of soft skills is becoming more pronounced than ever before. As STEM fields become more intertwined with issues requiring interpersonal collaboration and innovative problem-solving, soft skills are proving to be indispensable. Here, we delve into why these skills are essential and how they complement the technical proficiencies of STEM students.

Understanding Soft Skills in the Context of STEM

Soft skills refer to the cluster of personality traits, behaviours, and interpersonal aptitudes that people use to navigate their environment, work well with others, communicate effectively, and achieve their goals. For STEM students, who are often stereotyped as predominantly technical, integrating soft skills is crucial for several reasons:

Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities:

Problem-solving is not just about applying learned knowledge but also about thinking on one’s feet, adapting to new situations, and coming up with creative solutions. Soft skills like adaptability, creativity, and critical thinking play pivotal roles in these scenarios.

Effective Communication:

Whether it's explaining complex technical concepts to non-experts or writing clear and concise reports, communication skills are vital. STEM students must articulate their ideas clearly and present data effectively to various audiences.

Strong Teamwork and Collaboration:

Most STEM projects require a collaborative effort. Skills such as teamwork, empathy, and interpersonal skills help to build productive relationships and successful collaborations.

Leadership and Management Skills:

As STEM students progress in their careers, leadership skills become essential. These include the ability to motivate others, delegate tasks, and make strategic decisions, all underpinned by strong ethical standards and a sense of responsibility.

Adaptability and Flexibility:

In a field as dynamic as STEM, where technologies and methodologies continually evolve, the ability to adapt and learn is invaluable. Flexibility and a willingness to embrace change are traits that will always serve STEM students well.

Integrating Soft Skills into STEM Education

To truly benefit from soft skills, STEM education programmes must integrate these into their curricula through innovative teaching methods and practical engagement. Here’s how this can be achieved:

Interdisciplinary Learning:

Courses that combine elements of science, technology, engineering, and maths with social sciences can help students appreciate the bigger picture and understand the societal impact of their technical work.

Project-Based Learning:

By working on real-world problems in teams, students not only apply their technical knowledge but also improve their problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills.

Industry Partnerships:

Collaborations with companies and internships provide students with firsthand experience of the workplace, allowing them to develop their soft skills in a real-world context.

Mentorship and Leadership Training:

Programmes designed to foster leadership qualities, ethical decision-making, and responsible management can prepare STEM students for future roles as leaders.


The integration of soft skills into STEM education is not just a necessity but a strategic enhancement that can significantly uplift the capabilities of students. As the boundaries of technology expand, the human elements of creativity, empathy, flexibility, and interpersonal communication remain irreplaceable by machines. Schools and universities, by embracing innovative methods and comprehensive curricula, have the power to mould well-rounded professionals who are as proficient in personal interactions as they are in computational calculations.

For STEM students, excelling in soft skills could well be what distinguishes the great from the merely competent, enabling them to lead, innovate, and collaborate on a global stage. The future of STEM is not just about understanding the world, but also about improving it, one well-rounded graduate at a time.

In essence, soft skills empower STEM students to navigate complex challenges, lead with confidence, and innovate with a human touch, making them indispensable in the modern workforce and beyond.

In May 2023, Copenhagen, Denmark, hosted an important meeting for the Be21Skilled project, organized by the European E-Learning Institute. This meeting brought together representatives from Riga Technical University, ACEEU, University of Belgrade, Momentum, and the host institution, EUEI.

The primary focus of the meeting was the development of the PR2 skills and tools, with an eye towards the future PR3 for teacher training and the creation of the eCompass included in PR4. All the progress made was aligned with the project's overarching goal of stimulating innovative learning and teaching practices to develop 21st-century skills in STEM students, enabling them to better respond to labour market demands.

The partners collaborated efficiently and made promising progress across all aspects of the project. Communication and teamwork were central to the meeting, with each partner providing valuable and insightful contributions. Breakthroughs were achieved in refining the skills and tools incorporated in PR2. Additionally, plans were formulated for delivering teacher training at Riga University, and the group discussed and developed visuals for the eCompass.

While in Copenhagen, the partners took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the city's vibrant culture and enjoy the favorable weather. Some visited the iconic Little Mermaid, while others explored the picturesque Nyhavn Canal. As a group, they enjoyed the local cuisine, after a productive day of meetings.

In summary, the Be21Skilled project meeting in Copenhagen was a testament to collaboration, innovation, and cultural exchange. It represented a significant milestone in the journey toward transforming the 21st-century workforce and fostering the development of essential skills for the future.


In an ever-evolving world, the question of how to prepare students for future challenges becomes increasingly significant. The Be-21-Skilled project, led by ACEEU, is at the forefront of this endeavour, seeking to identify and nurture the essential skills for student success in the 21st century.

The Second Transnational Project Meeting

The project consortium convened for their second Transnational Project Meeting (TPM) in Muenster, hosted by the ACEEU. This meeting was a pivotal moment for sharing insights and research findings on what skills are deemed crucial in today’s economy.

Key Findings and Discussions

The discussions at the TPM centred around the outcomes of an EU-wide survey and regional analyses conducted through desk research. These findings are integral in understanding the skills landscape and the specific competencies that students need to thrive in the new economy. The focus is not just on academic knowledge but on a broader set of skills that include critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability, among others.

The Be-21-Skilled Toolkit

One of the significant outcomes of the TPM is the initiation of the Be-21-Skilled Toolkit. Under the leadership of ACEEU, the partners are collaborating to create a resource that will assist teachers and trainers in fostering these vital skills among STEM students and graduates. This toolkit represents a practical step towards translating research findings into actionable strategies in education.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern economy, the Be-21-Skilled project stands as a beacon of progress in education. By focusing on the development of 21st-century skills, ACEEU and its partners are paving the way for a generation of students who are not only academically proficient but also adept at meeting the challenges of tomorrow's world. Stay tuned for more updates and breakthroughs from this trailblazing initiative.

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