OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION COMPETENCE AND POTENTIAL LINKS TO THE LEARNING OF INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS. REVIEW OF KEY ISSUES AND RELEVANCE OF THE OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT IN SLOVAKIA
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Technological changes taking place over the past decades which are to be fully reflected in the world of work in the coming years introduce new pressures on the labour force. The scope of current and newly anticipated skills and an individual’s responsibility to remain flexible over considerably longer periods of his/her working life is unprecedented. The young generation in Europe struggles with effectively adapting to the knowledge received in formal education and too many young adults are not able to assume an adequate and full time job position. The opportunity identification competence is being increasingly recognized in psychological, educational and economic research as a crucial skill closely connecting an individual and his/her future professional and personal prospects. We discuss the concept of the opportunity identification competence and how it relates to individual skills and their development from the point of view of individuals and firms. We present in more detail the recent experimental research on the opportunity identification competence at employee level developed by Lans et al. (2015a) and Baggen et al. (2015b) in which also important links to innovation and the workplace learning were explored. In this paper is intended to serve as a methodological journal for the application of the Opportunity Competence Assessment Test (OCAT) in the Slovak environment and cross-country comparisons, especially with Lans et al. (2015a) research on small and medium sized enterprises. In the context of changing professions and requirements for new skills, we are proposing that opportunity competence framework has relevance not only to entrepreneurs, (founders and or owners of new or existing ventures) but to individuals and employees in general. Lans et al. (2015b). Improving employability is the key policy priority in the EU countries, concerning all generations of individuals. The opportunity identification competence might be the crucial innovative approach because of its novelty, advocacy of employee importance irrespective of company hierarchy and promotion of lifelong learning and workplace learning mechanisms. This has been recognized also by European policies (EP 2006 a,b) in a decision on lifelong learning actions and recommendations on lifelong learning competencies and skills which list also entrepreneurship and specifically opportunity identification skills. Finally, we point to the generally limited empirical evidence on opportunity competence, and lack of such evidence for Slovak companies. An experimental approach to opportunity identification and application of the method developed by Lans et al. (2015a) and Baggen et al. (2015 a,b) might via its original and complex view of opportunity competence generate crucial and novel information on adults skills, competencies and employability development in Slovakia.
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