Activ'Action, 2022 laureate of the Degroof Petercam Foundation: "in the 21st century, everything revolves around social skills."
By Florence Desmarets - Degroof Petercam Foundation Impact Manager
Activ'Action, the new DP Foundation laureate, focuses on so-called soft skills to make careers a constructive, enriching experience.
Did you already know that employees typically change jobs 5 to 14 times during their careers?
More and more studies show that soft skills (emotional intelligence, communication skills, relational skills) and behavioral competencies (self-confidence, social cohesion, optimism, perseverance, ambition etc.) are negatively affected by unemployment. However, such ‘soft skills’ are essential in the current and future labor markets.
As the labor market is undergoing a profound transformation, employees are more than ever required to sharpen their adaptability. This evolution is necessary to keep pace with the rapid pace of change in the working environment. Hard skills, after all, quickly become obsolete with the emergence of new technologies, while non-technical competencies - so-called 'soft skills' - remain relevant because they are transferable and vital for people without a diploma or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
That observation was the starting point for the creation of Activ’Action
Investing in a plan to develop inclusive soft skills
In 2014, Emilie Schmitt, Fabien Schmitt, and Pauline Voldoire took up the challenge of tackling career switch and career challenges to offer job seekers a constructive and engaging experience.
They have developed a unique methodology based on 15 soft skills that are crucial for today's job market and tomorrow's challenges.
This methodology aims to develop skills at every stage of the professional career by joining forces with the four main actors of the labor market: people making a career switch, players dedicated to social job integration, companies, and public institutions.
Direct impact Activ'Action organizes free, collaborative workshops on learning soft skills for job seekers and individuals making a career switch. In doing so, the organization aims to create a stimulating environment where participants can continue developing their skills. The social skills taught include optimism, working as a team, active listening, verbal expression, persistence, and stress resistance, to name a few.
Using peer learning during the workshops creates a positive interaction. After the training, each participant will have the opportunity to become a trainer, start workshops, and further disseminate the Activ'Action method. According to the impact measurement conducted in 2021, 99% of those who participated in a workshop developed at least one soft skill.
Indirect impact Activ'Action organizes workshops and information sessions for companies, social enterprises, social workers, reintegration structures, and public institutions. In this way, the organization promotes a constructive, non-discriminatory recruitment process that benefits all candidates afterward.
Systemic impact Activ'Action acts as an advocate and engages in lobbying with public institutions and national communities. Its actions aim, on the one hand, at the unhindered return to work and, on the other hand, at reforming public policies on job counseling.
Since 2014, the organization has reached 21,000 individuals and has organized 4,500 workshops. In addition, some 500 individuals have since received animator training.
Evolution and ambitions
Although Activ'Action has French roots, the organization has been active in Belgium for several years. During that time, strong links have been forged with various associations and public services in Brussels and Wallonia dedicated to employment. But the core of its activities is BeCentral, a hub of some sixty non-profit organizations, startups, and enterprises with social impact.
The Foundation and Activ'Action are entering into a new, five-year partnership. Its main objectives are international development, thus opening regional offices and rolling out the strategy to achieve systemic impact.
We are extremely honored and excited by this recognition which underscores the need for our current and future employment initiatives. This award from the Degroof Petercam Foundation helps us achieve our goal of systemic change faster.
Emilie Schmitt, co-founder and director of Activ'Action.
Do you feel addressed?
Are you changing jobs? Then participate in a free workshop to turn your career change into a constructive story: www.activaction.org/agenda
Do you work in a company, public service or organization dedicated to reintegrating workers? Work with Activ'Action: www.activaction.co
Activ'Action is your springboard to a job that gives you renewed satisfaction.
Degroof Petercam Foundation and the jury of 2022
The Degroof Petercam Foundation (DPF) supports organizations in the employment sector with innovative solutions. These solutions may concern the development of future-oriented skills, the creation of new jobs with a future by making entrepreneurship more attractive, or help for people who have difficulty finding a suitable job.
DPF selects one organization each year and supports it financially for five years through a donation of 1 million euros. In addition, the Foundation offers non-financial support tailored to the organization’s needs.