YOUnique4Europe - Mapping and presenting your unique personal and social competences for better employability in a digital world
ERASMUS+ : 2019-1-DE02-KA202-006119

Exercise 1.4 - 21st century skills

If the request of technological and soft skills was already growing to the detriment of physical and manual skills before, the pandemic that started at the beginning of 2020 has exacerbated this trend. It has forced many companies to step up their use of new technologies to facilitate remote exchanges and evolve the way they recruit, hire and work. Most recruiters are in the process of adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges and many are now using social media networks, video conferencing to screen and interview candidates, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and text messaging to connect with candidates.

The so called 21st century skills, which are a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits, are critical to succeed in today’s complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society. These key competences can be categorized in four skill components of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication (the 4 Cs of the 21st century).


Before you start this exercise

Helpful to do this exercise:

How to complete this exercise

Step 1 – 21st century skills

Watch the video Skills every child will need to succeed in 21st century by Dr Laura A. Jana and note keywords and concepts next to each of the following skills category. Is everything clear? Discuss your notes with someone you like to talk with.

Me skills ______________________________________________________
We skills (social skills) _________________________________________
Why skills _____________________________________________________
Will skills ______________________________________________________
Wiggle skills ___________________________________________________
Wobble skills __________________________________________________
What if skills (possibility skills) _________________________________

Step 2 – Reflecting on the 4Cs of the 21st century

For some scholars the skills required in the 21st century can be grouped referring to four sets of key skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Draw a 4Cs quadrant:


For each skill jot down:

  1. what you know about it,
  2. how you already use it your daily life, and
  3. how this skill can be used in a better way.


Step 3 - Presenting the 21st century changes in the world of work

This step is better done in couples or small groups.

Watch videos, read articles, listen to podcasts, or speak with people to map the major changes we can see that will have an impact on the labour market in the coming 3-5-10-20 years. Then identify how 2-3 jobs/industries will be impacted by some of these 21st century’s trends and if and how they will adjust to the new needs and challenges, also making some examples and reflection on how it used to be and how it will (probably) be. Prepare a presentation to explain your findings to other people and think of a way to generate a specific debate on an aspect of your liking.

Congratulations - You made it!


The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.