Increase the employability through CBHE projects
The aim: why this e-Booth?
Youth unemployment is a long-term problem in many countries worldwide, including the European Union (EU). In this regard, the Higher Education sector has an important role to play. However, persistently high levels of unemployment, especially among young people, highlight the gaps in education systems to prepare young people with the right skills for the labour market.
Decreasing unemployment rates have become one of the EU development priorities declared in the Europe 2020 Strategy. In this context, the universities – enterprises cooperation has been one key measure to improve the employability of graduates.
The Erasmus+ Programme help Higher education institutions equip graduates with the necessary skills for the labour market needs and requirements. However, there is still a need for better education and, in this sense, the necessity of reinforcing the link between education, companies, research and innovation is a relevant matter with a major impact on the employability of graduates.
This e-Booth offers a virtual space, which illustrates themes, describes some current and past initiatives, and the way in which CBHE projects can increase employability. Visual dissemination materials and testimonials of academics, students and alumni taking part in projects are also available.
This e-Booth also offers you the chance to attend an online meeting.
We hope this e-Booth will give you the opportunity to foster synergies and exchange information with key actors in the implementation of the projects, and other project coordinators.
In this online meeting, coordinators of successful projects will share ideas, give you some inspiration and recipes to overcome the challenges you may face based on their experience, and illustrate the way to increase employability. This is also a real networking opportunity!
As part of an extensive EU strategy, the Erasmus+ Programme aims, among others, to modernise and reform Higher Education by encouraging higher education institutions to cooperate with relevant socio-economic actors. The involvement of suitable actors from civil society and the business sector has the potential to improve students’ skills and enhance their employability. As examples from CBHE projects, we can mention governmental agencies and services, non-profit associations, the media, and business companies, among others.
The vast majority of CBHE projects intend to strengthen this relation between higher education institutions and the wider economic and social environment through the university-enterprise cooperation.
However, even if there are clear benefits to such closer cooperation for both higher education institutions and their stakeholders in society, there is still a gap between university graduates’ competences and employers’ needs. Higher education institutions are often criticized for not preparing their graduates for the real labour market needs and context. Universities are traditionally seen as places of conventional teaching and basic research, rather than engines for innovation, growth and employability. This leads to the fact that most of the young graduates fail in their first approach to the labour market, starting way below their own expectations. Curricula are often slow to respond to the constant changing needs of the wider economy, and fail to anticipate or shape the careers of tomorrow. Higher education institutions do not always have the necessary resources to adapt curricula at the same pace and, as a result, graduates struggle to find good quality employment in line with their studies.
Cooperation with industry for innovation, and with employers for work, requires that Higher education institutions take a fresh look at relevant academic disciplines and at the mutual benefits entailed.
Further globalisation and the corresponding need to respond to broader knowledge demands that society and economy are destined to change this vision. Given the recent socio-economic developments, a closer cooperation in both directions between the spheres of work and learning is inevitable.
In this respect, CBHE projects have supported the revision of curricula in response to the needs of the job market. These projects tackle several gaps and shortcomings concerning student employability, due to the lack of structured university-enterprise connections, by creating new pathways of cooperation between universities and the public and enterprise sectors. Capacity Building provides a large range of examples of efficient and successful academy-industry cooperation. However, the form and extent of this cooperation varies considerably among different countries, Higher education institutions, and academic disciplines. These examples open the way, explore new paths, provide good practices, ensure this objective, and tend to increase the employability of graduates, alumni and academics.
Other practices implemented through the CBHE projects show the benefit of involving employers and labour market institutions in the design and delivery of programmes.
There is a strong need for flexible and innovative learning approaches and delivery methods. In this sense, the better the career paths of former students are monitored, the better curricula designers are further informed and get a better understanding of the labour market.
Evidence also shows that curriculum development projects, which work closely with private sector partners and include internships as part of the university education, have a higher graduate employability rate and are, therefore, much more attractive to national and international students. This collaboration encourages the exchange and sharing of knowledge, drives innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and helps graduates to acquire the right skills and mind-sets required by the job market, as well as for their own personal development.
Provision of equipment also allows the establishment of facilities like career advice centres, and innovation and start-up centres. The new facilities are frequently used to train private or public employees, who otherwise would not have access to these types of support. Sometimes this even happens on a fee-paying basis, thus contributing to the project's impact and financial sustainability. The centres have become recognised regional actors, providing courses based on the identified demand to diversify target groups. They cooperate effectively with the regional employment services and social support organizations. Hence, project have contributed to enhancing the role of universities in society.
The contribution of Higher Education to jobs and growth, and its international attractiveness, can be also enhanced through close, effective links between education, research, and business – the three sides of the ‘knowledge triangle’. The recent shift towards open innovation has resulted in increased flows of knowledge and new types of co-operation between education institutions, research organisations, and business. However, the capacity of higher education institutions to integrate research results and innovative practice into the educational offer, and exploit the potential for marketable products and services, could be improved.
Public policies encourage partnerships among professional institutions, research universities, business, and high-tech centres can strengthen education in the knowledge triangle, improve the continuum between basic and applied research, and transfer knowledge to the market in a more efficient way. Improved management of intellectual property will facilitate this process.
The success of placements, internships, and apprenticeships is an important mechanism for matching graduates’ skills with the labour markets’ needs, as well as for the personal development of students. However, today, internships and placements do not always provide the right conditions for students to develop their skills and receive appropriate recognition for experience gained.
Higher education institutions can have a stronger impact on various facets of social and economic development through partnerships with the business sector. They can be the engines of innovation, growth and employability. Relevance and adaptability to the changing labour market are key levers for sustainable development. There are clear benefits to closer cooperation between higher education institutions and their stakeholders in society.
Employability is one of the most important goals of the Bologna Process. In 1999, the Bologna declaration defined as two of its goals the promotion of European citizens’ employability and the international competitiveness of the European higher education system.
Decreasing the unemployment rate has become one of the EU development priorities declared in the Europe 2020 Strategy that emphasised smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth in order to improve Europe's competitiveness and productivity, and underpin a sustainable social market economy.
The Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) outlines the European Commission’s vision for high-quality, inclusive, and accessible digital education in Europe. It is a call for stronger cooperation at the European level in order to learn from the COVID-19 crisis, during which technology has been used at an unprecedented scale in education and training, in order to make education and training systems fit for the digital age.
At the international level, besides the strong international focus of the Erasmus+ programme, the Commission actively collaborates with non-EU countries in the fields of education and training policies.
The European Union’s (EU) five main priorities in the field of higher education are:
• Advance the EU as a centre of excellence in education and training
• Supporting partner countries outside the EU in their efforts to modernise their education and training systems
• Promoting common values and a closer understanding between different peoples and cultures
• Supporting higher education institutions in Member States and beyond in their efforts to internationalise national education and training systems.
• Improving the quality of education and training services in the EU and beyond, through mutual learning, comparison, and the exchange of best practices.
For partner countries worldwide, supporting cooperation in higher education is key to strengthening skills’ acquisition and development, in line with the United Nation's (UN) Sustainable Development Goals – especially, Goal 4: Quality Education. Many higher education cooperation projects are developing skills that are required to make effective progress towards other goals, too; for example, improving energy efficiency, protecting the marine environment, and ensuring food security.
Although access to education and gender equality have been improved over the last decades, substantial gaps remain when it comes to ensuring everyone’s right to education.
In line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the EU intends to contribute to the partner countries’ efforts to ensure equitable access to education, especially in fragile contexts or crises, and better learning outcomes for all by improving the quality of education.
The action is driven by the European Consensus on Development, which aligns with the UN 2030 Agenda at EU level, acknowledges the central role of education, and represents an important commitment to increasing access to quality education for all and, more generally, to achieve sustainable development thanks to and beyond education.
The EU also adopted the European Consensus on Development in 2017, as part of its response to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (2015). The consensus reaffirms poverty eradication as a primary development objective, but it also integrates the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in it, and it underlines the links between development and other European policies, including peace, security, and humanitarian aid. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a crosscutting dimension for the implementation of the EU's Global Strategy.
Poverty eradication remains the primary objective of development policies under the new Consensus. However, it now better integrates the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The Consensus text is structured around the '5 Ps' framing the 2030 Agenda: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
It underlines the interaction between development, peace and security, humanitarian aid, migration, environment, and climate. Implementation is addressed in a comprehensive manner, drawing on the framework agreed in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015, in which aid is combined with other resources, sound policies, and a strengthened approach to Policy Coherence for Development. It puts emphasis on better-tailored partnerships with a broader range of stakeholders and partner countries.
Regarding the international regulation of issues concerning work and related issues, such as unemployment and access to the labour market, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, has been mandated to encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection, and strengthen the dialogue on work-related issues.
The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work commits all the Member States to respect and promote principles and rights in four categories, whether or not they have ratified the relevant Conventions. These four categories are freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Some CBHE projects illustrated the different issues tackled by the HEIs.
BANUU - Designing new pathways for employability and entrepreneurship of Iraqi students in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
The aims of the BANUU project is to tackle several gaps and shortcomings concerning student employability, due to the lack of structured university-enterprise connections, by creating new pathways of cooperation between universities and the public and enterprise sectors. As for its main results, BANUU will create a national framework for designing and implementing internships in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Iraq, as well new pathways to enhance Iraqi students’ transversal skills. The project results will be followed by the creation of a permanent Inter-Ministerial commission that will be in charge of drafting new policies on public-private cooperation in the field of Humanities. The creation of these new institutionalised and structured spaces in which Universities and Enterprises can share experiences, ideas, and reach a common vision as the basis for drafting comprehensive agreements and contracts, represent a key opportunity in terms of ensuring the project’s long-term impact and sustainability.
Linkyou – Cooperation between Latin America and Europe to employability
The project sets up an online network application to be used by academia, businesses, and students from Europe and Latin America. As for its results, the project intends to attract funds from Private partnerships for research, and promote the transfer of knowledge.
The launch of the Challenge Academy platform is the main tangible product of the project, and it will be a mechanism for interactions between those involved, which will guarantee the project’s sustainability.
V2WORK – Strengthening the Vietnamese Higher Education System to improve graduates’ employability and entrepreneurship skills
The project intends to reinforce university-enterprise relationships through the development of mechanisms fostering active involvement of enterprises in the Career Centres.
Project website: https://www.v2work.eu/
ELEMEND - Electrical Energy Markets and Engineering Education
The ELEMEND project designed an internship programme at each western Balkan Higher education institutions, in cooperation with industry representatives, to increase employability and address labour market needs. A cooperation agreement with SMEs and industries will be signed at the end of ELEMEND project. The project links with the industry may be an important factor to ensure the lasting of the project results, beyond the end of the project.
BENEFIT - Boosting the Telecommunications Engineer Profile to Meet Modern Society and Industry Needs
The project involves universities of the Western Balkan region offering study programs in telecommunication engineering. The project contributed to shape a modern profile of graduates in ICT/ engineering and managed to bridge the gap with the job market needs through among others the setting-up of an integrated e-platform giving access to class material for e-learning, training/internships in the region, listing universities and companies, employment opportunities.
Project website: https://www.project-benefit.eu/
(RU)ECVET - Piloting ECVET to the national VET system of Russia and Uzbekistan
The ECVET project aims to pilot the implementation of the European Credit Transfer System for VET (ECVET) in the national HE&VET system of Russia and Uzbekistan by creating a long-term platform for the collaboration between leading institutions engaged in the training of VET teachers for post- secondary non-tertiary education level.
Some testimonials on the benefits and advantages from Credit Transfer System for VET:
COMPLETE - Establishment of Centres for Competence and Employability Development
The COMPLETE project aims to develop an individual competence model and a definition of employability in each participating HEI in Kazakhstan and Russia. This served as a basis for the creation of Centres for Competences and Employability Development, offering trainings and tools for different target groups.
Key achievements on employability and testimonials
Don State technical University (RU) - results : https://youtu.be/zWmF4nivj_E
Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography (RU) – results : https://youtu.be/ETg_NYPZHyg
Best practices and success stories
TUNED - TUnisian Network for Employability and Development of Graduates' Skills
The TUNED project supported the reform of the higher education system in Tunisia, in order to improve the cooperation between Higher education institutions and the labour market requirements. As a result, the project enhanced the efficiency of the whole higher education system by a certified system of quality assurance and the monitoring of higher education programmes and graduates.
Project description: Erasmus + TUNED project - video Istituzionale
Teaser : Erasmus + TUNED project - teaser
BEEHIVE - Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems to Enhance Higher Education Value-Added for Better Graduate Employability
The BEEHIVE project built sustainable university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems in higher education institutions (HEIs) in Indonesia and the Philippines to develop students’ and graduates’ entrepreneurial and innovation skills, and their ability to create jobs. The project’s chief goal was to support the involved Asian HEIs’ transformation into entrepreneurial universities, and to contribute to the development of knowledge-based societies and economies in Indonesia and the Philippines.
MOOC (1) on entrepreneurship:
MOOC (2) on entrepreneurship:
MOOC (3) on entrepreneurship:
EVENT - Strenthening Graduate Employability in Vietnam
The EVENT project consortium intended to increase employability of university graduates in Vietnam through a practical and goals-oriented process based on co-creation, in order to address the issue on three levels: Structural, institutional and individual. As a result, a tracer study has been carried out to identify the main characteristics insertion processes of Vietnamese university graduates in the labour market, and provide relevant data to the Ministry of Education and Training as well as partner universities. This way, the project intended to improve the curricula design and respond to the most current demands of the labour market. EVENT has also developed a national Student Employability Enhancement Portal in order to provide employability resources to a wider audience in Vietnam.
Knowledge and skills needed for work:
Time management skills:
REBUS - REady for BUSiness - Integrating and validating practical entrepreneurship skills in engineering and ICT studies
The project aimed at developing, testing, validating, and mainstreaming holistic and needs driven open learning modules to promote entrepreneurship competences of ICT and engineering graduates. The competences related to entrepreneurship play a paramount role in the Wester Balkan and Russia, as these countries maintain a high level of resistance to private initiatives, business, and entrepreneurship.
COFFEE- Co-construction d'une Offre de Formation à Finalité d'Employabilité Elevée
The Algerian project COFFEE succeeded in getting accreditation for 17 new professional bachelors, co-designed with relevant companies and enterprises. It addressed the specific profiles and skills requested by the local labour market, such as industrial maintenance, building rehabilitation, and e-commerce. The project developed a methodology for co-building with industry attractive pilot bachelor degree programs.
IESED - Innovative ICT education for social-economic development
The IESED project increased the competitiveness of five Belarusian universities offering IT education in order to tackle the requirements of the labour market. The project strengthened ICT competences considering the labour market demands trough, among others, the development of 25 courses, including implementation of innovative teaching/learning methods and tools. More than 40 business entities committed themselves to admit IESEC students for internships.
Introduction to the IESED Internship:
VOYAGE - Opportunities for the young and graduates employability in Vietnam
The Voyage project provides local companies with an innovative online tool for the assessment and recruitment of qualified graduates. The graduates’ data platform enhances the linkage between education and socio-economic partners and gives the graduates a comprehensive and democratic access to labour market.
Voyage projet objectives:
CLEVER Creative Leadership & Entrepreneurship - Visionary Education Roadmap
The CLEVER project managed to be the catalyst of changes in higher education and vocational training for creative professions, as well as the entire creative economy ecosystem. It was ensured through, among others, modules addressing leadership and entrepreneurship in the Israeli creative higher education institutions and policy recommendations.
EUFORIA Entrepreneurial Universities for Industry Alliances
The EUFORIA project aimed to upgrade the curricula in line with the needs of enterprises and improve the financial sustainability of Higher Education institutions in Kosovo. As a result, enterprise managers were appointed in a number of university committees to help them design study programs in line with the needs of enterprises and the labor market. Universities sent a number of their lecturers to companies for a short placement period to observe the work of companies and, in consultation with company managers, identify their challenges.
Library & Resources
- BANUU- Improving private entrepreneurship
- BEEHIVE Concise and clear entrepreneurship tips
- CBHE & SDGs
- COFFEE Process professionalizing training courses to have a strong employability
- COMPLETE project from university to employment
- CLEVER Creative Industries and HEIs
- EUFORIA - Knowledge and skills gap in Kosovo
- Monitoring Report skill needs enterprises
- UBC Policy Recommendations
- UNISON Spin-offs catalogue
- VOYAGE Best practices for internships
- VOYAGE Monitoring Report skill needs enterprises
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Global Education Monitoring Reports
- Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council - EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024
- OCDE - Education
- Declaration of Philadelphia
- Brief introduction to International Labour Standards
- ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- Human Rights Law
- European Skills Agenda
- European Pillar of Social Rights
- Policy digital single market
- Europe 2020 - Europe’s growth strategy : growing to a sustainable and job-rich future
- Employability and Entrepreneurship: building a virtuous circle in a European youth strategy within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme
- Enhancing employability and skills to meet labour market needs
- EACEA Library
- CBHE projects list 2014-2019
- CBHE Regional reports (Impact studies)
- CBHE Regional Factsheets
- CBHE Statistics
- Projects results platform