On 13 June, CosmoCaixa hosted the final event for the European Skill Up: Matching graduates’ skills and labour world demands through authentic learning scenarios project.
The Building alliances to boost new graduates’ employability skills event aimed to present the overall results of the Skill Up project. These included a taxonomy of skills to boost employability in the 21st century, a MOOC on E-guidance in higher education to promote graduates’ lifelong career development and the recently launched Skill Up Hub, a platform which connects employers, academics, students and graduates. The event also provided a forum for sharing research and good practices related to improving skills to boost employability among new university graduates.
Professor Sandra Haas from Germany’s Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau opened the event with a plenary session entitled “Key employability skills for the 21st century jobs and requests for Higher Education Institutions”. In addition to the main results taken from the project, research from international contexts such as Sweden, Germany and Romania was also presented in the sessions. The event ended with a discussion panel with representatives from universities and industry and career guidance experts, who debated on the best ways to build alliances that can help connect the worlds of higher education and work.
Main conclusions from the Skill Up project
The Skill Up project is a strategic association in the field of higher education and is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. The project’s committee is coordinated by the eTIC group from the UOC’s Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, and comprises six members from three European countries. From Spain, the Institut Obert de Catalunya (IOC) and the Factor Humà Foundation also participated alongside the UOC. From Germany, the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and the University of Applied Labour Studies of the Federal Employment Agency are both involved. Finally, the previously mentioned institutions are joined by Sweden’s Stockholm University.
The Skill Up project lasted has three years (2016–2019) and strengthened efforts to help improve skills to boost the employability of new university graduates.
Among the activities taking place as part of the project we can first highlight a taxonomy of skills to boost employability in the 21st century. The taxonomy classifies the key interdisciplinary skills needed by graduates into three different groups: cognitive, methodological and social. Based on this taxonomy, authentic learning environments on different programmes and courses from the member institutions have been designed, applied and assessed in order to work on the skills students thought needed improvement.
Another activity of considerable impact promoted by the project was the MOOC on E-guidance in higher education to promote graduates’ lifelong career development, which has trained professionals from the field of career guidance in subjects related to e-guidance and life-long guidance. The MOOC has seen more than 300 inscriptions from some 20 European countries and a 29% completion rate.
The project’s final product was launched in July and consists of a platform designed as a hub to connect employers, academics, students and graduates. The Skill Up Hub is being developed as a virtual community that offers resources to help students and recent graduates develop their professional careers. The resources include tools and communication channels for companies, universities and career guidance experts who are looking to help train competent professionals who are able to manage their careers throughout their lives.