THE CHALLENGE

A recent study (2013) conducted by the Trendence Institute in Berlin points out that more than half of European graduates are worried about their careers, a rate that rises to more than 80% in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The McKinsey report “Education to Employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work” (2013) highlights that in Europe, 74% of education providers were confident that their graduates were prepared for work, but only 38% of youth and 35% of employers agreed. The lack of understanding and dialogue between key players (education, young people, and enterprises) lead to another insight which is very relevant: again according to the McKinsey survey, the 27% of employers reported that they have left a vacancy open in the past year because they couldn’t find anyone with the right skills. This means, that even when the jobs are available, young people often are not suitable for open positions.

The link between Education and the labour market should be addressed to improve transition between education and labour market: a preliminary analysis on the topic highlighted common problems, such as:

Students are not enough prepared in understanding the competences needed to play professional roles: they often have information about the specific competences required, but they have not the awareness about how the role of the professional is carried out (i.e. soft skills);
Students are not familiar with the world of work, so that they have not clear in mind what mean in facts working settings and environments;
Students often lack of self-awareness with respect to their own skills, particularly in relation to professional career they wish to undertake.
The need of dialogue between Education and enterprises is therefore not related only to placement: placement is a consequence of candidates suitable to job vacancies, rather than a simple matching between degrees and job posts. Career offices have worked since years to foster mobility through internship and traineeships, in order to enhance dialogue between academia and enterprises to one side, and to foster self-awareness and development of soft-skills and transversal competences in students to the other side. Within this process, sustainability should be also taken into consideration: students should be equipped with self-reflection and self-assessment skills, they should therefore acquire career development skills; however they should also be offered with opportunities to understand professions, and which competences professional roles imply in real contexts. This mean that students should have the opportunity to talk with enterprises before interviews for internship, or work.

THE SCOPE
V-TOURS project aims at increasing and improving opportunities of dialogue between university students and enterprises, by creating a virtual place.

In this virtual place enterprises can play an active role within the project activities at local level, and give their support in the moment of transitions of graduates from education to market as well.

Graduates and enterprises could both benefit from this virtual space. It could facilitate the encounter between talented graduates and professionals trough a non-formal education method. Graduates can reach a deeper understanding of the main features of the business culture and at the same time enterprises have the opportunity to tell about themselves and promote their business. One tool for double purposes!

THE TOOLS
Multiple resources will be available:

Online course focused on business culture and work ethics, by addressing e.g. Research and innovation, Integrated Quality (Quality – Environment – Safety), Corporate social responsibility, Company organization, Roles, tasks and competences within the company, Strategic transversal competences etc.;
Opportunities to participate virtual tours in the companies, as online events where the company managers will present organisation and processes of their organisation, being available to answer questions in real time (this will be organised for small groups of students, who had already benefitted from online resources available for the company), and the recording of previous tours;
Self-reflection and self-assessment exercises for the students, in relation to professional profiles addressed by the interviews carried out during the virtual tours, and to business culture and work ethics.

THE TARGET GROUPS
V-Tours project mainly addresses Higher Education students, graduates, jobseekers, young and adult professionals interested in acquiring competences to facilitate transition from education to the labour market, and as a result, improve their employability.

At the same time, enterprises will contribute to the project as well as benefit from workers that up-skill. the expected impact on this target is related to an enhanced dialogue between the world of education and the world of work and an enhanced employer branding attitude. Enterprises and employers should also better understand their role in improving students’ skills, before graduation and job search moment.

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