In a first phase, the project started identifying lacks and weaknesses of existing work-based learning practices in RU, BY and AZ.
In parallel, the identification of successful cases of work-based learning programmes in Europe was carried out and shared with RU, BY and AZ partners. This gave them the opportunity to compare their national and institutional realities with those in other countries (in and outside Europe).
The result was a better understanding of the own situation around work-based learning activities as well as the possibilities for change and improvement that they had.
Strategies and Models
During the Study Visit 1, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona School of Management presented their model and successful factors. This virtual study visit allowed partners to learn about new methodologies for improvement of their own models, tools for self-analysis and role models. All this helped partners to imagine how to refine their existing processes.
Partners discussed and drafted afterwards a document that contained:
– a prototype strategic plan for developing existing or new collaborations
– a prototype model of University-Business cooperation that improves and facilitates their current models
Once the document is tested and validated by the focus discussion groups, it will be finalised and published.
Enhancement of collaboration
The enhancement of collaboration started with the setting of Focus Discussion Groups at local/regional level with a wide type of stakeholders, including enterprises, other HEIs, associations, students, alumni, mentors/supervisors, etc. These focus discussion groups will be meeting periodically and will be consulted and involved in the process of improvement of current systems and procedures in RU, BY and AZ.
For example, the focus discussion groups have looked at the draft strategic plan and model prototypes and given feedback on the suitability and suggest improvements or adaptations.
UniLab will develop two prototype models. One will be focusing on education model of work-based learning and the other will be a prototype of extra-curricular activities.
The education model will allow partners to modernise their current programmes in RU, BY and AZ, according to the requirements of the labour market for programmes at Bachelor and Master levels. The objective is to offer programmes that accelerate students employability chances at the same time that they prepare professionals to the needs of the labour market of the 21st century. In general this will lead to the improvement of the quality of education, aligning labour and academia. The prototype will be developed by conducting concrete research with employers and transforming the research into a summary and a set of guidelines addressed to HEIs top management and other governing bodies. The summary and guidelines will also lead UniLab to the development of a prototype that potential users will be able to adapt to their needs.
The extra-curricula activities model will be designed to help students identify and develop generic graduate skills and to facilitate a smooth transition from education to employment. The designed activities will be conducted by the international student career centers and will include 4 different modules:
– job opportunities (thriving at the workplace)
– entrepreneurship and self-branding
– managing work pressure and problem-solving
These extra-curricular activities will help motivate students to self-develop and to reflect on their graduate skills, raise awareness fo professional bodies and their values, while at the same time gaining business awareness, employer interaction and enhancing employment possibilities.
Principles, standards, tools and models
Focusing on how to equip students with the relevant practical skills and an efficient supervision of the work-based learning internship, this part of UniLab will design digital portfolios, peer review systems and written reporting methods to secure the quality of the internship and give enough evidences that the skills and competences envisaged in the programme have been achieved.
The general principles and philosophy of the work-based learning in the 21 century will be elaborated, modelling the appropriated schemes for RU, BY and AZ.
The standards will seek a high quality component in four different levels: planning, assurance, control and improvement.
To complement all the work, the consortium will develop a set of tools for practical work-based learning placements.
A ten-year model plan for the development of a network of international career centres will be prepared and presented to HEI top management for adoption. This would modernise existing centres and bring into the new model a deep involvement of businesses and industry.
The UniLab Students Portal will be an attractive tool to encourage students’ interaction. The portal intends to become a site forum of knowledge and experiences exchange with other students at national and international levels.
The informative sections of the portal will be multi-lingual (EN, RU, AZ). The site will include documents, assessment tools, a database of enterprises, model agreements, information about graduates’ employability, videos, successful histories, etc. All the materials will be available in an open source manner for the students’ benefit.