V-TOURS project aims at increasing and improving opportunities of dialogue between university students and enterprises.
The V-Tours project financed by EU Erasmus+ funding since 2016 is part of the series of Laurea’s research and development projects which have enabled sharing of educational experiences with international partners and search for new paths for development.
This V-Tours project has allowed studying the expectations of employers related to competence requirements set to job seekers on two campuses in Southern Finland. According to the results, social skills and working with others are the most essential competences and self-management an essential one for graduate students in business administration. Language skills are important in enterprises where foreign languages are necessary on a daily basis. The ability to cope with change and IT-skills are also among the requirements stated the employers interviewed by Laurea Hyvinkää P2P business administration students in autumn 2017.
Figure: The essential competences required from BBA graduates (N = 13, n = 31)
In spring 2017 nursing students at Laurea Lohja campus interviewed employers in a similar way regarding recruitment criteria of young nurses. According to the results, working with others (16/19), mobilizing resources (15/19), coping with uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk (15/19) and mobilizing others (13/19) are the most important competences followed by the capacity of taking the initiative (8/19). At the same time, nearly all the interviewees considered very difficult to answer the question concerning the assessment of competences in a job-interview situation.
Changes in working life and societies oblige to reconsider the qualifications, knowledge, skills, and competences, necessary in professional and personal life. Numerous papers claim that education should bring the appropriate solutions. Especially higher education (HE) should apply changes that assure graduates with a solid understanding of how the workplaces work. Students should be prepared to see how their skills fit into to the changing environments of working life and for moving across jobs and sectors.
Teaching and learning is an interactive process, where the student's role is central. Recent studies have shown that people with so-called "growth mind-set," who believe that they can develop their competences, (vs. fixed mind-set) work and learn more effectively and display a desire for challenge and resilience in the face of failure. Whereas, people with a ‘fixed mind-set' believe that "you either are smart, or you are not" and therefore they are not interested in developing themselves and are unwilling to tackle new challenges. When students undertake an intervention to move them from a "fixed" to a "growth mind-set" they immediately start performing at higher levels. To achieve the change, young people should first be able to identify their intrinsic vocation, own mission, vision, potential or ambition and set realistic goals.
Also, the employers have an important role. Hiring difficulties can be related to the offer of unattractive jobs or inefficient recruitment and retention strategies. Applicants can also lack information on the exact requirements and the priority set on different competences. Business should regularly identify their own needs and make them visible and understandable.
These interviews were a first step in the V-Tours project. In spring 2018 a new virtual learning concept including virtual visits to companies will be opened to young graduates. The aim is to support employability of young people, deepening their understanding of working life competences and developing themselves for job seeking including their way of presenting themselves.
Principal lecturer Auli Guilland, auli.guilland(at)laurea.fi
Interview of Senior lecturer Tuija Marstion, Laurea (Youtube)
Interview of Sara Raponi, Servizio Stage and Career Service at University of Padova, Italy (Youtube)
Sievers, A., Ranta, L. & Guilland, A.. 2017. Creating Insight Among Students on Working Life Competences Through Problem Based Learning. In L. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez & I. Candel Torres (eds.) ICERI2017 Conference Proceedings. 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, 16-18 November, 2017, Seville, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7, ISSN: 2340-1095. Pages: 713-721. IATED Academy, Spain. doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0266
Ranta, L., Sievers, A. & Guilland, A.. 2017. Shared Responsibility of Higher Education Institutes (HEI) and Their Partners in Assuring Nursing Students’ Employability Skills. In L. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez & I. Candel Torres (eds.) ICERI2017 Conference Proceedings. 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, 16-18 November, 2017, Seville, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7, ISSN: 2340-1095. Pages: 1247-1255. IATED Academy, Spain. doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0412