Working Group on Employability 2007-2009
Following up on the introduction of the three-cycle degree system, the Ministers asked BFUG to consider in more detail how to improve employability in relation to each of the cycles as well as in the context of lifelong learning.
Terms of Reference
The outcome of the Working Group on Employability 2007-2009 is to report to BFUG on how to improve employability in relation to each of the three cycles as well as in the context of lifelong learning.
The Working Group on Employability 2007-2009 purpose is to promote good practice in a range of areas, including
- involving employers in devising curricula;
- provision of careers services;
- employment and career structures within the public service that are fully
- compatible with the new degree system;
- curriculum innovation based on learning outcomes;
- awareness-raising amongst employers of the value of a bachelors qualification
- and associated learning outcomes; and
- the recognition of degrees in the labour market across Europe.
The identification of good practice could be achieved through a combination of national surveys/reporting, research analysis and conference/seminars.
The first step would be to establish a co-ordinating/working group to consider the remit set out in the London communiqué and decide how best to respond to that. It would be helpful if this could happen before the end of October or early in November so that a work programme can be agreed.
Increasing employer engagement is key to improving employability. Any action that can be taken to raise the awareness of employers across Europe about the Bologna process and increase their involvement would be particularly helpful. It is important that employers should be more engaged in the Bologna process across all our countries than they currently are. A conference that focuses on the employers’ perspective and involves a range of different employers, including medium sized enterprises, international corporations and public authorities, will be a key element of the work programme.
The group will also need to consider how best to disseminate examples of good practice, eg developing materials; use of websites.
Possible elements of a work programme for consideration:
- National surveys on employability.
- Report on existing studies on employability.
- Conference/seminar that focuses on the perspective of employers, including disseminating the findings of the above report.
- Seminar on lifelong learning to consider (a) the interdependency of qualifications frameworks, recognition of prior learning and flexible learning paths; (b) the relationship between the social dimension and lifelong learning; and (c) the role of higher education institutions in lifelong learning.
- Seminar on employability of Bachelor graduates.
- Development of materials for dissemination.
Liaison with other action lines: Need to link with any work on lifelong learning and to liaise closely with stocktaking group. This will be achieved through co-operation and communication with the appropriate working group chairs.
In its final report that was endorsed by BFUG at its meeting on 12-13 February 2009 the working group made the following recommendations to governments and higher education institutions:
- They should both continue to promote the benefits of the Bologna Process reforms as a whole, including the benefits of a first cycle/Bachelor degree, to students, potential students, employers and professions;
- Further progress should be made in establishing national qualifications frameworks inline with the Framework of Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area;
- Governments should ensure that their own public sector employment services cater to graduates with first cycle/Bachelor degrees;
- Governments should take the lead in ensuring the conditions which will promote and incentivise dialogue; and higher education institutions and their representative bodies should develop or strengthen links with employers and employer bodies (such as business and employers’ associations, chambers of commerce, trade associations or professional groups) to establish partnerships to share good practice in how to make higher education provision more responsive to labour market demands and advise employers of the range of skills that graduates can bring to their employment.
- Higher education institutions and employers need to work together, involving students, to identify ways in which courses and programmes of study can offer students the opportunity to develop and define for themselves the necessary employability skills (e.g. work placements as part of courses; strengthening entrepreneurial skills as part of the curriculum, interchange between staff in business and staff in higher education institutions).
- All higher education institutions, together with governments/government agencies and employers, should improve the provision, accessibility and quality of their careers and employment-related services to students and alumni.
- The actions highlighted in the employability report should be taken forward as appropriate within individual countries as a matter of urgency in the light of the economic crisis and progress should be monitored through future stocktaking.
- Meeting 1 - London 31 October 2007
- Meeting 2 - London 1 February 2008
- Meeting 3 - Berlin 9 July 2008
- Meeting 4 - Prague 16 January 2009
- “Employability – the Employers’ Perspective and its implications” organised by and in Luxembourg, on 6-7 November 2008
Late 2007/early 2008, the employability working group conducted a short informal survey among the members of the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG) on the issue of employability.
- What are the main challenges for your country in terms of employability? (eg Is graduate unemployment a problem? Are there restrictions on access to certain jobs? Is there a careers and guidance service?) What would help you most as an output from this working group?
- Is there a dialogue in your country between higher education institutions and employers? If so, at what level does this take place – national, regional, institutional etc? What sort of issues does it cover?
- Can you provide two examples of good practice in your country in relation to any of the themes to be covered by the report?
Working Group Chair: Keith Andrews / Rachel Green (UK)
Participants: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, UK, BUSINESSEUROPE, EI, ESU, EUA, EURASHE, UNESCO-CEPES.
- Working Group on Employability Report to Ministers 2009
- BFUG_CZ_15_4_4b Working Group on Employability - recommendations
- BFUG_CZ_15_4_4 Employability WG report
- BFUG_FR_14_6 Draft Report of the Working Group on Employability
- BFUG13_11_2 Working group on employability - report
- Meeting of the Working Group on Employability London, 31 October 2007 - Draft minutes