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BELL CURVE - Built Environment Lifelong Learning Challenging University Responses to Vocational Education
Start date: Oct 1, 2009,

Most universities tend to offer the same courses to the same group of academically best-qualified young students and fail to open up to other types of learning and learners, e.g. retraining courses for graduates or gap courses for students. This has hindered the provision of training/retraining opportunities to increase skills and competency levels in the workforce and led to persistent mismatches between graduate qualifications and labour market skill needs. The mismatch between graduate skills and labour market requirements has been identified as one of the main factors behind graduate unemployment and employer dissatisfaction, particularly in the Built Environment (BE), as reported by EU labour force survey 2008. In order to overcome this persistent problem, university programmes should be structured to enhance directly the employability of graduates and training/retraining programmes which include broader employment-related skills along with the more discipline specific skills. The aim of this project is to promote the concept of ‘lifelong university’ in modernising HEI’s to be more responsive to labour market skill needs. The main focus will be on governance reforms in higher education institutions delivering BE programmes across the EU. The concept ‘lifelong university’ encourages graduates (employed/ unemployed) to inform their university on labour market skill requirements, which will then provide the opportunity to acquire the right mix of skills for the labour market through training/ retraining programmes. The project will develop a tested framework for HEI’s to promote the concept of lifelong university in capturing and responding to labour market skill needs in the BE. Thereby, universities should able to respond better and faster to the demands of the labour market through providing opportunities to different types of learning and learners.

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