Archive of European Projects

Regional Education and Employment Alliances
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Dec 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Youth unemployment remains persistently high in Ireland and across Europe and is increasingly impacting young university students, who after graduating, struggle to find employment commensurate to their knowledge and skills. REAL aims to empower young unemployed or underemployed graduates to become entrepreneurs and high value employees in a short period after leaving university. In order to do so we will firstly create two Regional Employment and Education Alliances. This new strategy involves bringing together stakeholders in employment, education and economic development - such as VET providers, universities and colleges, enterprise development agencies and local authorities) - to jointly explore the structural issues that generate a skills mismatch between university educated students and the current labour market, inventory existing resources and commit to collaborative actions to address these issues in a REAL Action Plan. We will systematize the process and lessons learned in the form of REAL Toolkit, which will be published and actively promoted as a means of replicating the Alliances in other regions. As a first concrete outcome of the collaboration espoused by the Alliance, we will then develop, test, publish and promote a dynamic training course, “Innovation for Enterprise and Employment” directly targeted at recent graduates, and especially at arts and humanities graduates, among whom the rate of un/der employment is greatest. Unlike current innovation courses which are highly academic in focus or aimed at start up entrepreneurs with a fixed business idea, and which too often teach innovation based on technological invention, our course will introduce learners to the contemporary understanding of innovation, focussing on the psychological/personality drivers of creativity as the basis of innovation and which acknowledge the importance of non-technological innovation to create value. This approach is of utmost relevance to arts and humanities graduates whose skills are likely to be of great use in the service sector; indeed, the course will particularly highlight the opportunities for innovative graduates in the creative industries, a high growth area in partners’ own regions. REAL is delivered by a cross-sectoral partnership led by Louth County Council (Ireland), known for its commitment to collaboration as a means to pursuing excellence. They will be joined by Newry and Mourne Cooperative (UK) an enterprise agency specialising in VET training and regional economic development programmes, with whom they will deliver the cross border Alliance. Univations (Germany), the enterprise training arm of the Martin Luther King University whose holistic approach to innovation training is reflected in highly successful online learning platform “Univations Academy” and the University of Szczecin (Poland) will work on the second crossborder Alliance, the latter being known for its work on innovation in services which has contributed to development of highly successful cluster of creative businesses in its region. The partnership is completed by Canice Consulting, an international consultancy in the field of business VET with a growing specialism in digital learning and marketing and Mindshare Consulting, whose Director is a recognised authority in innovation education and new pedagogical approaches. As a result of our project, the 60 graduates who participate in the Innovation for Enterprise and Education course will grow confident in their understanding and application of innovation as relevant to their chosen career and are more likely to become self-employed entrepreneurs or gain employment commensurate to their education because their skills and knowledge are more suited for the current employment market. At organizational level, the project provides VET providers and HEIs with real motivation to integrate the learning course into their own portfolio of services, as it is a high quality, cost effective solution to a real demand they are facing. In this process of appropriation, even if others modify and enrich our materials, we will have completed our goal of mainstreaming innovation education for arts and humanities’ graduates. At a more structural level, participants of the Alliances will increase their understanding of causes and manifestations of the skills mismatch, gain exposure to more intelligent, collaborative approaches to overcome it, and directly apply solutions best suited to their region. They will better fulfil their organizational mission to benefit young graduates (be it education, employment or economic development) and will do so in a cost effective way (by pooling resources). Finally, their access to collaborative networks will boost their flexibility and ability to better tailor their education and services to the evolving opportunities of the labour market as it continues to change over time.
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6 Partners Participants