Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education Partnership Initiative

Technological advances, climate change, the digitalisation of the economy, and exogenous shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic are transforming labour markets. Today’s students and workers must adapt to changing tasks and jobs by acquiring skills that permit them to perform new jobs, and by updating skills throughout their lives. In turn, higher education institutions seek to anticipate novel jobs and skill needs, create study programmes that are relevant to these labour market needs, and rethink how to communicate with learners about future careers and with employers about the graduate skills they seek. Policy makers, for their part, face the need to re-examine how their portfolio of policies – funding, monitoring, and labour market data systems – can better support learners and institutions in responding to these challenges.

In 2019, the European Commission and the OECD initiated the Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education – LMRO Partnership Initiative, a collaborative project with Austria, Hungary, Portugal, and Slovenia. The aim is to assist policy makers and higher education institutions to develop effective ways to enhance the labour market relevance and outcomes of higher education for both graduates and the economy. The project conducts country-specific analyses, organises peer-learning activities, and has developed a self-reflection tool for use by higher education institutions to identify and address institutional-level barriers and introduce innovative practices

A first international peer learning event was held in November 2020 on the topic of “Labour Market Information for Learners and HEIs”. The topics for the four remaining peer learning events will be organised jointly across the four countries Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Portugal since they have many common challenges and overlapping priorities. More information on the topics is given below.

The seminars will cover insights from research, institutional practices and how national policies may support their development and upscaling (e.g. through funding incentives or quality assurance regulations).

International peer-learning events of the LMRO Partnership Initiative

The peer-learning events of the LMRO Partnership Initiative are designed for policy makers and practitioners to review innovative national policies, identify enablers and barriers to innovative institutional practices, and discuss key findings from research.

The aim is to (i) facilitate peer learning, (ii) identify key questions relevant for policy making and the adoption and upscaling of effective institutional practices that require further attention, and, thereby, (iii) stimulate and contribute to an international policy debate.

The online events gather an international audience of higher education policy stakeholders, including policy makers, leaders of higher education institutions, teaching and administrative staff, and representatives of quality assurance bodies, industry, student unions, and higher education researchers.

Seminar 1 – Labour Market Information for Learners and HEIs

DATE: November 30, 2020

BROCHURE: download

PRESENTATIONS: download

Related readings:

“The role of labour market information in guiding educational and occupational choices”, OECD Education Working Paper No. 229, OECD Publishing, Paris.

https://doi.org/10.1787/59bbac06-en.

The aim of the seminar was to stimulate and contribute to an international policy debate by leveraging on the perspectives of policy makers, HEI representatives, and the wider group of higher education policy stakeholders.

The topic of the seminar was labour market information (LMI), which has become increasingly important in helping learners make study and career choices, and in helping HEIs to make their educational offering more responsive to employer skill demands.

Seminar 2 – Widening access and attracting students to fields with high labour market demand

DATE: February 17, 2022

AGENDA: download

BROCHURE: download

The seminar was chaired by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

The seminar on the topic of “Widening access and attracting students to fields with high labour market demand” was organised in three sessions, and explored the following questions:

1) Study and labour market information for STEM and doctoral students, and adult learners

  • What pedagogies in school engage youth and, in particular, girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects?
  • What are key characteristics of successful collaboration between HEIs and schools in study guidance?
  • What labour market and study information do prospective and current students need to make informed study and careers choices?

2) Study guidance and successful transition into higher education

  • What practices support (under-represented) students to find the right study programme and transition successfully to higher education?
  • What are innovative HEI onboarding practices that provide support for a successful start in fields with high labour market demand (e.g. STEM)?

3) Curricula design and delivery that support a successful start

  • How can curricula design and delivery help study programmes attract qualified prospective students with diverse profiles to in-demand fields and facilitate early study success?
  • What are innovative approaches in academic orientation and tutoring?

Seminar 3 – Raising study success through student support and improved career-study linkages

DATE: February 24, 2022

AGENDA: download

BROCHURE: download

The seminar was chaired by the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.

The seminar on the topic of “Raising study success through student support and improved career-study linkages” was organised in three sessions, and explored the following questions:

1) Career-study linkages

  • What are success factors for career guidance and mentoring?
  • How do higher education institutions (HEIs) support students to find quality work opportunities to gain experience while studying?
  • What information do students need to choose specialisations and higher-level studies?

2) Designing inclusive student support

  • How to monitor progress and factors for student success?
  • When and how to advise students during their studies to increase their study success?

3) Supporting students to complete their studies

  • How can flexibility of curricula and programme delivery, modularisation of final thesis, and academic writing support students in the final stage of their studies?
  • How to support working students and those who have previously suspended their studies to complete their studies?

Seminar 4 – Stimulating innovation through inter-/transdisciplinarity in education and research

DATE: March 3, 2022

AGENDA: download

BROCHURE: download

The seminar was chaired by the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office.

The seminar on the topic of “Stimulating innovation through inter- and transdisciplinarity in education and research” was organised in three sessions, and explored the following questions:

1) Harnessing research collaboration to identify emerging demand for inter- and transdisciplinary skills

  • How to identify from research collaboration demand for inter- and transdisciplinary skills?
  • What institutional structures for collaboration exist, and who are key actors?

2) Opening research partnerships with industry and between fields to students

  • What institutional environments, structures and mechanisms can increase student exposure to and involvement in inter- and transdisciplinary research?
  • What can students learn from these experiences?

3) Integrating labour market relevant inter- and transdisciplinarity into curricula

  • What processes and actors may facilitate the integration of inter- and transdisciplinarity into curricula?
  • How to develop transferable skills in doctoral degree programmes and how to raise doctoral candidates’ awareness for research careers outside academia?

Seminar 5 – Supporting improvement in teaching and learning to address students’ needs and labour market demands

DATE: March 10, 2022

AGENDA: download

BROCHURE: download

The Seminar was chaired by the Portuguese Ministry of Sciences, Technology and Higher Education, the Portuguese Directorate General for Higher Education.

The seminar on the topic of “Supporting improvement in teaching and learning to address students’ needs and labour market demands” was organised in three sessions, and explored the following questions:

1) Teaching students to connect theory and practice

  • What teaching practices and courses enhance students’ transversal skills and knowledge without replacing the teaching of subject-specific knowledge?
  • What are innovative ways to involve labour market representatives?

2) High-quality, inclusive teaching

  • How can teaching be adjusted to better suit different types of learners, particularly in STEM studies?

3) Continuous development of teaching and learning

  • How can teachers in higher education be supported and incentivised to adopt new teaching methods?
  • What processes and structures support the continuous development of curricula and teaching?