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 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

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.

Forthcoming seminars

Seminar 2

DATE: February 17, 2022

CHAIR: Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research

AGENDA: will be published here on 3 February 2022

REGISTRATION: opens on 3 February 2022

Please inform me when the agenda is published and registration opens.

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

9.00 am – 09.25 am (CET)/ Opening Session: Relevance of the seminar topic for the country’s higher education policy

9.30 am – 12.15 pm (CET) / Session 1: Study and labour market information for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes, and doctoral students, and adult learners

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What STEM didactics and pedagogies in school engage youth and in particular girls? What teaching support is available from higher education institutions?
  • What are key characteristics of successful collaboration between higher education institutions and schools in this area?
  • What labour market information and study information is necessary for prospective and current students, when and how should the information be presented and by whom?

1.45 pm – 03.00 pm (CET) / Session 2: Innovative examples of study guidance and successful transition into higher education

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What practices support (underrepresented) students to find the right study programme and transition successfully to higher education?
  • What are innovative on-boarding practices in higher education institutions that provide support for a successful start in fields with high labour demand?

3.30 pm – 4.45 pm (CET) / Session 3: Curricula design and delivery that support a successful start

More

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • How can curricula design and delivery make study programmes more accessible to a wide range of learners?
  • How may inclusive admissions processes and regulations attract qualified prospective students with diverse profiles to in-demand fields and facilitate early study success?

5.15 pm – 6.00 pm (CET) / Summary Session: Summary of higher-level points

Seminar 3

DATE: February 24, 2022

CHAIR: Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

AGENDA: will be published here on 3 February 2022

REGISTRATION: opens on 3 February 2022

Please inform me when the agenda is published and registration opens.

Raising study success through student support and improved career-study linkages

9.00 am – 09.25 am (CET)/ Opening Session: Relevance of the seminar topic for the country’s higher education policy

9.30 am – 12.15 pm (CET) / Session 1: Career-study linkages: HEI support to find quality work opportunities for student work and to choose specialisations that prepare them for a successful career start upon graduation

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:    

  • What are ways to help students that want or need to work to find employment in an area that aligns well with their studies and/or career plans?
  • What information is useful to students? What are success factors for career mentoring programmes?

1.45 pm – 03.10 pm (CET) / Session 2: Designing inclusive student support

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • How to create a greater sense of belonging? How to build a community among students?
  • When and how to advise students along their studies to increase their study success?

3.40 pm – 5.00 pm (CET) / Session 3: Supporting students to complete their studies

More

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • How may curriculum design and delivery be adjusted to support students in their final stage of their degree?
  • How may working students be supported and those who suspended their studies and return to HE?
  • What other forms of support exist?

5.15 pm – 6.00 pm (CET) / Summary Session: Summary of higher-level points

Seminar 4

DATE: March 3, 2022

CHAIR: Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation (NKFIH)

AGENDA: will be published here on 3 February 2022

REGISTRATION: opens on 3 February 2022

Please inform me when the agenda is published and registration opens.

Stimulating innovation through inter-/transdisciplinarity in education and research

9.00 am – 09.25 am (CET)/ Opening Session: Relevance of the seminar topic for the country’s higher education policy

9.30 am – 11.30 pm (CET) / Session 1: Harnessing research collaboration to identify emerging demand for inter/transdisciplinary skills

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • How can greater communication between academia and industry be achieved in order to identify labour market-relevant skills?
  • What are key actors, structures and areas of collaboration? How may formal and informal channels complement each other?
  • How are the various labour market insights processed and shared within HEIs?

12.45 pm – 03.00 pm (CET) / Session 2: Opening research partnerships with industry and between fields to students

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What institutional environments, structures and mechanisms can increase student exposure to interdisciplinary research?
  • How can students participate in research collaborations among different fields and with industry?
  • What can students learn from these experiences?

3.30 pm – 5.00 pm (CET) / Session 3: Integrating labour market (LM) relevant inter-/transdisciplinarity into curricula

More

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • How may curricula allow for the teaching of LM-relevant interdisciplinary knowledge? How can students learn in interdisciplinary teams?
  • What processes and actors may facilitate the integration of inter-/transdisciplinarity in curricula?
  • How can HEIs strengthen the value of new interdisciplinary programmes on the LM?

5.15 pm – 6.00 pm (CET) / Summary Session: Summary of higher-level points

Seminar 5

DATE: March 10, 2022

CHAIR:Directorate General for Higher Education (DGES) of Portugal

AGENDA: will be published here on 3 February 2022

REGISTRATION: opens on 3 February 2022

Please inform me when the agenda is published and registration opens.

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

9.25 am – 09.30 am (CET)/ Opening Session: Relevance of the seminar topic for the country’s higher education policy

9.30 am – 11.30 pm (CET) / Session 1: Teaching students to connect theory and practice

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What teaching practices enhance students’ LM-relevant, transversal skills and knowledge without replacing the teaching of subject-specific knowledge?
  • What courses enhance students’ LM-relevant, transversal skills and knowledge?
  • What are innovative ways to involve LM representatives in these activities?

1.00 pm – 02.30 pm (CET) / Session 2: High quality inclusive teaching

more

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What teaching practices exist that support different types of learners?
  • How may teaching be adjusted to better suit underrepresented students? (with a focus on women in STEM)

3.00 pm – 4.50 pm (CET) / Session 3:Continuous development of curricula and teaching

More

Key questions guiding the discussion:

  • What processes and structures support the continuous development of curricula and teaching?
  • How can staff be supported and incentivised to develop their teaching skills?
  • Which units lead these efforts and how are they integrated into other processes, e.g. quality assurance, communications, careers services)? What stakeholders are involved?

5.15 pm – 6.00 pm (CET) / Summary Session: Summary of higher-level points

Past seminars

Seminar 1 – Labour Market Information for Learners and HEIs

DATE: November 30, 2020

Seminar Brochure (download)

Seminar 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.