EURASHE is looking for a Policy and Project Officer

EURASHE is looking for a motivated Policy and Project Officer to join its dynamic team in the centre of Brussels with a preferred start of 1st November 2021. The position will involve travel, mainly within Europe, once health and safety restrictions have been lifted.

ROLE AND TAKS 

Working closely with the new EURASHE Secretary General who will take over on November 1st, the policy and project officer will:

  • Monitor European policies related to higher education, skills, research, and innovation
  • Inform and liaise with EURASHE members and the Board on policy development
  • Draft and present policy position papers
  • Develop and implement European and international projects including planning, organising project meetings, contributing to deliverables, maintaining project documentation, reporting, and administrative and financial issues
  • General support in the organisation of EURASHE events including annual conferences, seminars, peer-learning events, and working group meetings
  • Interact with policy makers and stakeholders, and represent EURASHE at external meetings when required

PROFILE

We are looking for an independent, open minded and motivated team player who is able to work efficiently in an international team.

Essential requirements

  • Higher education degree (Postgraduate is a bonus)
  • Minimum of two years work experience related to EU policies, preferably in the fields of higher education, research, and innovation
  • Experience in developing, reviewing, and synthetizing policies and EU documents, and communicating outcomes to a diverse and broad audience
  • Excellent command of English, both spoken and written
  • Work experience within an international environment
  • Excellent communication, organisational, interpersonal and IT skills
  • Ability to work independently, under tight deadlines

Beneficial

  • Experience in the management of EU funded projects
  • Knowledge of the higher education sector
  • Advanced understanding of the functioning of European institutions and decision-making process
  • Experience in European public affairs and/or academic or not-for-profit environment
  • Proficiency in other European languages

EURASHE OFFERS

  • Full-time one-year contract (renewable) under Belgian law, that may become permanent
  • Monthly gross salary of between €2500 and €3000 depending on work experience and qualifications
  • Additional benefits: transportation allowance, meal vouchers and 30 days of annual leave
  • Opportunity to contribute to EU policy making process and manage large scale international projects
  • Very friendly working environment
  • Regular telework if requested

APPLICATION PROCEDURE 

Interested candidates should send a concise letter of motivation and two-page CV to eurashe@eurashe.eu before the deadline of 10th September 2021, referencing Policy & Project Officer as the email subject.  

Interviews are scheduled for the second half of September in Brussels or online, which will be followed by a short written exercise to test candidates (English) written skills.

All candidates will receive notification about the results of the selection procedure shortly after it is completed.

For more information about EURASHE: www.eurashe.eu

Community Voice | EURASHE and the contribution of PHE to recovery and development

With more than thirty years of activity, EURASHE is the most representative organisation of Professional Higher Education (PHE) institutions/associations at policy level in Europe and “strives to support the development and transformation of European society through PHE”. This means an added responsibility to reach the common interests of its members and contribute to the sustainable development of the society, with real impact on people’s qualification, in the search for innovative solutions to problems, in contributing with PHE to a better and more inclusive society.

We are living through a historical period of transformations in our lives and the European HE, with the growing importance of flexibility and diversity, with all the main themes on the agenda, the twin transition (digital and green), the recovery and resilient facility, the new ERA agenda, the European Universities alliances, the regional engagement and the innovation ecosystems, the micro-credentials, etc., and, consequently, the growing importance of PHE. 

When we talk about PHE and its fundamental role, we talk about diversity, with different pathways for students, various links with stakeholders, mainly regional, and close to the labour market, especially SME’s. We are talking about flexibility, associated with micro-credentials and upskilling and reskilling issues, learning in partnership with the companies and other organisations. We are talking about inclusion, particularly important in a “post COVID era”, bearing in mind that a significant part of our students come from disadvantaged social backgrounds. So, we have a specific potential to address innovation in all dimensions, innovation in education, innovation in research, applied or user-oriented research, innovation in the interconnection between education, research and the regions. We do believe that this interconnection, particularly between education and research, is our pathway and, as Commissioner Gabriel said, education and research belong together”. 

Being an active partner in the EEA, EHEA, ERA and other European structures, cooperating with stakeholders, particularly from the world of work and civic society, addressing the main issues of HE, debating and expressing the ideas and concerns of PHE institutions/associations, leading the process of transformation. This is what we expect from EURASHE. 

We need to be present for that we need to be involved, we need to share tasks and responsibilities, we need to think ahead, and we need to face the challenges and take the opportunities.

And what can EURASHE expect from the new President? Hard-work, cooperation, sensibility, engagement, leadership, resilience, transparency, respect, accountability, responsibility and availability. We need to be faithful to the statutes and keep in mind the vision and mission statements and address all the significant issues related to PHE, knowing that PHE is more than ever a way and a solution to recover and transform. We are always trying to be helpful to the members, working for them and with them. This is his leitmotiv! 

By Armando Pires, EURASHE President

Community Voice | Two opportunities PHE institutions cannot miss

In 2021 the Professional Higher Education (PHE) institutions are going to have the chance to benefit from an exceptional amount of European funds, while helping to shape the future of Europe in the framework of the forthcoming homonymous Conference.

The history of Europe exemplifies how crises catalyse changes and move ahead the integration process. The financial crisis of 2008 was instrumental to strengthen the European economic governance with the creation of the European semester. The current COVID-19 pandemic with the resulting devasting social and economic effects will not be an exception. In fact, it has already led to unpreceded, historical decisions, namely, the agreement on a robust EU-budget, coupled with an extraordinary Recovery plan – the Next Generation EU, that amounts for more than 1800 billion € for the period 2021-2027.

While being particularly relevant and promising from a political point of view, the decision to allocate such an amount of financial resources to the post-COVID recovery of Europe doesn’t constitute a guarantee of success. In fact, the key of this success relies largely upon the implementation phase, in particular, the capacity of all stakeholders to properly execute the committed budget, especially, in the course of the next two years. In order to illustrate the significance of this challenge, it would be worth recalling that under the new Multiannual-financial framework, all relevant sectoral programmes, such as Erasmus +, Horizon Europe and the Cohesion policy’s funds, have been beefed-up. In addition, those countries and regions that did not execute the corresponding Regional and Investment funds for the period 2014-2020 (in certain cases more than 50 %), will be allowed to do so until the end of 2023. Moreover, the implementation of the national Recovery and resilience Plans that Member States have to present by the end of April, will also be concentrated in the period 2021-2022 (70 % of the grant allocations).

With this in mind, PHE institutions become decisive stakeholders, as they present a set of important advantages in comparison with other educational institutions, namely, their strong regional engagement and knowledge of the specific needs and strengths of each region, and their capacity to interact with a wide range of stakeholders, especially SMEs, and to inspire and steer challenges-driven local and regional development. PHE institutions are called to do much and better than in the past, as the current circumstances are exceptional. This requires a comprehensive and more strategic approach to the alignment and synergies between different financial sources, based on the successful experience with the smart specialisation strategies. This also requires a more proactive and “entrepreneurial” approach and support to the corresponding local, regional and national competent authorities (80 % of the EU budget is implemented by Member states), as there is a fear that, in certain cases, these administrations lack the necessary knowledge and capacities to deal with the budgetary execution.

Having been postponed several times due to the on-going pandemic, the Conference on the Future of  Europe has got a green light from the European institutions and is expected to be officially launched on 9 of May. This Conference will be a bottom-up exercise, steered jointly by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, the purpose of which is to debate on how to better address the numerous challenges the EU is facing, with a particular attention to several key issues, such as sustainable and inclusive growth, societal challenges, including territorial and educational divides and inequalities, innovation and competitiveness, including future skills.

This Conference brings a unique opportunity for PHE institutions to make their voice stronger in Europe. In my view, the objective is twofold: on one side, reflect on the future of the European education, and not the least PHE, not only in terms of content (e.g. Shall we merge the European Education Area with the European Research Area?, What links with other sectorial policies namely those intended to stimulate employability?, etc) but also in terms of competences (e.g. Who does what in the European education landscape? What can be done beyond the existing open method of coordination?), although it is unlikely that the outcome of the Conference, excepted in 2022, leads to amendments of the Treaties in a short term; on the other side, better acknowledge and further reinforce the role of the European educational institutions as vehicles for promoting and strengthening the European identity based on our fundamental values, rights and freedoms.

Iskren Kirilov, Director for International affairs of Foundation Saint Paul CEU Andalusia 

Community Voice | Back to normal or a new normal?

Professional Higher Education (PHE) institutions excel for their close partnership with the world of work, being a pillar of research, innovation, and development for their local communities and region. Most PHE curricula consist in at least 60 % of laboratory and/or workshop-based learning and work-based learning (WBL) both representing the major assets of our institutions. So, it is no wonder that Covid-19 measures affected the implementation of PHE to a large extent.

During the first pandemic wave (spring 2020) over 90 % of the theory-based learning was (more or less successfully) provided online. However, the provision of WBL, laboratory and/or workshop-based learning was less than 10 % Europewide. By summer (when the pandemic was concurred) PHE institutions somehow managed to organize the laboratory and WBL parts of curriculum until the end of the study year. Students were enthusiastic to go back to their studies and discovered that in person lectures are beneficial and very much appreciated. We were relieved to have coped with such an unprecedented crisis so triumphantly and were very much looking forward to a well-deserved summer break and a normal new study year as everything was back to normal.

A new study year – a new chapter, and what a chapter. For those countries beginning the study year in September it began full of hope and students being passionate in taking part in lectures. However, for the countries beginning their study year in October the odds were not so good any more. Some even stared their new study year online, reintroducing distance learning, wrestling with the reorganization of curricula, with no solutions for WBL, laboratory and/or workshop-based learning other than postponing and keeping our fingers crossed for the virus to disappear – the sooner the better. Obviously, our prayers did not materialize and at the end of the first semester the prospects for the second semester do not seem any brighter either. The pessimists already envision this generation of students being doomed, and the consequences of distance learning and poor or no WBL provision resulting in a high unemployable rate of this generation of graduates as no employer would be willing to engage them.

Nonetheless, many industries struggle with staff shortages due multiple staff being on sick leave, in quarantine, or staying at home with their young children due to kindergarten and school lockdown. But some institutions have to firstly persuade authorities to open the opportunity for WBL, laboratory and/or workshop-based learning to take place safely and in line with all the health measures. The traditional working environment changed radically – most work is being done from home, worktime is more flexible, self-discipline and time management are vital, teamwork is being organised online, customers are approached online, supply and offer moved mostly online, delivery is mostly done door-to-door, etc. On the other hand, the most impacted industries by the pandemic (tourism, hospitality, wellness etc.) encounter a complete standstill. This is the opportunity for our institutions and students to engage affected employers into a common discussion to explore innovative solutions and approaches and solutions for revival of their businesses within measures imposed. Such problem-solving hubs result in innovative business-saving solutions for companies fundamentally based on their services offered in direct communication with the customer. For student this is the best possible WBL as their role transforms from a learner to a co-creator of their own work-based experience.

So, what are the lessons learnt? This is the time for our institutions to exercise their flexibility and openness to new approaches, analyse and include those into curricula. Most novelties are here to stay even beyond the pandemic. Instead of being just a passive observer our institutions have the unprecedented opportunity to contribute to development of our local communities and regions integrating also the green and digital transformation. Herewith, let us create together a new, better, and greener normal.

 

Alicia Leonor Sauli Miklavčič, Head of Development at Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges/EURASHE Board member