This presentation is based on our experience of French Higher Education where the French Business Confederation (MEDEF) is involved in accreditation procedures for all institutions involved in higher education (HE) and professional higher education.
Our observatory of the Labour market, with data from 40,000 businesses, clearly shows the discrepancy between graduate competences and the needs of the Labour market. Since it has been clearly stated that one mission of French Higher Education is employability, we believe that all Higher Education should take into account the trends, evolutions and needs of the Labour market.
In order to fulfil this societal goal, HE must design its courses and awards in terms of Learning Outcomes; as such the advances of the Bologna process are paramount. Secondly, the dialogue between professors, University management and business leaders must be the basis on which to construct and define study programmes.
Because qualification frameworks are national when labour market needs are at once local, regional and national, each nation must reach the proper balance between these levels when designing courses. One advocated tool is the regional mapping of HE course offer.
The employability of HE graduates can only be enhanced through an increase in the professionalization of training and generic competencies: business professionals must be involved directly in course delivery to impart their experience of the needs of Labour. Paths to be further explored in that respect are Apprenticeships and in-company learning as are provisions for the validation of all types of learning.
Furthermore, professionals should be given a voice in career information. For the complete information of students who wish to further their studies, published data should include success rates as well as employability figures down to the module level.
Partnerships based on the co-definition of qualification frameworks, quality assurance and professional involvement in courses at all levels of Higher Education are the elements that guarantee that we all can deliver sustained employability for our students.
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