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Developing students’ working life meta-skills in university-company cooperation

Quality Education; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Partnerships for the Goals; Decent Work and Economic Growth

Universities excel at teaching hard skills. Engineers, Business Majors or Anthropology students alike may feel like they have mastered all the necessary tools upon graduation and are ready to take the next step. However, getting a positive start to the work life and excelling at the workplace demands much more than just ample knowledge of the core subject of every student. Meta-skills (e.g. self-awareness, critical thinking, emotional intelligence) are regarded as the foundation on which individuals are able to engage in and learn new skills. In other words, meta-skills allow individuals to stay relevant as workplaces evolve, yet they are often learned the hard way and cooperation between universities and companies hardly supports them. 

Our Challenge
As the manufacturer of the best foresting machinery in the world, Ponsse and its technology company EPEC have experience in developing models of collaboration between industry and education, more specifically, vocational schools. When it comes to Institutions of Higher Education, cooperation is often limited to one-off projects with specific teachers or thesis positions for students. While this is a good foundation for cooperation, it is an old model which requires updating. Furthermore, this model does not favor teaching/learning meta-skills.

Ideally, student teams should first define and identify what are the most relevant meta-skills and why, after which they can map out how they are currently realized (if realized at all) in university studies and university-company cooperation, such as internships and thesis positions, after which they can think how can this be taken to the next level.

Expected Impact
We expect development ideas of how these skills and competences can be enhanced –in a way that benefits students and companies alike– maybe even preliminary plans for a pilot program. Students have a chance to define what their perfect learning university environment should look like and what opportunities it should include. The results coming from this challenge are not necessarily tailored to a specific university or company, rather they are a new standard of meta-skill enhancing university-company cooperation model that can be adopted by any institution.

Target Groups
Students of Higher Education Institutions, Higher Education Institutions, Companies.

Deadline for applications : 2021-02-17

Starting date
March 9th, duration 8 weeks