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#EAIR2019 Programme

#EAIR2019 Programme

Employer engagement with higher education: Is it a solution to employability skills?



Responsibility of Higher Education for Society and Labour Market


Fátima Suleman, DINAMIA’CET/ Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal

Single presentation - 30 Minutes



This paper draws on the available literature to examine the issues associated with employer engagement with higher education (HE). It is argued in the literature that it is employers that best understand their skill requirements and universities should therefore involve them in order to address graduate employability in an appropriate fashion. We discuss the varieties of forms of engagement and underline the associated risks. Employers exchange information about skills, use HE institutions as recruitment channel, provide work-based learning, and co-design particular courses. Mostly, they attempt to access best candidates to fill the jobs, but some initiatives have been taken to design and deliver tailored courses. The major risks of more active engagement are the proliferation of HE programmes and monopsony labour market, as well as a bias towards large and wealthy employers. The workplace learning implies that employers are prepared to work with students and give them a real integration. Sometimes, they are unable to fulfil this requirement.

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