JUST Joint University and Small and medium sized enterprises Training
Bridging the Gap between Education and Employment: JUST Project Achieves Milestone in Training Curriculum Development
JUST, an acronym for the EU co-funded project “Joint University and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Training”, arises from the recognition that the collaboration between universities and businesses, especially SMEs, is inadequate, both in terms of educational and employment opportunities for students.
This is where JUST coming in, with the aim of bridging the gap between the world of education and the world of work by bringing together universities and SMEs to develop coherent, relevant, and up-to-date study programmes using microcredentials.
The target groups are:
Students (18+ years, with an equal gender ratio) approaching the transition from education to the world of work
SMEs from various sectors
Project Results 3 (PR3): Multilingual Open Access Curriculum
At the current stage of the project, partners have developed an innovative training curriculum, currently available in multiple languages (EN, ES, IT, SI, SK) and offered in an open-access format on the project’s OER platform, completely free of charge. This curriculum encompasses a diverse range of courses, each designed to equip students with essential and innovative job skills. Here is a brief overview of the courses with titles and brief descriptions:
Smart working characteristics, tools and good practices: Defining smart working and differentiate it from other work types and to get acquainted with SW principles and good practices. The participant will be able to manage setting SW place and choose proper SW tools and technology. They will get familiar with the relevance and specifics of SW in relation to wellbeing and a well-balanced work
Interacting safely in a digital setting: Explaining the importance of maintaining good cybersecurity practices, to highlight the importance of protecting personal information, and to provide a general idea of the handiest and effective cybersecurity tools
Key competences for the 21st-century workplace: Introducing introduce the soft skills that are important for the 21st-century workplace, explain how to potentially improve them and transmit them into work and life
Time, tasks and teamwork management: Underlining the importance of personal organization, to explain what urgent-important matrix is and how to use it, and to teach how to avoid procrastination
Being smart, effective and efficient in managing your workload: Helping learners better plan and strategies their workload by prioritising tasks and commitments, to teach them how to perform under pressure and how to remain productive at their best
Collaboration and Communication Skills: Explaining to the learners how to build relationships with teammates, to teach them to create good communication dynamics with others, and to improve their ability to understand people and situations in the context of organisations
Business Etiquette: Introducing the concept of business etiquette and its role in presenting a united company image, fostering mutual respect for team members, and improving communication in the workplace. The module will explain why it has to be is to be understood and appreciated by all so the organisation is able to do business in all circumstances
An unconventional guide to office life: Presenting the concept of organisational hierarchy and its most typical frameworks (including their pros & cons), to explain the Pyramidal Principle of communication that enables a more impactful and effective business communication, and to explain how to better structure the message content when sharing knowledge and information
The 8 training courses consist of 1 .pptx module and 1 .docx handout each, enriched with a glossary and a final self-assessment test. To access the course contents, please visit the direct link: www.just-training.eu/training.
Currently, these courses are undergoing testing and validation (T&V) by 300 university students who provide invaluable feedback on content and structure, ensuring they meet the needs of both academia and the job market.
Transnational Project Meeting (TPM) in Malaga
The recent TPM in Malaga (Spain) played an important role in assessing and advancing the JUST project. The meeting focused on the following main points:
Drawing valuable insights and lesson learned from PR2 and PR3
Evaluating the successful implementation of the T&V process, yielding first results. Feedback received thus far highlights:
An enthusiastic response from learners
Significative positive impact on their professional preparation and competitiveness in the job market and the world of work
Confirmation of the usefulness of the training areas addressed and of the quality of the material
As the project progresses, attention now turns to Project Result 4 (PR4), where efforts will focus on producing guidelines for utilising project outcomes (Implementation Suite) and recommendations for policy implementation to promote similar initiatives and collaboration between universities and SMEs (Green Paper).
EU Co-Funded Erasmus+ Project
JUST is an EU project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme. The partnership comprises 9 partners from 5 different countries (BE, ES, IT, SI, SK), with representation from both the university sector (4 partners) and the business sector (2). Additionally, 2 business agencies and 1 organisation from the tertiary sector are actively involved.
For further information about the JUST project, please contact: email@example.com
Project website: www.just-training.eu
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/JUSTchannel
A cross-functional and multidimensional model for cooperation and collaboration dynamics between Universities and Small Medium Enterprises
According to recent assessment from official EU sources (European Commission, State of University-Business Cooperation in EU, 2018), cooperation and collaboration dynamics among Universities and private sector’s representatives (mainly, small and medium enterprises) are still too weak and fragmented to generate those major socio-economic outcomes as ideally foreseen.
Labor market relevance of study programmes and the very same employability opportunities of fresh graduates are negatively impacted by this scenario. Interestingly enough, the causes from this mismatch seem varying from the source and nature of literature: academics name bureaucracy and lack time as main inhibitors, while business identify cultural differences, different management styles and diverging motivations as obstacles.
With the scope to overcome such paradigm’s barriers, the European Commission contributed to the co-financing of the JUST project, a transnational initiative carried out with the support of the Erasmus Plus programme: 9 organizations in total are involved, coming from 5 different countries, and representative of the many groups of interest gravitating around this collaboration axis.
In the next two years, partners will collaborate to develop innovative tools to broker sustainable and fruitful collaboration between HEIs and SMEs, and for the further development and delivery of labor market-relevant curricula; definition of joint Work Based Learning (WBL) arrangements; increased collaboration in career guidance and placement. The development of these tools starts from the recognitions, assessment and evaluation of critical success factors / good practices / case studies that can support the transition from theory to practice of sustainable and long-term oriented collaboration models.
The needs-analysis as described is a formal project result of JUST, and anticipates the developed of the three aforementioned deliverables. Under the lead of the Faculty of Media of Ljubljana, and the expect co-guidance of Institut de Haute Formation aux Politiques Communautaires, partners carried out with refernece to the national context an in-depth and comprehsive analysis aimed at hihglighting what might be the theoretical premises of such collaboration model. Referenes and sources were distinguished based on the instututional nature of the partner involved in the assessment:
HEI were requested to:
Identify and disclose (If possible) systems and mechanisms for HEI and SME collaboration already existing at their institution
Collect existing memorandums, protocols, guidelines, information on web pages and other documents on collaboration between HEI and SME
Prototype the role and responsibilities of the promoter at HE level of such dynamics
Gather good practices and students’ dimension
…and on the other hand, partners that represent the SME cosmos were requested to:
Review of existing models and documents about cooperation of SME and HEI
Identifying ways in which SME (might) initiate collaboration with HEI
Review goof practices form industry reports and other forms of business publishing
This transnational and cross-dimensional analysis in complemented by 5 additional resources:
Set of Selection Criteria to ease STKHs management and engagement
Collaboration protocol the better establigh the scale and scope of the collaboration
Code of conduct on how to implement and develop over time fruitful collaborations
A template of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Good practices and recommended working methods
All resources and deliverables prepared and compiled by partners will be available for free and in open access format via the official Open Education Resource Platform of the project under the Model section. To know more about the project, please feel free to consult: www.just-training.eu
Joint University and Small and medium-sized enterprises Training. JUST platform has been launched
The JUST platform, which offers information on the project’s aims, activities and results, is now online (https://just-training.eu/), It will also contain all the project’s deliverables and outputs.
JUST (Joint University/SME Training) aims at bridging the gap between the world of education and the world of work, by bringing together Universities (HEIs) and SMEs to develop coherent, relevant and up-to-date curricula.
This user-friendly platform has been developed by the Spanish partner of the consortium, IWS (Internet Web Solutions), and will be constantly updated by the partnership as a whole during the project implementation. The platform is available in five languages (English, Spanish, Slovakian, Italian, and Slovenian) and consists of the following parts, optimised for different devices and browsers:
HOME: the section introduces users to the JUST platform by highlighting:
The Project Vision
The implementation Suite
The JUST model
The Modules to be created
PROJECT: serves as a project manifesto, including information on background, mission statement and how JUST will develop innovative operational tools to equip HEIs to broker collaborations with SMEs
PARTNERS: describes the Partners involved in the project.
IMPLEMENTATION SUITE: This section will host two important documents for the project:
The IMPLEMENTATION SUITE is the operational guideline for other operators of the education and training ecosystem concerned with HE, employability and HR
GREEN PAPER ON HEIs/SMEs COLLABORATION: a repository of lessons learned with the aim of consolidating the wealth of knowledge related to collaborative dynamics between SMEs and HEIs to strengthen students’ employability
TRAINING: consists of training materials tailored to the most wanted skills required by employers from graduates, divided into 4 skill clusters (in a free, multilingual mode):
Smart Working tools
MODEL: The JUST Model (with tools and template docs) will allow HEIs to engage SMEs in a more structured and purposeful way.
ASSOCIATES: to involve as many Associated Partners as possible and spread the word about JUST to users, targets, the general public and ultimate beneficiaries.
NEWS: to be up to date with JUST’s latest developments.
IWS will be the technological partner, in charge of the creation of the platform, its maintenance, adaptation and functioning, and will also contribute to the implementation of all project steps and phases.
JUST is managed by nine partners from five countries, i.e., Italy, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia and Slovenia and is co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.