When Ministers met in May 2007 in London, they identified employability as
one of the priorities for the period leading to the next ministerial conference
in April 2009.
Employability has been one of the main goals to be achieved with the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) from the very start but many concerns still exist - among employers, students, academics, higher education institutions and governments.
What is employability?
There are many definitions of employability. For the purpose of the Bologna Follow-up Group, employability is defined as the ability to gain initial employment, to maintain employment, and to be able to move around within the labour market.
The role of higher education
The role of higher education in this context is to equip students with skills and attributes (knowledge, attitudes and behaviours) that individuals need in the workplace and that employers require, and to ensure that people have the opportunities to maintain or renew those skills and attributes throughout their working lives. At the end of a course, students will thus have an in-depth knowledge of their subject as well as generic employability skills.
2007-2009 work programme
After the Ministerial Meeting in London in May 2007, the Bologna Follow-up Group set up a working group to provide a report to Ministers for their 2009 conference on how to improve employability in relation to each of the three cycles (with a particular emphasis on the first cycle) as well as in the context of lifelong learning.
Suggested themes to be covered by the report include
- awareness-raising among employers of the value of a bachelors qualification and associated learning outcomes;
- involving employers in devising curricula and curriculum innovation based on learning outcomes;
- provision of careers and guidance services;
- employment and career structures within the public service that are fully compatible with the new degree system;
- recognition of degrees in the labour market across Europe;
- the role of higher education in lifelong learning and continuing professional development.
As one basis for the report, late 2007/early 2008, the employability working group conducted a short informal survey on the issue of employability among the members of the Bologna Follow-up Group.
For preliminary results and an overview of the state of affairs by the end of October 2008, read the employability working group update prepared for the Bologna Seminar in Luxembourg.
"Employability: The Employers' Perspective and its Implications", Luxembourg, 6-7 November 2008
"Enhancing European Employability", Swansea, 14-16 July 2006
"The employability and its links to the objectives of the Bologna Process", Bled, 22-23 October 2004
- International comparative surveys of graduates provide valuable information about the relationship between higher education and employment, e.g. REFLEX project; Careers After Graduation
- The European University Association has initiated a project dealing with employability in the context of doctoral education: DOC-CAREERS Project (2006-2007)
- In 2007, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) coordinated an
international project on