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Why WEXHE Project?

EU countries have experienced a substantial increase in graduate unemployment and a decrease of quality of their employment. European graduates report continuously that they are worried about their careers, while employers voice their concerns over increasing difficulties in finding graduates with matching skills.

Within this context, the WEXHE project responds to the concerns expressed by stakeholders on the shortcomings in the labour market orientation of HE, focusing on the balance between practical and theoretical learning in HE and to mismatches between the skills sets of graduates and the skills they require during early careers.

What has WEXHE achieved during its lifetime?

In the WEXHE project, enterprises, associations and universities come together to identify and analyse current provision of work experience and entrepreneurship in HE in 7 different European countries.

The team has generated 77 case studies of good practice including all four types of study areas (hard-pure, e.g. natural sciences; soft-pure, e.g. humanities and social sciences; hard-applied, e.g. medicine and soft-applied, e.g. social work, covering internships/work placements, traineeships and entrepreneurships.

Working with practitioners, the project has created 9 replicable models for work experience and entrepreneurship, together with guidance on management, quality assurance, learning outcomes, funding and accreditation. These models cover and support the 4 study areas and are tailored to national contexts.
There will be a special emphasis on the Humanities for which the transition to the labour market is least transparent and the number of students is considerable.

What have been the goals of the project?

The project team identified three main goals to accomplish:

• To increase the capacity and competences of staff in universities and enterprises to provide high quality work experience and entrepreneurship. To meet this aim nine WEXHE Packages has been prepared covering the three modes of WBL: placements, traineeships and entrepreneurship;

• To support the accreditation of all kinds of work experience through ECTS and effective quality assurance. This has resulted in the papers TEN STEPS. Setting-up, validating and evaluating work-based learning modules and work experience using ECTS-credits focusing on work placements and FILLING THE GAP. Defining a Robust Quality Assurance Model for Work-Based Learning in Higher Education:

• To ensure that the skills needs of employers are understood. The project has reviewed existing policy development and supports further policy development in this field. For this purpose it has prepared A Policy Note of the WEXHE Project.

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