Starting point of the LIFE Project
We try to discover the needs from different perspectives. How can we match the needs of the students, schools and companies?
1. The “clients” of the school are the STUDENTS
Our students are the starting point of everything. What will they need in their future? How can we link the interests of everyone in Europe? As a starting point of our project we used Kwik Survey, which showed that most students feel very well trained in the fields of
•doing team work
The majority of students also believe that they have had good training in
•giving professional presentations
•learning business English
However, the inquiry revealed that there are several challenges of the labour market that most students do not feel well prepared for, such as
•doing job interviews
•gaining insight into companies
•knowledge about marketing and economics
We also investigated the hopes and dreams of our students
The work done in the four countries showed that most students distinguish between their hopes and dreams concerning their careers and the hopes they have for their private life. When they think of their future jobs and careers many students hope
- to find a fulfilling or creative job (e.g. to work as a photographer, social worker or to translate books) or to become a professional football player
- to pursue an academic career such as to 'study medicine' or to become a lawyer
- to work abroad (in a 'big city', e.g. in New York or simply in a different country like Austria)
Some students dream of having a 'surfboard company' or an 'art gallery' or working in the tourist industry (mainly students from Portugal).
However, most students did not talk or write about the fears that they have so much as the things they hope to do do or have in their private life. The only fear that they mention is the fear of not finding a (good) job in their later fife - such as
- finding a partner and having a family with (two) children
- having their own (big and stylish) house and some wealth (e.g. a pool, a cool car)
- good friendships
- having pets (especially having a dog)
- travelling the world
- >pursuing hobbies other than travelling (mostly sports but also going to the movies or playing computer games)
All these dreams are also fairly well reflected in these pictures which were used by the Portuguese students in their Powerpoint.
2. The “managers” of the SCHOOLS are the teachers
Secondary schools have been preparing the students for university. In a globalised world the needs of our students have changed completely. How can the European curricula adapt to the new needs?
All the partner schools have already tried to adapt to future needs of their students by integrating the world of work into the curriculum. This has been done more or less intensively. As an example, it can be said that Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Germany have intensified topics such as “living and working in a globalised world” into their curriculum by paying special attention to elements such as writing letters of application and practicing job interviews with peer evaluation. To sum up, the focus has already been put on the students future on the global job market.
3. The COMPANIES as the future employers
What do companies expect from their future employees in the different countries according to our research?
- motivation, ambition, entrepreneurial spirit;
- willingness to learn the rules of the company, autonomy, commitment and organizing skills;
- critical thinking
- motivation and talent
- needed skills:
* communication with costumers and colleagues and creative skills;
* ambition to achieve an international career: the willingness to learn, perform and contribute to the company’s success;
* a focus on globalisation and passion for the product.
- communication skills;
- self-awareness (of one'e strengths and weaknesses);
- empathy and ability to work in a team;
- openness to criticism and analytical competence;
- curiosity and self-discipline / self-control;
- ability to handle conflict situations;
- assertiveness and reliability
- being ready to do any job;
- willingness to listen and to improve oneself;
- a positive approach and attitude to work.
4. LIFE as a European approach
• Our curricula have to be adapted to our students’ and future employees’ needs more intensively and more professionally. We have to teach more topics that are related to business etc. We need education that gives them the chance to specify more or try out as much as they can.
• Business English should be part of our curriculum as it is an essential part in working life and has to be trained in advance.
• We need more and more intense contacts with companies to offer different branches and aspects to our students.
• Therefore, we need more need more training in job fields and an We need more and more intense contacts with companies to offer different branches and aspects to our students. Companies have various opportunities to support students – not only in choosing a job, but also in training them in certain skills. Nowadays lots of companies start their application process with assessment centres. We need to make our students fit for that and have to offer them some training.
• We would like to offer discussions/ talks to company owners or employees in order to make students aware of chances as well as difficulties. Regular meetings could open their eyes as well as those of the people involved from the companies for the individual needs of the others. We hope to able to establish new partnerships in all of the countries.
We have to involve more methods of professional working life. Students need to learn project management and working in groups without being monitored by a teacher all the time. They have to be trained in entrepreneurship.
We have to start making our students aware of the fact that we live in a united Europe where they have unlimited opportunities. They have to adapt an international perspective when thinking of jobs and their future companies: We should start to open their eyes to this by comparing our country with others and the chances there.