The 19th Alumni-clubs.net Conference on Alumni-Management, Career Service and Fundraising was held in Göttingen, Germany, on 9-11 May 2014. This Alumni-clubs.net is a network of higher education institutions and other related stakeholders across the German speaking Europe (incl. Austria, Germany, Switzerland). The main aim of the network is to support exchange of experiences, mutual learning and networking in the areas linked to alumni management, career service, marketing and promotional activities. In the coming years, there is an intention to expand the network to other countries as well.
I myself had the honour of contributing to this interesting event as an invited speaker by running a 90-minute workshop, in which I introduced the development work on graduate employability in Finnish higher education and briefly presented the European Union policy and strategy framework for education, employment and lifelong guidance. The workshop participants were extremely active and interested in learning about the theoretical foundation underlying employability as well as how guidance and counselling can support the acquisition of career management and employability skills throughout studies in tertiary education.
Moreover, already at the conference and in the discussions following the event I have been informed that a German-coordinated large-scale research study on employability with involvement of several European countries (at least Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland) will be launched soon. The first phase of this research will be conducted in 2014-15.
The intention is to collect data from students in higher education institutions and to consult employers to get an overview of how the concept of employablity is perceived and interpreted and what elements and/or dimensions are linked to it. The results will hopefully give insights into how higher education institutions can improve their methods and means to help students develop their employability skills while studying, and how closer links between learning and working can be established in the future (i.e. education-business cooperation).
The website www.alumni-clubs.net (in German) gives additional information on the objectives and activities of the alumni-clubs.net. The 20th network conference will be arranged in Potsdam, Germany, on 8-10 May 2015.