LOASA is a new partnership between the world of work and education that aims to bridge the skills gap in Europe

Summary
The LOASA project in brief

LOASA is a new partnership between the world of work and education that aims to bridge the skills gap in Europe. Here's a brief summary of our project.

Europe is facing three major challenges:

  1. There is a huge gap between supply and demand on the labour market. The skills gap will continue to grow over the next years, especially in the green sector and for workers on lower and middle EQF levels. Many current jobs disappear and new jobs that do not yet exist will emerge. The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will transform how and where people work.
  2. National governments aims to provide additional challenges to excelling students. VET institutions are currently not contributing enough to foster excellence.
  3. Education and business don’t seem to speak the same language. Education institutions are insufficiently providing students with the skills the economy needs, and employers ask for more transparency of skills.

What we're aiming for

The aim of this project is to reduce the skills gap in the labour market and increase the employability of workers by contributing to the three main topics of the Skills Agenda and further develop this European agenda.

To make this happen, five education institutions from four different EU countries have teamed up with five partners representing the industry (companies, branch organization, cooperative, etc) to co-develop a framework for units of learning outcomes that are based on ECVET principles and align with the Skills Agenda by embedding generic skills, professional skills and social-emotional skills.

This way three target groups are served:

  1. Students with skills on lower and middle levels (roughly EQF levels 2, 3, and 4);
  2. Excelling students who seek additional challenge (in the context of fostering excellence on all EQF levels);
  3. Employers who need transparency of skills.

Ways of working

The methodology used in this project is action researching, based on a learning organization. As designers and stakeholders, the business and education partners in this project work with others as researchers with the aim to deliver units of learning outcomes based on ECVET principles, aligned with the Skills Agenda plus an appropriate assessment methodology. The project team and steering group will use an In Progress Overview (IPO) paper as instrument to assure proper project progress, quality of results and dissemination of results.

Impact

The project results will have a positive impact in several ways and on several levels, including:

  • The employability of students on lower and middle levels is increasing through ECVET units of learning outcomes because they acquire skills needed by the industry and relevant for several professions, (including entrepreneurial behaviour).
  • Students may also easier get employed abroad because the learning outcomes are also recognized in other countries, and because students have improved their language skills and strengthened their generic, professional and social-emotional skills after completing one or more ECVET units abroad.
  • The employability and labour mobility of workers in the green sector on lower and middle levels have increased by describing how (by what methods) skills that are acquired through informal or non-formal learning, can be recognized and validated.
  • By following units of learning outcomes outside their own curriculum or on a higher level, excelling students have demonstrably increased or expanded their study and are therefore more versatile in the labour market. This will foster excellence on VET institutions.
  • The quality of teaching and learning in the participating institutions has increased, because the learning goals (learning outcomes) are clearly defined. Teachers and students have a better understanding of the skills that businesses require.
  • A partnership has developed between VET institutions and businesses who collaborated on the development of ECVET units of learning outcomes. This has created a structure for the exchange of knowledge between educational institutions and businesses. This can be both sectoral and regional.
  • Employers can utilize the ECVET units of learning outcomes as a tool for human resource policy. The units provide objective criteria to determine which skills are already mastered by an employee, and which skills should be further developed by the employee. Acquiring the skills could happen through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
  • The ECVET units of learning outcomes take into account that skills can be developed through informal and non-formal learning. As such they provide tools how to develop, recognize and validate these skills - both for students (with or without experience abroad) and workers.

Potential long term benefits include a reduction of the skills gap in the labour market and increased employability of workers on lower and middle EQF levels.