On the 20th and 21st of November, I (Mário Tarouca) Director of Public Affairs of JADE – participated as a speaker in the Panel Discussion in the Thematic University-Business Forum, in Berlin (Germany). An event from the DG Education and Culture (European Commission), co-organised in partnership with the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA). This event had as a main topic “Driving Competitiveness, Employability and Prosperity”.
— JADE (@JADEnetwork) 20 novembro 2014
The Thematic Forum featured a mix of keynotes speeches, panel discussions and presentations from inspirational examples. The opening session and panel discussions set the scene for the Forum and introduced the overarching theme of university-business collaborations from different points of view. Discussions and presentations from internationally recognised researchers and academics further to representatives of businesses – associations, small and large companies – focus on four main themes during the parallel sessions of the Forum:
- Dual study programmes – Combining academic and professional learning
- Adapting higher education to lifelong learning
- The impact of university-business cooperation
- Higher education and entrepreneurship
Mr. Richard Kühnel, head of representation of the European Commission in Germany, started by mentioning that “youth unemployment is one of the major challenges we are facing today”. In other words, nowadays 1 out of the 5 young people doesn’t get a job! After Mr. Ingo Kramer, President of BDA, said that “academic trainings are very important” but he also added that after “we need to make sure that people will actually be employed”. This represents the skills mismatch problem which is proved by the more than 2 million unfilled jobs’ positions in the EU. Right after him, Prof.Horst Hippler, President of HRK, mentioned that “48% of the students want to see more collaboration between practise and theory”.
Abt Life Long-Learning, the mission of a Uni is not to prepare the students for a particular job, but for their life. #UBForum
— Mário Tarouca (@mariotarouca) 21 novembro 2014
The next moment of event was the Panel Discussion where I shared the stage with Dr Gerhard F. Braun, Vice-President of BDA, Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of the Technical University Munich (awarded as the most entrepreneurial university in Europe), Prof. Maria Helena Nazaré, President of the European University Association and Prof. Eva Quante-Brandt, Vice-President of the Standing Conference of the Ministers for Education and Cultural affairs. During the panel many issues were discussed, like the main challenges still faced by higher education institutions and the main challenges for the businesses, what could be the contribution of students in the modernisation process of higher education and how can national and EU policies better support the changing needs of higher education institutions and external partners.
After this, we had the opportunity to hear some words from Prof. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany. She mentioned the Horizon 2020 which the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).
During these two days, it was amazing to see how many people approached me in order to know more about the Junior Enterprise concept! This not only makes us proud, but it also gives us motivation to continue to work and to foster entrepreneurship around Europe!