In 2019, the European Commission and the OECD initiated the Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education (LMRO) Partnership Initiative, a collaborative project with Austria, Hungary, Portugal, and Slovenia. The aim is to assist policy-makers and higher education institutions in the four countries and beyond to develop effective ways in aligning the skills cultivated by higher education systems with those sought by employers. This is done through country-specific analysis, peer-learning activities, and the development of a self-reflection questionnaire for use by higher education institutions to identify and address institutional-level barriers and introduce innovative practices.
Higher education institutions have the potential to help respond to the employment and skill disruptions that have accompanied the pandemic, both for students who are preparing to enter the workforce, and for mature workers who are seeking to re-skill or upskill. This will require many education and training institutions to revise their educational offering by adapting curricula, the mix of programmes, and the types of degrees they offer. The introduction of new digitally enhanced teaching practices and new ways of collaborating with employers can support the development of rapid and forward-looking responses to changing labour market needs, also in light of the green and digital twin transition. Higher education policy plays an important role in supporting institutions in their efforts. Reaching out to young people after they finish their studies and seeking their feedback on their experiences in education and employment is a way to raise the quality and relevance of education. In line with the Council Recommendation from November 2017 on tracking graduates, the aim is to ensure that graduates acquire knowledge, skills and competences that are relevant for today and tomorrow’s world of work, as well as for their integration into society.
In the first of the LMRO Partnership Initiative’s international peer learning event, in November 2020, policy makers and practitioners from twenty countries met to discuss how higher education institutions use labour market information to develop their educational offerings and to provide guidance to prospective and current students. Together they explored the need for publicly available (near) real-time, local labour market information to inform both study choices and programme design, and first approaches that have been taken in this direction. Some examples of national graduate tracking systems were presented, including how they supported policy-making and how this could be enhanced from a European perspective.
Future international peer learning events, planned for June 2021 and January 2022, will focus on how to adjust curriculum and assessment to heightened demand for transversal skills, how to signal those skills to employers, and how to develop a comprehensive, attractive and labour market relevant offer of lifelong learning in higher education. Furthermore, HEIs from the four participating countries will be invited to participate in a pilot on the use of artificial intelligence for matching skills and competences needed by the labour market and offered by the higher education institutions that is an outcome of the new Digital Education Action Plan.
On the 13th October 2021, the European Commission (DG EAC Unit C1) in collaboration with Associação Porto Business School (PBS) at the University of Porto, with the Circle of Sustainable Europe (CoSE), held a webinar as part of the 19th edition of the European Week of the Regions and Cities 2021 (11-14 October). The webinar was organised within the thematic cluster Green Transition: for a Sustainable and Green Recovery. The session focused on the challenge: “How higher education is supporting regions, cities and companies to recover and thrive” and Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes for Higher Education (LMRO) was one of the initiatives presented. To learn more about the webinar you can read a summary report in the section "Related documents" above.