The Emp&co project intends to produce new knowledge and new tools that can help improve university curricula and increase the employment impact of students entering higher education courses. In this particular moment in time (Sennett 2008, 2012; Bauman 2011, 2013) there are many studies that underline the difficulties encountered by young people in entering and remaining in the world of work. An important lever in order to support youth employability is to increase the quality of university studies, hence the idea to focus the research design on three spheres of study and interest:
1. quality of university teaching;
2. university student employability support practices;
3. university success factors.
The research programme intends to achieve the following specific results:
- to define the conceptual picture and operational levels needed to create a personalised educational package that takes the perspectives of the university system and the students’ expectations, as well as the current socio-economic system into account;
- to perform a longitudinal study in the three-year and single five-year degree courses and in the two-year masters courses, which will offer personalised teaching regarding in particular: transversal skills, specific skills, behaviour, contents, and integration between university studies and work contexts;
- to draw up guidelines to innovate university teaching;
- to outline a methodological structure that endorses critical reflection on methods, techniques and tools so as to provide support in drawing up and planning suitable education and training packages for innovation and the transfer of knowledge, skills and capabilities;
- to develop inclusive and personalised educational-training programmes that can respond to the needs of the varied and complex student population as expressed through the differences, goals, resources, desires and expectations of the young adults and adults who have already entered professional contexts;
- to build and implement innovative tutoring, guidance, mentoring and counselling services to support and make a positive contribution to the development of flexible professional identities that are suitable for the present-day world of work;
- to analyse and study the performance management systems developed in a sample group of companies selected from all over Italy with the aim of understanding companies’ needs and combining skills learned in university with those of the companies themselves so as to foster cycles of ongoing learning.