Developing Student Work Experience Programmes Within the European Higher Education Area Framework: The Role of Social Partners

  •  Dimitrios Skiadas    
  •  Sofia Boutsiouki    
  •  Vasileios Koniaris    
  •  Konstantinos Zafiropoulos    
  •  Marianthi Karatsiori    


The aim of establishing the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) marked the development of the Bologna process since its beginning, while it exercised a decisive influence on the content of the higher education policy initiatives undertaken over the years. One of the most important goals of the relevant policy making was to bridge the university-to-labour market gap and to improve the employability of graduates. Such aims require a consistent and multidimensional cooperation between higher education institutions and the social partners, mainly employers, from which significant benefits may derive for all parties involved. As a result, many types of work based learning have been promoted in higher education with the most prominent of them being the student work experience programmes organised by universities in collaboration with enterprises. The paper analyses the guidelines provided by the EHEA framework with regard to the cooperation between universities and the social partners. Also, it discusses the role that has been attributed to (or claimed by) the social partners regarding work experience programmes. The EHEA institutional framework includes provisions for the participation of social partners in the organisation of work placements, which contribute to students’ skills development and easier transition to employment.

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