Events and presentations of outcomes

This page contains information about events and presentations organised as part of the Student Advancement of Graduate Employability (SAGE) project. Several events were organised as part of the project throughout the project's lifespan, bringing together hundreds of student representatives and experts in higher education.

Final conference in Belgium - March 2014

The European Students’ Union (ESU) presented the main outcomes of its research project called Student Advancement of Graduate Employability (SAGE) on 19 March 2014 at a final conference in Brussels, Belgium. Several policy recommendations for improving the employability of graduates have been developed as part of this project.

Employability is a process and a concept of learning, rather than a mere mathematical relationship between completion rates and employment statistics. As such, employability coincides with those goals of higher education that concern personal development, critical thinking, active citizenship and enhancement of democracy,” says Nevena Vuksanovic, the main coordinator of the SAGE project.

A short summary of the SAGE findings can be found in a news article here(external link) and an executive summary of the SAGE employability research in the reader created for the event, available below. The reader also contains the agenda of the event and more useful information.

The event was held under the high patronage of the European Parliament and with support of the European Economic and Social Committee.

ESC27 Reader

Training session in Hungary - April 2013

Students’ perspectives need to be brought to decision makers in order to support the policy-making processes for sustainable higher education reforms. Therefore, ESU’s project called Student Advancement of Graduates Employability (SAGE) provides an important input to the current educational reforms as it addresses the question of why employability shouldn’t only be defined accordingly to labour market’s terms.

Simply, if there are not enough jobs available, no solution can first of all be found to solve the problem of unemployment. The concept of employability and reforming education should therefore not be used as a means to solve a problem caused by the economic crisis,” says Taina Moisander, ESU’s Vice-Chair.

Disabled young people and graduates are more likely to suffer from the economic crisis than others, which is very unfortunate when society cannot afford anyone to be excluded from education.

These are among the many concerns raised at a training session organised in Budapest, Hungary, on 24 and 25 April 2013 in relation to the SAGE project on employability. Around one hundred delegates from national unions of students and other stakeholders in higher education participated in the event, aspiring at training student representatives in employment debates in a broad sense.

Analysing the job market

The participants looked at employability as a tool to enhance the Bologna Process rather than two separate issues. This is a vital topic, considering the increasing commodification of the higher education industry and its labour market orientation. The participants therefore also addressed the need to clarify what role higher education serves within each society.

The definition and image of employability makes it difficult to include and analyse the whole process of accessing higher education and then the labour market. What does it mean for the individual to be able to find suitable and interesting work? One of the topics we discussed was if the possible learning outcomes matched the original intentions of education. Learning outcomes can play a great role in facilitating the process of enhancing one’s personal development as well as to improve the assessment processes of the education system,” says Taina Moisander, Vice-Chair of the European Students Union (ESU).

Speakers and facilitators at the seminar came from various backgrounds, including the SAGE consortium partners in addition to the European Commission, EURASHE, Education International, ETUCE, Hungarian Bologna Experts, Hungarian Student Loan Center and Student Spokespersons for disabled students as well as ESU’s alumni members.

The participants in the training were encouraged to use social media and especially Twitter to debate the topics of each session by including the hashtag #ESU_SAGE. These updates were collected and saved in one discussion thread on Storify(external link). Find more information about the event, including the agenda, in the reader created especially for the event, available below.

SAGE Training Reader

Consultation seminar in Cyprus - October 2012

The employability of students and the impact of the worldwide austerity measures on higher education was high on the agenda of the 24th European Students' Convention of the European Students' Union (ESU). The meeting of 150 student leaders from all over Europe was held from 17 to 20 October in Limassol, Cyprus, and was hosted by ESU's member union in Cyprus, POFEN.

This event had the purpose to:
• Examine the impact of austerity measures on the society and to provide the participants a basic understanding in relation to the topic.
• Discuss the role of higher education in the current economic situation and defining recommendations to higher education stakeholders.
• Mapping the employment strategies of the EHEA members states and how the crisis has impacted them.
• Exploring the current discussions on employability around Europe and how the national student unions are working on the topic.
• Defining smart employability and the role of student centred learning in development of the knowledge society.

The participants were able to:
• Gain a basic understanding and develop critical thinking on the up-to-date implementation of austerity measures and their impact on the society.
• Define recommendations for higher education stakeholders.
• Map national policies and strategies on employability.
• Understand the impact the crisis has had on the employability strategies.
• Make a link between the EU-level policies and their impact on the policy making on national level.
• Understand the impact the crisis has had on youth and the society.
• Develop critical thinking on the concept of smart employability and importance of the student-centred learning for the further employability development.
• Learn best practices on influencing the different levels of work on enhancing graduates’ employability from national unions’ of students.
• Give input on the foreseen survey on employability.

More information about the event, including a detailed agenda, can be found in this reader that was created especially for that occasion

ESC24 Reader

Getting young people out of the crisis - Denmark March 2012

In March 2012, the National Students Union in Denmark (DSF) organised a conference in cooperation with the European Student Union (ESU).The conference was entitled ‘Getting young Europe out of the crisis - Eyes on higher education and employability of graduates’.

Over 120 student representatives from all across the European continent gathered for three days in Copenhagen to discuss the consequences of the rising youth unemployment, and the role of higher education to get Europe out of the crisis. Find more information about the event in an information brochure created by DSF, available below.

European Students Convention 23