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Page 3
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Proiect cofnanat din Fondul Social European prin Programul Operaional Sectorial Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane
2007 - 2013
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A new approach to practical education and training
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oProgram mult-regional integrat de stagii de practc pentru studeni n vederea creterii
gradului acestora de angajabilitate
A new approach to practcal educaton
and training
CONINUT: Robert Santa
VERIFICARE I COMPLETARE CONINUT: Vasile Burtea, Roxana Cioclov, Cristan Panir,
Alexandra Petcu, Vlad Petcu,
ECHIPA DE IMPLEMENTARE A PROIECTULUI:
Vasile Burtea
Roxana Cioclov
Andreea Dobre
Mariana Glan
Cristna Luca
Daniela Muha
Cristan Panir
Elena Prvan
Alexandra Petcu
Vlad Petcu
Viorel Proteasa
Robert Santa
Mariana Stoica
Tiprit la Tipografa Artpress
TIMIOARA, Noiembrie 2013
Aceast publicaie este elaborat n cadrul Programul mult-regional integrat de stagii
de practc pentru studeni n vederea creterii gradului acestora de angajabilitate,
cofnanat din FSE, prin POSDRU 2007-2013
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Page 7
SUMMARY
The following publicaton is a testmony to the achievements and the eforts of the
implementaton team of the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme Fo-
cused on Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employability over
the course of their work in both 2011 and 2012. Its purpose is to ofer guidance and
input to anyone interested in organizing relevant and integrated student internships
both in Romania and other countries with a similar socioeconomic context.
The publicaton describes the approach used by Adecco Romania in getng young
students to internships in various companies across Romania, as well as the numer-
ous enhancements it has brought to traditonal approaches existng on practcal ed-
ucaton. For Adecco itself, the project has been a signifcant breakthrough into the
white collar sector, while at the same tme breaking new ground by giving a private
sector spin to internship stages in the Romanian regions it actvated in.
The frst part of the publicaton will try to give an accurate descripton of the context
in which the project is operatng, from a demographic, insttutonal and socio-eco-
nomic point of view. This context is to a large degree determined by the transiton
to a fully capitalist economy in Romania, the massifcaton of higher educaton and
the transiton to a service-based economy.
The publicaton will also describe the main tools that have been developed for use
in the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme Focused on Ensuring Sus-
tainable Growth in Terms of Students Employability project. These include career
counselling sessions, trainings and the internships themselves. We will also describe
how the concept of contnuous feedback has been embedded in project actvites,
and how we have atempted to give each benefciary a clear and comprehensive
image of his or her personal performance in an economic actvity and connected
social interacton.
Feedback goes both-ways, so at the end of this publicaton we shall present a brief
review of the feedback we have been receiving from partners and from students,
and the changes we have adopted on the eve of another implementaton cycle.
The changes, while not altering the overall concept, have meant that we take the
concept of benefciary ownership seriously the people who gain from the project
should be able to gain even more afer infuencing the general structure of the ac-
tvites.We hope that we will provide you with a good read and that we will manage
to give you an insight into how one of the more ambitous employability enhance-
ment actvites in Romania is progressing.
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Page 8
CHAPTER 1. The current
situation in the European Union
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Page 9
Probably one of the largest debates in the EU at this moment is that on graduate
and youth employability. It has transcended into every conceivable feld of public
discourse, from fnancing, to crisis-related austerity measures, the viability of the
Eurozone, as well as the mission of public educaton. Other than the discussion on
immediate employment prospects for graduates, there is also an increasing debate
on the nature of employability. There are clear indicatons that the days of life-long
employment at a single insttuton or company are now long gone. Innovaton and
rapid changes in the jobs market have meant that the economy changes signifcant-
ly over the productve life of an individual, and fexibility is now a key to ensuring
access to employment opportunites.
As such, there is a new emphasis on promotng a smart employability in which
the focus is on allowing learners to gain the skills and competences that will ensure
them the capacity for successful self-directed up-skilling and learning. This further
or lifelong learning is one of the necessary prerequisites in ensuring that graduates
will be able to adapt to changes in the labour market years and decades afer their
graduaton, and (from an HEI point of view) to justfy the current extent of the ter-
tary public educaton system in a group of countries with aging populaton.
The discussions around the issue of youth employability as well as that around grad-
uate employability have intensifed, as employment prospects ofen infuence the
behaviour of young people with regards to HE partcipaton. In tmes of crisis for
example, the number of students taking part in various HE programmes can actu-
ally increase, as people try to become more compettve via beter educaton or
simply avoid seeking employment untl the jobs market improves.
One important dimension is the issue of student employability during studies. While
students used to normally have an adequate level of support during their studies,
the share of those also working is very high and represents a very distnct group as
compared to graduates. In the partcular case of Romania, this situaton is all but
impossible to measure, as many students are employed without a proper contract.
Also, these temporary jobs that students take on during their studies sometmes
extend to the period immediately following graduaton, untl a long-term job in the
feld of study can be found.
This type of work is ofen part-tme and not always linked in a meaningful way with
the feld of studies for the students. To add more complexity to the debate, we need
to point out that in those countries that have a lower percentage of young students
working during their studies, tertary educaton can act as a mask that helps hide
youth unemployment: the fewer young people seeking a job, the lower the level of
the youth unemployment rate.
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Page 10
Overview and present situaton
Despite signifcant levels of concern on the capacity of higher educaton graduates
to fnd a workplace, the overall employment level for HE graduates is signifcantly
higher than for other levels of educaton. In fact, there is no country inside the EU
where the employment rate for graduates is lower than the overall rate or the rates
for any other category of people based on their level of educaton. (Eurostat, 2011)
Pre-primary, primary
and lower sedondary -
ISCED levels 0-2
Upper secondary
& post sedondary,
non-tertary ISCED
levels 3-4
Tertary -
levels 5-6
EU - 27 53.5 73.2 83.7
Euro area 54.1 74.2 83.4
Belgium 47.7 74.0 84.2
Bulgaria 38.6 70.3 82.7
Czech Republic 42.2 75.3 83.1
Denmark 62.6 79.0 85.8
Germany 56.6 77.6 87.9
Estonia 48.4 74.0 80.0
Ireland 45.7 65.1 80.8
Greece 54.0 62.0 75.1
Spain 52.2 67.5 78.9
France 55.6 73.6 83.8
Italy 50.8 71.0 79.0
Cyprus 65.0 76.4 83.5
Latvia 50.5 68.0 85.0
Lithuania 34.3 66.6 88.5
Louxembourg 62.0 70.4 85.0
Hungary 37.7 66.3 79.3
Malta 49.8 81.2 87.9
Netherlands 62.1 80.0 87.4
Austria 56.2 77.9 86.5
Poland 39.8 65.9 87.7
Portugal 65.9 79.4 83.4
Romania
51.4 68.3 85.3
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Page 11
The EU in partcular has tended to view increased rates of partcipaton in Higher
Educaton as crucial to ensuring that more citzens enter the workforce with a suf-
cient level of skills to foster sustainable development and innovaton. The perceived
link between Higher Educaton and new age economics makes HEIs a very likely
target for employability related policies or targets.
In June 2010, as part of the Europe 2020 growth strategy, EU leaders agreed as
a target that 40% of 30-34 year olds in the European Union should have a higher
educaton degree or equivalent level of qualifcaton by 2020. This age group was
selected rather than the working age populaton as a whole to make it easier to
monitor progress.
EU governments have since set their own natonal targets for 2020, taking account
of their natonal circumstances. In 2010, 33.6% of 30-34 year olds in the EU had
a higher educaton qualifcaton, this being one of the highest percentages in the
world, and it is quite feasable that a 40% target is reachable by 2020. (Eurostat,
2011)
Employability and educatonal reform in the European Union
European Union countries are reforming their higher educaton systems based on a
range of proposals issued from Brussels or via the initatve of natonal leaders. Stll,
the most comprehensive reform process in the Union is the Bologna Process, which
also spans outside the EUs borders over almost all countries on the contnent.
Employability was one of the core objectves of the Sorbonne Declaraton in
Slovenia
46.7 70.6 86.4
Slovakia
30.4 70.3 81.6
Finland
55.5 74.7 84.3
Sweden
66.4 84.8 88.6
United Kingdom
56.6 77.7 83.7
Iceland
74.4 83.4 88.8
Norway
65.0 81.0 90.2
Switzerland
68.7 82.7 88.8
Croata
40.7 61.7 77.5
FYR of Macedonia
34.3 58.3 72.4
Turkey
47.6 61.7 76.1
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Page 12
1998 (one of the basis of setng up what was to become the Bologna Process), with
the creaton of a European Higher Educaton Area being seen as a way of promotng
the mobility and employability of citzens. In the Sorbonne Declaraton, employa-
bility was also identfed as one of the positve outcomes of having set comparable
degrees across a European Area of Higher Educaton (Sorbonne, 1998).
Afer this inital step, there was very litle focus on employability when looking into
educaton issues. This is understandable, as the emerging Bologna Process was a
largely academic afair, and economic conditons meant that there was ofen litle
urgency in discussing the topic.
In 2007, there was agreement on the need for data collecton on employability, in
order to have it included in the stocktaking reports that monitored Bologna imple-
mentaton. The now functoning Bologna working group on employability identfed
a series of outstanding issues related to the employability of graduates, such as the
over-supply in a few sectors, following strong massifcaton trends in the 1980s
and 1990s. It also identfed issues of access and the subject of cycle employability
as important points to be raised in any comprehensive debate on educaton and
employability.
At this stage, the discussion on employability within the Bologna Process was to a
certain degree overshadowed by the re-launch of the Lisbon Strategy, under the
heading Agenda for Growth and Jobs, which emphasized the economic facet of
educaton. Indeed, increasing employment rates were deemed to be among the
most important success criteria within the Strategy (European Commission, 2007).
This increasing focus on employability by governments and politcal stakeholders
has ofen met with strong negatve reacton from other educatonal stakeholders.
This has been quite characteristc of the student movement, for example, with most
ESIB/ESU debates on the topic emphasizing the importance of keeping academic
values at the core of educaton as opposed to transforming HEIs into agents for
economic development as such.
Employability is a strong goal for most governments (especially since this is per-
ceived as return on investment considering the high defcits that most European
governments run), and there has been an increased tendency for governments to
look at Higher Educaton from an economic angle. This has been very much evi-
dent when cuts have been made during the recent fnancial crisis, as humanites
and other felds viewed as less economically relevant have been disproportonally
afected.
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Page 13
While discussing employability and the Bologna Process, one of the most interest-
ing aspects to look at is that of links and potental links with various Bologna acton
lines and developments. Employability in itself is infuenced and infuences the way
in which Bologna-inspired educatonal reforms are carried out, but the relatonship
goes two-ways.
For example, mobility in Higher Educaton is ofen a facilitator towards greater jobs
mobility in Europe, while the use of qualifcaton frameworks and recogniton of
prior learning brings about the possibility of integratng workplace and insttuton-
alized learning into a more coherent process. This would, in fact, refect the true
learning experience of the average individual in insttutonal language. At the end
of the day, HEIs do not have a monopoly on learning, as individuals learn from the
environment in diverse and complex ways.
Employability and the wider impact on society
The employability factor is crucial in the fostering of a social dimension to higher
educaton, impactng development and promotng regional and natonal growth
across the EU. First of all, employability is more important for students from dis-
advantaged backgrounds than for any other group. It is these students that lack
a good enough social safety net if their investment in higher educaton is not fol-
lowed up by gainful employment.
It is also these students that have the potental to be at the forefront of general
economic growth by moving from a life of low-consumpton and poverty, to one of
greater economic wellbeing, consumpton and actve citzenship. The benefts of
higher educaton partcipaton can go all the way to helping gentrify setlements,
reducing healthcare costs (as educated people tend to lead healthier lives) as well
as to promotng new age economic branches.
There is an important need to motvate people from disadvantaged backgrounds to
apply for higher educaton, and a perceived boost to employment opportunites is
ofen a major motvaton for a person that has problems in afording tuiton related
costs in the frst place. Also, there is a clear need for those people who have accu-
mulated debt during their studies (either because of the direct costs or by forfeitng
gainful employment in order to focus on studies) to be employable upon gradua-
ton.
This does not mean, of course, that people from disadvantaged backgrounds should
seek employment just for the sake of job skills, but it is important to note that
diminished employability perspectves are an impediment to access. Thus
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Page 14
far, access to higher educaton has been one of the best tools in terms of breaking
cycles of poverty, and part of the reason for this is the fact that it ofers stll greater
employment opportunites than lower levels of educaton. (Lavin, 2007)
One important facility that should be available to people from lower income brack-
ets is the possibility for students to work and fnd employment during their studies.
While this does not always link with the studies themselves, it is important for inst-
tutons to facilitate combining work and study. This can be done by fexible learning
paths, fexible hours, the opportunity to study part-tme, combining e-learning and
regular courses, evening courses, etc.
These measures are very important for atractng students from non-typical back-
grounds, including mature students and students with families. In an age in which
social stratfcaton (and reduced social mobility) across the EU seems to be signif-
icantly linked to educaton (OECD, 2010), there is a need for the Higher Educaton
system to tap into societys underprivileged areas for further growth and societal
integraton.
Linking educaton and the economy - the Bologna Process and the EU
There are numerous tools and politcal initatves staving from the Bologna Process
that have been to a great degree oriented towards improving the communicaton
with the real economy. For example, the Diploma supplement is aimed to a certain
degree at beter describing the exact learning achievements of students that under-
go a certain program. Stll, there is litle evidence that the tool has been taken up
by employers as a simpler method to gauge the learning experience of a student.
One major development that has the capacity to improve the employability of grad-
uates is the development of qualifcaton frameworks. By creatng a set of compa-
rable frameworks across Europe, a unique opportunity to shed the opaque image
of Higher Educaton in the eyes of many employers is now arising.
It is, of course, vital that public administratons and HEIs themselves try to inform
the wider public on the importance of the frameworks, and on their potental use.
In the long run, the use of newly developed Bologna transparency tools has the
capacity to ensure that all the learning outcomes that students atain during their
studies can be recognized for employment purposes. This will help stop situatons
in which for example the confusing name of a programme can hinder the em-
ployment prospects of a graduate.
However, one of the most important Bologna tools in fostering greater em-
ployability, and especially transnatonal employability, is the recogniton of
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Page 15
qualifcatons and short-duraton cross-border studies. This recogniton extends the
employment opportunites available to students and graduates by ofering them
access to a pan-European labour market. The combinaton of proper recogniton
procedures and EU legislaton on citzenship and employment rights creates the
possibility of bringing about a true pan-European labour market which can more
easily reduce the impact of regional employment crisis.
A complementary element that has the ability to enhance the employability of
graduates across borders is the recogniton of prior learning. This creates the prem-
ise of recognizing the experience from prior employment or extracurricular actvity
within educatonal setngs. This is, in a way, the reverse of the normal role of em-
ployers recognizing and assessing higher educaton qualifcatons for employment
purposes. It is also a signifcant tool to help people from various underrepresented
demographics penetrate into Higher Educaton.
In order to have all these developments improve the employability perspectves
of graduates, sufcient public informaton and sufcient consultaton of economic
stakeholders is needed. All the measures behind the Bologna Process (to which the
aforementoned comparability and recogniton measures belong) have been, at the
end of the day, rooted in the academic world. Hence, it is not a foregone conclusion
that potental employers will use arising opportunites in order to improve their
links with HEIs.
Graduates employability
Eurostat data, 2011, shows that there is no country within the European Union with
a lower rate of the graduates employment than the overall employment rate in the
country. Statstcs do not yet fully take into account diferences between perceived
quality of insttutons and programmes, as well as the feld(s) of study of each indi-
vidual learner.
The European Students Union, in their BWSE2011 (Bologna With Student Eyes) sur-
vey, pointed out that 48.1% of natonal unions of students replied that there is a
medium possibility for bachelor graduates to get employed, while 29.5% referred to
a very low employment rate afer completon of bachelor studies. This of course de-
pends on some of the same factors mentoned above, for example felds with high
demand in the labour market will have employable graduates at all levels, while
felds with less economic connectvity will have lower employability rates inside the
sector.
With the implementaton of the Bologna Process, many countries faced the
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Page 16
obstacle in the recogniton (by the labour market) of the new types of degrees with-
in the period of transiton. Some of them solved it by equatng previously issued
diplomas with the bachelor qualifcaton, enhancing the graduates employability
this way, but other countries did not have success in the fulflment of this task. Ro-
manian natonal union of students ANOSR stated that: During the transiton, some
bachelor graduates have had problems being employed, as they were/are seen as
under-qualifed.
The frst cycle has possibly lost a lot of its relevance for the labour market (and
students have become, more and more, pushed to also undertake a masters de-
gree). There is, however, an open debate on who is to blame for and who should
mend damages to graduate employability resultng from policy measures. There is
a general consensus that HEIs are not meant to give direct competences for specifc
employment in a certain, narrow feld of work. This was also revealed in the Euro-
barometer (2010) that monitored attudes among employers as well as in other
stakeholder opinion assessment exercises.
Employers perspectve
One of the key actors when looking into graduate employability is represented by
the employers themselves. The European Union, which has a strong employability
agenda, has taken occasional surveys among EU employers, and has looked into
several aspects relatng to their percepton of graduate employability. For the most
part, employers seem to be rather satsfed with the skills their graduate employees
have and with their contributon to their respectve company. There is also a clear
desire from the side of employers to have graduates that poses a range of both sub-
ject-specifc and generic competences, as well as key integratve skills.
Employers (in general, regardless of the size of the surveyed enterprise) seem to
put great emphasis on transversal and sof skills. A 2010 survey of EU employers
pointed out team working skills as the most important ones a graduate needs to
have, followed by sector-specifc skills and by communicaton and computer skills.
The least useful skills identfed by employers seemed to be being good with num-
bers and language skills. (Eurobarometer, 2010)
In terms of ratng certain skills and capabilites as being very important, graduate
recruiters in medium-sized companies were more likely to highlight the importance
of foreign language skills (34% vs. 28%), while those from large companies were
somewhat more likely to highlight the importance of communicaton skills (63% vs.
60% in medium-sized companies) and being able to adapt to new situatons
(62% vs. 59%). (Eurobarometer, 2010, page 12).
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Most employers were, to a large degree, satsfed with the skills and competences
that their graduates had and used for their new jobs. The proportons of employers
who agreed that higher educaton graduates recruited in their company in the last
three to fve years had the skills required to work in their company were the highest
in Sweden (98%), Norway (97%) and Denmark (96%). Respondents in Malta, how-
ever, were the most likely to strongly agree with this statement (69%).
In Lithuania, on the other hand, just 65% of employers agreed that higher educa-
ton graduates recruited in their company in the last three to fve years had the skills
required to work in their company, while a third (32%) of them disagreed with this
statement (Eurobarometer, 2010, page 24). Of course, there is a signifcant modifer
in the positve percepton that employers have. Most companies have screening
procedures in place for the recruitment of new employees, and are likely to pick
and hire those most suitable to their internal needs.
One partcular aspect that employers look into when recruitng graduates for em-
ployment purposes seems to be the internatonal reputaton of an insttuton. 40%
consider that the reputaton of an insttuton is important, while 57% do not nec-
essarily look at the perceived reputaton of the HEI from which their employees
graduated.
The percentage goes up in larger companies (which have more automated re-
cruitment procedures), where this stands at 48%, and only 50% consider insttu-
tonal reputaton as not important. The result indicates that while a majority of
employers focus on the individuals skills, a poor insttutonal reputaton can signif-
cantly dent the employment opportunites available to its graduates.
One last signifcant aspect that insttutons and governments must not overlook is
the importance of practcal experience in fnding a job. Most employers (77%) per-
ceived practcal and work experience to be one of the key factors for employability,
while only 24% considered that having studied abroad is an important element in
their decision to hire a graduate.
This data is interestng in the sense that it shows the usefulness of internships
and sector-related part-tme employment in making a graduate more employable.
Graduate recruiters in the private sector were somewhat more likely than those in
public organisatons to strongly agree that work experience was a crucial asset for
new recruits (54% vs. 51%) (Eurobarometer, 2010). Despite this, current eforts on
youth mobility at the European levels are insufciently directed at internships and
work-placement schemes.
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Page 18
Nonetheless, the basic conclusions of the Eurobarometer show fairly good degrees
of satsfacton with regard to graduates, but also with quite clear expectatons laid
out by the employers. It is obvious that not all expectatons are realistc in the con-
text of normal Higher Educaton. For example it is quite evident that HEIs should not
satsfy all the demands of the employers, as some training needs to be conducted
by the company itself. In fact, 83% of graduate employees receive further training
from the side of employers anyway, according to the same barometer.
Also, it is quite improbable that signifcant working experience can be accumulated
during studies by most graduates. Usually this implies a prolongaton of studies, as
full tme employment and full tme studies are difcult to match. One alternatve
can be the use of internships and work placements as a form of practcal educaton,
which would have far greater value if fully integrated in existng educatonal pro-
grammes.
Challenges and the near future
The costs of high rates of youth unemployment in general, and of graduate unem-
ployment or underemployment in partcular are severe, both for those afected di-
rectly, as well as for wider society. Governments, Higher Educaton insttutons and
employers themselves need to change the way in which they approach the topic as
each of them stands to lose from the existence of a generaton of young people or
graduates that have an unreliable supply of jobs.
It is rather absurd that at this moment, there is a constant move to raise the re-
trement age so as not to burden social security systems in the future, while at the
same tme millions of young people have the doors to the labour market blocked
and put a similar burden on the state or on their own families.
So far, when singled out from the rest of the young populaton, the situaton of
graduates seems to be fairly positve, with Higher Educaton graduates being one of
the more employable part of a natons populaton. This is, however, a misleading
statstc to some degree. One key queston is: are they employed in a domain that
is similar to the graduates feld of study? In Romanias case, at least, massifcaton
has ofen been matched by growing number of graduates working outside their
feld of study.
Another queston relates to the working conditons for youth and graduates, which
are ofen blighted by long probaton periods, lower wages and short-term contracts.
In some countries, these developments have been fuelled by legislaton blatantly
disadvantaging them in favour of older workers.
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Page 19
All of these factors have the potental to undermine the foundatons of society it-
self: Europe already has a very low birthrate and a rapidly ageing populaton, and
the lack of reliable jobs for its young populaton is not helping governments to mit-
igate what is arguably one of the worst threats to Europes social and economic
future in the mid and long term.
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CHAPTER 2. The current
situation in Romania
Before describing the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme Focused
on Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employability, it is impor-
tant to set things straight with regards to the context that determined its initaton.
First of all, by identfying the context in which the project is operatng, and sec-
ondly seeing how the project is anchored into the academic, social and econom-
ic realites of contemporary Romania. As seen in the previous chapter, there are
considerable challenges facing Europes young and its graduates, and some of
these conditons are mirrored in the Romanian experience of the past 20 years.
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2.1 Massifcaton
One of the most marked trends in the past two decades has been the massifcaton
of higher educaton. This is an obvious trend, as despite the socialist nature of the
country before 1989, Romania had a fairly elitst system of access to HEIs, which led
to people being kept out of tertary educaton, despite extensive demand.
Afer 1990, the higher educaton sector was deregulated, and this meant a virtual
explosion in the number of students and graduates, including in the newly emerged
private educaton sector. Economic changes fuelled various types of studies, as the
previously industrial economy was replaced to a certain degree by the booming
services sector, as well as by a poor, almost subsistence-grade agriculture. As such,
non-technical studies boomed, and the number of students in these areas grew at
an unprecedented pace.
In a transiton economy, trends fuctuated rapidly, and various sectors boomed or
went bust in just a few years tme. For example, afer 2000 there was a boom in the
constructon sector as well as a trend towards re- industrializaton, usually fuelled
by investments made by multnatonal companies.
In almost the same measure as the existence of new economic realites, the per-
cepton of higher educaton as a prestgious afair and a gate to breaking out of
poverty or menial jobs meant that the number of people who desired to enter HEIs
was steady. This was helped by the fact that the generatons entering higher edu-
caton untl 2008 were large, infated in numbers by the pronatalist policies of the
Ceauescu regime. Underrepresented groups such as people from rural areas or
people without any history of family access to higher educaton started entering
HEIs en masse.
As stated before, there was an emerging private higher educaton sector. This sector
helped to ofset the massive strain put in place by the high levels of demand, even
as public universites ofen became crowded, falling short in ofering enough places
in dormitories, or extending courses well into the evening to accommodate all pos-
sible study formatons.
This private educaton sector grew fast, and with minimum regulaton, as the ac-
creditaton process in Romania lacked any rigorous framework. This growth has,
however, all the perspectves to be tempered by the decline in the number of peo-
ple in the age groups most associated with accessing higher educaton.
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Page 23
Afer 1990, the average annual number of births dropped to roughly two thirds
of the pre-1989 level, meaning fewer students are now going to enrol in frst year
studies. Given the diferences in prestge (and ofen in real quality), as well as the
fairly easy access requirements of public universites, these will probably sufer less
than private insttutons. The above-mentoned trend is already felt in the tertary
educaton sector: INS data already shows a decline in student numbers for 2009-
2010, despite the fact that the birth cohorts that enrolled were not yet at the very
low level that set in afer 1992.
As a result of these developments, the record high 46% of students going to private
universites has now declined to litle over 41.5%. It remains to be seen in the fu-
ture what factors impact students decisions on enrolment most: quality, accession
criteria, cost of tuiton for non-subsidies places, etc.
One other factor that will likely infuence higher educaton and the form taken by
post-secondary studies is the intent of the government to tackle the issue of poor
results at the natonal Baccaluareate exam by developing a professional Baccalaure-
ate intended for people who want to fnd employment afer high-school graduaton.
These will be in efect bared access from HEIs and will have to fnd diferent, pro-
fessionally oriented further training (if they wish to follow up on their secondary
studies).
Live births in Romania, 1987 2011 Source: Eurostat
A declining pool of potental students
Year 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Live births 383.199 380.043 369.544 314.746 275.275
% of 1987 no 100,0% 99,2% 96,4% 82,1% 71,8%
Year 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Live births 260.393 249.994 246.736 236.640 231.348
% of 1987 no 68,0% 65,2% 64,4% 61,8% 60,4%
Year 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Live births 236.891 237.297 234.600 234.521 220.368
% of 1987 no 61,8% 61,9% 61,2% 61,2% 57,5%
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Live births 210.529 212.459 216.261 221.020 219.483
% of 1987 no 54,9% 55,4% 56,4% 57,7% 57,3%
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Live births 214.728 221.900 222.388 212.199 196.242
% of 1987 no 56,0% 57,9% 58,0% 55,4% 51,2%
Fig. 1: Live births in Romania, 1987 2011,
Source: htp://ec.europa.eu/
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Page 24
One noteworthy efect of the growing number of people that enrol into HEIs is the
rapid growth of the number of people with higher educaton studies within the
overall populaton.
Stll, this share remains inferior when compared to other countries, especially
those in which the trends towards massifcaton started earlier. Thus, Romanias
2005 11.1% of the populaton with higher educaton studies compared to Frances
16.4%, the United Kingdoms 15.4% and Germanys 15%. Nonetheless, even in half
a decade, the share of high-school graduates going into higher educaton made
spectacular gains, rising from 27.7% to 44.8 %.
One other change that we should note when looking at the past two decades in
higher educaton is the signifcant diversifcaton of study felds and curricular tracks.
New felds of study appeared in most facultes, ofen linked to new economic sec-
tors, or to trans-disciplinary tracks. The diversity was helped by the fact that the
central planning of higher educaton studies in a manner linked to the real economy
had all but stopped, and the process of approving new domains, facultes or depart-
ments was also facilitated. Indeed, the only criteria that were used for accreditaton
were input-based ones focusing on numbers of teaching staf, resources, etc.
Diversity was further helped by the fact that previously discriminated bourgeois
felds such as Psychology were now free to develop without the same level of con-
straints in terms of funding or politcal pressure. To be fair, this rebirth of previously
banned bourgeois study felds had already started during the easing of politcal
and civil restrictons that occurred during Romanias move towards greater autono-
my in the Socialist block, in the 1960s (Georgescu, 1992).
The trend had been however temporarily reversed during the 1980s, when the
government tried to link the educatonal sector as closely as possible with the
economy, this ultmately leading to a nigh on exclusive focus on technical studies.
This was coherent with a natonal economic policy that was focused on developing
heavy industry out of ideological-conceptual reasons.
Despite a decline in Romanias domestc oil producton and reserves, as well as
increasing costs for mining coal and minerals, the government contnued to view
heavy industry as a gate to autarchy and autonomy as well as to infuence on the
worldwide economic and politcal stage. By comparison, agriculture up to 1945
Romanias top economic sector remained fairly deprived, cases of divestment not
being entrely uncommon in the 1980s. Stll, agricultural studies were kept despite
the lack of means to apply modern methods in caring for crops or for livestock.
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Page 25
For all the wrongs of turning higher educaton into a sort of high-end vocatonal
training serving the needs of the wider economy, the government did achieve an
almost 100% rate of employment for graduates, in almost all cases in an economic
sector similar to the feld of study of the graduate. Grades and government repar-
tton schemes played a crucial role, and it was rare for companies and factories to
be able to select which graduates they wanted for various positons freely. The jobs
were, in most cases, in top positons with beter pay and with a high associated
social status that turned graduates into a sort of technical elite.
Graduates were respected, had the chance to take up managerial positons, and to
escape some of the worse symptoms of the 1980s economic crisis. This is one of
the explanatons for the prestge associated with higher educaton and the level to
which it managed to fuel the boom in student number of the 1990s.
It is also one of the factors that at frst would ofen cause a signifcant shock among
people who entered higher educaton and ended up without well-paid jobs or with
a lack of realistc and desired employment opportunites (as a note, this graduates
expect to be managers on their frst day at work mentality was stll reported by
some of the tutors trained for the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme
Focused on Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employability in
early 2011).
One of the elements of higher educaton that broke down afer the Revoluton of
1989 was the fne-tuned system of linking teaching and learning itself with pract-
cal experience. During communism, there were a signifcant number of stages that
were organized in various factories and economic enterprises. These stages were
ofen conducted under the supervision of engineers or factory-level responsibles
who gave a full hands on perspectve to the students.
Afer 1989, practcal educaton declined for numerous reasons, one of the key ones
being the bankruptcy of dozens of industrial enterprises, but also because of the
decreased capacity by the state to impose practces and policies on individual au-
tonomous HEIs. The equipment that was used to train students tended to be (much
like the industrial equipment used in Romania in the 1980s) of old and ofen obso-
lete stock, and afer 1989 there was a signifcant decline in the quality of the teach-
ing process. Stll, it is important to note that the lower speed of growth in terms of
student number in technical felds helped Polytechnics to keep beter standards in
teaching quality when compared to other felds.
In the case of non-technical felds, the capacity to keep up with booming num-
bers was much lower. First of all, communist policies ofen treated these
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Page 26
felds as the poor cousins of the larger technical facultes, despite the fact that
jobs in the non-technical sector (ranging from doctors to lawyers, judges, profes-
sors, etc.) were very prestgious, as they gave people the chance to not be locked
up in the oppressive environment of a technologically outdated 1980s Romanian
factory.
This lack of facilites was made obvious by the massive boom in student numbers
that occurred in the 1990s. The boom contnued even afer Romania started to
redevelop an industrial base during the economic upturn that began in 2000.
In Fig. 3 it is visible that technical studies declined, atractng much smaller numbers
of applicants than economic studies for example. In just a few years, Romanian
universites started fooding the labour market with tens of thousands of economic
graduates per annum. It was this period in which Everyone wants to be a manag-
er became an ofen quoted remark made by Romanian employers with regards
to the unrealistc expectatons of the labour market that many students now had.
Universites adapted in tme to the ever-growing demand by building new facilites.
However, the phenomena of gigantc study formatons and overcrowded facilites
was difcult to tackle, as was the need to make up for the inadequacy of commu-
nist-era support services and facilites available to students (such as sports grounds,
student restaurants and dormitories).
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Fig. 3: Distributon of students by feld of study in 2003 and in 2008
(source: INS)
2.2 An everchanging economic environment
One of the greatest problems for both universites and for governmental authorites
has been predictng which economic felds are going to fuel demands for graduates
at various tmes. Some sectors have been growing rapidly, though ofen for only a
few years. Romania has, over the past 20 years, entered into various small booms,
including a constructon boom, a banking boom, IT boom, automotve boom, retail
boom, etc.
Each of these waves of growth has lasted for diferent periods of tme and has seen
wide regional variatons. Some were partally prompted by government policy (for
example fscal advantages for IT specialists), but most were the result of (foreign)
economic investment. Universites themselves have had some capacity to infuence
the economy: to stck to the case of IT, the availability of graduates has facilitated
the development of start-ups and several key investments by various multnatonal
companies that had litle trouble in recruitng talented employees.
Of course, other factors (cheap labour, proximity to Western European and Mid-
dle Eastern markets, etc.) also bare a strong role in determining the locatons of
various investments in Eastern Europe, including Romania. This situaton men-
toned above places signifcant strain on young people who are trying to pick
Pedagogical
Law
Economic
Medical
Tehnical
28%
14%
21%
5%
32%
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Page 28
a suitable feld of study, as they cannot know beforehand which economic sectors
will provide them with a job later on. 15 year-olds ofen enter high-school with a
career path in mind only to fnd that 9 years later, when they complete their tertary
educaton, the economic conditons have changed and they might need to requalify
in order to secure a lucratve job.
Graduates also stumble into some of the limits provided by their exclusively aca-
demic training. Teaching at universites focuses to a large extent on the theoretcal
(which is fairly normal considering that universites are not job-training schemes),
while frst-employment companies ofen provided training for very specifc tasks.
Thus, the graduates are most afected when it comes to their long-term employa-
bility and jobs security: one party gives them the theoretc basis (universites) while
their companies are obviously interested in making them efcient workers and thus
invest just enough to make workers able to integrate in current actvites.
This was a historically normal cycle of efectve learning, but rapid technological
changes now mean that there are much fewer chances for an employee to contnue
and work in the same positon for extended periods of tme (that span over several
decades, for instance). Upon getng fred, many people now need to reskill or to go
into further educaton in order to be able to fnd a new job.
The queston thus appears: what needs to be done to beter adapt students to
the current economic environment? Well, the answer is not simple, and it starts
to some degree from the basics of the mission if modern higher educaton. That
mission is not to form employees, but rather to form people adapt at being actve
citzens, able learners and fexible individuals. Thus, one obvious soluton is to place
the onus in higher educaton on those transversal skills that transform a student
into an autonomous learner.
These skills foster adaptability and are increasingly seen as a possible engine for
sustainable growth. That is one of the reasons why the word skill appears in nu-
merous policy initatves launched by the European Union that have to deal with
jobs. This focus on skills as well as lifelong learning is further evidenced by the in-
creasing number of programmes aimed at fnancing lifelong learning initatves. In
the long run, New skills for new jobs needs to become not just a slogan, but rath-
er an overarching concept on how to ensure that the educaton students receive is
meaningful for their long-term personal development and wellbeing.
Romanias Natonal Reform Programme for 2007-2010 already included a tar-
get of 7% for people taking part in educaton and professional development
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for those aged 25 to 64, and this was even before the crisis made changes to overall
employment programmes imperatve. These targets will probably rise in the future,
though Romania needs to work more on creatng tracking mechanisms and policy
follow-up measures that are able to make public policy both fexible and ft for
purpose.
In a similar fashion, the Bologna working group that was set up to identfy recom-
mendatons on raising the employment rate of graduates made a series of recom-
mendatons on exchanges of good practce and experience between the private
sector and university educaton. This included placing employees from universites
in private sector posts, to ensure that there is greater communicaton between the
sectors. (Bologna Working Group, 2009).
All of the aforementoned measures play the role of making educaton, and partcu-
larly life-long learning, more connected to the real economy. Of course, life-long
learning does not necessarily start with formal educaton itself, but can be rather
entangled with various periods of efectve on-job training or full-tme work. Work
experience is increasingly seen as key to future employment and working is a now
a crucial form of further educaton for multple career paths.
Universites themselves have by now moved towards rehabilitatng practcal stages
as an integral part of their curriculum. There is a marked increase in the number of
integrated programmes that ofer practcal internships as a complementary form
of learning. It is, however, arguable if these programmes derive from a desire to
make actve policy changes or are the result of availability of easy fnancing via the
European Social Fund.
2.3 Graduates, access to the labour market and sustainable employment
There are various ways in which graduates enter the labour market afer they fnish
tertary educaton. The most common form of support that graduates seek in iden-
tfying labour prospects is represented by relatves, who provide crucial informaton
on possibilites and connectons. (Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family and Social
Protecton, 2012)
Another rapidly growing resource for potental jobseekers is the rapid rise in the
number of websites and online platorms that flter through CVs and job applica-
tons. These resources are popular as they are available at peoples fngertps and
ofer the potental applicant the beneft of simultaneously applying for a large
number of potental jobs. These websites have been registering tremendous
growth at tmes. For example, BestJobs, one of the largest such websites,
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registered growth of 55% between September 2008 and September 2009, at the
onset of the fnancial crisis, despite no considerable growth in overall labour market
actvity .
The way in which graduates apply for their frst job difers signifcantly as compared
to how they will eventually apply for later employment opportunites. Romanian so-
ciety ofen uses (in most sectors) social networks to make contacts between people
and job opportunites, even if this leads to an ant-meritocratc selecton process.

From its side, Adecco Romania has been identfying a new and bolder defniton
of employability, that looks both into the present skills of the graduate, but also
into his or her long-term prospects in work and in further personal development.
This sustainable employment concept is ofen employee-centred, as companies
by themselves ofen have litle interest in making sure that their employees are
fexible (this increases the risk of them leaving, for instance).
Stll, if companies themselves are fexible, than the concept of sustainable employ-
ment is useful for them too, and it reduces costs for retraining and further upskill-
ing whenever the economic environment changes. It also generates new pools of
potental ideas in companies that favour creatvity at all levels of their hierarchical
echelons.
Which elements defne sustainable employment in a modern economy?
Adecco Romanias defniton of employability for graduates.
Startng employability
Startng employability (ones employability upon startng work-
ing life) is the short-term dimension of employability and refers
to the ability of a graduate to fnd employment and cope with
job requirements soon afer graduaton.
This dimension normally refects employment in a sector con-
nected to the graduates feld of study, or in a positon for which
the graduate might be (over)qualifed.
Adaptability
Adaptability refers to the graduates capacity to adapt to chang-
es in the economic context, including the capacity to quickly
qualify for new positons if needed. This dimension also refers to
a graduates capacity to adapt to changes and economic trends
throughout his or her life.
Mobility on the labour market
Mobility refers to the graduates capacity to work in diferent
countries, sectors or mediums throughout his or her life.
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Employability weather it is based on the defniton made by Adecco or the tradi-
tonal (and more statstcally measurable one) based strictly on short-term employ-
ment is one of the key elements that describes the economic health of a society.
Checking the level of employability when looking at its relaton to graduaton rates
is dependent on several factors including the feld of work, the number of years
worked afer graduaton and the quality of employment (as it is common for young-
er people to be underemployed in a wide arrange of felds). Tracking employability
in Romania is all the more difcult as there is a high emigraton rate that distorts
employment statstcs for graduates.
Furthermore, when policy makers try to assess good practces in facilitatng em-
ployment, it is rather difcult for them to tell which factors infuence employability
most. For example, higher educaton insttutons can infuence employment pros-
pects for graduates via their prestge or via the social networks that form among
students.
As such, a university perceived as good gives extra weight to its diplomas, while
at the same tme atractng students from well-of families that have via family
connectons much easier a chance of fnding suitable employment.
For long-term employability, it is even more difcult to assess where educatonal
policies by insttutons have their merits, and where factors such as social origin,
further educaton and company training come into play. Also, as careers tend to
develop, people rely further on their on-site experience from various jobs, which
are a form of learning themselves.
The botom line is, a graduates professional success and overall level of qualifca-
ton depends a lot on the sum of their previous personal and professional experi-
ences.
This is also a percepton that is common among employers, who tend to value a mix
of practcal experience that complements the theoretcal approach that is used in
various universites. This mix of de facto learning methods is viewed as crucial by
46.8% of the 201 Romanian employers surveyed during the 2010 Eurobarometer.
(Eurobarometer/Gallup 2010).
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2.4 Connectons between the private and educatonal sector learning
outcomes for contnued personal development
Connectvity between the private and public sector is both a public debate as well
as an ideological bellwether issue. There are contrastng perceptons on the impact
greater or lesser connectvity has, from worries on the negatve impact of commod-
ifcaton to contrastng and gloomy scenarios on universites being isolated ivory
towers.
There are more than two sides to the connectvity coin, but for graduates it of-
ten comes down to the economic relevance of the subject-specifc and transversal
competences that they atain during their studies. There is considerable room for
debate on the exact competences that are needed and on who they are relevant
for: while the simple answer is the economy and society, it is ofen difcult to treat
these as block enttes with coherent needs and approaches. For example, regional
employers might not necessarily refect the wishes of the wider natonal, European
and global economic actors, thus creatng considerable diferences for graduates
based on the place in which they seek employment.
One easy soluton aimed at measuring the employability of graduates is the use of
a common denominator, which in the case of educaton should be learning out-
comes. A simple tool, these descriptve statements enable various stakeholders to
describe both needs (the learning outcomes sought by economic actors) and edu-
catonal output (the atained learning outcomes of graduates).
Overall, the use of learning outcomes has a couple of major benefts in fostering
greater connectvity:
It ofers a higher degree of transparency with regards to university studies. Stu-
dents, parents, externals and many others can gain a clearer perspectve on the
outcomes of a certain study feld or even an individual subject. It facilitates the
recogniton of studies and degrees, but also of prior learning and work, across
both borders and languages (if overarching frameworks are established).
Learning outcomes are a simple tool, but are ofen difcult to grasp for people
who have not used them before. In Romania, higher educaton studies out-
comes are ofen confused with professions, given the previous traditon of
state-controlled placements. So, for a casual observer the learning outcome of
a Law degree would be lawyer, while the expected outcome of an Economics
degree would be economist, or even manager.
Learning outcomes permit looking beyond the broad outcome of a degree, and into
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the individual components of the overall learning process. While a law graduate
might fail to become a lawyer, he can easily become an excellent legal council for a
company or an insttuton.
Adecco has decided to use learning outcomes at all levels of its internship pro-
gramme, so as to give a transparent outlook on the personal development that the
benefciaries atain. There is also encouragement for both partcipants and tutors to
try to assess the learning experience using clear descriptors.
This will help translate the value of the internships in terms of actual learning expe-
rience, as opposed to using them as a mere test for the theoretcal learning that
has occurred in the formal setng within universites. We hope that by using this
method, we familiarize as many people as possible with the use of learning out-
comes as a measuring tool for educatonal atainment, including the one resulted
via internships.
In fact, for the students that entered the programme in 2013, Adecco has used
the competences described in the Romanian Natonal Qualifcaton Frameworks,
with individual internships being responsible for feeding into these expected out-
comes and for developing what we call operatonal competences.
These operatonal competences are in fact direct learning outcomes, refectng the
degree to which students have learned to use specifc equipment, techniques and
approaches that help them develop broader working competences with future ap-
plicability.
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CHAPTER 3 THE PROJECT
TACKLING THE PROBLEMS
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3.1 The origin of the project
The ideas that stand behind the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme
Focused on Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employabilityproject
for young graduates employability via the implementaton of internships started
being developed in 2009 and originated with both Adecco Romania and the Region-
al Insttute for Training, one of the main project partners.
By 2009, connectvity problems, and especially the quality of connectvity between
the academic sector and the economic one, had been identfed by Adecco Romania
as a key concern when dealing with employment in the white collar sector. When
broadening its actvites beyond the blue collar sector, a coherent approach to aca-
demic-economic connectvity became a clear-cut need.
At the same tme, the Regional Insttute for Training (IRT), which is now one of
the major project partners, was organizing various actvites targetng students,
in which it was also gathering input on potental policy initatves from their side.
In 2008, IRT organized the seminar Bologna between myth and reality, focused
on learning outcomes, learning assessment methods and natonal and European
qualifcaton frameworks. In the event, atended by several student leaders (from
student representaton bodies and organizatons), IRT gathered input on issues of
learning and labour market connectvity, as well as on those of educaton reform.
The partcipants came from several university centres in Romania, with the largest
share coming from Timioara and Cluj-Napoca. One of the main conclusions from
the event was that lack of fexibility and lack of practcal experience were making
professional development afer graduaton very difcult. In fact, while employment
was ofen easy to fnd, relevant employment (with regards to studies and/or future
career objectves) was very difcult to fnd outside of a few highly technical felds.
Partcipants also felt that there is a greater need to gain transversal skills that ofer
them the prospect of greater mobility.
This is all the more important as mobility is seen by many young people in Romania
as a key right in the context of a newfound European citzenship. Since universites
were not providing these competences in a fully satsfactory fashion (with focus
staying on subject-specifc competences), partcipants identfed the need to create
alternatve and complementary actvites aimed at generic skills development.
In discussions between Adecco and IRT, the idea that internships in major compa-
nies and complementary transversal skill development actvites could be merged
into a coherent and integrated project aimed at enhancing employability emerged.
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Later discussions with potental partners identfed the need to also create a selec-
ton platorm based on interviews, in order to help beter customize every intern-
ship. The number of interns per company and per tutor was determined to also
be crucial, as it was felt that each company can allot a limited number of students
per tutor during an internship without risking a loss in the quality of the actvites
undertaken.
The role of tutor was also defned and clarifed, with a training programme being
deemed as a necessary step in making a practce/internship programme functon.
Afer the inital stage of training, a specialized manual would be needed in order to
make guidance for tutoring actvites very clear. The tutors themselves would have
the role to facilitate both the learning experience and the integraton of students
into the regular actvites of each company.
The training programmes for the future stagiaires were also further defned, and it
was decided to provide two individual sessions for each student, though the exact
competences were not decided upon untl the project ultmately commenced. In
the end, the competences for which students would receive training would be team
working skills (crucial as it is seldom the focus of academic learning), communica-
ton skills, management skills and negotaton skills.
The number of students that would beneft each year from the training programme
was set at 210 per implementaton cycle. The provision of such trainings was
deemed as an opportunity by both Adecco and IRT to analyse the diference in
terms of impact between the students that beneft from the training program and
those that only beneft from the internship stage.
The student enrolls in the program. The student is informed with regards to general aspects of the
programmes implementaton.
The student flls in an online form, in which he conducts his or her self-evaluaton. 420 students are
later selected for a competence-focused interview.
Fig. 4: Selecton process for the 210 main benefciaries
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
210 students are selected to beneft from
two training sessions on sof skills, before
being eligible for an internship
Students who are not in the frst 210
selectees, but stll among the 420 that
benefted from an interview are eligible for
an internship.
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In order to have a pool from which to select the students, but also in the idea of
having the capacity to receive direct and quality feedback from the side of the aca-
demic sphere, Adecco and IRT contacted several potental partners from among the
countrys main universites.
In the end, four universites were selected:
The West University of Timioara (WUT)
WUT Is the largest university in the Western development
region of Romania, and also one of the foremost providers
of higher educaton in the country. Over the last twelve
years, the University has responded to changes in natonal educatonal policy, to de-
mographic shifs, to a radically diferent economy and marketplace requirements,
to emerging local and regional needs, and to new technologies, both at the level of
programmes and in terms of approaches to teaching, learning and research.
All of these changes have led, in turn, to new expectatons on the part of students,
staf, and administrators. The University equips individuals with skills needed for ef-
fectve contributon to society. This work is currently done through eleven facultes
that provide a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programmes.
The results reached in many programmes involving internatonal collaboraton -
partcularly in mobility ones, such as Socrates, PHARE, Leonardo de Vinci, etc.are
indeed impressive and are among the best achievements of the University.
The overall impression that WUT gives the casual visitor today is that of a very cre-
atve, energetc, actve, and innovatve University. All staf members, both teaching
and research, are very enthusiastc and determined to experiment with all the new
opportunites and modalites ofered by I.T. Furthermore good multmedia tools
were available in most classrooms in the new buildings, (e.g. those of Economics
and Law ).
Babe-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (BBU)

BBU is the largest university in the project, and also one of the
largest and oldest universites in Romania. It is also the larg-
est multcultural university in the country, with multlingual
educaton programs and departments at all levels. BBU is a
public insttuton of higher educaton whose mission is to
promote and sustain within the local, regional, natonal and internatonal
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community the development of specifc cultural components.
Within the current context, these components are:
a culture of acton based on systematc and innovatve knowledge (culture of
scientfc and technological competence, of organizatonal competence and
of citzenship competence);
a culture of permanent and innovatve learning;
multculturalism, inter-cultural and inter-confessional dialogue;
a culture of personal and moral development;
a culture of proactve attude and involvement;
a culture of personal development;
a culture of integraton in diversity and of globalizaton based on identty re-
spect and reciprocity.
With 21 facultes, more than 45,500 students and with an experienced teaching
staf of 1,700, BBU is now an actve partcipant in most European academic associ-
atons.
Located in a geographical area characterized by the presence of diverse ethnic and
religious groups, BBU adheres to its cherished policy of multculturalism, its stu-
dents and teaching staf being Romanian, as well as Hungarian, German and Roma.
15 of BBUs 21 facultes provide both a Romanian and a Hungarian curriculum, and
9 of them provide both a Romanian and a German curriculum.
There are also two facultes (the Faculty of Reformed Theology and the Faculty of
Roman-Catholic Theology) which provide courses in Hungarian only. More precise-
ly, BBU proposes long and short-term academic studies for 105 specializatons in
Romanian, 52 in Hungarian, 13 in German and 4 in English. This multcultural struc-
ture is the same in the case of the post-graduate and the short-duraton curricula
ofered by the Universitys network of 18 colleges in Transylvania.
Of the 45,500 students to which BBU provides courses, more than 500 are foreign
students, more than 3,000 are doctoral students and 4,300 are secondary educa-
ton teachers. Hungarian and German students have the right to partcipate in all
the actvites organized by the University and the possibility to elect representatves
to the Professors Council and the University Senate.
In order to respect this multcultural structure, all university bodies (and in partcu-
lar the governing bodies) are organized so as to take into account the three
ethnic and linguistc components. The deputy dean or the scientfc secretary
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of each faculty must belong either to the Hungarian or to the German minority in
order to administer their respectve line of study. Moreover, at the central level,
each of these three groups is represented by a vice-rector, who is also a member of
the Senates College, and by a specifc general secretariat.
Therefore, the universitys executve board comprises 20 representatves of these
ethnic groups holding ofces such as those of vice-rectors, deans, deputy-deans,
scientfc secretaries and heads of department.
As a note, due to heavy commitments in terms of project-based actvity, BBU pulled
out of the partnership just before the start of the third cycle of project implemen-
taton. It was replaced by another Transylvanian university, the 1st of December
University of Alba Iulia.
The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (TUCN)
TUCN is the foremost and largest technical university in
Transylvania, having been established as early as 1920 and
having been in contnuous development ever since. With
the establishment of a fully integrate Insttute in 1953, TUCN has seen contnuous
growth over the years.
Afer the 1989 Revoluton, Romanian higher educaton came back to the former
traditon correlated to the Western system. In 1992 the Polytechnic Insttute was
renamed to the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, and the three existng facultes
at that tme were restructured into seven facultes: Automaton and Computer Sci-
ence, Electronics and Telecommunicatons, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering,
Machine Building, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, as
well as the Technical, Business and Administraton College. Startng with the aca-
demic year 1998-1999 the structure of the Technical University was completed with
the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning.
Nowadays the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca trains specialists in the technical
feld (mechanical, electrical and civil engineering as well as architecture) through
long and short term educaton programmes, postgraduate and PhD studies. It has
over 12,000 students.
Scientfc research has been an essental preoccupaton of the academic and re-
search staf of the TUCN. The scientfc potental of the University made it capa-
ble of organizing a series of outstanding scientfc events atended by a large
number of Romanian and foreign specialists. The practcal results of the re-
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search actvity are refected in numerous contracts and projects with domestc and
internatonal fnancing. The most important projects are those with CNCSIS, ANSTI,
and PNCDI as well as those fnanced by the European Union Commission: EUREKA,
COPERNICUS, COST, PC5 and PC6.
The Universitys correlaton to European standards is refected by the internatonal
conventons it is part of and by its partcipaton in a wide range of European edu-
caton programmes: TEMPUS-PHARE, SOCRATES, ERASMUS, LEONARDO, CEEPUS.
A series of internatonal conventons, agreements and protocols were signed with
universites from France, Italy, Germany, the USA, Austria etc. Since 2003 TUCN has
been a member of the European Associaton of Universites.
Nowadays the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca is a modern technical higher ed-
ucaton insttuton, passing through a period of genuine rebirth and confrming au-
thentc capabilites for scientfc and technical creaton.
The Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (LBUS)
LBUS is the newest university from the programme partners,
but also among Romanias most diverse and dynamic. It has
been founded in 1990, afer a long series of batles to es-
tablish an insttuton of higher educaton in Sibiu, one of the
largest cites that had been deprived of a having a university
in the period of the communist regime.
It has seen contnuous development over the past 20 years, and has been thor-
oughly connected with the social and economic environment of what is one of Ro-
manias most dynamic regions.
LBUS has established academic links and partnership agreements with eighty-fve
universites in thirty-fve countries. A special place is held by the partnerships drawn
with American, German, French and English universites, which materialized in stu-
dent exchange programmes, fact-fnding data trips for academics as well as a pre-
cious cooperaton which has kept the University tuned in to what happens in the
world. Worth mentoning are also the new tes with Chinese, Russian, Italian, Greek
and Polish Universites.
In recogniton of its steady development towards academic excellence and social
renewal, LBUS was granted full membership in various prestgious internatonal
academic organizatons: The Internatonal Center of Tbingen, the Internaton-
al Associaton of European Universites, and the Alliance of Universites for
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Democracy.
Afer the main partnerships were concluded, Adecco Romania applied for the pro-
ject on August 30th 2009. Afer almost a year, in August 2010, AM POSDRU (the
management authority for the Human Resources Programme of the European So-
cial Fund in Romania) awarded a grant to Adecco for the implementaton of the
project. Thus, the Multregional Integrated Internship Programme Focused on
Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employabilityproject for young
graduates employability via the implementaton of internships commenced in
January 2011, before going through a series of three distnct cycles.
The December the 1st 1918 University of Alba Iulia - UAB
While one of the newest universites in the country, UAB
has undergone a boom throughout most of the past two
decades, emerging as one of the most dynamic insttu-
tons providing higher educaton services and conductng
research in the country.
UAB is hosted by the historically important city of Alba
Iulia, historically one of the capitals of Transylvania and
the city which saw the unifcaton of Romania proper and
Transylvania in 1918. The insttuton draws a diverse pop-
ulaton of students, both from neighbouring countes as
well as from the entre country and even abroad.
The mission of the December the 1st 1918 University of Alba Iulia is in itself based
on the natonal signifcance of Alba Iulia and its region. The educatonal ideal and
mission of the university is based on the traditons of Romanian higher educaton.
The insttuton wants to contribute, through methods typical of the educatonal
abd research processes to maintaining and develoiping natonal identty within a
context of universal and European values. The universitys mission is defned on
three felds:
1. In the academic feld, the university is an insttuton that focuses on both
learning and research. This double mission is confrmed and justfes by the
progressive growth of the insttutons research component. This has been char-
acterized by the development of specifc research bodies, by the increasing em-
phasis on research within the various departments, as well as on the growing
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number of research contracts and cooperaton agreements, both domestc and
internatonal.
2. In socio-economic terms the insttuton strives to guarantee equal opportu-
nites for young people from poorer families, especially for inhabitants of the
Apuseni (Western Carpathian) Mountains. It also strives to create an environ-
ment that helps high-performing students from Alba Iulia and the region atain
their full potental. Last, but not least, it aims to train high-skilled professionals
in order to meet the demands of regional economic development and Europe-
an integraton.
3. In regional and natonal terms, the mission of the university focuses on further-
ing the historical and cultural legacy of the region by training younger genera-
tons towards furthering science and keeping key values. This will contribute
towards reducing the gap between Alba Iulia as a historical symbol and Alba
Iulia as a social, scientfc and cultural reality.
The insttuton tries to fulfll Alba Iulias potental beter by atractng specialists
from other regions of the country, and by creatng an academic community that is
able to push the boundates of knowledge on the basis of the citys historical legacy.
The training of specialists in the felds that are needed in order to foster more eco-
nomic development will help the region meet its maximum economic potental,
and the creatvity of the local populace is key in meetng any such goals.
The insttuton houses several departments and felds of study. These are grouped
into four facultes:
The Faculty of History and Philology
The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Law and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Each of these facultes has both bachelor and master degree ofers adressed to its
students. They also conduct research in a variety of felds and help further knowl-
edge in their domains.
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CHAPTER 4
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
4.1. Self-assessment and interviews
4.1.1. Defning key competences and the scope of the self-assessment process
One of the key concepts at the core of Adeccos internship project is the idea that
the internships selecton process should happen as a series of consecutve steps
and should, at all stages, ofer direct feedback to the applicants. The frst stage, and
the main criteria for pre-selecton, is the online applicaton that includes self-as-
sessment. This stage is used for the inital selecton, together with the students
feld of study (as students need to be selected in felds where internships are ult-
mately available for them).
Upon submitng an applicaton on the project website (www.practca-ta.ro), stu-
dents are required to fll in a form containing 32 distnct items that assess a large
part of the transversal competences needed for a successful partcipaton in a three-
week internship. The form takes the shape of a personality test, so as not to overtly
suggest to the applicant which answers help in receiving a beter score.
The main competences that are being assessed, both in the inital self-assessment
as well as in the interview that the frst 420 selected students go through have been
determined by an internal discussion within Adecco as well as with several employ-
ers. They are all sof-skills, as the core competences related to the students study
felds are already evaluated as part of the grading process in universites.
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Nr. Skills and/ or competences Relevance
1 Communicaton
The ability to communicate and to deliver a coher-
ent message is among the most important monitored
during both interviews and self-assessment. While
communicaton problem is ofen perceived to be
a clich line, the ability to ask, tell and ofer/receive
feedback is crucial in order to maximize the personal
benefts gained from a short-term internship.
2 Team working skills
Team working skills are important in facilitatng a stu-
dents integraton into a new collectve or organiza-
ton. This is a decisive skill as deemed by the Adecco
team given that many students lack any experience in
working together with other people towards reach-
ing pre-set goals.
3
Career orientaton and personal
development
This competence follows the individuals capacity to
set and follow personal life goals and professional ob-
jectves. This is important as it ofers a hint towards
the individuals capacity to behave consistently and
to have clear goals when engaged in a professional
actvity.
4 Perseverance
Perseverance can be identfed as the personal will
and capacity to follow pre-set goals despite potental
hardships and problems that need to be overcome.
Perseverance is not so much a skill as an atribute of
character, but it can be trained based on the per-
sonal and professional experiences of the intern. As
one benefciary later remarked eventually, you learn
to leave your dignity and shame at the door and go
solve your problems.
5 Goal-orientaton
This characteristc refers to the manner in which the
student is oriented towards meetng goals and ob-
jectves. Goal-orientaton varies, being infuenced by
both the individuals character and by past working
experience.
As a note, goal-orientaton can be tackled from two
points of view: excessively goal-oriented persons run
the risk of infuencing team morale or collectve rela-
tons in a negatve way, should the focus on meetng
goals trump the importance of maintaining group
morale.
Goal-orientaton is important to determine the ca-
pacity of the intern to reach the pre-agreed targets
both for learning and for making an efectve contri-
buton to host company actvites.
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6 Decision-making capacity
In certain contexts, interns might be put in the situ-
aton of taking small-scale decisions on their own. In
the long term, employees need to have the capacity
to take decisions in an autonomous fashion, in order
to avoid straining higher management echelons with
unnecessary requests for approval.
7 Leadership
Leadership skills, in a professional context, usually re-
fer to the capacity to lead, coordinate and motvate
people. Leadership implies taking decisions, having
initatve and being capable to act as a role model for
other people in the organizaton.
For an intern, the opportunites to act on ones qual-
ites as a leader are fairly limited, but it is ofen vis-
ible in the taking up of initatve or giving proactve
feedback. In order to assess the students leadership
skills, the competence-based interview that Adecco
undertook had a queston in which respondents were
required to describe the manner in which they tack-
led various problems that they had encountered in
the past (especially when part of a group).
8 Negotaton skills
So-called negotaton skills are very difcult to gauge,
students being asked questons with regards to past
negotaton experiences, from either academic,
work-related or personal experiences.
Negotaton skills were deemed to be those skills that
enable a person to obtain a positve or at least sat-
isfactory outcome from a confictual communicaton
process with another individual or group.
Negotaton skills are critcal in order to permit fu-
ture employees to gain benefts both for themselves
(when negotatng work conditons, task division,
etc.), but also to enable them to meet work-related
targets upon employment, especially when working
in contact with externals.
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The self-assessment was flled in by each student individually. In order to avoid sit-
uatons in which the student would tend to overstate his or her competences, the
self-assessment form used questons in a manner that would make it difcult for
people to guess scoring tables. The self-assessment process also had a secondary
level of importance when it came to establishing the fnal score that was used
to determine if students would ultmately beneft from training sessions and an
internship grant. The competence-based interviews would both verify the self-as-
sessment and count in the grading of the students.
4.1.2. Career counselling competence-based interview
The frst major stage of the project, in which students benefted by receiving feed-
back for their approach to work-relevant issues, was represented by the career
counselling sessions. These were ofered to over 420 students in each of the frst
two project cycles, and were extended to over 750 benefciaries during the third
and fnal cycle.
The frst years counselling sessions took place in March 2011, for a period of two
weeks. In the second year of project implementaton, the counselling sessions were
conducted startng from December (2011) and contnuing in January and February
2012. In the second year of project implementaton, the same team of interviewers
was responsible for sessions in Sibiu and Cluj as well as the ones in Timioara. This
enabled a more homogenous approach to the assessment process that followed
the interviews themselves. The third year sessions also stradled the months of De-
cember and January, as the tmeline of actvites mirrored the one of the second
cycle.
The counselling sessions consisted mainly of feedback that was ofered as a result
of a competence-based interview. The interview tried to evaluate some of the skills
and competences that the applicants had, but also important aspects of their at-
tude towards future employment and developing a career. The Competence-Based
Interview (CBI) form that was issued for the counselling sessions ofered each inter-
viewer a clear set of guidelines in order to conduct the interview.
These guidelines gave the liberty of asking extra questons and ofering clarifca-
tons for the interviewee. And while the interviewee was expected to test well for
communicaton skills, he or she had a 5-minute tmeframe to prepare an answer
to each questons. This was done so as not to put students who are not spontane-
ous and fuent in their answers at too much of a disadvantage (except in terms of
assessing communicaton skills, where this would count in a negatve way). Inter-
viewers were instructed to make sure that speech impairments such as stuter
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would not lead to a reduced score.
In order to ensure an overall balance in the quality of both the interviews and in the
interpretaton of the answers, a brief training was held for the future interviewers
by an Assistant Recruiter from Adecco Romania.
The one-on-one interview featured several sectons, each with at least two pre-de-
termined questons. These felds were:
Professional development;
Goal-orientaton;
Team working skills;
Negotaton and capacity to infuence others;
Efcient informaton and openness towards asking for feedback.
Each interview was scheduled to last for approximately 50 minutes, with some ex-
tending to as much as 70 minutes if the interviewer felt the need to ask clarifcaton
questons or if the interviewee felt the need to ofer extra clarifcatons to the inter-
viewer (this opton was explicitly ofered at the beginning of each interview). At the
end of the interview, each area of competences (based on the individual grades)
was ranked with a score ranging from 1 (minimum) to 5 (maximum).
Other than the individual conclusions presented to each of the interviewees, gener-
al conclusions were drawn by the interviewers so as to come up with extra input for
training sessions and in order to have a proper estmate of the possible problems
that might occur during the internships themselves, with regards to integraton and
learning capacity.
Among the key conclusions drawn with regards to the demographics of the stu-
dents that took part in interviews during the frst two cycles of project implemen-
taton, we can recall a few:
1. Lack of experience with working in teams
Very few of the interviewees had prior jobs, far less than the project team had
initally expected. Some had limited experience in various forms of short-duraton
employment (for example summer-tme jobs), ofen working in bars or in restau-
rants. These experiences were deemed positve (as they do ofer an insight into
necessary skills for customer service related positons), but few of these provided
opportunites to work in teams or to engage in tasks that put to use prior aca-
demic learning.
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There were widespread examples of teamwork within educatonal setngs (for ex-
ample with students working in teams for university projects). These examples were
relevant to a small degree however, as the most widespread soluton presented by
interviewees to problems caused by dysfunctonal teams was to pull more than
ones own weight untl team goals were met. Obviously, this is not such a common
soluton for teamworking issues found in long-term employment.
2. Difculty in expressing ideas freely in tense situatons
Most of the respondents had difculty in keeping a good level of verbal fuency
in what was perceived to be a formal setng. Thus, there were numerous cases
in which students had litle trouble in expressing their opinions in the banter that
preceded the interview, only to lose focus once the perceived formality set in. This
was ofen the case for students who had not taken part in interviews before.
3. Lack of appreciaton for the importance of transversal skills
Many of the students taking part in the interview tended to equate their formal
learning experience with something of an automatc job lock and a door to im-
mediate future employment. Few of them appreciated personal life experiences
to be useful in the future, to the point that some students had ignored valuable
voluntary work or employment outside their feld of study when presentng their
relevant prior experience to the interviewer. These attudes were more prevalent
in the persons who were eager to work in their feld of study, as opposed to those
that had not yet identfed a clear career path.
4. Lack of experience in negotatons
Very few of the applicants were able to give an example of a concrete situaton
in which they had needed to negotate with someone for any given purpose. Un-
like the other questons, where most answers tended to focus to some degree on
school or university related actvity, negotatons largely tended to focus on family
issues. This could be a potental indicator of a lack of assertveness in non-familiar
environments, though the lack of working experience also plays a part.
5. The lack of practcal usage of theoretcal knowledge gained during studies
Most of the partcipants in the project seemed to have litle problem in the way
of expressing various theoretcal concepts and ideas, but ofen had problems
in linking them with practcal applicatons. This was sometmes the natural
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result of the fact that they had not yet reached the stage in which practcal exer-
cises were introduced in the learning process, though many seemed to also have
problems in making the necessary correlatons to fairly simple aspects of their im-
mediate environment.
6. A good capacity to describe a complex process or actvity
One positve conclusion of the interviews was that partcipants had the capacity to
transmit a complex message, including a descripton of technical actvites, cause
and efect relatonships and professional actvites. They faired rather poorly in
adaptng their vocabulary to a lay listener (one that was presumed not to have prior
knowledge of the subject topic).
One major problem at this point was the fact that almost no student asked for feed-
back on how they managed to transmit the message. We believe that this is not
necessarily caused by a lack of empathy, but by a lack of focus on proper message
delivery in prior communicaton training.
As a note, these general conclusions came about as a result of the debriefngs that
occurred between the interviewers, and are rather difcult to measure or grade at
the level of the entre group of benefciaries. Each individual tended to fair difer-
ently based on a whole range of factors, from prior interview experience, to study
feld, age, gended, rural/urban background and other aspects.

4.1.3. Selecton of internships


At the end of the career counselling process, the company selecton process begins.
In the frst year of the project, there was a direct distributon of students to various
companies. This was based on the feld of study of each student, as well as on the
desire to organize as many of the internships requested by the various companies.
Also, there was a desire to have at least one internship in each company by one of
the students who had benefted from prior training ofered in the project frame-
work.
For the second implementaton cycle, a system that beter took into account the
needs and desires of both students and companies was devised. Each student
would now log in with their website account and would have access to descriptons
of the available internships. The student would proceed to rank the internship stag-
es that he or she wanted to take part in.
In a very similar fashion, the company, while having full access to the results
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of the competence-based interviews and self-evaluaton process, is able to rank
the students it wants to select. Companies can only opt for students that have ex-
pressed interest in the internships that they ofer, and could not select other stu-
dents. A correlaton between the two rankings produces the fnal list, afer which
students have a period in which they are given the chance to decline taking part
should they feel that the stage does not refect their development needs.
This system has so far produced a far higher rate of satsfacton with regard to the
stages themselves. Over 90% of students that responded to Adeccos satsfacton
survey untl August 31st 2012 reported that the internships are either relevant or
very relevant to their educatonal and personal needs.
4.2. Transversal skills training program
Based on the result of the self-assessment and the competence-based interviews,
students are distributed to four possible training programmes. Each student bene-
fts from only two sessions, in the areas in which there is a notceable lack of skills.
In the frst year, 64 students were distributed to the Communicaton and public
discourse training module, 195 to Teamwork, 98 to Negotaton and 63 to Manage-
ment and leadership.
In the second cycle of project implementaton, the numbers changed to some ex-
tent, as a result of a new approach to the counselling interviews, one that put a
priority on students communicaton skills. This was done because there was wide-
spread evidence that ofen students had a considerable level of skills and personal
capacity to solve problems in various felds, but a poor capacity in making this evi-
dent to their peers.
Also, more stress was placed on aspects such as personal capacity to infuence oth-
ers, take autonomous decisions and coordinate small-scale actvites. This lead to
the management and leadership training seeing rising partcipaton rates, as par-
tcipants who were deemed to have communicaton problems in a working envi-
ronment were ofen distributed to this training session (which had more actvites
oriented towards corporate communicaton). The third cycle saw less fuctuaton in
terms of distributon, although the Communicaton and Negotaton modules saw a
mild rise in partcipaton rates.
We believe that partally because of this renewed and more consistent approach
to the counselling process, there has been considerably more consistency in the
distributon of students to training sessions between the second and third cycles of
project implementaton. The numbers of partcipants on each individual training
module are show next:
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Frequency of partcipaton to training modules
Cycle Frequency
Training module 2011 2012 2013 2011 2012 2013
Communicaton, public
discourse
64 114 132 30,5% 53,8% 57,8%
Teamwork 195 74 89 92,9% 34,9% 39,0%
Management and lead-
ership
63 121 98 30,0% 57,1% 43,0%
Negotaton 98 115 137 46,7% 54,2% 60,1%
The training modules have been possibly one of the most innovatve aspects of
the project. The modules gave the future interns a frst-hand experience at vari-
ous aspects of corporate life and communicaton styles. This was designed frst and
foremost in order to make sure that at least part of the accommodaton process
is conducted before the stages themselves. More than that, the training modules
tried to help students perfect their capacity to learn, react and speak to company
employees, as well as to give them a glimpse into the corporate mind-set, covering
such far-ranging issues as (professional) relatonships, communicaton, motvaton
and feedback approaches.
In order to have a proper assessment of the impact that the trainings had on each
individual student, Adecco has contracted a company to monitor the follow-up to
the internships, and track the diferences between the students that benefted from
the training modules and the ones that did not (mainly in terms of employability).
This will be correlated with a survey looking at the evaluaton of the students by
company tutors.
This analysis will, of course, be limited in scope, given the difculty in measuring
the distnct impact of the training modules as compared to the educatonal and
formatve background of each intern.
4.2.1 Communicaton and public discourse module
The frst of the four training modules was the one on communicaton and public
discourse. For this module, the following learning outcomes were designated to be
atained at the end of each session:
Partcipants will understand which components of the communicaton pro-
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cess infuence message delivery, and in which way.
Partcipants will be able to deliver a complex message to a familiar audience
and ask for feedback on the clarity of the message.
Partcipants will be able to use persuasive communicaton in a limited tme-
frame.
Partcipants will be familiar with the elements that consttute a persuasive
speech.
The capacity to communicate is arguably one of the most important for any student
and/or graduate. It is both basic and crucial in building a career. Communicaton
in itself is the key skill in several branches of economic actvity (for example PR,
external relatons, human resources, marketng, sales, customer care, etc.), but it
also helps shape the individuals spot in a company, as well as attudes between
co-workers.
One of the key functons of communicaton is integraton of new workers with-
in a company, in unfamiliar environments or in multcultural setngs (the later is
increasingly important in the light of unprecedented European and global labour
mobility).
The role of communicaton cultures that might exist within companies was em-
phasized, and partcipants in the training modules were shown how formal and
informal communicaton are balanced depending on the aspect of communicaton,
interlocutors and organizatonal protocol.
When developing the training module for communicaton and public discourse, the
IRT team envisaged a mix between theory, practcal exercises and contextualized
simulatons. Stll, several modifcatons to the module would later take place afer
the sessions themselves commenced, largely as a result of feedback collected from
the partcipants.
A. Partcipants characteristcs
In the frst year, only 64 people took part to the training session on communicaton.
This number ballooned to 114 in the second cycle. In the frst year of project imple-
mentaton, communicaton skills had ofen been a make or break flter, which might
explain why there was less need for communicaton-oriented modules. In the sec-
ond year, interviewers had been instructed to look beyond communicaton prob-
lems and look at multple levels of skills that interviewees might have. This meant
that more partcipants with communicaton problems but good skills in other areas
went on to partcipate in later stages of the project.
The most common problem in communicaton that we encountered among
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partcipants was caused by emotons or stage fright. Ofen, partcipants would have
no problem in communicatng in regular interpersonal circumstances but would
start to stuter during interview questons or in more formal situatons. Another
major problem was the fact that few interviewees had a natural inclinaton to ask
for feedback or even perceive the informal feedback of the speaker (such as body
language).
B. Module concept and development
Most sessions were kept simple in terms of structure and elements (both in the
inital structure and afer changes were enacted during later months). Theory
was gradually reduced in scope and extent, as basic communicaton theory is also
taought in Romanian secondary schools, so most partcipants were already familiar
with it. Concepts such as meaning, goals of communicaton and use of non-verbal
elements were some of the top aspects that were dealt with in the more theoretcal
sessions. Practcal sessions tried, as much as possible, to put partcipants in a situ-
aton in which they needed to speak in more or less formal situatons or in front of
larger audiences (mostly, the other partcipants). Partcipants were encouraged to
ofer feedback to their fellow speakers.
Among the main elements of the communicaton sessions:
a. Theoretcal presentatons focusing on the following elements:
general communicaton theory;
the role of verbal, non-verbal and paraverbal communicaton;
formal and informal communicaton, balance and usage;
tps and tricks in holding a public speech;
tps and tricks in fending of stage fright;
other key communicaton elements.
Theoretcal presentatons were mostly brief (usually lastng less than 20 minutes)
and the trainers were encouraged to employ examples and to make references to
the theoretcal presentatons in later debriefngs and feedback sessions.
b. Small-scale practcal applicatons took place afer each theoretcal session.
Much as the practce in the other training modules, there was a considerable ef-
fort aimed at making correlatons between the theoretcal component and practcal
exercises in order to enhance the learning process. Examples of these small-scale
simulatons included:
giving a brief speech of 1-3 minutes, with just 15 minutes of preparaton tme;
giving arguments for tough cases (give arguments as to why mosquitos
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should never go extnct);
giving a small-scale persuasive speech in front of a pre-defned group of peo-
ple.
c. Complex exercises with one evenings preparaton tme, in which partc-
ipants had to give a speech on a complex and ofen controversial theme. These
themes included issues such as capital punishment, stray dog euthanasia, mining
projects or same-sex marriage. Each speech was picked in a random fashion, thus
forcing partcipants to document themselves on the topic and on various perspec-
tves that exist for the issue they were speaking of.
During the second cycle, and afer extensive feedback from partcipants, as well as
internal discussions within IRT, a decision was taken to include a second complex
simulaton, this tme on corporate communicaton (the context given was that of
seeking and deciding on employment). Part of the partcipants was meant to sim-
ulate a corporate environment, while another part was placed in the positon of a
job applicant. At the end, both groups were given a debriefng and had a chance to
witness the simulated corporate meetng, and analyse what aspects of communica-
ton occur in real-life companies.
C. Module impact and follow-up
The sessions on communicaton proved very valuable to most partcipants, and the
feedback was largely positve. There were several cases of very strong stage fright
which could be tackled only to a small extent, and which required further work
from the partcipants themselves.
One of the major problems that were identfed was the lack of opportunites by
partcipants to speak in public or in formal contexts. Academic life implies the use of
a very specifc style of formal communicaton that is not automatcally usable in the
real economy. The fact that each session lasted for only two and a half days limited
the degree to which the communicaton and public discourse module could change
personal behaviour and performance in communicaton. Stll, a proper reader was
ofered, as well as a list of recommended lectures, and partcipants were given per-
sonalized feedback on which aspects of their communicaton and discourse to try
to improve.
D. Conclusions
The overall conclusion from the communicaton module was that correctve meas-
ures towards improving speaking and communicaton skills were needed beyond
the training sessions themselves. Partcipants were encouraged to use the reader
and the tps and try to exercise further, as well as to analyse the communicaton
culture of the companies they work for in order to have a beter capacity to
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integrate in their new environment. Communicaton remains a key integratve tool,
and it is Adecco and IRTs opinion that the educaton system should put more em-
phasis on this, especially on its formatve dimension. In an age of life-long learning,
peoples capacity to integrate into their environment and properly communicate
with their peers is becoming increasingly vital for individuals seeking to have an
edge on the labour market.
4.2.2 Teamwork training module
In the frst cycle of the project, there was a surprise as regards to how few ap-
plicants had any experience in teamwork. There was also a surprise with regard
to the number of people who showed litle or no initatve in tackling problems
associated with a dysfunctonal team. Disband it, Do the work myself, Kick
out the troublemaker were ofen the dominatng opinions when applicants were
asked on their approach to handling problematc team members. When the com-
petence-based interviews had ended, it came as litle surprise that the teamwork
module had by far the most partcipants.
Overall, the module deals with several aspects that were deemed relevant to most
work placements and to any future career. The learning outcomes designed for the
module include:
Partcipants are expected to understand the main elements that infuence
group dynamics.
Partcipants will be able to identfy the main roles and functons that exist
within a team.
Partcipants will understand the impact that access to informaton and inter-
personal diferences play in shaping team dynamics.
Partcipants will be able to coordinate a small-sized team (7-8 persons) to-
wards ataining limited goals and objectves.
A. Partcipant characteristcs
Before going into a general review of how the interviewers and trainers perceived
the partcipants to the teamwork module, it is important to know that there was
a considerable shif in what was perceived as minimum teamwork experience. In-
deed, during the second cycle of the project, expectatons for students to have sig-
nifcant experience in working with teams was lowered (so as not to distort the dis-
tributon of students per training modules), and aspects linked to teamwork were
mainstreamed throughout the other three modules.
Overall, the following general observatons were recorded during the frst two
cycles:
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1. Most partcipants had litle or no experience with working in teams. The
ones that did ofen worked only in school or faculty projects and even then
had a limited level of cooperaton with their peers.
2. Few of the partcipants had a history of being proactve in tackling problems
with regards to workload distributon in teams. Very few had ever tried to
identfy solutons to problems caused by people perceived to slack of in
teams.
3. Many had a very good percepton of themselves, and tended to have trust
issues when it came to task delegaton.
4. Some partcipants were, by contrast, very shy and uncommunicatve, and
tended to be less vocal in social circumstances.
Because partcipants had such contrastng problems with regard to working in
teams, the approach taken by IRT was focused largely on giving individual debrief-
ings, and on closely monitoring each partcipant. The training also contained a grad-
ual increase in the difculty of tasks given to partcipants, in order to ofer them
feedback on their behaviour in diferent levels of stress.
This proved to be a good decision, as there were remarkable diferences between
partcipants behaviour during the various exercises. For example, during small-
scale simulatons, even the informal leaders of the groups were reluctant to take
charge, while in the most complex simulaton (which took the form of a treasure
hunt), strong power fghts were ofen visible between partcipants.
B. Concept and development
In the frst year of project implementaton, the number of partcipants to some of
the teamwork sessions was very large, and this ofen caused problems in monitor-
ing individuals on a case-by-case basis. For the second year of project implemen-
taton, there were signifcantly fewer partcipants and the work of the trainers was
made easier as a result.
For the most part, each individual training session included a series of theoret-
cal presentatons and practcal exercises. The major simulaton took the form of
a treasure hunt which included direct team vs team competton, targets, way-
points, riddles and challenges, creatng a very compettve environment.
A brief descripton of training components (both before and afer changes applied
as a result of feedback) includes:
a. Theoretcal presentatons had the role of ofering the basic informaton
with regard to group dynamics, roles and relatonships for partcipants. The com-
plexity and length of the presentatons was adapted to group characteristcs,
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and was considerably reduced as tme passed. Most presentatons were limited
to 15-20 minutes, and trainers tried to give real-world examples whenever pos-
sible (including from within the group of partcipants, if certain behaviours were
identfed, and pointng them out was not deemed ofensive). Presentatons were
followed up by small-scale simulatons and exercises which in turn contained de-
briefngs.
b. Small-scale applicatons, having the role of cementng knowledge accumu-
lated during theoretcal presentatons. These exercises usually contained debrief-
ings that also made reference to the theoretcal content, but also tried to apply
some of the concepts to the individual partcipants and to their personal behaviour.
In the inital exercises (which were ofen simple tasks such as designing a paper
plane or sof-landing device for an egg in teams of four), there was a strong reluc-
tance by partcipants to claiming leadership of the team. Most teams opted to fully
decide as a group and stuck to a very polite and inclusive manner of making deci-
sions.
c. A complex exercise, under the form of a treasure hunt, was the key simu-
laton during the entre training. The exercise was much more complex and involved
larger teams (normally 7 or 8, but teams of 9 or 10 were organized during the frst
cycle of the project). The duraton of the exercise was 2-4 hours, though some took
as long as 5. Partcipants were supposed to fnd 12 clues, and identfy their locaton
based on various riddles or tasks.
To make the teams feel the efect of having a weak link among them, at least one
of the partcipants was blindfolded at any given tme, with a rotaton tme of 30
minutes. Sometmes, a partcipant from each team would need to wear high-heels.
Partcipants would lose points if there was a distance of more than 10 meters be-
tween the two farthest placed members of the team.
There were several extra rules that partcipants needed to respect, ofen to functon
as a group. For example, they needed to choose on a decision-making process for
whenever disputes between members occurred. They could opt for a vote-based
system or for a leader decides system. A formal leader needed to be appointed,
either to call the votes or to decide for the team.
At frst, the team members would behave in a similar fashion to the small-scale
exercises that took place in the frst day of each training session: they would mostly
opt for vote-based decision-making, would be polite and considerate to each other,
and would try to help each other out. However, given that the treasure hunt con-
sisted of a competton between two distnct teams, and given the fact that
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the track meant that the teams were ofen visible to each other, a strong compet-
tve mood would ofen set in.
This usually meant that tensions developed within each team. Leaders taking wrong
decisions ended up being de facto deposed by new, informal leaders (though a for-
mal procedure for this did not exist). Ofen, the team members that were blindfold-
ed ended up being dragged and pushed into running, at tmes to the point to which
the trainers needed to intervene.
The exercise showed the partcipants that, when a compettve environment set
in, people tended to forget the values of friendship and polite cooperaton and
would prioritse winning above all else. Also, the exercise strongly pointed out the
role that charisma, personal infuence and leadership abilites played. Indeed, there
were teams in which members that systematcally pointed out clues correctly were
stll ignored in favour of other, more assertve or popular members.
The debriefngs for this exercise were, in our opinion, some of the best learning
tools in the entre training programme. They proved to be an excellent opportunity
to point out to partcipants how behaviours within teams change in various circum-
stances, and how people assume various roles, ofen based on factors such as per-
sonal standing and not always on grounds of merit. Thus, partcipants could have a
concrete example on how teamwork and social skills were decisive in having their
opinion considered in larger groups of people, but also on how planning can easily
break down if the team reacts in a chaotc fashion to challenging circumstances.
d. The teamwork module was the training in which debriefngs came into
their own as a valid learning tool. Upon the completon of the treasure hunt, most
partcipants tended not to identfy the link between what had happened during
the course of the competton, and prior theory. However, the debriefng helped
the trainers make the links between the compettve environment, the confictng
situatons that arose and the changes to personal and group behaviour.
C. Conclusions
With regard to the partcipants, the main conclusions drawn from the team-
working training sessions included:
1. Partcipants tended to be shy of taking up a leadership role, at least in for-
mal terms. Once the informal leaders emerged, they tended to coordinate
various group actvites, but would rarely try to gain formal status when this
was possible.
2. Most partcipants tended to be friendly and accommodatng to their
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fellow team members, but this ofen changed when compettve actvites
were undertaken. Whenever signifcant diferences of contributon between
team members became visible, some partcipants started being aggressive
and pushy against those who were perceived to slow down the group.
3. In contrast to majority attudes, in each training session there were one or
several partcipants who tended to be compettve, and who tried to high-
light their status within the group. This was not limited to tackling various
tasks in a visible way (showing of). They would at tmes try to stand out,
ofen by making their diference with other partcipants known, socializing
only with the trainers (and ofen talking badly about other partcipants to
them) or by bragging about their personal achievements in contexts outside
the training room. The interestng aspect was that many of these partci-
pants preferred to take the role of the dissident as opposed to assuming
leadership they would critcize their fellow teammembers, but would not
bother to assume formal leadership.
4. Motvatons to perform the various tasks within the training simulaton
were broadly diferent among partcipants. There was a group of partci-
pants that can be described colloquially as eager beavers, who tended
to be partcularly actve in challenges they found interestng, would ofen
come with ideas and encourage their fellow team members.
At the same tme, each session had another group of sceptcs who tended to con-
sider most simulatons as childish and would ofen be very reluctant in taking full
part. The more compettve treasure hunt tended to motvate all members of the
group, except (ofen), those who had a dissentng attude and tended to constantly
critcize their fellow team members without ofering any constructve input in its
place. Such dissidents were either partcipants who felt superior to their colleagues,
or individuals who had had their opinions marginalized on multple occasions.
Another group of partcipants seemed to be motvated when their individual role
in the team was decisive. These tended to emphasize their personal contributon
verbally, for example during debriefngs or during the social evenings.
The main conclusion of the teamwork training module was that there is a greater
need to develop partcipants team working skills, both in the short run but espe-
cially in the long term. The superfcial nature of the solidarity that most partci-
pants displayed plus a tendency towards individualism revealed during the com-
petence-based interviews indicates a real problem that exists when atemptng to
forge teams and get them working efciently towards common goals.
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There is, of course, a silver lining, in that many of the problems that were identfed
derive from the lack of experience that partcipants had in working in teams. We
are aware that instnctual behaviour is only corrected by long-term exposure to
group work.
4.2.3 Negotaton training module
The negotaton training module was prepared for those partcipants that lacked
experience in negotatons. As said before, most students that took part in the com-
petence-based interviews of the counselling stage showed litle prior experience
in negotatng, ofen in contexts such as small-scale disagreements in families or
among friends.
In order to make the trainings relevant for future integraton into companies and
job posts, the following learning outcomes were planned for each session:
Partcipants will be able to take part in a small-scale negotaton exercise, and
pursue pre-defned goals.
Partcipants will be able to prepare a simple negotaton strategy.
Partcipants will be able to pursue their goals while reaching a win-win com-
promise.
Partcipants will be able to adapt their behaviour in the middle of the negot-
aton process, in order to adapt to the style of their interlocutor.
As can be seen, the training was designed to help partcipants in pursuing their
personal negotaton goals in a consistent and coherent fashion, while being pre-
pared to adopt a compromise or a mixed-result soluton. The trainers did not try to
infuence partcipants by compelling them to adapt a single style or goal level (for
example either win-win or win-lose as outcomes). Consistency in negotatons was
probably the main innovatve element for the partcipants, as partcipants initally
tended to modify both arguments and demands rapidly, ofen weakening their ne-
gotaton positons during the various simulatons that were undertaken.
A. The partcipants
The partcipants from the negotaton module were probably the least homogenous
out of all the sessions that were undertaken. Their weaknesses or approaches to
the negotaton process were very diferent and very diverse. Some, much like the
partcipants at the communicatons module, had problems with public speaking
and tended to get nervous when having to deal with speaking in front of a per-
son they were not familiar with. There were partcipants with completely opposite
problems as well.
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One was related to over-confdence. Partcipants that tended to be overconfdent
usually had problems such as making ridiculous claims or demands, tending to be-
litle the negotaton partners they had, or adoptng strong alpha male/female
poses. Another problem was that of partcipants that could make their inital argu-
ments afer planning ahead, but proved to be infexible when it came to taking part
in further discussions and negotatons. Another problem was the lack of capacity
to properly assess the outcome of the negotaton process.
Many partcipants were ofen taken aback by a friendly attude on the behalf of
their interlocutor and were immune to identfying any strings atached to the for-
mal agreement they would strike at the end. One last identfed problem was the
fact that some partcipants were consistently superfcial in planning for their nego-
taton: when their opponent came up with extra informaton on the subject mater,
partcipants were ofen ill-informed and were unable to give a coherent answer.
These problems ofen overlapped, so the diversity of the issues that partcipants
had with undertaking a succesful negotaton was ofen dauntng.
B. Concept and structure
The structure of each session was not that diferent from the modules that we
discussed above, with a mix of theoretcal and practcal sessions.
a. Theoretcal presentatons, much like with communicaton and teamwork,
tended to be reduced in size as more feedback was taken in. They were also linked
to practcal exercises and debriefngs, and discussions and personal examples were
encouraged at the end of each theoretcal component. Like with the other training
sessions, PowerPoint presentatons and hand-outs were ofered in order to beter
help the learning process.
b. Small-scale negotatons were held between partcipants, both in order to
help them recall prior negotaton experiences and to highlight elements from the
theoretcal content presented beforehand. Various themes, ofen with wide soci-
etal popularity and somewhat controversial nature (for example aborton, or the
Educaton Law) were chosen. These helped create a compettve atmosphere and
ideological atachment to the goals that were set up.
Afer inital discussions on positons, partcipants were divided for one of the ex-
ercises to groups defending the positon opposite to their own views. This was
done so as to simulate the conditons of working in a company or enterprise, in
which employees need to be persuasive even on topics that they are not natural-
ly comfortable with. Since various positons were alloted to the partcipants in
these negotatons, teams were shufed so as to permit each individual to
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experiment various potental roles in team negotaton.
c. A complex, pre-planned negotaton exercise that aimed at preparing par-
tcipants for team negotatons that involve the use of extensive background infor-
maton and the constructon of alliances with relevant stakeholders. The plot for
this simulaton involved getng partcipants to persuade a mock Senate to demand
the modifcaton of the Law on practcal educaton (which regulates practcal stages
in companies).
Partcipants were given tme to prepare for the negotaton, as well as to interact
and establish a relaton with other stakeholders. The exercise of mult-party ne-
gotaton and the possibility of making or breaking alliances with other interested
partes created a fuid environment in which each partcipant was challenged to
both perform as an individual and to communicate with other partes. The division
of partcipants between student unions, the private sector and universites meant
that each group had pre-set objectves, thus limitng the capacity of partcipants to
build up artfcial alliances based on personal preferences.
The exercise showed that partcipants had problems in understanding the impor-
tance of building up a relatonship with third partes and of lobbying potental allies,
preferring instead to negotate in an independent fashion. A partcular problem was
the fact that many of the individual negotators tried to combat the arguments of
their interlocutors by atemptng to annihilate them instead of including some of
their concerns in a compromise positon.
This meant that all too ofen, neither of the sides managed to push the negotatons
into a positon in which the fnal consensus was built around their inital demands
and desires.
C. Conclusions
The negotaton training module had a very heterogeneous group of partci-
pants, and thus proved a partcular challenge for the trainers themselves. While
normally the concept of learner-centred methods and focus was mainstreamed in
the approach, the number of individual problems that needed to be tackled proved
to be a signifcant challenge when doing debriefngs or assigning roles for the vari-
ous simulatons.
At the end of the sessions, and despite the tensions and difcultes that arose dur-
ing some of the simulatons, notable progress was visible among most partcipants.
Stll, much like in the other sessions, there was a need for partcipants to stay
focus and work more on their negotaton techniques even afer fnishing the
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training. Many of the problems were in fact a result of the personal behaviour style
of the partcipants, which made them difcult to mitgate over the course of a single
extended weekend.
4.2.4 Management and leadership module
The Management and Leadership module was developed in order to beter support
partcipants in managing various aspects of their personal functonality, but also to
make them more independent decision makers, and more able coordinators. The
scale of actvites involved was, obviously, small, but that was consistent with the
limited nature of coordinatve decisions that an intern or early employee might
need to take.
The key learning outcomes designed for the session were:
Partcipants will understand the main concepts of management as applied to
a private company.
Partcipants will understand the role of the manager, and that of the leader in
relaton to the preparaton of team actvites.
Partcipants will have the capacity to divide tasks among a group of people,
and will be able to use basic monitoring and quality control tools.
Partcipants will understand and be able to use a basic organizatonal struc-
ture in order to reach a concrete set of goals in the context of a private en-
terprise.
The approaches used in the management and leadership training were similar to
those used in several other training sessions, and were largely focused on a contn-
ually streamlined theoretcal content, simulatons and debriefngs.
One major diference, however, was the fact that the teams were fxed early in the
session and remained the same throughout an entre session. Furthermore, all ex-
ercises were knited together in a single, grand, simulaton.
A. The partcipants
The number of partcipants was rather small in the frst year, but it grew to-
wards the second year as a result of changes to the competence-based interviews.
Many of the identfed problems (which ended up pushing partcipants to the Man-
agement and Leadership module), included a lack of capacity to take decisions, to
coordinate basic actvites or to take the initatve in a given context. Most of the
partcipants that had some experience in management or coordinaton usually had
organized small-scale events or actvites such as group excursions.
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B. The formatve session itself
As said before, the main diference between the training sessions on manage-
ment and leadership and the others was given by the fact that most of the practcal
exercises were concentrated in a coherent simulaton, in which groups were fxed
(albeit divided in smaller sub-groups for two of the simulatons) and did not ex-
change members.
The main reason for this was the fact that the trainers, upon designing the module
content, came up with the conclusion that it is impossible to get the partcipants to
atain some of the learning outcomes unless they have some degree of familiarity
with their fellow team workers. The grand simulaton lasted for the entre training
duraton of two and a half days.
The simulaton did not run uninterrupted, and theoretcal presentatons and de-
briefngs were organized during the training, usually before the simulatons scope
was extended to included newly-presented elements. For example, there would be
a theoretcal presentaton on quality control mechanisms, before the teams were
asked to devise their own quality control tools.
The simulaton was started from the very beginning, when partcipants were di-
vided into two simulated companies: one specialized in tourism-based services (to
ft into the existng on-site infrastructure in Buzia, the town in which the training
sessions were held), while the other was focused on event organizaton (as this
seemed to be a feld in which the partcipants were more knowledgeable).
Afer division, the partcipants were given various tasks, both with regards to in-
ternal structure development (for their company), creatng sub-teams and doing
regular actvites for clients. At the end, the overall mission was to organize a full-
scale event.
The main dimensions that were dealt with included:
the development of a realistc hierarchy that was coherent with the structure,
goals and imagined size of the company;
the preparaton of a package/ofer that could be presented to externals;
the interacton with third-partes and clients (trainers, or partcipants from
the parallel training);
the creaton of quality assurance procedures and the use of mechanisms de-
scribed by them to test the level of customer satsfacton;
applying for extra fnancing from third partes, by writng an applicaton form
and submitng it to a central fnancing authority (the trainers);
self-coordinaton and use of ideas, objectves and resource distributon
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in a coherent and pre-planned fashion;
the executon of the plan that they have previously designed.
The grand simulaton ended with the two companies having to apply their plans
for a set of customers that consisted of the trainers, other training partcipants,
hotel guests and/or representatves of the other company. In some cases, the two
simulated companies decided to work together, thus ofering considerably more
complexity to the exercise. There was no pressure from the trainers to have the
two teams cooperatng, as in some cases this produced considerable coordinaton
problems that tended to make the learning process more difcult and had fairly
small debriefng value.
The real simulaton of the two teams plans was impressive in numerous cases.
For example, one of the teams managed to convince some local farmers to give out
their horse-drawn cart, to simulate a real horse drawn-carriage excursion, as the
company had planned. The level of creatvity and task distributon efectveness
ofen produced really good and coordinated results, with the partcipants ofen
having a clear set of procedures that they followed whenever some of their plans
went wrong.
Also, the leadership and coordinaton structures seemed to functon, though at
tmes informal leaders tended to break the fourth wall of the simulaton and cause
signifcant problems for the formal structure (one example was a team in which the
designated waiter was the informal leader, thus the waiter ended up with a higher
planned salary in fnancing applicatons than the company director or chief fnancial
ofcer).
The feedback over this innovatve, grand simulaton approach to the training pro-
cess was overwhelmingly positve. Indeed, the vast majority of partcipants gave
good reviews, as did the trainers that applied the format. The gradual introduc-
ton of complex elements meant that the simulaton never got old, and this was
helped by the fact that partcipants had a higher level of autonomy when compared
to simulatons in the other training modules.
The decisions that partcipants took in the frst day shaped the way in which the
simulaton unfolded, even if they only had a partal picture of the links between
their decisions and further actvites.
Theoretcal presentatons were integrated in the simulaton in a fashion that en-
abled them to be non-intrusive: for example, references were made to prior
actvites of the partcipants or to previous debriefngs, thus integratng the
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theoretcal part in a contnuum.
C. Conclusions
The training module on Management and Leadership was one of the most suc-
cessful, despite inital problems in implementng it and in getng partcipants to
take the simulaton seriously. While management itself is a subject that is taught in
educatonal setngs, and was (in terms of theory) a topic all too familiar for some of
the students in each session, the concepts that were discussed and the links to the
practcal simulaton managed to get most partcipants involved.
We concluded that most partcipants did understand the role of proper personal
and actvity management, as well as the mechanics of leadership and personal in-
itatve.
There were some problematc issues that kept coming up, but were ofen caused by
a lack of working experience or of familiarity with a corporate environment:
1. Compettve instncts sometmes led to tensions and a breakdown of or-
derly behaviour, more ofen than not inside the same team (company) than
between teams.
2. The decision-making process was ofen chaotc, with people in coordi-
naton positons not getng the message through and not responding fast
enough to derailed plans.
3. There was ofen a lack of courage in taking up formal leadership, not unlike
in some of the other training modules.
4. Some partcipants ofen had attude problems when they had the role of
manager/leader. They ofen tended to overinfate their egos as opposed to
having an accommodatve attude towards other partcipants and ideas.
4.3 The internships
4.3.1 Training the tutors
Before discussing the internships themselves, it is important to note that consider-
able efort was placed towards preparing the tutors in each company to coordinate
the key actvites associated with every individual stage.
First of all, we should note that some of the over 100 tutors who were involved
in Adeccos project had prior experience in dealing with students in various
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internship programmes. Some of them had already worked with various types of
students and were prepared for most situatons that later arose. Most larger com-
panies make people in their human resources departments (if they have such spe-
cialized structures) responsible for taking in students, giving them inductons and
then coordinatng their work and assessing their performance, conduct and future
value as potental employees. Most staf in these departments will thus be quite
familiar with how an internship stage is conducted, at least from the point of view
of company interests.
In order, however, to ofer consistency and to emphasize the educatonal compo-
nents of the stages, the Adecco project team took the decision to organize a series
of trainings for the future tutors at the beginning of the project. As the tutors them-
selves were not the only people who would engage in coaching actvites impactng
the students, measures were taken to prepare a manual that would be used as a
reader by future mentors.
The main objectve of the training of tutors was the identfcaton, creaton and
enhancement of a common format for the organizaton of stages and internships.
The core emphasis was to be placed on making sure that students learn key aspects
of the domain they are doing their stage in and his or her proper integraton in the
company feld of actvites.
The training session included a series of key actvites, among these the following:
i) The presentaton of the principles and the concept of the Multregional
Integrated Internship Programme Focused on Ensuring Sustainable Growth
in Terms of Students Employability.
ii) The presentaton of key concepts and approaches towards dealing with
interns in various contexts.
iii) The presentaton of key concepts related to adult learning and the dis-
cussion of potental scenarios for stage actvites. Ofering feedback and mit-
igatng confictual situatons were part of the discussion, as were aspects of
adult motvaton.
iv) A small-scale simulaton of an internship, with the use of concepts such as
personal goals to emphasize the motvatonal background that infuences
student behaviour during a stage. Problems that occurred during the simula-
ton were discussed in an extensive debriefng at the end.
At the end of the training session, tutors were also instructed how to proceed
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in the cases in which they had several students, working in diferent departments.
The need to delegate tasks to an entre array of employees with whom students
interact meant that the tutors took the role of stage coordinators.
Later on during the project, this became increasingly true for internships that in-
volved multple students from difering backgrounds for example engineering,
accountancy and psychology students taking part in stages at the same tme, in the
same company. In these cases, the tutors needed to have de facto sub-tutors take
care of practcalites in each individual department, as the tutor was not able to
ofer proper insight into the modus operandi of each secton of a large company.
4.3.2 Selecton and determining the tmeline
The selecton process for students for each individual stage was diferent in each of
the frst two cycles. In the frst year, the project implementaton team had a signif-
icant role in determining which students go to which internship. The key element
that determined allocaton to various stages was the correlaton between the feld
of study of the student, and the company profle. Students had a fairly limited possi-
bility to infuence this, though they could opt to ask for a diferent internship should
they risk having problems with getng their future stage recognized for academic
purposes.
Also, students that would have to undertake their stage in other localites (than ei-
ther the one they studied in, or the one they resided in) were informed beforehand
of this, as well as on accommodaton and transport arrangements. If they did not
wish to go to another city, they could simply opt out. One note on the selecton pro-
cess is the role of the score resulted from the self-assessment and the counselling
process. The grading that students received played a role in how they were distrib-
uted, as the project team wanted each company to have at least one top-graded
student among its interns.
Afer the exact internship was determined, students received a contact from their
future tutor and had the possibility of agreeing on a tmeframe for the internship di-
rectly. The tutor was the one who made, most ofen, an inital contact and proposal
(as many tutors also had summer holidays during the months that were eligible for
the organizaton of the internships). Afer the student and tutor reached an agree-
ment, the tmeframe was announced to the project team and registered on the
website. If legal holidays prevented the student from reaching his or her quota of
15 days of stage-tme, the period was extended with one working day in most cases
or with work from home if this was possible.
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Of course, as in any operaton that aimed to get well over 200 people to set fxed
dates for their stages in various companies, dozens of changes occurred in the inital
few weeks. For example, there were cases in which students and tutors changed
the inital period up to three or four tmes. There were also cases in which this was
done immediately before the beginning of the internship, largely because of medi-
cal conditons or unexpected personal commitments.
This was problematc for the Adecco team, as there were plans to visit most in-
ternships and see how the each stage is unfolding. The rapid communicaton with
tutors meant that, at the end, there were no cases in which the team went to visit
a partcular enterprise to fnd out that the stage had been moved to another period
without informing Adecco staf.
The overall tmeframe for stages in the frst year was June-September, though the
largest number took place immediately following the end of the academic year, in
July. This tendency would strengthen over the second year of implementaton.
For the second year of the project, more choice was given to students. The main
theme in the selecton process was the empowerment of the students themselves,
and company selecton was just one of the areas in which they were given more
autonomy. Students were encouraged to take responsibility for their choices and
decide for themselves which company they wanted to apply for, but also for which
individual stage in larger companies.
In order to facilitate an informed choice, the project implementaton team conduct-
ed an extensive review of both study felds and internship ofers, and decided to
divide the stages into classes or areas, like for example tourism or constructon.
Students that applied for internships outside of their feld of study were automat-
cally given a notce from the website warning them that this might cause problems
in academic recogniton, or that it might be irrelevant to their future employment
prospects.
To further enable students to make a proper choice, companies were asked to add
stage descriptons in additon to listng the name of each internship programme.
These descriptons made reference to both the expected tasks of the student and
(in some cases at least) to the desired profle of the students.
Companies, in turn, had a choice with regards to which students they wanted to
pick as interns. They had access to informaton such as the grade the student had
received afer the competence-based interview and the self-assessment, and in-
formaton on their studies, as well as their CV. The tutors, afer accessing this
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informaton with their account, then had the choice to grade the preference they
had for each individual student.
At the end, the website made a correlaton between student and tutor preference,
and automatcally alloted each student to a stage of their choice, though not al-
ways the frst one they listed, if the companies had ranked their preferences in a
diferent order.
4.3.3 Preparing the internships and the mult-dimensional assessment process
The internships, organized by 108 companies in three development regions of Ro-
mania (West, Centre and North-West), totalled over 30.000 hours in each of the
two project cycles. In each cycle, the stages were accessed by both the 210 students
that benefted from trainings and subsidies (which were renamed as Class A in
the second project cycle), and by the other students that were deemed eligible and
selected for an internship. Some of the later enjoyed full board (accommodaton
and meals), if internships took place outside of their city of domicile.
In the frst year, 57 students conducted their internships outside their localites of
domicile, and thus benefted from accommodaton in hotels and pre-purchased
train tckets for their travel. In the second year, partally because it became clearer
to most partcipants that they would not have to pre-pay any expenses related to
a stage conducted in a diferent city, the number of applicants for such internships
grew. In the end, and despite companies ofen selectng students from closer to
their home locatons, the number of students in stages in other cites went up to 93
for the second year.
With a few exceptons, each internship had a duraton of 120 hours. There were a
handful of cases in which students had internships of 240 hours, or in which they
were present for the 90 compulsory hours before undertaking some actvites from
home or under the form of additonal reading. These actvites were, however, fully
integrated into the internships learning process.
No students worked more than 8 hours a day, and there were a few cases in which
students working in hazardous environments had stages of 6 hours a day, compen-
satng this with study and/or simulaton work conducted from home. Safety regula-
tons were enforced fully, and one of the key aspects of each stage was the use of all
health and safety procedures in a fashion similar to regular employees.
4.3.4. The stages
Most students undertook their stage in just one department, and over a limit-
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ed number of actvites. Given the fairly short period of tme, this was the only way
in which they could make the most of their learning experience. Students working
in several departments posed partcular challenges, especially when the tutors had
the task to assess their performance and behaviour for the duraton of the intern-
ship. Tutors ofen organized efcient inducton session involving department heads
or responsible, thus fostering a cooperatve environment that minimized diferenc-
es in stage quality between various company sectons.
Another key issue that was discussed during the inital training was the attude of
many students. Sometmes, especially for people with no prior experience on the
jobs market, expectatons tended to be rather high. By contrast, others tended to
have similar expectatons from an internship to their regular academic work. When,
for the second project implementaton cycle, interviews were conducted for every
student, this lead in widely diferent perceptons on internships.
For example, two students that had a stage in the same tmeframe, at the same
company, had positve/negatve reviews for them based on their expectaton for
more hands on actvites. For one of the students, the main expectaton was to
see a practcal demo for theoretcal content delivered during the regular educa-
tonal process at university. Several others had a negatve percepton of the same
stage based on a similar context: for them, the idea that safety regulatons and
company procedures limited their right to intervene in normal operatons seemed
overblown, and they expressed some degree of frustraton on their lack of trust.
Even more problematc was the attude of a minority of students (interestngly,
ofen from among those with signifcant experience in either diferent workplaces
or with high academic achievement) who felt that the tasks they receive should not
be from the lowest parts of a career ladder, ofen considering their experience and/
or signifcant academic achievements as the basis of a much-deserved head start.
In order to have a clear image of attudes, learning experience, value to the com-
pany but also value to their own personal development, several layers of cross-as-
sessment were designed. Students were asked to give feedback on their tutors,
tutors to give feedback on students, and each part of the project was graded by
the benefciaries, in order to identfy trouble spots and ensure an optmum level of
quality for all actvites.
This mult-dimensional assessment meant that it became easy to spot where per-
sonal frictons lead to negatve feedback, as for example one tutor would ofen
get feedback from more than one person, and would also have the chance to give
feedback in turn to each student. The students were also given the opportunity
to assess themselves at the end of their project partcipaton, and match the
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results for the self-assessment they undertook at the beginning of their partcipa-
ton.
4.3.5. Monitoring the internships
In order to guarantee that each stage is ft for purpose and meets certain quality
standards, the project team at the main ofce in Timioara organized a series of
visits to key companies. These visits included discussions with tutors, students, and
on-sight visits to the departments in which stage actvites took place.
For the second project cycle, a new component was added, meant at evaluatng
internships at a faster pace and in real tme. The use of online questonnaires
applied via telephone interviews was both fast and convenient, and enabled the
project team to visit only those companies were problems were reported. The
questonnaire was applied to students as well as tutors, in order to get both per-
spectves.
Both for the visits and the interviews, the following aspects were tackled:
a. The degree to which an atmosphere of cooperaton was facilitatng the
learning process for the duraton of the internship.
b. The degree to which the students managed to integrate into the general
actvites of the company.
c. The degree to which the training sessions had helped the students in cop-
ing with the corporate environment.
d. Problems that arose, either in the cooperaton between the students and
the tutors, or between the students and other employees.
e. The degree to which the internship was relevant for the students regu-
lar academic actvites. Was it compatble with scholarly actvites? Also, was
their curriculum compatble with the needs of the employer?
All of these aspects were analysed directly or indirectly, as sometmes factors that
determined student behaviour and internship success were difcult to gauge. For
example, it is difcult to know if an outstanding intern has managed to have a good
performance because of academic atainment, personal background or prior work
experience and to evaluate which factor plays what role in determining individual
behaviour and work ethics.
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4.3.6. Models of internship stages
One of the main characteristcs of the internships was their sheer diversity. The
proper expression to describe each stage is probably sui generis, of its own kind.
The lack of rigidity meant that there was signifcant fexibility in amending actv-
ites to suit the needs and learning capacity of each student. Also, tutors tended
to adopt changes as soon as they felt that students were not accommodatng, so
stages ofen difered from the frst cycle to the second. Indeed, the satsfacton rate
was signifcantly higher for the second year of project implementaton, though this
can also be linked to an improved method of selectng internships.
In this light, we will not try to go through the diferent models of internships, de-
spite the fact that a handful of distnctons can be made:
a. Based on the level of empowerment of the student, we can divide the in-
ternships between those in which students were encouraged to actvate in tasks
alloted to full-fedged employees, and those in which students were encouraged
to observe diferent processes but had limited access to replicatng them (this was
ofen a result of strict safety procedures, for example).
b. Based on the level of interacton with the tutors, we can divide the intern-
ships between those in which the students were closely following actvites under-
taken by the tutor (job shadowing) and those in which students were considerably
more autonomous in seeking out which actvites they would monitor and take part
in (or, furthermore, to just monitor the general operaton of the enterprise).
c. Based on the difculty of the tasks in which the student was involved, we
can divide the stages between those in which the intern was involved in one actvity
(or several actvites of similar nature and difculty) in a linear fashion, and those in
which the difculty and the degree of involvement of the student grew exponental-
ly from week to week (stages focused on empowerment).
Regardless of the approaches adopted by the tutors, most internship took place
without major incidents, and most students seemed satsfed with the actvites
that took place. The best feedback was given to those companies that had both
devoted sufcient tme to each individual stage, and had prepared a gradual in-
ducton process in which theoretcal presentatons were followed-up by small-scale
empowerment.
In terms of educatonal experience, the stages proved to be valuable for most
students. During the questonnaires applied to the benefciaries of the second
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cycle, many emphasized that the experiences they had during the stages were ofen
a lifetme frst in terms of using theoretcal knowledge in very practcal contexts.
The use of new equipment, the interacton with real clients, working in a team were
ofen new experiences for the students, and came as a welcome addendum to their
academic training.
One of the key areas in which we can see that the stages represented a valuable
learning experience is the self-assessments that students flled in both for their ini-
tal applicaton to join the project, and in order to fnish their partcipaton. Most of
these indicated that students perceived several relevant skills to have improved for
the period of their partcipaton in the project. While not claiming a full monopoly
on this (any normal individual progresses during a year of his or her lifetme), we
believe that the project has had a generally positve impact on the level to which
our benefciaries are prepared to enter the labour market.
4.3.7. General conclusions and student feedback
Overall, despite concerns that some of the benefciaries had been spoiled by the
fun and open way in which actvites such as the training stages had occurred, the
feedback was overwhelmingly positve. Upon requestng a series of testmonials
from students on the project website, we received a series of positve comments on
most actvites. Below, we can see some of them:
I had a chance to see how it is to work in a bank, and how complicated it can get.
Ive learned several useful things that are both interestng and useful in getng a job
in the future. (Ana B. BBU)
A good organizaton of the team and of task distributon. Employees were very
keen on helping interns learn, and also to help them get a grasp on the basics need-
ed for future employment. (Ioana C. WUT)
I found the equipment that we used in order to produce the fnite product to be
very interestng to work with. Everyone in the company has been very helpful and
willing to give me any informaton that I needed or was interested in. (Alexandru
P. TUCN)
Of course, negatve commentary existed as well, ofen from those who either felt
that the internship was not challenging enough, or those that considered the learn-
ing experience to not be sufciently relevant for their current studies.
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4.4 Ending a cycle and follow-up
Afer all the stages end, it is tme for the project team to draw a line and review the
main strong and weak points of the project, the efectveness of changes that were
made by the project team mid-cycle (or, in 2012, between the frst two cycles), and
other aspects that might need improvement.
As mentoned before, feedback was collected in a variety of forms, both via visits
and surveys on the spot, individual feedback forms available to each benefciary,
and specifc feedback forms for the training sessions. Informal feedback was also
gathered via discussions with individual students or tutors that had made specifc
complaints.
Afer gathering the feedback, we can conclude that both cycles of the project had a
series of strong and weak points, among which we would include:
Positve elements
i) Most students gave positve feedback to both the trainings and the train-
ers, considering those sessions as having a valuable contributon to their per-
sonal development and capacity to successfully take part in an internship.
ii) Most students tended to be quite satsfed with the internships. Both dur-
ing on-the-ground visits and during discussion via telephone (mostly for the
internship satsfacton surveys) the feedback tended to be overwhelmingly
positve. For example, when asked to assess the performance of their tutors,
over 90% of students ranked them with 4/5 or above.
iii) Most students considered that their insight into what future employment
in their area of study required had been enhanced considerably as a result of
partcipaton in the project.
iv) A partcular group of benefciaries consisted of those students that have
been employed by the companies in which they conducted their internships.
They can either contnue to develop a career in the respectve companies or,
upon graduaton, claim relevant work experience when seeking another long-
tme job.
Negatve elements
i) While most students considered that the tasks they undertook for the du-
raton of the internship were relevant to their needs and to their theoretcal
formaton, there were a few cases in which students felt that they were being
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treated as a mere observer, and not allowed a more hands on partcipaton
in company actvites. In some cases, this was determined by company pol-
icies on informaton security or personal safety, but these situatons should
stll be kept at a minimum.
ii) Some of the students who undertook their stage in several departments
pointed out problems related to lack of consistency, among other things. For
example, some of the department responsible would be proactve and sup-
portve, but this could be followed-up by a completely diferent approach at
other departments. Unless the main tutor would intervene, these situatons
managed to reduce the quality of the learning process for the student.
iii) Bureaucracy was considered a major problem by numerous students. The
need to fll in documents, tmesheets, conventons and other papers in sever-
al copies was ofen a difcult task, as these needed to be signed and flled in
by up to three distnct partes.
Overall, as said before, the feedback was positve. In raw numbers:
84.8% of students in the frst year of project implementaton had a rather
positve view of actvites undertaken during their partcipaton;
the average grade alloted to the trainers (by partcipants) was above 4.5/5
(90%). This situaton occurred both in the frst and the second cycle of project
actvites;
broken down into main actvity clusters, the frst-year satsfacton indicator
was, on average, 88.7% for the competence-based interviews, 84.5% for the
training sessions, and 81.5% for the internship stages. (Fig. 6).
Fig. 6 Student satsfacton based on major project components
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Interviews Score Trainings Score Stages Score
Usefulness 87,2%
Quality of
methods
88,2%
Responsibil-
ites
80,2%
Structure 81,8%
Informaton
used
86,5%
Working envi-
ronment
83,8%
Politeness 96,2% Applicablity 81,4%
Working
methods
81,2%
Language used 94,0%
Quality of
materials
84,3% Usefulness 81,6%
Professionalism 92,8%
Relevance of
materials
81,0% Relevance 81,0%
Attude 91,0%
Trainers per-
formance
90,0%
Learning
outcomes
79,8%
Meetng
requirements
78,2% Infrastructure 79,8%
Tutors perfor-
mance
83,0%
The comments and suggestons that were given by students together with the grad-
ed feedback were used in order to produce changes to project actvites between
the frst and second cycle. The process of amending these actvites will contnue
between this year and the next one.
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CHAPTER 5. QUALITY
ASSURANCE
One of the key focuses of the project is the quality assurance process that aims
to modify actvites and make them ft-for-purpose, while at the same tme tak-
ing into account the concerns of students, companies and educatonal insttutons.
Afer collectng the entre set of feedback from all project benefciaries and partners,
the project team starts a process of amending actvites and enhancing the key aspects
that were deemed unsatsfactory. Procedures, approaches and actvites are changed,
with those deemed inefcient dropped and replaced by the best functoning ones.
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5.1 Changes between the frst and second cycle of the project
5.1.1. Website usage and functonality
The website was already one of the main tools for project implementaton in the
frst cycle, however, its use and importance grew as a result of the feedback re-
ceived on bureaucracy from some of the students, and the personal observatons
made by some of the representatves of the project team.
In the frst year, the website was already used extensively for registraton, flling in
the inital self-assessment, as well as in order to provide students and tutors with a
channel in which to view their personal feedback. Furthermore, trainers and tutors
could grade the performance of each individual student via their personal account.
For the second cycle of project implementaton, it was decided to use the website
to simplify numerous procedures.
First of all, to make bureaucracy easier (or if not easier, to make project actvites
clearer for students), a fshbone scheme of project actvites was created. This
used hyperlinks to ofer easy access for students to documents and to informaton
relevant to each benefciary. (Fig. 7)

Figure 7 Partcipaton scheme available to second cycle students
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Page 83
Furthermore, to make it clear to students which documents they needed to fll in,
the website delivered automatc informaton on papers that they needed to fll,
obligatons, and other key aspects related to their partcipaton in the project. The
interface was simplifed, so as to limit the amount of questons that individual stu-
dents had with regards to its usage.
To help things further, students had the documents that they needed to fll out up-
loaded, afer being flled in partally by a representatve of the project team. More
than that, for each document uploaded, guides were prepared to help people fll
them in. Also, for those benefciaries that took part in the training sessions, a one-
hour preparaton session helped them in understanding how to fll in their paper-
work, while at the same tme using the website to simplify this task as much as
possible.
5.1.2. Changes in the selecton process
As mentoned before in this publicaton, for the second cycle of project implemen-
taton, there was a considerable efort to maximize the role that personal choice by
the students plays in determining the company they end up in. At the same tme,
the new methodology needed to take into account the desire by the companies
themselves to get the best students in their internships, or, at tmes, to have stu-
dents from some of the facultes and departments that they felt were closest to
their feld of work.
In the end, the procedure involved the use of a very mathematcal and straightor-
ward approach, in which the following formula would be applied in determining
which internship students would end up going to. This would try to create an aver-
age between the desires of the student, and the willingness of the company to take
them into an internship stage.
Another formula would determine which of the selected students would be among
the frst 210 benefciaries, the ones who would be eligible to take part in training
sessions and would receive a small subsidy covering extra costs for the duraton of
their internship stages. The formula for this tried to reduce the importance of the
self-assessment stage, and to put more focus on company preferences.
M_F= (30*A+40*C+30*E)/100
Where:
A = the score on the self-assessment report
C = the score for the competence-based interview
E = the value of the grading that companies give for the selecton of students
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5.1.3. A beter link between formal and practcal educaton
One of the main issues that arose in the frst year of project implementaton was
the lack of clarity with regards to which stages were relevant to the needs and de-
sires of the student. The main problem was that students ofen tended to consider
internships to be a tool to furthering their theoretcal educaton, by being actve in
a feld or company that they were fond of.
Of course, from a legal standpoint, and in order to complement their theoretcal ed-
ucaton in a useful and constructve way, stages needed to take place in a sector that
was similar to the students major. This was crucial, as some of the career dreams
that the benefciaries had ofen took them outside the insttutonal frame they had
applied for the project from. For example, some students from a science faculty
dreamt of a career in banking, but an internship in a bank would not be acceptable
as a valid stage in their educaton, at least not with current Romanian legislaton
and regulatons.
Also, internships outside a students feld of study ofen meant a lower level of com-
petence even in dealing with routne issues. As much as the project team dreamt of
increasing fexibility and reducing the amount of red tape to a minimum, students
were now guided into selectng internships that were professionally relevant by re-
ceiving a writen warning from the website if their feld of study and the area of
competence required by the internship.
In order to do this successfully, the project team embarked on a small-scale review
of study programmes in partner universites, in order to group internships ofered
by project partners into several classes. Each class would encompass one domain
of actvity, in a wider distributon than the smallest cell unit (for example, the class
called constructon would include both constructon per se, as well as land sur-
veying and planning).
This gave students the chance to have some fexibility in choosing relevant felds for
their internship, while at the same tme guaranteeing that their university-gained
competences are relevant for the actvites that they would be required to perform.
The number of internships per class varied from 2 in food industry to 53 in IT and 66
in mechanics and machine constructon.
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Field Timioara Cluj Sibiu Total Internships
Food industry 1 0 1 2
Architecture and
constructon
0 9 0 9
Archiving 1 0 0 1
Arts and design 13 0 0 13
Chemistry and
biology
8 12 0 20
Communicaton
and PR
10 5 0 15
Accountng and
fnance
21 7 8 36
Economics 13 14 3 30
Physics 1 0 0 1
Material engineer-
ing
1 5 0 6
Electrical engineer-
ing
1 10 6 17
IT 34 11 8 53
Logistcs 2 4 1 7
Marketng 18 3 1 22
Mechanics and ma-
chine constructon
3 49 14 66
Healthcare 5 0 0 5
Environment 8 3 0 11
Advertsing 7 0 0 7
Customer support 1 2 0 3
Human resources 10 10 5 25
Theatre 2 0 0 2
Telecom 5 5 4 14
Translaton 16 0 0 16
Training/Educaton 11 0 0 11
Tourism 26 1 0 27
Sales 0 1 1 2
TOTAL 218 151 52 421
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Of course, as one might assume, there were individual internships that were inte-
grated into more than one feld, or internships that were difcult to put squarely
under one label. In order to help guide students towards the best possible intern-
ships and to guarantee that students make the proper choices, companies were
asked to give a descripton for each of the internship programmes, in order to ena-
ble students to make an informed choice via the website. When a student selected
a partcular internship, he or she could see the descripton and get a beter idea on
its contents than by simply looking on the label.
5.2 Empowerment and shufing responsibilites
In the frst year of the project, a series of unclarites with regard to task distributon
presented challenges to aspects such as flling in documents. There were also sig-
nifcant issues with document circulaton, and excessive expectatons from the part
of benefciaries towards the implementaton team, who were expected to be able
to provide informaton on issues such as exam dates and requirements for grading
internships. Also, companies had issues with flling in documents, describing com-
petences and helping students fll in reports. Sometmes, it was also unclear who
would need to fll in certain parts of certain documents, such as for example the
internship conventons or the student tmesheets.
One of the changes brought about for the second cycle of project implementaton
was a beter and more efcient division of tasks between Adecco (via its project
implementaton team), companies, universites and students.
a. Responsibilites of the ADECCO project team
It ofers guidance and counselling to students, up to the moment of their in-
ternship.
Ofers both students and tutors a personal account on the www.practca-ta.
ro website, in order to have access to its functons, feedback and analysis fea-
tures. Also, the project team sends out informaton and uploads resources as
events require it.
Ofers informaton with regard to necessary paperwork, legal framework and
safety regulatons, so as to guarantee legal conformity for internships undertak-
en for the duraton of the project.
Ofers to a number of at least 420 students per year the possibility to take part
in a competence-based interview that will ofer personalized feedback on each
students employability.
Ofers 210 students each year the possibility to take part in two training ses-
sions on topics that were deemed important to enhancing their employability,
afer the competence-based interviews. The 210 students also beneft from a
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subsidy, equivalent to minimum wage for three weeks.
Organizes transport and accommodaton for the majority of students that un-
dertake an internship.
Ofers support and answers questons by partners and benefciaries.
b. Responsibilites of the partner companies
Each company is responsible for the organizaton of the individual internships.
The actvity itself is coordinated, on-site, by a tutor which is recommended be-
forehand by the company.
The company, afer consultng with the incoming students, has the duty to pre-
pare an internship plan, decide upon covered topics and structure.
The company will ofer feedback on the performance of the student for the
duraton of the internship.
The tutor and the company will mediate any confict that can occur between
the student(s) and company staf.
The company will sign and stamp documents such as tmesheets and internship
agreements, in order to ensure that its part of the paperwork associated with
each internship is fnalized in a tmely fashion.
c. Responsibilites of the student
The student will take part in the competence-based interview, will atend both
training session (if he or she is eligible) and the internship itself.
The student needs to check the relevance of his or her internship with academic
staf, in order to verify the compatbility of stage actvites with core subjects.
Filling in the paperwork, as agreed with the project implementaton team.
Following up the internship work by undertaking the required steps towards
having their stage validated for grading at university.
Respectng all other obligatons assumed under the contract signed with Adec-
co.
d. Responsibilites of the HEIs
The Higher Educaton Insttutons that are involved in the project sign and stamp
part of the documents that validate the individual stages.
Universites organise, under certain conditons, examinatons to determine that
students have acquired competences relevant to their feld of studies.
HEIs facilitate the promoton of the project among their student populatons,
and help inform them on the provisions of partcipatng within the project
frame. Most of this division was, as said before, restructured in tme for the
second cycle of project actvites. The structure functoned for the most part,
and there were beter results in terms of coordinaton of actvites in the second
year of the project as compared to the frst.
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CHAPTER 6. RECOMMENDATIONS
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One of the key benefts of organizing the project, as far as Adecco is concerned, is a
beter insight into what the main obstacles to organizing a coherent and functonal
internships market in Romania are. Among the main conclusions, we can point
out that the legislatve context is limitng the possibilites of organizing internships
outside the legal framework of practcal stages, defned in strict legal terms as an
excercise that is oriented towards verifying the knowledge that students accumu-
late in a formal context.
Since employability is an issue that is to a large degree separate from educaton
itself, our frst set of recommendatons go to governments and politcal decision
makers:
1. Governments need to ofer companies incentves for the employment of
graduates as well as other young people. Tight economic environments ofen
cause risk-averse behaviours, including corporate reluctance to employ young
people full-tme. This is partally caused by the percepton that full-tme em-
ployees are costly, difcult to manage and more difcult to fre than short-
tme employees.
2. Governments need to take steps to eliminate the state of endless probaton
and uncertainty that many graduates and young people are trapped into. The
lack of job security is impeding young people from startng families, becoming
independent from their parents or from gaining a decent living standard. This,
coupled with rise as you age wages that are postponing higher incomes for
later and ofering young people insufcient salaries in short-term contracts
is creatng a menacing vicious circle. For example, this uncertainty is likely to
push birth-rates down, acceleratng aging and increasing budgetary pressure
in an already debt-ridden Europe.
3. Facilitatng more short-term, low-pay employment opportunites for young
people and for graduates is not an opton to tackle some of the above-stated
problems. Governments need to refrain from considering underpaid intern-
ships and probaton periods as gainful employment.
4. Governments need to promote the use of qualifcaton frameworks and
beter map qualifcaton tracks at natonal level. An easy, more transparent
way of both assessing and presentng atained learning outcomes and gained
qualifcatons is useful for future students, current ones, employers and facil-
itates beter recogniton of every individuals employment potental.
5. Governments need to improve the quality and the level of access to stu-
dent support services and to grants. The high level of students that are work-
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ing during their studies indicates that the current ofer is inadequate, and
it risks reducing the quality of the learning experience that students beneft
from.
Higher educaton insttutons should also take a series of measures to facilitate bet-
ter rates of employability for graduates. Among these, we would strongly urge:
1. Higher educaton insttutons need to come clean and be more adept at
presentng to their future students the expected outcomes of their qualifca-
tons. Students can take informed decisions, but it is important for insttutons
to give out realistc informaton especially with regard to expected learning
outcomes, gained competences and qualifcatons for various study felds.
2. Internships and practcal educaton need to become part of the curricula.
This has the advantage of not altering core curricula to a specifc employa-
bility agenda (by creatng tailor-made subjects for very narrow lines of em-
ployment) while at the same tme giving students a choice in directng their
practcal training and building links with local employers.
3. Insttutons need to create more fexible learning paths for those students
that chose or need to work during their studies.
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Bibliography
1. Eurostat employment statstcs (web htp://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/sta-
tstcs_explained/index.php/Employment_statstcs, accessed in April 2013).
2. Berlin 2003 Bologna summit website (web htp://www.bologna-berlin2003.
de/en/main_documents/index.htm, accessed in November 2012)
3. Europe2020 website (web htp://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/index_en.htm,
last accessed in July 2013)
4. Lavin, Atewell - Passing the Torch: Does Higher Educaton for the Disadvan-
taged Pay Of Across the Generatons?, Russell Sage, New York, 2007
5. OECD - Educaton at a Glance, 2010
6. European Students Union - Bologna With Student Eyes, Brussels 2011
7. EC/Gallup - Employers percepton of graduate employability Analytcal
report, 2010
8. Vlad Georgescu - Istoria Romanilor, Humanitas, Bucuret, 1992
9. INSSE - Baza de date Tempo Online, last accessed in June 2013
10. Bologna Working group on employability report to ministers, 2009
11. Photographs and images - www.compfght.com
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METHODOLOGICAL NOTES
The publicaton is based partally on the Romanian-language publicaton tracking
the development of project actvites for the duraton of the frst year. Passages re-
lated to the current situaton in Romania, project actvity structures and implemen-
taton methodology, direct translaton from the Romanian-language publicaton has
been employed. Modifcatons and changes that occurred for the duraton of the
second cycle, as well as modifcatons to text content have occurred to make various
aspects fully comprehensible to an internatonal audience.
The chapters on the general context are a refecton of existng data, while the bulk
of the publicaton refects the views of the project implementaton team, and their
perspectve on the development of the Multregional Integrated Internship Pro-
gramme Focused on Ensuring Sustainable Growth in Terms of Students Employ-
ability. The fndings and perceptons on the various stages of the projects im-
plementaton have been discussed together by the implementaton team, either
on the basis of each members personal perspectves, or on the basis of recorded
assessments of project benefciaries. Summary reports of these assessments are
available upon request, within the limit of Adeccos commitments to the privacy of
its benefciaries and clients.
TERMS AND EXPRESSIONS
Use of internship and stage the actvites undertaken by students in companies
are ofen described in numerous European countries as stages (orig. French), and
the students taking part in them as stagiaires. For all internships described in this
publicaton for which the word stage is used, it appears in an italic version. The
main reason behind the use of the word is that in Romania, the word internship is
sometmes used to describe non-academic practcal training (usually for employ-
ment purposes, and ofen afer studies).
HEI Higher Educaton Insttuton, describes insttutons of tertary educaton, usu-
ally universites, insttutes, colleges, etc.
CNCSIS, ANSTI, and PNCDI Research and research/fnancing authorites in Ro-
mania. Ofen play a key role in the implementaton of various research-oriented
projects.
Tutor in the Romanian context, the expression is used to denote both the persons
responsible for the organizaton of stages inside the company, and those professors
that supervies practcal stages.
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Disclaimers
European Union Disclaimer
This publicaton has been produced with the assistance of the European Unions
European Social Fund.
The contents of this publicaton is the sole responsibility of Adecco
Romania and can in no way be taken to refect the views of the European Union.
Adecco Group Disclaimer
The views expressed in this publicaton do not refect policy decisions made by
the Adecco Group, rather the result of operatonal actvites limited to Romania.
The present publicaton is not intended as a scientfc artcle, and is limited in scope
to ofering an insight into the basis and modus operandi of the project described herein.
Programul Operaional Sectorial pentru Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane 2007 - 2013
Program mult-regional integrat de stagii de practc pentru studeni n vederea creterii
gradului acestora de angajabilitate
Editor: editat sub egida Adecco Resurse Umane
Data publicrii: Noiembrie 2013
Cod ISBN: 978-973-108-539-5
Coninutul acestui material nu reprezint n mod obligatoriu poziia ofcial a
Uniunii Europene sau a Guvernului Romniei
Biroul de implementare al proiectului
Str. Gheorghe Doja Nr. 40, 300222, Timioara, Romnia
Telefon: +40256 493 052Fax: +40256 493 053
E-mail: student@practca-ta.ro, companii@practca-ta.ro