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GCU supports international student employability with blended mobility project

19 October 2015

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is a partner in a new €390,000 research project which will help prepare students across Europe to succeed in the global labour market through blended mobility.

Funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices programme, the Blended Academic International Mobility (Blended-AIM) project will run for three years with partners from 10 different universities across Portugal, the UK, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Greece and Austria.

Higher education institutions aim to prepare students to succeed in the global labour market, however many undergraduate students are not aware of opportunities to work abroad or have part-time jobs during their study which prevents them from travelling. 

Through the Blended-AIM project, researchers aim to overcome typical barriers to mobility by providing best-practice distance learning tools and supporting students to work virtually with students across Europe.

In the final stages of the project, the team aims to establish a European centre for blended mobility, fostering best practice international education models.

The partners, led by Politécnico do Porto, have experience of working together by supporting final year students working on computing science projects with their peers across Europe. Their work has indicated that working across different languages, time zones and cultures is significantly beneficial in helping students prepare for the global employment market.

They also established the Praxis network, a consortium of higher education institutions and companies to enhance international student project and internships experience and to promote innovation in the field.

Edwin Gray, Assistant Head of Department of Digital Design Technologies in GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, said: “Today’s labour market values soft skills as much or even more than hard skills. Professional life is strongly dependent on mobility and requires professionals to excel in collaborative and communication skills at an international, cross-cultural environment.

“However, soft skills, not to speak about international exposure, are seldom addressed by undergraduate curricula. Innovative teaching paradigms are required in order to develop soft skills and facilitate international contact to higher education students within the available timespan and resources and without demanding for costly curricula revisions.”