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“UM does not aim to guide students into employment, but focuses on enhancing employability”

University Centre for Employability expected in 2018

MAASTRICHT. What can I do? What do I want? Will the labour market have an opening for me? Many students have doubts about their knowledge, capabilities and chances on the labour market. Maastricht University wants to facilitate students in their academic and personal development and make them aware of their employability. Eventually, in 2018 this should result in the creation of a new Centre for Employability at the Tapijn Barracks.

Employability stands for the sum total of academic knowledge, skills, competences (such as leadership qualities, analytical skills, time management) and experience. Plus the capability to build on this throughout one’s life. The idea is not that the UM takes the student by the hand, according to Proposal Employability, a UM memo that was presented in the University Council last Wednesday. “Employability is a shared responsibility: the institution acts as a facilitator by providing students with opportunities to enhance their employability, but students retain the final responsibility to make use of the resources offered. That is, UM does not aim to guide students into employment, but focuses on enhancing employability.”

When it comes to student advice and guidance, Maastricht University has no fewer than 250 different ‘activities’ to choose from. The Council for Academic Advising and Student Counselling of Maastricht University (SUMa) has drawn up a list. Part of what is on offer – such as workshops by UM Career Services – needs to be “optimised” and where necessary adapted to new social developments, evaluations, and the outcome of scientific research, but also “tailored to the questions by faculties and students”, the memo states. Research – developed in close collaboration with ROA (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market) – will be part of the new centre’s tasks.

There will also be professional career counsellors, who will initially support the student advisors and academic advisors in the faculties. Furthermore, there will be useful tools, including a UM-wide database for work placements and a student journal/portfolio in which students can see at a glance what they have or haven’t done in terms of academic and professional development. The School of Business and Economics is working on a Customer Relation Management (CRM) system containing all SBE contacts with businesses and organisations. This database could be extended to the whole UM.  

The new centre that will bring together numerous initiatives and create more transparency and efficiency, will only be created when everything has been finalised. Not before, because the UM wants to avoid it “creating expectations with students and the outside world which we cannot meet yet”. How much all of this will cost, is not clear yet. That would need “further analysis”, say the authors of the memo. Under which umbrella the centre will come – SSC or Edlab, for example – will be decided in due course.







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