Skills mismatch and skills shortages contribute to unemployment and underemployment. If not tackled, the effects grow into structural issues. Especially young first-time job seekers are vulnerable to these threats. Over the last decade we have seen initiatives put pressure on academic institutions to move their business programs closer towards the needs of the labour markets. Universities and business schools have mainly answered this call by increasing case-based teachings or adding mandatory, yet unguided internships to their programs. The effectiveness of such approaches are questionable and highly debated. But why should universities be blamed for not coming up with more creative solutions? It is not in the nature of universities to primarily equip their students for specific professional tasks.
At Dual we believe that it is time to combine traditional university education with skills-oriented experiential learning driven by the needs of today´s labour markets. Imagine a flexible part-time program, delivered online, with outcomes defined on the basis of needs gained from recruiters and job ads. Think about program content in the form of a project, an unsolved task provided by a real company. This is what we are working on to create authentic business settings in which students can develop relevant skills in collaboration with peers, business leaders and educators.
In such a setting the disciplinary knowledge alone is not enough. Students need to demonstrate disciplinary skills, build up domain knowledge and show suitable action-oriented behaviors, attitudes and ethics. If they stand out as a team or as individuals, they become visible to corporate recruiters.
We are currently designing such programs. And we depend on business partners, individuals and corporations, as well as educators to create them.