System that helps all stakeholders

The Institute of Technology and Business in České Budějovice (ITB) is the youngest public university in the country. It has 4,000 students in 5 Bachelor programmes: Engineering, Technology Services and Transportation, Construction of Buildings, Construction Economics and Management. The strategy of the university reflects the needs of students and employers, it has designed practice-oriented branches, it takes care about feedback of graduates and about communication with all of the stakeholders.

The university has a special Center for Professional Preparation, cooperates with the world of work successfully for several years. There is an intensive communication among all stakeholders; students select their placement according to their specialization and preferences, professional content of the placement is clearly structured.

The second key factor of long-term university strategy is very narrow cooperation with world of work. The management decided to create a special department for it: Center for Professional Education which has two main tasks: Connect theoretical education with real practical projects by help of partner companies. Projects start by theoretic proposals of products, and students then construct them in cooperation with real firms, produce them, prepare distribution and promotion. The complete administration of placements is the second task of the Center. This process is lead by the ideas of our partner firms (about 500 firms) and by the wish of a concrete student. ITB tries to motivate its young employees and students to develop their creativity. A system of competitions and grants is in place to encourage both groups to regularly participate. Students benefit from going through the experience of working on a long-term project and subsequently defending it against tough competition. Tens of students participate annually in these competitions and innovative ideas, practical solutions, and unusual projects are often brought forward.

Placement procedure: students select a project according to their professional profile and their interest in the placement; they have a university tutor, who takes care about the content quality and formal arrangement of the placement (agreement, possibility of taxes reduction for the company). The company assigns a mentor responsible for the placement content – to be in touch with the tutor and to participate in the assessment of the student. Assessment process involves both students and their mentors. They fill in the forms and then lead a discussion concerning quality of student’s preparation, quality of the placement, needs of firm etc. The university reflects needs of employers and students and adjusts the curricula content by adding new modules or by study corrections. It is a regular process supporting all placements.

There are also other connections with the practical work at the university: all topics for final theses are selected according to students’ and firms’ interests. Together, both partners choose the best topic useful for both sides: the student and the firm. The new part of the university strategy is to listen to the voice of Alumni. ITB prepares various activities for its alumni and the new Academic Club for Alumni will be established very soon with the task to communicate with them systematically.

Additional information:

http://www.vstecb.cz/en/


More Information

Impact

What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?

Impact of this case is wide, the Institute is connected with world of work and applied research, and this is a very good career prospective for graduates at the national level. Professional associations of the largest companies in the region, with which ITB closely cooperates. The subject of cooperation is primarily development, research and creative activities, application of requirements of the application sphere on graduate profile, learning outcomes (e.g. bachelor theses), group projects, internships and knowledge transfer.

Success Factors

What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?

One of the key parts of the university strategy is to reflect the needs of students and employers; it has projected practice-oriented branches and takes care about feedback of graduates and about communication with all stakeholders. The university has a special Center for Professional Preparation, cooperates with the world of work successfully for several years. There is an intensive communication among all stakeholders

Constraints

What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?

Describe structures for collaboration which clearly define the specific roles and obligations of all stakeholders involved in the placements, Integrate the voice of students, particularly in the evaluation of placements and in the analysis of their impact, Better understand the needs of employers in order to have realistic expectations regarding the type of placements that can be provided

Feasibility & Sustainability

What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?

One of the most extensive project areas is the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness (OP VK). This is a multi-annual thematic programme under the stewardship of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MSMT), from which it was possible to draw funds for the programme period 2007-2013 from the European Social Fund (ESF), one of the structural funds of the European Union (EU). Institutional support provided under the activities of the MOBILITY programme is destined to finance the international mobility of research workers. This activity is implemented on the basis of intergovernmental agreements on technological cooperation concluded by the Czech Republic with partner states. Natural and legal persons, public universities, public research institutions and other research entities that may be called research organisations in accordance with article 2.2., item d) of the Community Framework for State Aid for Research, Development and Innovations (2006/C 323/01) may apply for institutional support from public funds within the scope of MOBILITY activities.

Replicability & Upscaling

What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?

There is no problem for other universities to extend this project, if they are able to secure funds to arrange the entrance conditions: Center for Professional Education which connects theoretical education with real practical projects by help of partner firms. It is possible to motivate young employees and students to develop their creativity. A system of competitions and grants is in place to encourages both groups to regularly participate. Students of all universities can benefit from going through the experience of working on a long-term project. Natural and legal persons, public universities, public research institutions and other research entities that may be called research organisations in accordance with article 2.2., item d) of the Community Framework for State Aid for Research, Development and Innovations (2006/C 323/01) may apply for institutional support from public funds within the scope of MOBILITY activities.

Lessons learned

What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?

To start with this sort of activities earlier, to use the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness and other project funds. To listen to the voice of Alumni and cooperate with them systematically (applied research cooperation, taking care about career prospective for graduates at the national level).

Context

Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)

The university know-how is based on the project activities: One of the most extensive project areas is the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness (OP VK). This is a multi-annual thematic programme under the stewardship of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MSMT), This activity is implemented on the basis of intergovernmental agreements on technological cooperation concluded by the Czech Republic with partner states.
Very good impulse for this cooperation was the taxes reduction for firms if they have student placements; (1500 general agreements with firms).