University students of recent courses are in “absolute confusion” about their future work
Students enrolled in the last university courses experience “absolute confusion” about their education and future access to the job market. This is what Carmen Palomino, COO of the Fundación Universidad-Empresa (FUE), affirms in the face of the closures of faculties and campuses in various Spanish universities at the beginning of the academic year. “The health crisis feeds on it, the future options of many students have been truncated,” he warns.
In this sense, FUE – which has promoted a Manifesto for Talent, as a collective challenge for companies, universities, institutions and society in general, to promote professional initiation and training mechanisms – indicates that, among other things, the experiences of international exchanges have remained “half-done”, some practices have not been possible and the opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills have been reduced “alarmingly”.
At the same time, FUE explains that many graduation projects require physical documentation or lab development, so new approaches have had to be rethought. “We believe that stress, uncertainty and pressure have added to the already difficult situation experienced by all these young people who finish their studies with regard to integration into the labor market”, says the COO of Fundación Universidad -Empresa.
With regard to the closures of campuses and certain faculties due to the increase in the cases of Covid-19 detected, in FUE they consider that “progressive training” must be assumed on a recurring basis. “The university must have the flexibility to adapt without affecting academic quality,” suggests Palomino.
According to Palomino, universities must have “protocols that guarantee distance education”, not only at the level of infrastructure or technology, but also at the level of teaching with properly qualified teachers. “Beyond the closure of faculties or classrooms, it is essential that the program can continue online so that students are not affected by the development of their knowledge.”
Likewise, from the FUE, they consider that it is necessary to realize that the current atypical situation “will continue in time”, with which “we must assume it as part of our reality”, says Palomino.
In this regard, the Fundación Universidad-Empresa, a pioneering entity in the management of university internships, regrets the “unfair point of view” which is given to young university students. “There are cases of irresponsibility, but many young people comply with regulations, adopt safety measures and are responsible,” recognizes Carmen Palomino.
“Of all the practices we have managed since March, only 4% of the students have received sick leave due to COVID-19, therefore we know that most of the students are doing well and we have to appreciate it” , he emphasizes.
University life and transversal skills
From FUE they consider that further training can be done “perfectly” remotely and with online tools. However, “we are aware that young people also need to experience university life, not only to interact with teachers and classmates, but also to promote the human aspects of the learning process”, recognizes Carmen Palomino.
For this reason, class attendance affects personal and cross-curricular skills more, not so much the training itself. “Going to class face-to-face encourages organization and persistence, traveling every day to meet goals and schedules,” says Palomino.
In turn, for FUE, the role of interaction in the university for socializing is essential. “We are talking about the support of teachers and colleagues and friends, not only during lessons but also during breaks. Communication is increased, processing is closer, resolution of doubts, ”he adds.
Regarding transversal skills, such as teamwork, at FUE, they consider that “they can and should be applied in any context”, because “these are capacities that make us more effective whatever the situation. ‘environment in which we find ourselves’, admits the COO of the University-Enterprise Foundation.
Even so, it is true that they could be affected by a “radical change in management, such as the arrival of telecommuting,” warns Palomino. For this, FUE is committed to guaranteeing other transversal skills that help to stabilize another new way of working. Planning, coordination, autonomy and motivation help students to be more decisive, to benefit from their work and to achieve their goals. “Skills learned in college that are essential in any work environment,” says Palomino.