The Bologna process is proceeding successfully. In half of the involved countries, all students are now doing courses that comply with the new Bachelor/Master (Ba/Ma) system, while the other countries are working hard to achieve the same level. In many countries, graduates with a Bachelor or Master degree are already a familiar phenomenon on the labour market. This means that we now have a situation in which empirical information becomes available that can provide insight in the integration of graduates from the new system in the labour market.
A few years ago, the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA) of Maastricht University (UM) initiated a conference in Maastricht on the European Labour Market for Academic Graduates (ELM) after the introduction of the Ba/Ma system. This conference was held from 19 to 21 October 2006. It was attended by more than 100 representatives from the worlds of education, business, government and research. With reference to the rapidly progressing Bologna process and the new labour market information becoming available now, but also the wide international interest shown in the 2006 conference and the lively discussions during that event, another European conference on the theme of higher education and the labour market will be organized: ELM 2009.
The conference is scheduled to take place from 22 to 24 October 2009 in Maastricht. It will be organised by the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Maastricht University in co-operation with the Institute for Employment Research of the University of Warwick.
The conference will therefore need to provide greater insight into the developments in European higher education and the labour market, and the way in which higher education may contribute to strengthening the position of Europe in the world. The information, insights and visions provided should constitute the components for the foundation of further policy development regarding topics such as:
· The reinforced world-wide competition for the highly talented and their acquired knowledge in higher education and its implications for the growing needs for higher educated in European labour markets and the intended strengthening of the European knowledge economy.
· The design of Bachelor and Master studies that adequately meet both the preferences of the students in an emerging global market for higher education studies and the requirements of the labour market in a knowledge-driven economy.
· The different types of collaboration between the business community and higher education in the fields of research and education, to fulfil the growing need for knowledge in enterprises and the need to maintain the available knowledge potential throughout one's working life.
· The necessity to adapt national variants of the new higher education system to the emerging international competitive relations in higher education and in the labour market.
· The broadening of graduates’ career perspectives and the recruitment of the higher educated by small and medium-sized businesses.
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