Challenge 8. Ensure continuous and aligned with business professional update/development for teachers and trainers
In each country there are different national based requirements regarding the professional background and professional development of teachers and trainers. Such a continuous training is also recommended and encouraged at European level (e.g. ESG and EQAVET Frameworks and Erasmus+ Mobility for teachers).
However, the continuous professional development of teachers and trainers is not always easy to guarantee and to monitor. In most of the cases HEIs don’t manage to support (with financial resources) and to manage teachers and trainers’ professional update. This challenge is due to the limited resources HEIs have at their disposal, to the internal organizational structure and also to the difficulty to guarantee continuous contact and collaboration with the business environment.
Guideline 16. Support and facilitate continuous training of staff in line with the market and research trends, in the logistic and supply chain management area in particular
Staff training is considered to be a key element to ensure the quality of education programmes. For this reason, it is important to monitor and support it constantly in all phases of education, not only in the planning stage. The logistic and supply chain management area registers dynamic changes and therefore it is highly relevant to be ready for continuous professional update of the staff involved in the educational processes.
- Train the HEIs’ staff in order for them to have the capacity to collect updated information about the innovations that take place in the labour market and research exploiting the cooperation activities that engage directly these environments
- Set-up joint monitoring systems (e.g. studies, industry analysis/statistics, etc.), in collaboration with business and research actors, that allow the identification of future changes and trends in order to be able to anticipate the competences needed
- Provide support, for professional update of the staff on the innovations that occur in the industry during the delivery of the education programmes
- Motivate staff to collaborate with business (consulting, mobility, joint research, etc.) also through providing attractive incentives.
Guideline 17. Involve business and research in the updating and training activities for teachers and trainers
Despite eventual financial support that HEIs might need in order to enhance the professional training of their staff, the direct engagement of business and research brings much more benefits: up to date and field work information, practical approach, business/research contextualized training, enhancing sustainable cooperation between these three players (HEIs, business, research).
In order to ensure quality of education within FRAMELOG it is highly relevant the participation of the business and research sectors in the professional update of HEIs staff, in all phases of education, based on the innovations trends registered in the industry (such as: IoT, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Physical Systems, Intelligent Transportation Systems, etc.).
- Considering the cooperation agreements, facilitate the involvement of business and research organizations in the permanent training of the staff, in particular in relations to industry innovations and trends from the technical and organization perspective
- During the delivery activities of the educational programmes, through cooperative approaches create occasions for professional update for the staff (e.g. meetings with experts from the logistic and supply chain management area, availability of up to date research results, etc.).
Encourage teachers and trainers to join their relevant national logistics professional associations with a focus on continuing professional development to ensure currency and relevance of logistics knowledge (http://www.elalog.eu/members).
Challenge 9. Learning takes place mostly through experimental and innovative practices/experiences in line with market needs and technical innovations
Most of HEIs are quite active in providing their students with the possibility to actually ‘touch’ and/or ‘experiment’ what they learn. Especially technical universities are quite well organized from this perspective. However, it is demonstrated at EU level that it is necessary to bring relevant improvements in this field in order to achieve Europe 2020 objectives in the field of education and training.
This challenge must be interpreted in two ways which are anyway linked one another:
- during the initial Project research, it has been noticed that, in order to comply with the present labour market needs and with the rapid technological innovations in the logistics and supply chain management area, it is necessary to enhance this capacity of HEIs. As a result, it is necessary to develop more practical instruments for facilitating learning (laboratories, demonstrators, experiments, simulations etc.)
- in order to make sure that these practical learning activities are really relevant for the labour market, it is necessary to design and deliver them with the involvement of business sector and research as well.
Guideline 18. Include appropriate practical learning activities and work-field applications in the training delivery’s methods and tools
The logistic and supply management area requires very practical skills and competences and therefore it is crucial to deliver educational programmes mainly through practical exercises and experiments. This approach not only will provide higher motivation to students and will facilitate learning, but will also allow students to build solid technical competences required by the industry.
- Prepare HEI staff to be able to implement the most innovative teaching methods that are mostly based on approaches such as: cooperative learning, flipped classroom, experimental learning, etc.
- Even when education is already taking place based on the initial planning, search for new pedagogies and teaching methods that may appear in order to improve the learning process
- With the support from the business and research organizations, make sure that all the theory is being explained through practical and experimental learning and work-field applications.
- The Logistics Lab Montanuniversitaet Leoben University in Austria serves as an interdisciplinary center for research and development.Companies supported the establishment of a logistics lab at Montanuniversitaet Leoben university by providing technology and software (https://www.unileoben.ac.at/en)
- ‘Business on the Move’ is an educational board game designed to excite and inspire players of all ages about business and global supply chains giving young people an opportunity to gain a real insight into the exciting world of logistics and supply chains through learning activities have now been developed in partnership with the logistics organisations who have sponsored the game (https://www.businessonthemove.org)
- The Logistics Institute at the University of Hull built a virtual game to create logistics awareness in young people using the XBOX Kinect platform in order to generate higher levels of logistics awareness among school age children (www.hull.ac.uk).
Guideline 19. Involve business and research in order to facilitate direct contact between students and technical innovations present in the labour market and research fields
FRAMELOG means cooperation, exchange of experience and joint activities implemented with several concrete objectives. One of these objectives is to enhance the employability competences of HEI students and prepare them for the industry requirements. In order to achieve this the cooperation at institutional level of the three key players is a mandatory precondition. However, learning cannot be 100% standardised and students should always be put at the centre of the learning in process in order to achieved maximum efficiency of education. Therefore, it is highly relevant to involve students and put them in direct contact with the industry and with the research organizations.
- Based on the cooperation agreements, during the delivery of the educational programme, facilitate direct contact between students and the specific technologies used by the business and research organizations (e.g. through stages, internships, demonstrators, etc.)
- Give students the opportunity to practically use the existing technology with the possibility both to develop related skills and competences and to contribute to research activities.
- The Technical University Wildau and the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus – Senftenberg are working together to develop an Innovation Hub for new developments in knowledge and technology and which will act as an intermediary for business and civil society (https://www.th-wildau.de)
- The Logistics Institute at the University of Hull is working in conjunction with the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Logistic and Supply Chains to produce an innovative report on the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the logistics and supply chain industry (hull.ac.uk).
Challenge 10. HEI’s structure and overall organization include appropriate opportunities for cooperation among HEIs, business and research
When it comes to actually delivery education, HEIs are still having difficulties in cooperating with external stakeholders. In many cases, they fail to manage efficiently the organization of learning activities that involve business representatives and researchers as well. In many cases, it is mainly due to the lack of information, communication and trust among the different players. But in some other cases, it might be also because of institution’s and student’s limited financial resources.
Guideline 20. Implement the stakeholders’ engagement and communication strategies
On the basis of the cooperation agreements, HEIs need to continuously stay active in implementing the concrete agreements and communication strategies. This is necessary both for fulfilling their obligations (foreseen in the cooperation agreements) and for enhancing their network of stakeholders by demonstrating reliability and professionalism.
- Monitor permanently the implementation of the specific actions indicated in the agreements established with the stakeholders and take the necessary measures to guarantee their complete accomplishment (e.g. keep continuous communication with the contact persons involved in the agreements, show the negative impact on the educational programme in case the cooperation agreements are not respected by all parties, etc.)
- Promote to wide public the network of collaborators from the business and research contexts in order to gain trust and recognition for their educational programmes at local, regional, national and international level
- Stay active in searching for new cooperation opportunities and enlarge the network continuously
- Establish a dedicated university office for cooperation with external partners such as KTO (Knowledge transfer office) in order to facilitate the communication
- Standardize the procedures for selecting partners, communication with them, reaching agreements, etc.
- Create such a collaboration process that favors the linkages with business, e.g. improve the processes and make them less bureaucratic
- Agree expectations, manage and monitor collaborative stakeholder relationships.
The establishment of Science Park Jönköping at Jönköping University provides support for the start-up, development and growth of business ventures. The students can access the resources Jönköping University or start and develop a new enterprise free of charge (ju.se/en.html).
Guideline 21. Appropriate implementation of joint education and training activities
During the previous project activities, it emerged that fact the one of the difficulties HEIs have is not only to set-up cooperation agreements with business and research organizations, but to keep them alive in a sustainable manner. In some cases, this is also due to the fact that the implementation phase is not always monitored and supported appropriately by all involved sides (HEIs, but also from the research institutions and business).
- Apply monitoring processes that allow the key players (HEIs, business and research organizations) to constantly be informed about the actual implementation of the joint education and training activities during the delivery phase (e.g. online tool that allow the key players to be informed about the delivery activities and their impact, about the assessment results, students’ satisfaction and interest in the specific educational activity, etc.)
- While delivering education through cooperation activities implement corrective measures in necessary, in order to guarantee the quality of the learning process within the FRAMELOG. For example, if during the delivery of the education programme the key players notice that the results of the formative evaluations show a low level of learning achieved by students, they should discuss and analyse further these assessment results for understanding the reason and take the improvement actions. Moreover, if during the delivery phase, relevant technical innovation is taking place in the industry, it is necessary to adjust the educational programme (in terms of contents and delivery methods) so that students can learn about the most recent innovations available.
- ‘Logistics Start-up Days’ are a regular feature bringing together Kuhne University students, professors and start-ups from the area of transportation and logistics (https://www.the-klu.org/)
- The ‘Global Student Challenge’ aims to bridge the gap between the academic and corporate sector and to address the need for knowledge and product development in the area of supply chain finance. A second challenge is the ‘Cool Challenge’ is a web-based business simulation providing insight into the complexities and interdependence of supply chains operating under uncertain and volatile market conditions (http://tfcstudentchallenge.org/).