University-industry cooperation for encouragement of graduating employability – methodology for evaluation

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Employability of graduating students is a main precondition for successful university to work transition. Discrepancies on the labour market in terms of demand and supply of highly qualified specialists, increasing requirements and expectations of recently university graduates towards their future jobs, high speed of technological changes resulting in new jobs for which educations is lagging behind and increasing demand for well-developed transferable skills are some of the main challenges which universities are facing nowadays. Thus, their main priorities shall stress on collaboration that is more effective with industrial companies, resulting in contemporary curricula and development and implementation of new forms of cooperation for encouragement of graduating students’ employability. There are some good practices in Bulgaria for common initiatives leading to better professional orientation and further job placing but there is a lack of overall strategic approach in this field. Therefore, there is a necessity of identification and introduction of new forms of cooperation, which will boost partnership and could provide the labour market with more adequate specialists, matching employers’ recent requirements. The purpose of the paper is to provide a methodology of evaluation of problems in university-industry cooperation for encouragement of graduating students’ employability.The main elements of research of cooperation between universities and industry in Bulgaria include (1) description of possible forms of cooperation, (2) evaluation of industry attitudes for cooperation based on 4 criteria - importance, application, interest for participation and awareness of the forms, (3) comparison of opinions of industry and universities in Bulgaria.

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