Sustainable quality management – to foster future-proof job skills of HEI learners

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One more Erasmus+ project in the field of higher education is in Tetra’s portfolio!

The project “Sustainable quality management – to foster future-proof job skills of HEI learners” (PEN-QM project) has been approved for funding by the Lithuanian National Agency. It is going to be implemented by a consortium of six partner organizations: the University of Applied Sciences in Vilnius, Lithuania (project coordinator), the University of Graz, Austria, the University of Pavia, Italy, PEN Worldwide – the International Practice Enterprise Network registered in Germany, REEP – the Practice Enterprise Network in France, and Tetra Solutions, Bulgaria. 

PEN-QM is a two-year project, starting on December 1, 2022. It utilizes the concept of “Practice Enterprise” (PE) – a virtual trainee-run company that operates like a real business. Practice Enterprise simulates a real enterprise’s business procedures, products and services. Each virtual company engages in business activities, both at national and international level, with other companies within the Practice Enterprise network, following standard commercial business procedures and frameworks.

The main idea of the PEN-QM project is to develop a new-to-date web-based auding tool for monitoring and assessment of Practice Enterprise activities. The minimal quality requirements will be developed for ten business management areas, including: 1) General management; 2) Procurement; 3) Sales; 4) Communication; 5) Marketing; 6) Human recourses; 7) Finance; 8) IT and digitalization; 9) Corporate social responsibility; and 10) Sustainability. University students will be involved in evaluation of Practice Enterprise activities, which will help them develop business skills (quality assurance of business processes), and transversal skills, such as analytical and critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving, persuasion and negotiation among others.

What are the top 10 job skills needed in the 21st century?

According to the World Economic forum (Future of Jobs Survey 2020), the following ten skills are in the top 15 future jobs list: Analytical thinking and innovation; Complex problem-solving; Critical thinking and analysis; Creativity, originality and initiative; Leadership and social influence; Technology use, monitoring and control; Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility; Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation; Service orientation; and Persuasion and negotiation.

Engaging in the evaluation of Practice Enterprise activities will help university students to develop these skills. Students will be actively involved in the evaluation activities and experience learning-by-doing in a simulated business environment.

Why the Practice Enterprise model?

The Practice Enterprise prepares learners for their eventual entry into the real business world. It puts theory into practice in a simulated work-based environment, and often serves as a first work experience for students. It makes the connection to the real world of work, which can be much different from the academic environment.

What is Tetra’s role and added value?

Tetra’s team will provide expertise in quality assurance by co-leading the development of a methodology for external evaluation of Practice Enterprise activities. 

In addition, we will lead the project’s quality management and evaluation work package, which includes continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project activities, results and impact on the target groups and stakeholders.

Stay tuned for project updates!

Check out our website for news about the project activities and results.

Mainstreaming inclusive innovation and social entrepreneurship in higher education – InnoSocial

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Tetra’s first Erasmus+, Cooperation partnerships in higher education project has been approved for funding!

The project is called “Mainstreaming Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education” (InnoSocial project). The proposal was prepared by the consortium of five partner organizations, including the University of Social Sciences in Lodz, Poland (project coordinator), the University of Pavia, Italy, the University of Applied Sciences in Vilnius, Lithuania, InCrea Foundation, Poland, and Tetra Solutions, Bulgaria. The project will start on November 1, 2022, and will last for 30 months till April 30, 2025.

The main goal of the project is to promote a wider integration of the social dimension in the knowledge triangle practices implemented by higher education institutions by embedding Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (II&SE) education and training in universities’ curricula. This objective will be achieved through exploring different options for integrating II&SE in universities’ education offer, developing teaching and learning resources and building capacity of academic staff to design and deliver education in this field.

Why are Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship so important?

Innovation has been at the heart of the EU’s strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020), and higher education institutions have been viewed as drivers of innovation due to their capacity to link the three major elements of the knowledge triangle – education, research and innovation (OECD, Enhancing the Contributions of Higher Education and Research Institutions to Innovation, 2016). European universities have been striving to integrate innovation in their mandates by fostering knowledge co-creation by academia, industry and policy makers.

The prolonged economic and social crises exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and ever-increasing influx of migrants to the EU member states, however, has shifted the focus from purely market-driven innovation aimed to boost economic growth to socially-driven innovation aimed to resolve the emerging social and societal challenges (EC Innovation and Research Strategy 2020-2024). In this context, universities are facing the need to enrich their knowledge triangle practices by embedding a social dimension into them.

A clue to this challenge can be found in inclusive innovation and social entrepreneurship. Inclusive innovation is a driver of social development (Goel, 2011) that helps to improve the quality of life at an affordable price. It is targeted at the excluded, underserved or underrepresented population (youth, women, elderly people, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, low-income groups) and aimed to expand their access to education, health care, employment, environmentally-friendly services, etc. Inclusive innovation can provide a business opportunity for social entrepreneurship. And social entrepreneurship, in its turn, can serve as a vehicle for valorising innovative solutions to societal problems.

What is the Tetra’s role and added value?

Tetra’s team will provide expertise in instructional design approaches suitable for fostering innovation and entrepreneurial competences. We will lead the development of a Toolkit for design & delivery of Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship education and training – a methodological handbook for educators. It will involve the analysis of existing good practices related to embedding Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in HEIs’ curricula; collecting and documenting methodologies for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship; and mapping possible ways of engaging stakeholders (such as non-profits, non-formal community groups, grassroots innovators, etc.) in education and training in the field of Inclusive Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

In addition, we will take the lead in developing the project’s website and visual identity, and will provide digital solutions for creating open educational resources based on the InnoSocial learning content.

Stay tuned for project updates!

Check out our website for news about the project activities and results.

Technological Modernization Procedure: Call for Proposals

Application period: July 22 – September 21, 2022.

Total budget: BGN 260 million

Technological Modernization is the first measure launched under the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan and will be implemented by the General Directorate “European Competitiveness Funds” of the Ministry of Innovation and Growth of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The aim of this measure is to increase the efficiency of production processes, to achieve higher productivity, to reduce production costs and to optimize the production chain by providing grants to the Bulgarian SMEs.

The expected effect is to restore the economic potential of enterprises from the period before the COVID-19 pandemic and create conditions for the growth and development of enterprises through digitalization of production processes in order to expand or diversify the activity of SMEs.

Eligible candidates: Funds will be targeted at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that should meet the following mandatory requirements:

1) To be legal entities or sole traders registered in accordance with the Commercial Act or the Cooperatives Act

2) To be registered no later than 31.12.2019

3) To have realized net sales revenue in total for the last three completed financial years (2019, 2020 and 2021) depending on the category of the candidate enterprise, as follows:

  • for micro enterprises >= BGN 210 thousand.
  • for small enterprises >= BGN 750 thousand.
  • for medium-sized enterprises >= BGN 3 million.

4) To have realized net sales revenue for the 2021 financial year, depending on the category of the candidate enterprise, as follows:

  • micro enterprise ≥ BGN 52,000
  • small enterprise ≥ BGN 187,000
  • medium enterprise ≥ BGN 750,000

5) To perform their main economic activity in one of the following sectors:

  • Sector C „Manufacturing“

C10 “Manufacture of food products”; C11 “Manufacture of beverages”; C13 ‘Manufacture of textiles and textile articles, except apparel’; C14 “Manufacture of wearing apparel”; C15 “Treatment of hides and skins; manufacture of footwear and other articles of hairless leather ‘; C16 “Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials’; C17 “Manufacture of paper and paperboard and of articles of paper and paperboard”; C18 “Printing and reproduction of recorded media”; C19 “Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products”; C20 “Manufacture of chemicals”; C21 “Manufacture of medicinal products and products”; R22 “Manufacture of rubber and plastic products”; R23 “Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products”; C24 “Manufacture of basic metals”; C25 “Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment”; C26 “Manufacture of computer and communication equipment, electronic and optical products”; C27 “Manufacture of electrical equipment” C28 “Manufacture of machinery and equipment, general and special purpose”; C29 “Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers”; C30 “Manufacture of motor vehicles, except automobiles”; C31 “Manufacture of furniture”; C32 “Manufacture not classified elsewhere “; C33 “Repair and installation of machinery and equipment”

  • Sector E “Waste Management and Recovery”

E38 “Collection and disposal of waste; material recycling’; E39 “Reclamation and other waste management services”

  • Sector J „Creation and dissemination of information and creative products; Telecommunications”

J58 “Publishing”; J59 “Film and television production, sound recording and music publishing”; J60 “Radio and television activities”; J61 Telecommunications; J62 “Information technology activities”; J63 “Information services”

  • Sector М „Professional activities and research“

M71 “Architectural and engineering activities”; M72 “Research and development”

Eligible costs:

  1. Purchase of machinery, facilities and equipment representing long-term tangible assets
  2. Costs for the purchase of software representing a long-term intangible asset, including:
  • costs for the acquisition of specialized software;
  • costs for acquiring ERP systems, CRM systems and/or MOM/MES systems – up to BGN 50,000.

Percentage of funding: up to 50%

Maximum amount of the grant:

  • For micro enterprises – BGN 180 thousand, but no more than 100% of the realized average annual net sales revenue for the three-year period 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • For small enterprises – BGN 350 thousand, but no more than 60% of the realized average annual net sales revenue for the three-year period 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • For medium-sized enterprises – BGN 700 thousand, but no more than 25% of the realized average annual net sales revenue for the three-year period 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Duration of the projects: up to 12 months

If you are interested to apply, contact our team of professionals to guide you through the application process.

KA1 Accreditation 2022: Submit your proposal by October 19th

A Call for Erasmus+ accreditation in the fields of vocational education and training (VET), school education and adult education is going to be published in the coming months.

Erasmus accreditation is a tool for organizations involved in education and training at different levels to open up to cross-border exchange and cooperation. Award of the Erasmus accreditation confirms that the applicant has set up a plan to implement high quality mobility activities as part of a wider effort to develop their organisation. Applicants can apply for an individual Erasmus accreditation for their organisation, or for an Erasmus accreditation for mobility consortium coordinators.

Successful applicants will gain simplified access to Key Action 1 funding opportunities in their respective field.

Eligible applicants include educational institutions, local and regional public authorities, coordination bodies and other organisations with a role in the field of VET, school and/or adult education.

The expected application deadline for Erasmus+ accreditation is October 19, 2022. More details are available in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.

If you are interested to apply, contact our team to guide you through the application process.

European Social Fund+ Programme 2021-2027: Call for proposals

The European Commission has published a Call for proposals under the Employment and Social Innovation (“EaSI”) strand of the European Social Fund (ESF+) programme. 

With a budget of €10 million, the EC aims to support the realization of the European Pillar of Social Rights by funding 15 to 20 projects that develop and test integrated and inclusive social innovation approaches – in schools or training centres, at work or in local communities, or other relevant environments – to foster just green and digital transitions. A wide range of activities are eligible, including:

– identifying and addressing (re-/up-)skilling and (re-)training needs stemming from new, green or digital products, services or technologies;

– fostering social acceptance and/or behavioural changes for more sustainable business models, consumption patterns and/or modes of transport;

– developing sustainability pathways and transformation tools for social economy actors;

– developing tailor solutions to the particular contexts starting from general models, such as the City Doughnut or macro level climate adaptation solutions, to other, business or local environments;

– promoting the implementation of the EPSR principle 20. Essential services, including energy, mobility and digital communications, in the context of the green and digital transitions.

The foreseen results include: Greater uptake of new green and digital technologies; New trainings to endow European citizens to make the most out the green and digital transitions; Increase in social acceptance and ownership for fairer and more sustainable business models; Developed transformation tools for social economy actors; Engagement with local, regional, national authorities, as well as social partners and civil society at large to maximise the impact.

You can find more information on the EU Funding and Tenders Portal, or contact our team to guide you through the Call’s documentation and the application process.

European Vocational Skills Week 2022: 16-20 May 2022

The European Vocational Skills Week – the annual Week celebrating best practices in Vocational Education and Training (VET) – was held on 16-20 of May 2022. Launched in 2016, the initiative brings all stakeholders – VET organizations, teachers, trainers and students – together to showcase the benefits VET offers young people and adults alike. 

This year, the Week was focused on the theme of VET and the Green Transition. This theme is in line with the European Commission’s commitment to taking all the necessary steps to become carbon neutral by 2050 (known as the European Green Deal), including equipping people with the appropriate green skills. Within this Week, more than 800 events by local, regional, national organisations and other VET partners were held across Europe and online. The events organised by the European Commission included the flagship VET Excellence Awards. The awards were granted in several categories: Companies and learners awards; VET innovators awards; European funding for excellence in VET; and European Agencies awards. Among the winners were large companies and SMEs involved in apprenticeship; VET providers, researchers, and students; and consortia of organizations implementing EU-funded projects in the nexus of vocational education and the Green Transition.

You can find more details about the events held within the Week and the VET Excellence Awards winners on the European Commission’s website.

If you are active in the field of VET, stay tuned for updates about the European Vocational Skills Week 2023. You will have an opportunity to register your VET events on the Week’s website and benefit from EU-wide visibility and dissemination.