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

Multiracial students watching something on laptop while sitting at table outdoors. Concept of remote and e-learning. Students lifestyle. Focused young indian man, black girl and guy. University campus

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

Low angle view at diverse business team huddling in office and stacking hands with motivation

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.