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The Release of EPICA Employability Skills Kit

Marcelo Maina, Lourdes Guàrdia, Federica Mancini, Sandrine Albert, Hind Naaman (UOC, Spain)

 

EPICA, a strategic partnership for the co-design of an innovative and scalable ePortfolio ecosystem to improve the quality and visibility of employability skills, aims to connect universities and businesses in Europe and in Africa for the purpose of decreasing the gap between what education offers and what the market demands.

Ensuring a successful transition between higher education and work in addition to providing career-ending students opportunities to showcase their employability skills to prospective employers are the main pedagogical innovations that EPICA project brings to the educational system.

To assist in the execution of these innovations, the EPICA team is pleased to announce the launching of the EPICA Employability Skills Kit; a set of resources to support and guide different stakeholders participating in the EPICA pilot or new institutions aiming to implement the suggested methodological approach and integrating EPICA ePortfolio. The kit includes:

Employability Skills Kit

EPICA handbook discusses the concept of employability, introduces the most valued skills by employers, and focuses on how to put them in practice. The handbook provides institutions and teachers with different strategies to develop and monitor students´ employability skills, to implement these skills effectively in the educational system, and to use the ePortfolio as an innovative educational tool.

EPICA Teacher Guide clarifies the role of teachers in the implementation process. The guide provides the different steps teachers are expected to follow from start to end to help students in making their employability skills more visible.

EPICA Student Guide describes the phases students need to follow when assembling their ePortfolio by choosing the most suitable evidence which reflects their acquisition of employability skills. The guide details phase one which includes identifying, analysing, and justifying evidence to submit them for teacher´s assessment, and phase two to help students articulate their skills through a video testimony to be submitted to employers.

EPICA Employer Guide clarifies to employers the procedure of appraising student's work and the different criteria in the appraisal scale that permit the assessment of the portfolio as a whole, the video testimony, the evidence, and the overall appraisal.

Employability Skills Rubrics allows teachers to measure a range of employability skills on a scale of 4, in which 1 stands for Beginner and 4 for Exemplary. 15 samples of rubrics were prepared for different employability skills to facilitate the assessment task.

Teacher Process Simulation, Student Process Simulation, and Employer Process Simulation are three resources that visualize the steps to be followed by teachers, students and employers respectively, thus guiding them throughout the ePortfolio journey and showing them the main technical features.

Student Appraisal Scale includes the different questions that employers should ask themselves when measuring the student's employability skills, in addition to the standard scale to be used when assessing these skills. The scale varies from insufficient to improvable, sufficient, and outstanding.

Furthermore, the purpose of the EPICA kit is to inspire the stakeholders' community in other higher education institutions through supporting the adoption of the methodological approach and competency-based ePortfolio, preferably using blended and online learning models. Indeed, this kit presents a flexible methodology that can be customised to different institutional contexts to ensure the implementation of an innovative ePortfolio-based assessment strategy, a reinforced curriculum aligned with employability skills, and a diploma supplement that includes student´s employability skills’ micro-credentials.