EURASHE is the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education that offer professionally-orientated programmes and are engaged in applied research within the Bologna cycles. Members of EURASHE are more than 600 professional higher education institutions, as well as other professional associations and stakeholder organisations active in the field of higher education.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are two essential aspects of professional higher education – hereafter PHE – which, by its very own nature, acts in close cooperation with the world of work. This is particularly true in the regional environment, where partnerships between PHE institutions and local businesses (in particular SMEs) thrive and grow.

Work-based learning and regional engagement are two priorities on EURASHE’s policy agenda. The coming of the so-called Fourth industrial revolution is changing the way we teach, learn and work and this, at the same time, makes the way for a new set of skills, like flexibility, creativity and innovative thinking, to take the lead in the portfolio of competences that employers look for in their future employees. To face the challenges of a changing society, EURASHE aims at supporting PHE institutions in the removal of all the barriers that prevent them to develop a further collaboration not only with other actors, like businesses and civil society, but also between them.

EURASHE as a promoter of an inclusive Work-Based Learning (WBL)

EURASHE has long supported the development of a work-based learning and entrepreneurship education in the sector of PHE, as a way to address the employers’ demand for a new innovative, proactive and practically trained workforce. Integrating in the curricula different kinds of work-based learning formats, like placements, apprenticeships and traineeships, directly leads to a better development of the students’ transversal skills, including their capacities of spanning boundaries and bringing their knowledge outside the institution’s walls.

In the past year, EURASHE coordinated and participated in many international projects with the aim of reinforcing the integration of practical training opportunities in academic programmes. In particular, EURASHE was leader of the SAPS project, which successfully developed a tool that systemises apprenticeship practices between PHE institutions and SMEs. The experience of the SAPS project also highlighted the important role that work-based learning programmes play in offering equal opportunities to underrepresented and underprivileged groups, removing the barriers to their integration in the society through their active participation in the job market.

EURASHE as a regional connector

EURASHE believes that higher education institutions should strive to generate a knowledge that doesn’t remain confined between their walls but that is beneficial to the social, cultural and economic development of the region they work in, therefore pursing their so-called Third Mission. This is particularly true in the case of PHE institutions, which are among the most important and active actors in the European regions, through their close collaboration with local businesses and public entities.

EURASHE’s commitment to the development of a faster and more efficient regional engagement of PHE institutions has taken the form of the newly launched UASiMAP project. Bringing together partners from five different European countries and representing local Universities of Applied Sciences (hereafter UAS), EURASHE is coordinating the project with the aim of mapping the regional engagement of European PHE institutions and creating a self-reflection tool that will allow them to further develop their strategies. By collecting a series of success stories on UAS’ engagement in their regions, the project will also promote and communicate their contribution to society and local communities while, at the same time, offering a set of inspiring practices for other PHE institutions to implement.

EURASHE as a European connector

Facing a wide range of challenges that make society more uncertain than ever, PHE institutions today need to cooperate with each other, exchanging good practices and learning new ways to make their curricula more flexible and ready to prepare their students not only to enter the world of work, but also to become the citizens of tomorrow.

To tackle these challenges, EURASHE, as the main voice for PHE institutions in Europe, is committed to offering them a platform where professionals from the field can meet and share their views and experiences. In practice, this takes the form of many international and open-to-all events organized by EURASHE, notably its Annual Conferences which, every year, gather together the entire PHE community to address problems and discuss solutions, while contributing to the elimination of potential barriers and boundaries that prevent the cooperation of their institutions.