The Armenian Graduates’ Database introduces itself to the business world
Two years after launching the “Higher Education Network for Human Capital Assessment and Graduates Employability in Armenia’’ (HEN-GEAR) Project, funded within the framework of the Tempus European Programme, AlmaLaurea and the eight Armenian Universities adhering to the newly-established HEN-GEAR Consortium will present the earliest results of the implementation of the Armenian Graduates’ Database model targeted towards improving the country’s education system and matching the demand for and supply of qualified labour to local businesses and investors at the University of Economics in Yerevan, capital of Armenia, on January 20th.
“A project which outperforms all those where we cooperated in the past 15 years: thanks to the setting up of the first Armenian Graduates’ Database, it makes it possible to increase youth employability” says Rector Arshaluys P. Tarverdyan of ANAU (Armenian National Agrarian University).
The Meeting has been attended by the Rectors of the member Universities, the representatives of the Ministries, the European partners, such as the University of Minho, Huelva and Las Palmas, the project coordinators and the staff responsible for the implementation of the platform, with a view to discuss not only the employability of the Armenian graduates but also the future sustainability of the project.
So far, many steps have been made to implement the Armenian Graduates’ Database: with 4,500 registered graduates and approximately 20 companies joining the platform, almost 3,500 CVs have been made available to the local businesses. Therefore, while the Universities that joined the HEN-GEAR Consortium are developing the first Armenian Graduates’ Profile, some key components of the project have already been put in place, from transferring the know-how for the management of all system functions locally to the completion of a first platform assessment by the Association of Armenian students.
Indeed, not only does the HEN-GEAR Project make it possible “to receive the graduates’ feedback on the University experience, thus allowing the partner Universities to work an increasingly efficient way”, so Ruben Topchyan, Director of ANQA (Armenian National Centre of Quality Assurance), but it also “overcomes the isolation of the individual Universities, which – today more than ever - should act as a bridge between Higher Education and the job market” as stated by Koryun Atoyan, Rector of ASUE (Armenian State University of Economics).
The future lies in “involving the businesses" concludes Ruzanna Hakobyan, Rector of GSU (Gavar State University). Within a short period of time, an ad hoc questionnaire will be developed together with the businesses so as to allow the employers to express their opinion on the available recruitment services. “It is a unique meeting point between the graduates and the job market” says Gagik Galstyan, Rector of NUACA (National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia) stressing the importance that the project has “not just for the individual partner Universities, but for the entire higher education system in Armenia”. “Partnerships in the framework of the Tempus programmes – says Harutyun Azgaldyan, Representative of the Armenian Ministry of Education– are of crucial importance to integrate Armenia in the European network of Higher Education. From this viewpoint, the HEN-GEAR Project promotes integration between the Universities and the business world".
“These are important results, which now require the commitment and support of Rectors and institutions, as well as the commitment of all the project partners, in order to ensure their quality and sustainability over time. Over the past two years, we have worked together to spread a new “culture of evaluation” in the Armenian academic community, in order to make the assessment of training processes and the implementation of the academic reforms accessible and transparent, but, above all, to support highly-skilled graduates in the transition from university to the labour market.
Thanks to full students’ involvement and constant processing of the data entered in the database, the HEN-GEAR Consortium is in a position to provide high-quality surveys and effective placement services within a very short period of time. These words are by Andrea Cammelli, founder and Director of AlmaLaurea since 1994, who also adds: “AlmaLaurea will accompany these activities by sharing the results of its 20-year experience to favour the evaluation of the academic system effectiveness and to promote the development and growth of research systems also in other countries. Another 7 Universities recently joined the Consortium, which now includes 72 Universities, covering 90% of the Italian graduate population: it is an initiative which developed out of the Universities’ spontaneous choice to become members of the Consortium, with a goal to facilitate contacts among educational institutions, graduates and the labour market and to provide universities, government agencies, new graduates, their families, public and private businesses with thorough, timely and reliable documentation on a yearly basis. Indeed, we know of no similar project in Europe that has been able to bring together such a large part of the academic community as in Italy. I really hope that this process of growth will take place in Armenia as well in the coming years.”
The AlmaLaurea Database model has received board recognition at international level: an example of this is the presentation successfully held by the Consortium in Washington in June 2013, on invitation of the World Bank. In the premises of the Italian Embassy, AlmaLaurea representatives also met US companies working in Italy and Italian companies working in the US describing all the potentials of their model; on that occasion the Consortium informed all US graduates who studied in Italy and all Italian graduates living in the US.