In the context of the recent economic crisis, a great emphasis has been placed on the youth employability, facing the high unemployment rates. In particular, European and Higher Education Institutions have promoted the value of mobility as a key experience in the comprehensive development of citizens and in promoting employment in swiftly changing markets (European Council, 2009; European Higher Education Area Ministerial, 2015). Thus, internationalization has gained strength in the purposes and functions of Higher Education, linking it to the improvement of the student training quality (European Parliament, 2015; Jones, 2013; Potts, 2015).
It is a fact that, graduates have access to the labour market with lack of opportunities, since most of them do not have any valuable work experience by companies that increasingly demand notions of "behavioural competence" understood as the capacity of the individual to demonstrate a range of personal, operational, and organizational skills (Tomlinson, 2008). In this line, we need to increase and optimize investments in the required capacities for jobs offered by the labour market through the concession of more cross-border career opportunities (Commission of the European Communities, 2009).
It is convenient, therefore, to highlight different researches that have assessed how the students participation in mobility actions or, if it is the case, the graduates, improve their individual employability. Firstly, the study of the impact of the Erasmus Program (European Commission, 2014) provides relevant information on the matter, noting the development of soft skills widely appreciated by employers, such as knowledge of other countries and languages, communicative skills or adaptability. In the same line, other studies highlight how these training processes enhance the creation of a contact network, experiential and practical learning and the increase of soft skills, including creativity, initiative, or ability to take responsibilities, which makes these youths "interesting candidates" during the hiring process (Crossman & Clarke, 2010). Similarly, other studies point to positive effects such as the acquisition of other soft skills -organizing and teamwork-, noting their importance in occupational and professional decisions that young people might take in the future (Jones, 2010). Also, we should not forget the possible association between these experiences and the development of a useful intercultural competence when it comes to operating effectively in global contexts and in local multicultural communities (Busch, 2009, Jones, 2013). We refer, briefly, to "a generic capacity for active and critical participation in settings characterized by cultural diversity and identity plurality of individuals" (Santos Rego & Lorenzo Moledo, 2012, 43).
Traditionally, mobility programs have been implemented from the Higher Education Institutions themselves, but also from non-formal education which is considered in this work. What we analyze here are the benefits associated with the acquisition and improvement of participants’ soft skills in the Galeuropa Program (Galicia, Spain). The main purpose of this Program, managed by the regional authorities, is to facilitate the employability of young people enrolled in the Youth Guarantee System through non-remunerated training practices in companies abroad that they could accredit in their curriculum vitae.
Bracht, O., Engel, C., Janson, K., Over, A., Schomburg, H., & Teichler, U. (2006). The Professional Value of ERASMUS Mobility. Final report. Retrieved from: https://www.eumonitor.nl/9353210/d/belang%20erasmus%20onder%20professionals.pdf Busch, D. (2009). What kind of intercultural competence will contribute to students’ future job employability? Intercultural education, 20(5), 429-438. Commission of the European Communities. (2009). An EU Strategy for Youth Investing and Empowering. A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities. Retrieved from: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52009DC0200&from=EN Crossman, J. E., & Clarke, M. (2010). International experience and graduate employability: stakeholder perceptions on the connection. Higher education, 59(5), 599-613. European Commision. (2014). The Erasmus Impact Study. Effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. European Council. (2009). Council resolution on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018). Retrieved from: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009G1219(01)&from=ES European Higher Education Area Ministerial. (2015). Yerevan Communiqué. Retrieved from: http://bologna-yerevan2015.ehea.info/files/YerevanCommuniqueFinal.pdf European Parliament. (2015). Internationalisation of Higher Education. Brussels: Author. Jones, E. (2010). “Don’t worry about the worries”: Transforming lives through international volunteering. In E. Jones (Ed.), Internationalization and the student voice: Higher Education Perspectives (pp. 83-97). London: Routledge. Jones, E. (2013). Internationalization and employability: the role of intercultural experiences in the development of transferable skills. Public Money & Management, 33(2), 95-104. Potts, D. (2015). Understanding the Early Career Benefits of Learning Abroad Programs. Journal of Studies in International Education, 19(5), 441-459. Rowan-Keynon, H., & Niehaus, E. K. (2011). One Year Later: The Influence of Short-Term Study Abroad Experiences on Students. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(2), 213-228. Santos Rego, M. A., & Lorenzo Moledo, M. M. (Eds.). (2012). Estudios de pedagogía intercultural [Studies of intercultural pedagogy]. Barcelona: Octaedro. Tomlinson, M. (2008). ‘The degree is not enough’: students’ perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(1), 49-61.
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