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Are we employable?

During the last year of your studies you are probably going to think more intensively about what your next step is going to be. What are you going to do after graduation? What would be the best type of job? And even, have you evolved enough to be employable for this position?

During your studies at Maastricht University you work on the development of your skill set and the acquisition of knowledge. Unfortunately, nowadays it’s not enough to just be knowledgeable and know a lot about your area of expertise. Today it is also very important that you have developed a certain skill set which consists of a certain amount of self-awareness, experience and certain personal characteristics. According to Professor Mariëlle Heijltjes of Maastricht University (UM) and coordinator of academic advising Oscar van den Wijngaard at University College Maastricht (UCM), there is a certain mix needed of knowledge, experience, skills and personal characteristics that makes it possible for you to evolve and grow into an employable graduate. In the article ‘Employability is also a matter of attitude’ they discuss the influence that self-awareness has on employability and how a new type of curriculum can support students better during their study. With the Problem-Based Learning system in place, Maastricht University already provides its students with a suitable environment to connect students, tutors and other personnel (for example study advisers, etc.), go beyond the transfer of knowledge and influence the development of the students. This gives the students the opportunity to become more self-aware, get useful feedback, and develop useful skills. Because expertise, skills, competencies, relevant experiences and a certain dose of confidence will make you more successful in the job market.

The university is aware of the fact that it should make students aware of the previously mentioned factors that are all interlinked when it comes to being able to make good choices and become more employable. Therefore the university has implemented various services which support the student during his or her study and in the development of these factors. As early as the first year the student has to be able to set up a useful curriculum and by the second or third year he/she needs to find an interesting exchange position, and these are a few of the moments that matter concerning making the correct decision. The question remains however whether many students are aware of the factors and the services in place that will make them more employable in the long run. This is the reason why Maastricht University will be focusing more on making students aware of the combination of factors that they need to develop in order to grow as a person and be able to make good decisions and plans during their studies and after graduation. And in the end, both the student and university will benefit from the investment that they make in order to grow together.

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