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Round table: “Employability and internationalization”

On October 9th, 2019, FCIM held the first event, out of a series of events planned to be conducted with employers in the 2019/2020 academic year, with reference to the impact of internationalization on employability. The roundtable on October 9th was carried out in the context of the project Elevate [1] – Elevation of the internationalization of higher education in Moldova, financed through the Erasmus+ program.

At the invitation of the Faculty, the participants were representatives of companies in the ICT field: ÎCS Endava SRL, Amdaris SRL, Sanocom Group SRL, Sensmedia SRL, Esempla Systems SRL, Optimal Solutions Hub SRL, Noction SRL, Orange Systems SRL, Infigo Software SRL, Soft Tehnica SRL and ÎCS Allied Testing SRL. From UTM, the participants at the meeting were Larisa BUGAIAN, vice-rector for Financial Affairs and International Relations, Dumitru CIORBĂ, dean of FCIM, Carolina TIMCO, head of International Relations Service, Cristina POPOVICI, head of Erasmus Programs, Viorica SUDACEVSCHI and Ion FIODOROV, heads of Departments and Mariana CATRUC, study programs responsible. At the round table was invited Romeo ȚURCAN, University of Aalborg, Denmark, coordinator of the PBLMD [1] project, who came with the results of the PBLMD project and its impact on the study programs, and, respectively, on employability.

Dumitru CIORBĂ, mentioned, at the opening of the meeting, that he aims to discuss the impact of internationalization processes on student preparation, and how employers appreciate this impact. Larisa BUGAIAN specified that UTM is carrying out several internationalization projects, such as the Elevate project, which aims to strengthen the internationalization of higher education institutions, starting from the needs of universities, Minerva – which refers to the strengthening of the recognition of national research and its visibility internationally, Compass – which refers to the strengthening of the lifelong learning component, as well as those that have reached the end – PBLMD, LMPI, TEACHME, HEIFYE. Carolina TIMCO recalled the mobility projects for students that UTM carries out within the Erasmus+, AUF and CEEPUS programs. In the context of the projects implemented by UTM, the questions asked to the employers were “How do they appreciate these projects? Do they notice changes in the preparation of the students? Do mobilities have an impact on employability? which are the employers’ doubts regarding the mobility projects?”

Initially, the employers were pleased that UTM is concerned about employability and the employer’s opinion regarding the quality of training at UTM, notably at FCIM. Nicolae STROPȘA, from Endava, referred to the effects of the PBLMD project, noting that the company that represents it for the second year has trainee students, who follow the Software Engineering study program, trained according to the PBL method. Nicolae STROPȘA appreciated this particular training method, starting from the fact that the students are more involved in finding and solving problems, that they have the ability to work in a team and to find non-standard solutions to the defined problems. Referring to the mobility of students, Mr. Stropșa said that students who have taken a semester abroad have better communication skills, are more open to change and are more adaptable to real working conditions. Ultimately, he came with the suggestion that UTM should make a comparison between the training which applies the PBL method and those that do not use it, in order to extend the good practices on other study programs.

Mr. Veaceslav NASTASENCO, from Allied Testing, also appreciated the positive effects of active learning methods, such as PBL, expressing his unconditional support for the Software Engineering training program.

Pavel NOVAC from SensMedia, Valeriu PLAMADEALA from SoftTehnica, as well as Cristina MATCIAC from Orange System, stressed the importance of soft skills to future graduates, mentioning that both the application of active training methods and mobility contribute to their creation.

The employers emphasized the importance of flexibility in adjusting the curriculum to the activity environment of ICT companies, expressing their unconditional support for university innovations aimed to adjust training to the real needs of the field. With regard to internationalization, employers appreciate its impact on university activity, at the same time, mentioning the importance of motivating students to return to their country and to apply their knowledge in the national economy.

Larisa BUGAIAN and Dumitru CIORBĂ thanked the employers for their openness, for the support granted to UTM, as well as launching a new challenge for them – to support interdisciplinary projects, which would involve hosting not only FCIM students, but also students from other faculties, who have any connection with their activity, such as students from FIMIT, FIEB and other faculties.

We mention that the projects Elevate, PBLMD, LMPI, TEACHME, HEIFYE, Minerva, Compass are projects financed by the European Community through the ERASMUS+ program

More information about the mentioned projects can be found at https://proiecte.utm.md/ [2].