TechSTER: Tech Students, Entrepreneurial Routes
Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership, grant number: 2020-1-PL01-KA203-082297
Coventry University Team:
1 October 2020 to 30 September 2022
Value to Coventry University:
Uniwersytet Lodzki, Poland (lead)
A & A Emphasys Interactive Solutions Ltd., Cyprus;
Stichting Incubator, Netherlands;
EGE University, Turkey;
Laptify B.V., Netherlands;
Federation Of Associations Of Scientifically Technical Notes Council Of The Zachodniopomorski Region In Szczecin, Poland
TechSTER aims to enhance entrepreneurial and soft skills and behaviours of teachers and students in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by creating an entrepreneurial dimension to technical education and strengthening the local and European (industry) network of HEIs. This offers a solution to EU wide unemployment by enabling young people to create their own employment and become successful entrepreneurs that look beyond country borders. The materials will be easy to implement in existing education, where the primary goal is not specifically to teach how to become an entrepreneur.
TechSTER has a strong added value at EU level, as it encourages the cooperation of different nationalities, cultures and fields of education. The lack of entrepreneurial behaviour of technical students has been recognised all across Europe, HEIs have a common issue to work on. By collaborating internationally, it is possible to gather best practices, examples and experiences EU-wide. As the project focuses on entrepreneurial and soft skills, it is needed to explain both, taking into attention that soft skills are part of entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurial skills, in the context of the TechSTER project, are not primarily meant to start a business, but for the students to use in future workplaces. In this case, it is more about trying something new or making the process better to enhance efficiency or increase results while working for an employer. These skills also contribute to the process of starting their own business. These skills could be problem-solving and analytical skills, but also influencing skills.
Soft skills are complementary to hard skills (which are needed for a specific job) and involve living and working with other people. Soft skills are related to communication, teamwork, leadership and organizational skills. There are different academic disciplines and corporate cultures which have different terminologies for each of the mentioned concepts.
TechSTER has three major objectives:
- Strengthening the technical education already in place in HE and enhancing competences of HE teachers in teaching entrepreneurial behaviour and skills.
- Equipping HE students with the necessary mind-set, skills and competences they need to succeed in their future careers, based on entrepreneurial and soft skills.
- Raising the awareness, motivation and knowledge level of important HE stakeholders on how to embed an entrepreneurial dimension into the existing curricula.
Even though the need for entrepreneurial and soft skills programmes in education is clear, no programmes are in place that embed the promotion and development of entrepreneurial behaviour and soft skills into existing technical educational programmes.
The innovative and pioneering TechSTER project will change this situation by exploring which tools and materials could be easily implemented in existing technical educational programmes, without offering a full programme. All students should address these skills and competences, not only the entrepreneurship or a full education on entrepreneurship.
The project will have an immense impact on all target groups and the participating partner organisations. Having on board supporters of great importance in the educational world, we expect a high ‘market’ penetration of the TechSTER programme during and after the project has finished. High quality TechSTER products combined with strong dissemination efforts by partners ensure that universities all over Europe benefit.
TechSTER will generate five main outputs:
- Research on the needs to include soft skills in current curricula and identification of the soft skills
- Teacher toolbox to promote (international) entrepreneurial behaviour/soft skills
- Teacher guide on how to embed entrepreneurship tools into the classroom
- Road map to embed the TechSTER approach throughout the whole institute
- Online community to get in touch with like-minded people