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Mar 10, 2023

The month of February 2023 marked the second anniversary of the PATHWAY Project, a capability-building project for higher education institutions co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. PATHWAY which stands for: “Promoting the employAbility and enTrepreneurship of Higher Education graduates through innovative WAYs in the Philippines” is a structural project aiming to have an impact by enhancing entrepreneurship and employability culture of higher education institutions in the Philippines to meet labor market needs and governmental reforms.

After its launching in February 23, 2021, the partners of the PATHWAY Project pulled through a number of virtual coordination meetings to organize activities meant to achieve the goals set for its first year. Despite the physical distance, getting to know the project partners from different higher education institutions happened over virtual platforms and all plans were successfully carried-out. The most notable accomplishment is the analysis of the situation of entrepreneurship and employability by the projects’ entrepreneurship task force. This analysis was the result of various focused-group discussions and collection of survey data from more than a thousand respondents across the country. Among other accomplishments during its first year is the creation of the PATHWAY Dissemination and Visibility Plan and the establishment of the project’s Quality Board that spearheaded the design of the PATHWAY Quality Plan.

tot Alicante

PATHWAY Project partners meeting physically for the first time in the University of Alicante (Spain) for the first training of trainors workshops.

On its second year of implementation, the PATHWAY Project partners met each other physically for the first time during its first Training of Trainers Workshop in Alicante, Spain. This training mission in Spain was the first of the three training missions of the project. The title of this first training mission was Systems to Support Employability & Entrepreneurship and was held from March 21-25, 2022. The participants of the training mission were introduced to European models on how institutions can support students in their employability and entrepreneurship efforts. Insights were drawn on how to collaborate with the business sector to support students’ needs; define the roles of universities, companies, and students with regards to internships, and how these can contribute to a student’s employability; understand the importance of engaging with internal and external stakeholders; and understand the expectations of both students and the labor market in the Philippines.

Shortly after, the second training mission happened in Montpellier, France with the title Inspiring and Supporting Entrepreneurship from May 16-20, 2022. During this training, the participants were able to observe how European universities inspire and support their students to become entrepreneurs; as well as being able to define the roles of business incubators and on how these can contribute to a student’s attraction for entrepreneurship. The insights gathered from the European training missions were found to be exactly relevant in the design and implementation of the students-enterprises encounter of the partner universities in the Philippines. Between June and August 2023, the PATHWAY project partners were able to organize several student-enterprise encounters aptly called 100/20 Encounters or 100 Students / 20 Business Enterprises Encounter. These innovative interaction provided an opportunity for at least 100 students to interact directly with 20 leaders, senior managers, and professional from different industries. The students were also able to learn contemporary competencies and skills that are needed by the employment sector, as well as learn how to develop competencies and skills to be more employable. With at least 869 student participants and 100 business enterprises across various industry sectors, the project partners in the Philippines were able to successfully achieve the objectives of the student and business enterprise encounter.

national event

The highlight of accomplishments for the second year of the project is leading the PATHWAY national event titled Pathways to Employability and Entrepreneurship in the New Normal and facilitating the World-of-Work Café. These events took place in Dusit Thani Manila last October 14, 2022. In the morning session, the PATHWAY Project was introduced to key government agencies that are significant to the aims and objectives of the project such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Senate Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education, and the House Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education. During the plenary sessions, keynote messages on policies and regulations were delivered by instrumental government officials; global workforce trends, challenges, and opportunities were discussed by an international business consulting firm; the initial findings of the PATHWAY Entrepreneurship Competencies were presented; and a Panel Discussion & Open Forum were all the noteworthy activities. A deeper discussion following a world café format ensued after the national event. The participants were representatives from universities and invited industry leaders. Comments and reactions on assigned topics were discussed more directly. The gist of the discussions for each topic were presented afterwards where industry and academe insights were drawn. Prior to the national event and world café activities, the third and final training of trainers was held from October 10-13, 2022. This was the last leg of the training missions to increase the capacity of the project partners in employability and entrepreneurship. The title of the training was Developing Soft Skills & Labor Market Observatories and was able to help the project partners further their understanding about “soft skills” and the innovative methodologies on how to develop it in a school. Labor market observatories in European universities were also explained from how is it set-up and its benefits to Filipino higher education system.

The project is helping the university stimulate entrepreneurship activities of the students by supporting their entrepreneurship - driven innovation through the establishment of the business incubation center.  Activities related to employability of the students were also strengthened.  Through Pathway, entrepreneurial competencies in the Philippines will be developed.  These competencies will be the basis of the university in designing other entrepreneurship programs and activities. – MBuenviaje, LPUB

Now on its third year of implementation, the PATHWAY Project continues to make significant progress in increasing the capacity of higher education institutions and influence change in the national level. The year 2023 will prove how each of the project partners extend their insights to other higher education institutions and expand the reach of the project’s aim and objectives. Students’ soft-skills training and hackathon are some of the other activities that are planned for the year ahead to coincide with the final results of the entrepreneurship framework it hopes to propose.

The project excites me knowing how beneficial this would be for our dear students.  I gained not only knowledge from the various trainings but friends whom I will keep even after the completion of the Pathway project.                             - Mabeth Buenviaje, LPUB

The training missions were very stimulating, cognitively and culturally. –Mon Jr Fiangaan, BSU

The PATHWAY Project brought a lot of new perspective and fresh insights as to how our University could provide our students as well as alumni tracks to best capitilize the opportunities brought by the industry and business sectors. Personally, conducting various activities that connect our students to industry partners like the 100/20 made us realize the huge impact that they could bring to our students which make all the hard work truly worth it.               - Ann Clarisse De Leon, PUP

Being part of this project of improving employability and entrepreneurship in the Philippines is considered to be one of the highlights of my career as a business professor.  I feel proud to be a member of the PATHWAY team.                  - Rey Refozar, LPUB

The PATHWAY Project is headed by the University of Alicante-Institutional Project Management Office and includes its European partners from the University of Montpellier. The Philippine partners are led by the Ateneo de Manila University together with other higher education institutions such as the Benguet State University, Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Saint Paul University of the Philippines. The project’s strategic partners include the Commission on Higher Education and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.