The unknown dual university degrees: the company teaches the student at its headquarters
Much has been written about the emerging FP Dual ―students receive a salary while they do their internships―, but hardly anything is known about the dual university degrees to which the Ministry of Universities wants to give back. The dynamic is very different. The university student receives a part of the teaching in the company where he works while studying, thanks to a complicated logistical mechanism ―for this reason there cannot be many enrolled― between the faculty, the company and the student to fit the learning of the subject in the day-to-day of the company, factory or public body. The University of the Basque Country (UPV-EH), which already offers 240 new places each academic year in 12 degrees and three dual master’s degrees, has become a beacon that illuminates other campuses. To share his experience, he has already held two dual training conferences attended by universities from all over Spain; although its organizers recognize that other autonomies do not have the industrial fabric of the Basque Country and the historical commitment of its companies to education, which complicates the implementation of dual titles.
Ricardo Ferraz graduated in Business Administration in San Sebastián from a FP degree in Administration and Finance. He did not opt for dual education then, but was attracted by the combination of teaching and practical experience with a salary. So he hopefully applied for the college dual. “I think that the dual is a prize when you are clear about what you want to dedicate yourself to. In my case, accounting; In the race you learn a lot, but in many areas. With the dual, the training is adapted to the needs of the company and for me it has been very profitable, I have a couple of months left and the end-of-degree project (TFG)”, continues the student who works in the audit service of Deloitte with another classmate. His executive suit gives it away.
Although Ferraz acknowledges that it is not an itinerary for everyone, as it requires a lot of discipline and effort. “Some colleagues wouldn’t like that much workload, because you have to do your homework, study for your exams and, in turn, respond to the company. What my teachers insist a lot on is that it has to be an academic project and I am still a student and I have my obligations”.
Erlantz Allur, director of Internships, Dual Training and Employability at the UPV-EH, explains that with dual training They aim to “encourage the autonomy, creativity and responsibility of the student and, in turn, learn about the labor relations that take place in the company”. In addition, in the long run, he maintains that “it improves relations between the university and the industrial fabric.” The idea did not come from them, but from the center attached to the IMH university – Machine Tool Institute, Elgoibar (Gipuzkoa) – which launched in 2011 a degree in Engineering in Process and Product Innovation together with companies dedicated to technological innovation. In its faculties the dual began to take shape within a strategy of the Basque Government university-company through research, dual training or industrial doctorates.
For years, the UPV-EH had problems inserting these degrees into a regulatory framework, but a new 2021 decree on the organization of university education now gives it the legal support it lacked. “For the first time we can give certain legal guarantees to companies to formalize this employment relationship between student and company,” says the director. this bet It can serve to encourage other universities to take the leap. The Public University of Navarra opens the next course in Dual Thermal Engineering; The University of Lleida offers degrees in Architecture and Primary Education, and various private companies have also included these studies in their catalog (Deusto, Navarra and Mondragón).
There are two types of degrees with this model, which is applied at the UPV-EH to Business Administration, some engineering, Advertising, Sociology, Journalism or Labor Relations and Human Resources: those that are dual in all courses and affect all students of the group; and the itinerary ones, in which a group of students chosen from the class take three stays in a company between the third and fourth year (approximately 1,200 hours). Nine out of ten then remain in the company. During their studies, students receive the minimum salary ―between 1,000 and 1,200 euros, in proportion to the hours they work― under the umbrella of the contract for dual university training included in the Workers’ Statute.
At the beginning of the third year of the degree ―in the case of degrees with a dual itinerary, not from the first year― interested students write a motivation letter ―guidance technicians can help them, also aware of their day-to-day life― and a candidate is shortlisted. group also taking into account their grades. These candidates are interviewed at the university and at the company. Many do not get a place, because the company or the university considers that they do not meet the profile or because there are too many candidates. “Sometimes the student then backs down because he sees that the proposed project is too ambitious,” acknowledges Allur. In some fields there is more demand from companies than from students and this allows the UPV-EH to refine what they want.
If the student is chosen, the university signs a collaboration contract with the company or public body and a tutor is assigned to him at the university. Along with this, the student outlines an initial work plan and agrees how work hours will be computed. In addition, the young person has to take two bridging courses on management tools, oral and written skills, and sometimes some specific to that grade.
In the company you have the guidance of an instructor. “As As a teacher, I have to make sure that the contents that are going to be worked on in the company are going to be those that would be given in regular subjects and vice versa”, explains Allur, who is also a tutor. “The instructor has to certify that the content they are seeing in the classroom will later serve directly for the company. Hence, a lot of coordination is needed, ”he continues. The final grade for the subject takes into account the assessment of the teacher, the company and the student’s self-assessment, which the director assures is not as high as might be expected.
Ekain Velado studies Industrial Organization Engineering in Bilbao and works at Ingemat, a robotic automation company. He assures that he would repeat the experience. He has an instructor who has referred him to a fellow specialist in the subject he was studying. “In the beginning I had three full days in the company and two in class. Now I only go to the university two afternoons for a subject. You have to put in hours and you take on responsibility, and it is true that you forget a little about the university, because you see yourself already in the world of work, ”he admits with a laugh. Ricardo Ferraz agrees. “In engineering, it is very common to go on Erasmus, which is not compatible with the dual, but I weighed the two, and I came to the conclusion that the dual was going to open up many more opportunities for me in the future,” adds the soon engineer.
Velado believes that the companies present it “very well”: “They tell you ‘you have to do this’, and they leave you the freedom to seek your life to see how you do it. Then they correct you or tell you how they would do it, but they let you make mistakes and thus the student and the company learn”.
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