A recently completed project has shown how universities working across borders not only develop better programmes but they also give the graduates and social services practitioners a better understanding of the needs of the people they will support.
Erasmus+ Capacity Building for Higher Education (CBHE) projects support the modernisation of higher education institutions and policies, with a clear focus on the EU's partner countries throughout the world. CBHE is the successor to a range of regional programmes including the Tempus programme, which selected its last projects in 2013.
SHESPSS (Strengthening Higher Education for Social Policymaking and Social Services Delivery) is a Tempus project which concluded in March with an overview of what it had achieved.
SHESPSS produced new and better university teaching programmes in the field of social policy and social services and helped establish effective links between academic programs and social/labour market needs. In a wider context, the programmes also helped Serbia improve the social services and assistance it offers. The aim is to ensure that recipients of social services and assistance can play a more active role in society – either as part of the workforce, or by being enrolled in education.
The project has also proved instrumental in upgrading national qualification standards. The educational profiles of students are now much more in line with national job classification levels.
SHESPSS's is coordinated by the University of Niš in Serbia and involves 6 other Serbian partners: the Association of Centres for Social Work, the Centre for Independent Living of PWDs, the Republic Institute for Social Protection and Social Protection Professionals Association of Serbia, the University of Novi Sad and University of Belgrade. Three partners from the EU make up the partnership: the University of London (UK), the University College Zealand (DK) and the University of Catania (IT).
This project tackles a challenge felt all across Europe – how we ensure we have well-trained professionals to make policy and deliver services in the social sector. It does this by bringing together universities and targeted associations in a range of European countries to update academic courses and bring them more in line with what the job-market in Serbia actually requires.
More information on SHESPSS.