Enterprise-University Virtual Placements

09 January 2012
Enterprise-University Virtual Placements

International work placements or internships, as they are generally known, are gaining more and more importance in the context of internationalization of higher education and globalization of our (professional) world. Traditional international work placements, where the learner travels to the company abroad, are not always feasible for all students because of financial, geographical, social or other reasons. For those physical placements abroad that do happen, there are also a number of difficulties to overcome, mainly related to a lack of communication between the student, the foreign company and the institution for higher education.

Virtual mobility or ICT-supported interaction to realize international collaboration, offers possibilities to address these issues. The EU-VIP project looked at how virtual mobility can support or even enable international work placements and addressed the three stakeholders that are involved in an international work placement: the higher education institution, the student and the receiving company or organization. To this end 19 pilot projects were executed.

The EU-VIP project
The project was funded by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme. It ran from October 2009 until September 2011. The project brought together 16 partners from 8 different countries. To ensure the success of the project all stakeholder groups were represented: the consortium was composed of higher education institutions and European not-for profit associations of universities, businesses and students.

Firstly, the project established a state-of-the-art regarding virtual and blended placements. Starting from this document and additional research the partnership put together a scenario for organizing virtual and blended work placements. This scenario served as a general framework to design and implement 19 pilot projects. These pilots all varied on the scale from a very limited to a very far reaching integration of virtual mobility activities.

Before executing the pilots, pilot participants (students, teaching staff, administrative staff, company mentors...) received local training adapted to their specific needs (development of technology skills, help while implementing the general scenario, how to undertake e-coaching). After pilot execution, all participants contributed to the evaluation of the pilot, via surveys and/or interviews. The feedback from the pilot participants was used to further expand and fine-tune the framework and to identify critical success factors for the integration of virtual mobility in internships.

During the project al lot of attention was also paid to identifying the needs and the benefits for all stakeholders. To this end two stakeholder meetings were organized to collect feedback on (intermediary) project outcomes. These meetings were aimed at representatives from higher education institutions and from the business world. The students were addressed through the organization of two BEST symposia.


The EU-VIP outcomes:

- Manual ‘Make it work. Integrating Virtual Mobility in International Internships’

This manual is the main outcome of the project. It provides a framework for and a description of the conditions of success for integrating virtual mobility in international internships. Next to this it defines the context and definitions used in the EU-VIP project and it presents the conclusions regarding the perspectives from the different stakeholders: students, higher education institutions and companies.

- Quick guide in English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian and Polish

The quick guide is a summary of the main findings presented in the elaborate manual. Interested in the topic but no time to read the full document? Than this guide might be just what you need.

- Video training material, explaining the context and definition of the project, stakeholder perspectives, guidelines to integrate virtual mobility in international placements and presenting the 19 pilot projects.


The EU-VIP partners:


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Dates of project
 01 October 2009 - 30 September 2011
Area of interest:
Higher Education
Training & Work
  • internationalisation
  • mobility
  • virtual placement
Program Type
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