The project "Promoting innovative approaches and developing entrepreneurial skills among university students by creating favourable conditions for graduate employability in Central Asia (TRIGGER)" aims to support higher education in three Central Asian countries, namely Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Although these countries have undergone major positive socio-economic changes in recent years, they still face a number of serious challenges.
A total of 125 projects were submitted under the European Commission's call for projects (CBHE-Capacity Building of Universities), of which only 15 projects from the Central Asia region received funding, representing a 12% success rate. The project is also the only project coordinated by a Slovak university, namely the Technical University of Košice - Faculty of Economics, within the CBHE 2020 call. The project will run from 2021 -2024 and has received EC support of €999,573.
The TRIGGER project focuses on the field of tertiary education in cooperation with enterprises in different fields of activity. It aims to improve conditions at universities so that they can apply the necessary changes and educate young people in new, innovative ways. The result should be a generation of students whose entrepreneurial skills and thinking will open up new horizons and enable them to get a job.
In the first phase of the project, 11 Central Asian universities will gain insight into the current readiness of their institutions to face future challenges and implement the required changes. The universities will use the HEInnovative tool, an initiative of the European Commission, for a self-assessment. The second stage output will be an entrepreneurship education scheme for each of the participating HEIs. This will support the vision of entrepreneurship education and will prepare selected subjects that will be enriched with entrepreneurial competencies. The aim of the last stage is to promote the employability of graduates in cooperation with employers. The intention is to create a structure of internships where not only specific skills related to the field of study are promoted, but also entrepreneurial thinking, which will increase their chances on the labour market. New services will be introduced to support students both during and after their studies, ensuring continuity of continuous improvement of these services.
The TRIGGER project - "Triggering innovative approaches, entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in HEI learners through creating the favourable conditions for graduate's employability in Central Asia" (617309-EPP-1-2020-1-EN-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP) is implemented in the framework of the European-Asian partnership, a collaboration of eleven universities from Central Asia and partners from Austria (UAS BFI, Vienna), France (Université Côte d'Azur, Nice), Greece (IDEC, Athens) and Slovakia (TU Košice and ASTRA).
In January 2021, the first online project meetings were held with the participation of all project partners as well as representatives of the Erasmus+ National Offices in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
To bring Europe back to growth and higher levels of employment, Europe needs more entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a key competence – powerful driver – to increase the competitiveness and economic growth of EU economies. A number of tools have been created to support the development of an entrepreneurial mindset among EU citizens, among which HEInnovate for higher education institutions. The European Commission and the OECD have joined forces in the development of HEInnovate. HEInnovate is a self-assessment tool for Higher Education Institutions who wish to explore their innovative potential. It is free, confidential and open to anyone to use. The Council of the European Union invites the Member States to enhance the entrepreneurial and innovative capabilities of higher education institutions through the use of the HEInnovate self-assessment tool.