J.R. Burriel Calvet, M.I. Beas Collado

Universitat Jaume I de Castelló (SPAIN)
International placements for students and recent graduates is a key factor for the development of linguistic and generic competences of grant holders, increasing their employability and enhancing awareness about themselves and cultural differences in the workplace. At this moment, there is a great concern in the European Commission to assure quality of such placements and to assess the achievement of results for future generation of programmes (Erasmus for all). In a previous article we studied the difference in employability of graduates between two groups of them, those who develop international placements in the past and those who do not, as well as studying the relationship between this event and other variables regarding quality of present employment. As a further step in exploring this issue, this study aims to explore in deep both the impact in short and medium time of international placements through qualitative and quantitative methodology and also how to enhance quality in the management process.

During the I Meeting of International Placements (such as Leonardo, Erasmus and placements in poor countries) that took place at Universitat Jaume I (hereafter UJI) we organised three panel groups with trainees, companies, academic tutors and international placements' managers regarding three topics: optimum conditions of participation (previous training), personal impact and financing, improvement of employability. A qualitative analysis was carried out.

Furthermore, a quantitative study was conducted on a sample of 31 graduates from UJI in Castelló who participated in the last 10 years in Leonardo and Erasmus placements programme (64,5% women). The variables taken into account were: Final year of the placement, Placement programme (Erasmus; Leonardo), country of destination, attitude to job search; facilitators to find the current job, job search techniques, labour experience, variables that characterize the current job (job match, satisfaction, salary, labour self-efficacy, percentage of full-time work, self-employment, type of sector, size of the firm, country of living, internationalization of the firm, professional standing, employment mobility and so on). Other personal features as: level of foreign languages, expectation about future careers.

The results show a significant impact of employability as higher job-matching and higher quality employment than other graduates samples without participating in international placements. Also recommendations to improve quality in the management of international placements arise.