Entrepreneurial skills and virtual university internship: success stories from an Erasmus+ project


The evolving world of work leads universities to orient students toward self-entrepreneurship. The recruitment of a European framework (EntreComp) in an Erasmus+ project aimed to foster entrepreneurial skills in trainees demonstrated the possibility for students to acquire job placement & career credits. The 14 European partners involved implemented a new Internship Model by testing it on a sample of students. The experimentation demonstrated the increase of Entrecomp skills in non-business students, strengthening the thesis that the business skills development is not primarily linked to the specific degree but flows from targeted strategies and planned tools. In the Model, the student is placed at the center of a process supported by company mentoring, academic tutoring, a serious game and a community of practice. Careful planning of the internship process with ad-hoc tools (Model, Mentor's Guide, Serious Game, Community of Practice), a challenge-based methodology, and intensive job shadowing in the three phases of the internship (engagement, investigation, and action) produced interesting results.  The internship, conducted exclusively in virtual mode due to the pandemic, opens up to new scenarios: applying the model to traditional or blended internships for outcome comparison.