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Market-relevant competencies for professional foresters in European graduate education

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In the context of the changing needs of the professional forester market and the reforms in European higher education, this study examined the possible shortcomings in forestry university programmes. We compared the views of 18 employers and 25 universities regarding European Master education through a survey that examined 42 competencies. Generally, employers and universities provided similar assessments regarding the importance of competencies and the gap between their achievement in higher education and the market needs. Environmental services, carbon sequestration, and the ability to communicate with specialists and non-specialists were competencies where both employers and universities saw the greatest need for emphasis. Employers identified, as compared to universities, greater gaps in bioenergy, products trade and marketing, economics, and governance. Universities, in turn, placed a greater emphasis on the importance of generic competencies such as capacity to learn. These and other findings provide potential value for the development of forestry curricula.
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Keywords: Master programmes; competencies; curriculum; employability; forestry graduate education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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