There is a Serious Rift Between The Academic And Working Worlds

As school students all over Europe prepare to decide what to study at university and how to prepare for their future careers, Spain’s radical learning laboratory TEAMLABS - which is revolutionising education through one of Europe’s most innovative degree programmes - has taken inspiration from the cult television series Game of Thrones to send a crucial message to young people.

Choosing what to study at university is not easy, considering that 85% of jobs that today’s students will do in 2030 do not exist yet (Institute for the Future).

The situation is particularly troubling in Spain, where 30% of recent graduates do not find work in the three years after finishing their studies (Eurostat) and only one in five people under the age of 29 manages to move out of their parents’ home (Spanish Youth Council).

Just as ravens are employed as the bearers of vital news in Game of Thrones, TEAMLABS is taking the dramatic step of sending these ominous black birds into secondary schools to let students know that, in this world of unprecedented change and extreme uncertainty, they should stop being students, stop being told how to act, and face the real world as soon as possible.

The first school to receive this mysterious airborne warning was the Colegio de Montserrat in Barcelona, recognised nationally and internationally as one of the most innovative in the world. The incident, which was caught on camera, was carried out in coordination with the school’s authorities but without the students’ prior knowledge.

The footage shows the final year students of the school attending a talk about their future university plans, when a raven suddenly swoops into the hall, clutching in its claws the following message:

“To all of you about the enter university - the unknown is coming. We live in a world of unprecedented change and extreme uncertainty. Many young people are feeling lost, unsure of how to face the real world that awaits outside the classrooms. Nobody has prepared you for this reality because the truth is nobody can prepare you for the unknown. The truth is what nobody wants to tell you - studying for 4 more years won’t prepare you for what’s on the other side of the wall. So, stop being students! Don’t face instructions, and face the real world. Find your own way. Take control of your own learning. The world isn’t there to be studied, but to be changed. Don’t be afraid of crossing the wall. Open the gates. Travel. Explore. Act now. The unknown is coming!”

Commenting on this unique and surprising outreach campaign, Ibai Martínez, co-founder and general manager of TEAMLABS, says:  

“There is a serious rift between the academic and working worlds - particularly in Spain, but also all over Europe. This endemic problem in training and education means that people are not performing to their full potential. If we want young people to be free, emancipated and independent, with valuable skills to contribute to the labour market, we need to transform their learning experiences, ensuring that these play out in real-life situations and context which would not otherwise be available to them in passive-receptive learning methods. We need to redefine the term 'student' and adapt it to the reality we now live in - an era of unprecedented change and extreme uncertainty, in which the bravest and most effective approach is to stop merely learning and instead learn by doing."

TEAMLABS offers its LEINN degree in Barcelona and Madrid, a programme deriving from an innovative learning methodology developed at the Team Academy in Finland over the past 25 years. The LEINN (which stands for ‘Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation’) qualification constitutes an official degree-level title from Mondragon Unibertsitatea, recognised by the European Union.

There are no classes or classrooms. Instead of teachers, there are team coaches. From day one, these “non-students” turn into entrepreneurs, creating their own real-life companies in teams, through which they design and develop products and services, work with clients and have to generate income and profit in order to complete the course.

At the end of their degrees, LEINNers have had four years of professional experience, carrying out professional projects in different sectors all over the world (Europe, USA, Asia). On average, these young people (in teams of 18) turn over an income of approximately 270,000 euros for their companies. They get to try and test different business approaches that allow them to discover their passions and vocations through real life experience.

LEINNers develop fundamental skills for the professional situations that lie ahead of them, such as autonomy, independence, maturity, discipline and self-confidence. They are global citizens and agents of change and innovation - but most importantly, they are free, emancipated and independent individuals.

Out of more than 300 LEINN graduates, approximately 97% are currently in work. 35% are running their own start-ups, with the remaining 62% joining businesses that value their professional profiles. 71% of those that join companies end up working in projects related to innovation, playing an active role in business development and project management.

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