10 years of an innovative Curriculum Profile: soft skills are the key to success in the job market


The NOVA School of Science and Technology held, on May 11th, the Seminar “10 years of the Curricular Profile”, to mark a decade of this pioneering educational framework in the academic success and employability of students.

The Curricular Profile is a period between semesters that serves to provide students with complementary skills, from building a curriculum, to presenting ideas in public, to teamwork. “We had the opportunity to hear the opinions of students, employers and teachers aloud. Three altogether different perspectives that allow us to better refine our offer of the Curricular Profile to provide our students with the skills the society needs”, concluded Virgílio Cruz Machado, Dean of FCT NOVA, about the meeting.

The seminar invited professors from FCT NOVA – Ruy Costa (Transversal Skills for Science and Technology), António Grilo (Entrepreneurship) and José Luís Câmara Leme (Society, Sustainability and Digital Transformation) – as well as representatives of companies – Alexandra Líbano Monteiro (VP People at OutSystems) and Francisca Matos (Head of Employee Experience & Talent Acquisition at NOS). It moreover had the participation of a former student, Marta Quadros Brito, who studied Industrial Engineering and Management and is currently a Brand Specialist at Amazon.

Through this conversation, it was possible to go back to the early days of the implementation of the innovative Curricular Profile, as Ruy Costa recalled: “We consulted some international papers to understand what was being done abroad about soft skills. Then we launched an anonymous survey to recognize which skills would be interesting to develop – it was with these answers that the Curricular Profile began to be designed.”

The three professors highlighted the students' enthusiasm: for being able to leave their comfort zone, interact with colleagues from other programmes, simulate the creation of businesses, debate current topics (often outside the scope of the disciplines) or, simply, have the opportunity to question and confront conflicting opinions and perspectives – a fundamental exercise for the future. “Imagine a student goes to work for the Middle East and doesn't know the difference between Shias and Sunnis. Or who goes to Angola and doesn't know about the existence of the MPLA or UNITA or even, who goes to Brazil and doesn't comprehend why Brazilians voted for Bolsonaro. Knowledge is essential to understand others and to be able to work abroad, with different people”, pointed out José Luís Câmara Leme.

Getting out of the comfort zone is the motto. “What we desire to instill in students is that, nowadays, to be in the job market, they have to have an entrepreneurial attitude. When they go to companies, they have to be dynamic, apply themselves in the search for solutions to problems”, explained António Grilo. Marta Quadros Brito, a former student, guarantees that it was this instilled entrepreneurial spirit that led her to apply for a position at Amazon (today she is a Brand Specialist) but also to create her own project, 'Girls In Tech' – a pedagogical project that takes lectures to schools to explain what it is like to work in the STEM area (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Having a complete profile – which goes far beyond the specific skills that each vacancy requires – is essential in a first stage of hiring at NOS, underlined Francisca Matos. "OutSystems continues to benefit from your vision and investment and I am sure your students and alumni too", explains Alexandra Líbano Monteiro.

The Curricular Profile made it possible to increase an employability rate that was already high. There is a lack of graduates for the existing demand, guarantees Virgílio da Cruz Machado: “What we are witnessing today is the rise in employability rates. The market is in urgent need of graduates with our type of curriculum."

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