Employability Skills

Chapters 1 › Unit 1: Learning goals, expectations and career plans View instructions Hide instructions

Learning goals, expectations and career plans

This Journal Assignment is dedicated to exploring the participants' learning goals and expectations of this MOOC.

You may also share some information about your current career situation, if you wish. This may help you find peers in similar situations and expand your network.

Please answer the below questions using a couple of sentences for each. Feel free to explore and comment the answers of others as much as you like. Let's become a large community! Also, this is a flexible exercise so you can set free your creativity!

  1. What motivated you to register onto this MOOC?

  2. Where do you come from and what is your area of studies or work?

  3. What do you value in your career or job?

  4. What short-term career plans do you have - what will be your next move?

  5. What long-term career plans do you have - what will your career be like in the 2020s?



The year is 2003. Unemployment in Germany has hit 4.5 million, a rate of 10.5 percent. The federal employment agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, or BA), Germany’s largest government agency, with more than 90,000 employees at that time, stands accused of doing little more than tallying this figure. It is perceived as a bureaucratic monstrosity, so inefficient that it struggles to survive on the budget provided by taxpayers’ unemployment insurance premiums. It is seen as a black hole, completely dependent on government handouts.

To deal with the situation, the Social Democrat–Green Party coalition government, led by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, passes the “Hartz laws,”1 initiating what may be the most substantial labor-market overhaul ever undertaken in Germany. “Challenge and encourage” is the motto under which job seekers—including welfare recipients, who had previously been invisible in unemployment statistics—will be mobilized, using all of the measures at the government’s disposal. The goal is to integrate customers into the workforce faster and in a more targeted way, shortening the duration of unemployment and accelerating the hiring process. More intensive mobilization measures, along with work incentives and entitlement cuts, are designed to encourage the unemployed to reenter the workforce.

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