BrightStart Program - Towards new learning experiences with Deloitte Portugal - a Higher Education Initiative

Nuno Pina Gonçalves
IPS - ESTSetúbal

Karla Albuquerque
Deloitte Delivery Center - Portugal

BrightStart is a Deloitte program, which has begun in 2017 in collaboration with Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, focused on increasing employability and professional skills of school graduates currently enlisted in vocational training.

During the program, the enrolled students combine their academic curricula with the opportunity to integrate delivery project teams (non-facing client activities), creating relevant learning experiences integrated with the industry, reinforcing the work based learning methodology.

The program takes five years and consists on a short cycle professional course and a graduation degree. Through this, five years program, Deloitte provides a long-term scholarship and payment fee, as well as mentoring and constant follow up of the student’s progress, ensuring that students have at their disposal the necessary resources to complete the program and their degree. The scholarship will contribute to decrease the school drop-out.

A significant element of the programme is through learning and applying the learning in real projects undertaken in the workplace. A Deloitte’s team is direct and full time involved in mentoring activities and a decisive contribution to making an impact that matters.

At the end of the curricula, they will be highly trained not only academically but also in a practical way to the world of work, becoming interesting targets for recruitment.
In a constructivist perspective, the integration of the digital competences, combined with the creation of relevant learning experiences and pedagogical strategies, focused on the student can contribute to the teaching process and a long-life learning where the student is able to develop his own knowledge. In this way, the activities are adjusted upon the goals, considering the knowledge of the student or what they still need to learn.

The Portuguese program is inspired in the Deloitte UK initiative (with the same name, but with some conceptual differences).
In 2019, BrightStart was replicated in Politécnico de Leiria and Instituto Politécnico de Viseu and nowadays impact the lives of 107 young people.

For the success of Work-Based Learning courses it is important to have a strong program leadership, exclusive connections between the program and its environment (niche market), frequent and effective communications with local employers, beliefs about program excellence, effective school-based learning component and an adequate financial support. This article will focus the innovative program and pedagogical features for the succes of the this Work-Based Learning program.

This article will discuss the new pedagogical methodologies used in the BrightStart Program and the Work-based learning principles that were applied and will discuss the obtained results with this program, focusing the high level of commitment of the students, professors and IT Professionals. It will be also discussed the future work that is being done and the lessons learned until now.