BRIDGE between learning and doing

How to make potential employees and employing companies meet each other? It is a challenge. BRIDGE has been a project which has tackled this challenge in a fresh way and bold, upbeat tone.

University candidates need to practically combine their specific theoretical knowledge with insight into business problems. Both education institutions and companies know this. Companies have high expectations: they expect well educated first-time employ­ees to be fully operable from day one.  On the other hand, interviews done by BRIDGE reveal that young university graduates are hardly aware of valuable job opportu­nities in rural areas.

BRIDGE project approached this challenge by  organising interaction of small industry units and higher education institutions.


BRIDGE carried out six semester-long sessions, which culminated in brokering days on differents locations on the Kolarctic area. More than 250 students worked on cases of 58 companies. Teams of students have done innovation work, producing business solutions for problems addressed by companies: B2B and B2C interaction across borders, new products, new or improved and environment-friendly services, new regional and global customer segments etc. While the groups have worked in solving business challenges, the brokering days have at the same time brought together students and local job opportunities.

Feedback of some participating companies:


BRIDGE project won an Arctic Award in 2020. Arctic Awards – competition was open to projects funded by programmes Kolarctic CBC, Northern Periphery and the Arctic (NPA), Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, Interreg Nord, Kolarctic CBC and Karelia CBC programmes. The competition highlights good practice projects focused on topics of particular relevance to the Arctic area. In the competition, BRIDGE was assessed by the jury as having demonstrated:

  • focus on enhancing young people’s entrepreneurial skills and employability, as well as creating networks between potential employees and employers,
  • the ability to tackle relevant day-to-day demands of both universities and SMEs,
  • concrete potential to produce a permanent impact on the practices of the participating higher education institutions and the SMEs, such as improvement in employment rates and quality of the workforce.

Project: Barents Region Initiative for Developing Growth and Employability (BRIDGE)

Lead partner: UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Alta

Other partners:

  • Murmansk Arctic State University, Murmansk
  • Petrozavodsk State University, Petrozavodsk
  • ITMO University St Petersburg, St. Petersburg
  • Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Rovaniemi

Project information in KEEP database