SECTION I. CV rationale


These guidelines aim to define a subject benchmark statement for Economy, Tourism and Marketing, which are the three main pillars of the 3Economy+ Projects funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme. In other words, the guidelines define what can be expected of selected students in these subjects in terms of what they might know, do and understand at the end of the 3Economy+ Project.

The Subject Benchmark Statement has been inspired by the UK Quality code for Higher Education (the Quality Code) which sets out the expectations that the higher education providers are required to meet in order to secure threshold academic standards.

The Subject Benchmark Statement describes the nature of study and the academic standards expected of graduates in specific subject areas, and in respect of particular qualifications. They provide a picture of what graduates in a particular subject might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their programme of study.

Starting from this premise, we would like to use the subject benchmark statement as the basis to describe the academic standards expected of Spanish, Maltese and Portuguese students involved in the 3Economy+ Project. Basically, what these students might reasonably expected to know, do and understand form the 3Economy+ Curriculum.

For some subject areas like Economy, Tourism, and Marketing, higher education providers may need to consider other reference points in addition to the Subject Benchmark Statement in designing, delivering and reviewing programmes. These may include requirements set out by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, national occupational standards and industry or employer expectations. This is the reason why the 3Economy+ consortium has required the support of other companies and institutions in the development of the 3Economy+ Curriculum and in the other project outputs.

In such cases, the Subject Benchmark Statement may provide additional guidance around academic standards not covered by these requirements. However, the responsibility for academic standards remains with the higher education providers which in this case are the partners involved in the 3Economy+ Project namely the University of Granada (Spain), University of Malta (Malta), and the Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre (Portugal).


Higher education providers are responsible for meeting the requirements of legislation and any other relevant policy. In particular the Europe 2020, a growth strategy, seeks to promote a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. A key factor in the achievement of this strategy concerns literacy, numeracy, science, and technology, so called basic skills since it represents the foundation for further learning and are a gateway to employment and social inclusion.

According to the EU DG Education and Training, in Europe, approximately 20% of the young generation is not equipped with the necessary basic skills in literacy, mathematics, science and technology. Moreover, these skills are becoming even more important as the digital revolution gives rise to new forms of reading and writing, as well as diversifying sources of information. At the same time, the demand for a qualified workforce in technology and research-intensive sectors remains high.

Until 2010, work at European level focused on increasing the number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology subjects, with particular focus on women. In 2010, EU Ministers set out an agenda for European Policy cooperation on basic skills.

The European Commission works with EU countries to strengthen 'key competences' – knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship. The Key competences include: literacy and languages; maths, science and engineering; digital competence; personal, social and learning competence; civic competence; entrepreneurship; and cultural awareness and expression.

The approach is to promote key competences by:
  • Providing high-quality education, training and lifelong learning for all
  • Supporting educational staff
  • Promoting a variety of learning approaches and contexts, in a lifelong learning perspective
  • Exploring approaches to assessment and validation of key competences

Among those objectives 3Economy+ Project aims to provide high quality education and training to the selected students and support educational staff; to promote a multicultural learning approach and context; and explore new ways to assess and validate multidisciplinary competences, skills, behaviours, learning outcomes in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing.

The European Commission launched a European Policy Network of National Literacy Organisations in February 2014. This network has the purpose to, amongst others, raise awareness, exchange good practices, policies, campaigns and initiatives promoting literacy.

3Economy+ Project aims to become good practices for the development of skills in relevant sectors and areas such as economy, tourism and marketing in three partner countries.


The 3Economy+ Curriculum sets out minimum expectations within economy, tourism, and marketing to ensure that the selected students are prepared for enterprise or employment following qualification, or for further study.

Higher education in Economy, Tourism, and Marketing is dynamic, diverse, engaging and rapidly developing as employers place greater value on the higher levels of critical thinking that universities, colleges and academics encourage and enhance in their transfer of knowledge, understanding and skills.

This is a crucial relationship in the development of programmes and projects and in ensuring that students are well prepared for their future employability through the learning opportunities and experiences offered to them in the 3Economy+ Project.

As described in the following subheadings, specific competences in each of the 3Economy+ pillars, have been identified.

3.1 Competences in Economy

3economy will help to complete the academic record by developing the most demanded competencies by the companies: adaptation to changes, initiative, problem solving, decision making, planning and organization.

Of special importance in the framing of the 3economy+ was recognition of graduates’ need to prepare for jobs that are rapidly changing in today’s contemporary workplace. For this reason also includes the value-added formative experiences such as the possibility for placements and professional internships abroad international, participation in social responsibility projector and language level.

The economic block promotes aspects of the regional economy and specific aspects of business administration.

The study of economics necessitates an understanding of the principles that govern the operation of the economic system. This programme focuses attention on the aggregate (macro) relationships and gives attention to the central problems of economic organization, the economic role of government, the determination of national income and a brief glance at economic policy, principally to the European regional economic policy.

Introduces also the unique but fundamental aspects of the global economy, including the economic and political aspects of international trade and investment and emphasizes the study of cultural traditions other than one’s own.

The modern business environment has changed drastically in a short time. Business technology has advanced business functions and operations to levels not previously believed possible. The role of accounting and business is perhaps one of the most reliable functions in business. While a few basic procedures or methods have changed, the purpose of accounting remains the same. Business owners use accounting to measure their company’s financial performance and make business decisions.

The growth in accounting is often attributed to increasing government regulations and increasingly complex financial situations.

Business management studies help individuals increase their business skills: leadership, interpersonal communication, technology and other valuable character traits. These skills are commonly referred to as hard skills in the business environment.

Accounting and finance play an essential role in the management of any business. Companies operate on money, and if you don't control that money, you don't control your business. By understanding the flow of money through your business with proper accounting practices, you can begin budgeting. In budgeting, you anticipate revenues and use that knowledge to make decisions about how to maintain and grow your business. Budgets are the culmination of good financial record keeping.

The goal of most companies is to make a profit, but the road to get there is one you have to build yourself. Financial data from within your own company comprises one of the chief tools you have in understanding the economic landscape of the market you're operating in.

For it we consider to be necessary that they should know the new control instruments, software ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which allows to plan and manage the resources of all the areas of the company: from logistics to accounting, happening for the commercial department and of marketing, finance, production, management of projects, of the quality, maintenance or direction and general administration.

It will seek to improve those aspects that are less valued in relation to the stage of university education, and not only among graduates in Economics, they include, as expected, the limited opportunity to participate in projects, the lack of sufficient emphasis on research, few opportunities for internships in companies.

3.2. Competences in Marketing

The definition of marketing according to the Cambridge dictionary is ‘the business activity that involves finding out what customers want, using that information to design products and services, and selling them effectively’. This concept has undergone through numerous changes due to the rapid technological progress becoming to be essential for the market. Indeed, the concept ‘digital marketing’ is gaining traction in this area.

Digital marketing has become the method of communicating with customers, with a new notion of speed, information, and convenience. It is a new way to create customer value and build long-lasting relationships among the clients. Nowadays, it is rare for a company not to have a digital presence, either with a website or on social networks (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).

Degrees in Marketing involve the study of advertising and promotion, merchandising, statistical analysis, finances, public speaking, e-commerce, graphic design, sales, target market, languages, research and sale strategies, psychology to study the consumer behaviour, product innovation among many other subareas of Marketing. Moreover, it is a fact that Marketing is a study closely related to business as the students of marketing have to know how to manage relationships among business partners, business employees, and customers.

As the project seeks to improve their learning process with the newest and less valued aspects in marketing, the focus of this area was on digital marketing. Since, nowadays, it is a must to attend the continuous evolution of the consumer behaviour and it is not possible to do it if students only know about traditional marketing strategies. In the following table, the competences of this area are described.

3.3. Competences in Tourism

The term 'tourism' refers to the activities and behaviours arising from the international and domestic movement of people away from their normal home environments for a variety of purposes.

The study of Tourism and the visitor economy draws on a wide range of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks including, but not limited to: production, consumption, management, economics, marketing, development, mobility and migration, sustainability and ethics.

Tourism is an internationally recognised subject area that contributes to wider interdisciplinary understanding of the development and management of tourism and its broader contribution to understanding society as a whole.

The study of Tourism overlaps with subject domains. To some extent, this is reflected in the trend for some Tourism programmes to incorporate ideas and concepts drawn from, for example, social anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. Students may also study Tourism alongside a language or social science subject.

Degrees in Tourism often involve study of the following: the concepts and characteristics of tourism as an area of academic and applied study in relation to business, management and wider social science, and at local, national and global levels; destination management, development, policy, governance and strategy; tourism economics, economic impacts and contributions to society (global to local); sustainability, ethics and well-being in tourism; security, safety, risk, resilience and crisis management on regional, national and international scales; the nature and characteristics of tourists and associated behaviour characteristics; tourism in the cultures, communities and environments that it affects; the role of technology, media and data in tourism production and consumption; the products, structure, operations and interactions within the tourism industry; professionalising the tourism industry as both processes and structures, and professional identity and business acumen in professional development; career development and learning opportunities in the tourism sector.

The Curriculum content in Tourism may include: sustainable tourism, strategic planning and development of tourism, geography of tourism, impacts of tourism, ethics, tourism and globalisation, operation of the tourism industry, passenger transportation, research methods, technology in travel and tourism, tourism and the natural environment, tourism economics, tourism marketing, tourism policy, entrepreneurship in tourism, and visitor management.

Tourism subject encompasses programmes of study aligned closely to the service sector and experience economy. The sector is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the global economy, representing a significant proportion of gross domestic product in most western nations including the partner countries, namely Spain, Malta and Portugal. Alongside this growth in economic impact, the sector has seen increasing professionalization of those employed within it. This is reflected in the number of programmes in this sector offered by higher education providers in the 3Economy+ partner countries, both universities and further education colleges, and which range from higher national awards to research degrees.

The research profile of Tourism subject has become firmly established, reflected in the establishment of dedicated academic journals and the award of funding from European and international bodies. Moreover, the multidisciplinary nature of the subject area means that research based upon tourism also contributes to building the body of knowledge in other subject areas, such as business and management.

Tourism has a long history of experience and expertise in working with industry and providing opportunities for work-based and work-related learning. Interaction between employers and higher education providers is a fundamental part of programmes in tourism, with the nature of engagement ranging from input to programme design and guest lectures, to offering placements or live projects, through which students may learn and develop the particular applied professional and vocational skills and behaviours necessary for employment. In engaging with such opportunities, the focus is on the effective fusion of academic integrity and rigour with cutting edge occupational knowledge, and on developing the professional identity of students in order for them to go on and lead the industry. It is recognised that to achieve this, students need a critical, innovative, creative and entrepreneurial mind-set, which enables them to be responsive to change.

Tourism plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of society since it generates economic, social and cultural effects. Besides that tourism is particularly sensitive and responsive to changes in the world environment. This is reflected in the increasing inclusion in degree programmes of opportunities for students to consider the issues of internationalisation, environmental sustainability, ethical positioning, social responsibility and social justice, global security and risk, crisis management and other contemporary issues.

The role of technology, and the increasingly digital and mobile nature of society is also significant since tourism as a subject is well placed to inform the global debate and identify future areas of challenge.

3.4. Communicative Competences

Communicative competence within the 3Economy+ is a transversal competence aiming at providing students with the necessary skills to improve their economic, touristic and marketing profile in an international scenario, thus, English will become the lingua franca for business communication. In this respect, students will need to achieve a proficient use of the language within the specific field of Economics, Marketing and Tourism (henceforth, EM&T). EM&T topics will include: business organisations, industries and business sectors, finance and banking, production, international trade, sales and marketing, advertising and media, politics and economy. The subcompetences related to this area have been designed taking into consideration the Common European Framework for Languages (EU, 2001) descriptors for level C1 and C2.

Besides, basic competences in other languages such as Spanish and Portuguese will be promoted.

3.5. Soft skills

Soft skills related to the project are related to personal and digital competences within the 3Economy+, and they are to be considered equally important to achieve a truly competitive and international professional profile. It is no longer sufficient for a new graduate to have knowledge of an academic subject; increasingly it is necessary for students to gain those skills, which will increase their chances of employment. Lately, companies have been claiming to the higher education sector a “personal skills gap” at the employer/graduate student. In this regard, students of this project are expected to develop and improve the following personal skills through practice and experiences within the specific field of Economics, Marketing and Tourism.


The development of the 3Economy+ Curriculum was carried out by a group of work including representatives from the University of Granada (Spain), University of Malta (Malta), and the Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre (Portugal).

Once the learning outcomes and competences that are aimed to be attained in the 3Economy+ project were defined, the researchers from the Consortium considered that it was necessary to validate the final result of the competency scheme. To do that, a double process was carried out. First, the scheme was reviewed internally through an overall assessment by seven researchers from the Consortium and experts in the different areas. The modifications proposed by these internal experts were agreed upon and incorporated, where appropriate, into a second version of the competency scheme.

The competence scheme was then proposed to a variety of external experts, who offered their opinion through the survey technique. The invited sample was made up of 30 Spanish stakeholders related to the professional areas of the students. Finally, the participating sample was made up of 21 professionals. We assume that in the Likert scale from 1 to 5, the items must have at least a score of 3.5 to be validated. In this sense, the averages obtained by blocks were the following:

Table 1. Results obtained in the validation of the competency scheme
BUSINESS 4,149659864
MARKETING 4,003968254
TOURISM 3,841269841
LANGUAGES 4,354497354
SOFT-SKILLS 4,511904762

As it can be seen from Table 1, all the areas obtained a score above 3,5. Nonetheless, all the modifications suggested by the professionals of the different areas were taken into account and a third version of the document was made. The final result of this competency framework is included in section II.