CSCE 4.0

BUEM and circular economy

Circular economy as method of working with resources and materials is trying to minimalize waste and optimize the use of resources. In contrast with linear economy, which is based on model “mine-produce-use-throw away”, circular economy creates closed cycle, where resources, products and waste are constantly recycled and use repeatedly.

In circular economy, the emphasis is put on products’ design with regard its longer lifetime, easier repairability and subsequent recycling. As well, it emphasizes repeated use and renewal of materials and products, what minimizes negative impact on environment.

The objective of circular economy is to not only decrease the amount of waste, but also create economic value and support sustainable growth. In its model, it is important to explore and transform existing business models to be more environment friendly and contributing towards sustainability of society.

Within the project “Challenges of circular society in economy 4.0” BUEM has undertook the improvement of its education process and thus has set itself the following tasks:

  1. To combine new post-pandemic crisis era IT technologies into field of education and professional preparation, with aim to implement pedagogical models and professional procedures. Solution would be to create new courses, which will enable students to practice principles of circular economy and integration of these topics into various fields can support multidisciplinary approach.
  2. To innovate educational modules and curriculum for the field of Environmental economy, Environmental management, and Circular economy.
  3. To analyze and update content of selected courses, that is to identify courses; Quality management, Innovations management, Integration processes in Europe, Economy and environment, update them and create new modules.
  4. To adjust education methods while creating new modules.
  5. To connect academia with business world.
  6. To deepen awareness about ecology among students and graduates of universities with the perspective of successful job application for innovative green positions among public and private organizations in Slovakia.
  7. To intensify environmental awareness of university teachers with goal to equip them with new teaching skills, which are applicable for further education of full-time and part-time students.
  8. To cooperate with partners from public and private sector, with direct focus on Høgskulen for Grøn Utvikling (University for Green Development}. The goal of this cooperation is the exchange and transfer of knowledge and best practices.

Education at universities in the field of circular economy is facing various challenges, which require to find effective way, how to achieve positive changes. Some of the major challenges include:

  • • Integration of circular topics into existing study programs is difficult process of adjusting study plans. Solution could be to create new courses, which will enable students practice principles of circular economy and integration of these topics into various fields can enhance multidisciplinary approach.
  • • Innovation of pedagogical methods is necessary, when traditional methods are insufficient and new methods require practical experience and interactive approaches. The measure is to impose new teaching methods, such as case studies, field projects, or cooperation with students on real circular initiatives with the use of modern technologies.
  • • Providing sufficient support for research in the field of circular economy is development process, therefore it can be hard to keep up with the newest research. The solution is to provide support for scientific projects focusing on circular economy and support of research laboratories and innovation centers.
  • • Connection of students with practice gives them experience with real projects in academic environment. The sufficient solution to this challenge is cooperation with business sector, organizations, or communities where students could do internships already during their studies.
  • • Development of circular competencies among university teachers, who need sufficient knowledge for effective teaching. Therefore, professional education at trainings, workshops and conferences is for them necessary.
  • • Support of international cooperation including global challenges and exchange of best practice is important as well. Solution is to create partnerships and agreements with other universities and institutions focusing on circularity and support of international mobilities and exchange programs.

All these challenges require active effort from point of educational institutions for adaptation of circular economy dynamics and preparation of students for effective application of circular principles in their professional life.

Circular economy and job market

Independent part of the project are tasks, which are related to connection of education and requirements of job market because circular economy requires from job applicants new abilities, skills, and adaptation to new trends., pretože cirkulárna ekonomika vyžaduje od uchádzačov o zamestnanie nové schopnosti, zručnosti a prispôsobenie sa novým trendom. Major tasks are:

  • • New skills and expertise: With transition from linear to circular economy requirements for workforce change as well. It is important to develop new skills, for example in field of recycling and sustainable design.
  • • Innovations in business: Companies will have to reevaluate their business models and search for ways how to integrate principles of circularity. That requires innovative thinking and ability to adapt to new economic paradigms.
  • • Changes in employment: There is need for reorientation for new types of employment in field of recycling, renewal, and administration of circular processes.
  • • Cooperation and job market ecosystem: Circular economy supports cooperation and creation of ecosystems, what requires flexible working models and new forms of partnerships.
  • • Education and awareness program: With growing emphasis on sustainability, it is necessary to offer employees education and awareness programs for better understanding and contribution towards circular economy.
  • • Changes in view on ownership: Models of shared-economy and focus on services rather than ownership can have significant impact on job markets because nature of some industries is changing.

In general, education and job markets are facing challenges and adaptation to requirements of circular economy will be necessary. That requires flexibility, innovations, and fast adaptation on changing conditions.

Despite positive challenges among circular economy in relation to job market, it is important to perceive associated risks. Some of these risks include:

  • • Loss of jobs in traditional industries, such as mining, which faces loss of jobs due to decreasing demand for its products.
  • • Need for new job skills, which represent changes in work processes and business models.
  • • Unequal distribution of benefits between various social groups, industries and regions can lead to social tensions and uncertainty.
  • • Dependance on new technologies can lead to addiction on digital and technological innovations. It can impose risk on those who do not have access to such technologies, or do not have adequate technological skills.
  • • Uncertainty of employment for some industries, especially if the transition is not effectively managed and planned.
  • • Negative impact on some industries, for example production of new goods can face difficulties, what can have negative impact on employment in such industries.
  • • Hardships with social inclusion in case if measures focused on circular economy are not properly managed can lead to exclusion of certain groups of employees and communities, what can create social instability.

Effective transition towards circular economy requires proper management to minimize negative impacts on job market and maintain sustainable and inclusive economic environment.

In relation to circular economy and job market is necessary to draw attention on job market target groups, which are diverse and consider different types of people and their needs. Some of major target groups include:

  • • Students and graduates: People who are enrolled, or ended education program are important target group. Their needs are different if are searching for first job opportunity, career development, or acquiring relevant experience.
  • • Professionals and experienced employees are already on job market and can search for new opportunities for career development, job change, or acquiring new skills.
  • • Unemployed and people looking for job are important group. Their needs can include help with job search, professional preparation and support when reentering job market.
  • • Women on job market are separate target group and can face specific challenges, ranging from equality of pay, job opportunities and balance between work and family life.
  • • People with disabilities and specific needs can need adjustments to be able to fulfill job tasks effectively.
  • • Employees in retirement age, or close to retirement can still be active on job market and search for part-time jobs, consultations, or other flexible forms of employment.
  • • Migrants and minorities can face specific challenges on job market, including language barrier, prejudice, and discrimination. Their needs include access to opportunities, which are inclusive and fair.

Each of these target groups has specific needs and requires accessible and adjusted solutions on job market.

From point of competencies and requirements of circular economy it is necessary to allow individuals to contribute towards sustainable and effective use of resources. Therefore, we set for our students the following key competencies:

  • • Knowledge of circular economy principles and values and ability to understand this model.
  • • System thinking ability and understanding of interrelationships and consequences within ecosystem.
  • • Expertise in recycling is important for effective use of resources and minimizing waste.
  • • Sustainable design and innovations, product, and service design with focus on their life cycle.
  • • Digital skills and use of digital technologies and platforms.
  • • Cooperation and communication skills with shareholders, including customers, business partners, and public institutions is important for success of circularity projects.
  • • Business and managerial skills in solving complex challenges connected with circular economy and opportunity identification, project management and development of market strategies.
  • • Skills in education and awareness of shareholders, ability to mediate information and knowledge sharing.
  • • Acquisition and development of these competencies allow individuals to contribute towards circular economy and effectively response to needs of job market in this field.


Concept of circular economy emerged gradually in response to reality, that all but mainly energy resources are limited. But there is great potential for implementation of circular solutions. Support of science and research is becoming key tool for reaching necessary technological and logistical progress. Important task is to increase awareness, knowledge development and skills acquisition altogether with formulating of attitudes through targeted education about principles of circularity – the main task for field of education is whether these challenges are directed towards target groups on job market.