SmarTrain joins VET providers and Research and Technology Organisations from the Woodworking and Furniture Manufacturing Industries to challenge and broaden the horizons of European VET systems. The project will detect the core changes required to include new SKCs (Skills, Knowledge and Competencies) in the official curricula of VET, aligned with the current and future demands of the wood&furniture sector. Hitherto it addresses a major TRAINING GAP between VET curricula and companies’ real needs for transformation.
Acknowledging that 40% of workers does not have sufficient digital skills (Eurostat 2015), SmarTrain fosters the EVOLUTION OF ENTERPRISES TOWARDS THE INDUSTRY 4.0, exploiting previous initiatives aimed to facilitate this undeniable new industrial revolution for both companies and their future workers. The main objective is the acquisition of SKCs about CIRCULAR ECONOMY, ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING and INTELLIGENT FURNITURE, which require new (soft) skills in this digital era: digital literacy, curiosity and imagination, critical analysis of information, entrepreneurship, collaboration in networks, agility and adaptability, critical thinking and problem solving. SmarTrain is a collaboration of RTOs, an European umbrella organisation (AIDIMME, COSMOB, INNOVAWOOD) and 3 VET centres (CIPFP Catarroja, ENAIP Lombardia, WOODWIZE), paired by countries.
SmarTrain composes a network fostering VERTICAL (between sectoral and VET centres), HORIZONTAL (between centers of the same typology) and MULTIDISCIPLINARY links for exchange and collaboration, all of them forming a CIRCULAR CONSORTIUM in touch with the labour market and the educational sector.
The initiative includes the development of three IOs:
• IO1: Innovative open training material on Circular Economy and Digitisation (AdditiveManufacturing, Intelligent Furniture) including e-Learning, ready-to-use for VET-learners in the wood&furniture sector.
• IO2: Cross-cultural course for VET students & teachers consisting of 3 cooperative VET school projects (Project Based Learning and Co-creational Learning).
• IO3: Open Education Handbook and Best Practices for VET stakeholders: from VET students to hiring companies.
Both students and accompanying teachers will acquire fundamental SKCs and new soft skills, and will participate in National MEs to expose their final pieces of furniture as prime showcases for INNOVATION MANAGEMENT incorporated into current VET systems. SmartTrain promotes fellowship, collaboration, support and synergy, and above all, Smart Attitudes.Therefore, the initiative will give much room for the INCLUSION of participants ‘with different skills’. All our students are going to join forces and talents. In every student there are for sure hidden aptitudes, expertise and genius to be offered to the rest of the group.
We aim at the participation of some 30% of students with lesser chances, students that are particularly, facing difficulties and obstacles to participate in international projects. They will participate in the same activities as the rest of students, coming from other VET Centres. All of them will perfectly complement each other, fitting as the pieces of a puzzle in order to make the most of this project: development of a piece of furniture from scratch, applying innovative elements of CIRCULAR ECONOMY and DIGITISATION. In total, max.10 students + 3 teachers coming from the wood and furniture VET institutions will be trained within the SmarTrain framework.
The METHODOLOGY carried out will be as follows:
•TRANSFER of knowledge from RTOs to VET centres.
•COOPERATIVE APPROACH, which will aim to organise activities into academic and social learning experiences, leading to structuring positive interdependence. Students will work in groups to produce a furniture collectively toward academic goals.
•Active and INDUCTIVE learning methods, such as PROJECT BASED LEARNING, paired with the ever-growing technology access available in the facilities of the European VET centres will ensure a deeper comprehension and understanding of new technologies.
•Gathering of feedback from the VET stakeholders in this experience. After all, in the European labour market, a gradual upward movement of the increasingly specific and high-profile competencies is occurring. Companies are demanding professionals to deal with digital transformation. However, people looking for jobs rarely meet the ever-demanding requirements of industry 4.0. The ability to work as a team according to the methods of collaboration of less hierarchical and structured working environments, MORE TECHNOLOGICAL and DYNAMIC becomes fundamental. What must be clear, however, is that the 4th Industrial Revolution is about people, not machines. SmarTrain bets on the provision of this skilled workforce in the wood and furniture sector and the development of the competencies demanded by the companies, thanks to the establishment of a circular network of SKCs provision and reception.