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First webinar on the Upskill project

What creates the need for the Upskill project?

The world is increasingly moving towards digitalisation, therefore there is a need to adapt the European workforce, together with the education and learning systems.

The first webinar on the Upskill project, organised by Polymer Comply Europe on behalf of European Plastics Converters (EuPC), was held on 23rd March 2020.

Marjan Ranogajec, EuPC Projects Officer, moderated the webinar, providing an introduction on the Upskill project, some insights regarding its objectives, and an overview of the partners, also underlying the importance of the EU contributions.

During the webinar, the floor was shared between two partners of the project: LINPRA (Lithuania) and ISPA (France) respectively represented by Gražina Žardalevičienė (Project Manager) and Marc Manguin (Scientific Professor and Head of the European Projects).

Gražina provided a general overview of LINPRA’s activities and goals, stressing the importance of the achievement of a higher level of synergy in R&D between educational institutions and businesses, as well as the improvement of the VET education and public employment services. The Upskill project, with its objective of providing digital and green skills as well as entrepreneurial competences, is appropriately situated in this context.

The two main stages of the project were discussed in their content and state of development:

- analysis and identification of the European VET curricula for plastics machine operators (completed) and, as a result of it, - development of a vocational training programme by integrating digital, programming, circular economy and lean manufacturing skills.

All Upskill’s partners are valuably enriching the completeness of the project thank to their belonging to different fields of action: VET providers, Associations as well as Public Bodies.

Moving to the description of the project’s activities, Gražina presented the seven Working Packages (WPs) into which it is divided. Some of the WPs are meant to be ongoing for the entire duration of the project (WP 5,6 and 7), while WP 1 and 2 have been already completed.

The WP3 (designing of training material for students and teachers) is currently ongoing and will subsequently be subjected to the review of all the partners. An overview of the expected short- and long-term results was also provided.

ISPA belongs to the category of the VET providers among the partners of the Upskill project. Marc Manguin shared an overview of its activities (educational and training hub, technical hub and scientific hub), underlying the centrality of ISPA’s international mobility programme, which included 83 international internships in the years 2018/19 and over 550 international mobilities since 2010 in 32 different countries.

ISPA is the coordinator of the WP3, which encompasses three different tasks: create and develop training material for the students’ manual (led by ISPA); create and develop training material for the teachers’ manual (led by TREDU); align the contest of the training material to each country’s environment (led by VPM).

The method employed for the development of the training material entails a composition of the manual into 17 units, each of which is, in turn, divided in 7 sub-units focusing on different skills. The discussion upon the number and content of the units is currently ongoing, thus mergers and additions might slightly change the conformation of the manuals. The pioneering prerogative of the training material lays in its work-based learning (WBL), which places the students in practical situations through workshops.

Regarding the timeline, the work on the students’ book has been completed in January 2020 and it is currently under review, while the teachers’ manual is at its embryonic stage. The manuals are planned to have the same composition, with the exception of the Q&A section as the teachers’ manual will comprise the answers to the questions included in the students’ manual.

Marc also provided information on the piloting week that took place in Lithuania (WP4), which did not entail the participation of students. The training run in the form of lectures from teachers - for teachers. Since the tutors from different partner countries developed their knowledge in the context of different frameworks it is of utmost importance to foster a compact groundwork for the training of the students. Thus, teachers from France and Finland went to Lithuania with the objective of sharing their knowledge with their Lithuania counterparts. The next piloting actions will consist of practical experiments to be run within each of the VET partner’s training center. According to the original timeline, this activity should have taken place in February 2020 but it has been put on hold due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

At the closing of the webinar, Marjan informed the audience that the final event of the Upskill project will take place in Brussels, pursuant to the achievement of all the deliverables.

To view the entire webinar, follow this link.

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