As a proud partner of the Skillnet project, AER is very pleased to provide an overview of the very first virtual 6th edition of the yearly SIF – SKILLMAN.EU INTERNATIONAL FORUM 2020, about redefining the future of learning, which took place on December 10th and 11th 2020. Practitioners, innovative academics, and industrial experts in the field of Vocational Education and Training joined forces to promote an approach to curricula design based on skills foresight analysis.
This year the Forum adopted a holistic approach to face the new challenges risen during the pandemic in the context of skills and job opportunities. The underlying theme of the event was the importance of assessing and therefore providing key skills that people have to possess, especially in the Advanced Manufacturing sector, to actively participate in the society of tomorrow.
Let the curtain open!
The Skillman International Forum kicked off with the welcoming statements from Giovanni Crisonà, founder of the Skillman.eu consortium. The participants had the opportunity to hear that the skills mismatch between demands and labour offer, as well as the consequences of the pandemic, can be resolved by rebranding the Vocational Education and Training systems (VET). In this regard, it is instrumental to look at this shift of paradigm internationally by setting cross-sectoral collaborations and integrating the IT tools in any field of training.
The morning session was the perfect venue to hear about the challenges for VET systems for the uptake of skills that can aid in the twin ambitions of the green and digital transition. In this context, providing a real on-the-job experience that makes it easier to acquire both hard and soft skills is instrumental, as well as strengthening collaborations between the public and private sector. Additionally, the pandemic is providing an opportunity to rethink how digital learning can be best integrated into VET curricula, by developing digital labs and web applications able to ensure that no one is left behind.
During this session, participants had the opportunity to choose the pavilions according to their topic of interest: The IVETA pavilion addressed the issues that TVET stakeholders need to consider with regard to accessibility and inclusivity, from the work-life balance and wellbeing to the shift to the digital learning platforms. The EAPRIL pavilion focused on describing Skillman’s self-assessment tool for VET excellence, which detects labour market needs to foresight skills. The AER pavilion highlighted how VET programmes can support the transition towards a circular economy by boosting new skills in the population
The first day of the SIF 2020 ended up by expressing the instrumentality of virtual mobility in providing valuable opportunities both to participants and entrepreneurs, and the exchange of best practices from all around the world.
On the occasion of the second day of the event, participants turned the attention to the skills needed to master the challenges of the labour market of the 21st century. The impact of the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the need for VET systems to re-engineer certain parts to make them more responsive to changing labour market needs, and flexible to provide training to a broad audience, including adults in need of re-skilling.
Participants in the late morning had the possibility to attend different pavilions, among which the AER for those interested in the skills needed for the New Mobility Services sector, and break-out rooms listening to best practices, new assessments, curricula design and digital learning tools, such as SELFIE tool for digital-age learning in VET schools and companies, presented at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre break-out room.
The final session of the event showed the importance of integrating training and engagement by using innovative technology learning devices. In this regard, the development of high-technological tools and applications play a key role in reproducing work and learning experiences while entertaining users, a key asset in increasing the interest in VET centres.
Participants promoted the “action-driven” model of vocational education centres where expertise and good practices are transferred also at the regional level creating synergies and collaborations, through a sustainable and multistakeholder approach. Eventually, the event presented the result of the discussions of the Peer Learning Clubs, the four groups of discussion which we are glad to invite you to join to shape the future of Vocational Education and Training centres, allowing exchange and empowerment via online and on-site activities.
The Skillman International Forum 2020 provided food for thought of possible initiatives to re-engineer the VET systems by changing the pedagogical approach, innovating the teaching method facilitating the all learning process with the right digital support, and last but not least by increasing the motivation and excitement of people to enact the right change. Building on discussions of the sessions and the overall findings, this is just another step to explore the pathways of VET may develop to address the future challenges that also the pandemic has posed. The transition should go beyond digital transformation and focusing also on the new models of work-based and community-based approaches that boost inclusive and lifelong learning.