Boosting Human Capital in the 21st Century
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Lead partnerProvinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij West-Vlaanderen
Project budget3 760 208 €
ERDF amount2 256 125 €
Unemployment rates of low-skilled people (level 1-2 in the EU Qualification Framework) in the 2 Seas region remain high, while there is a continuously growing number of operational job openings amongst others in the manufacturing sector. A study of DG Employment and Social Affairs (2015) mentions that a common cause is skills mismatch, either because there are not enough jobseekers with the necessary skills to fill open vacancies or because job requirements by employers do not fit with the competences of jobseekers. This study advises EU members to train the (un)employed. However, learnercentred training is underused in the manufacturing industry, training doesn’t account for barriers to learning experienced by low-skilled people (LSP) and fails to provide solutions to overcome these challenges (Nielson, 2011). Therefore vocational training services for the manufacturing sector in the 2 Seas Region need modernisation by combining expertise of work and education (Marope et al., 2015).
BHC21 aims to contribute to the development of more efficient and effective vocational training services for low-skilled people (LSP) applicable in the 2 Seas region. To do so, the project will develop a generic 21st-century training model which (a) makes use of innovative learning technologies (ILTs) and accompanying instructional design, tailored for easy adoption by Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and (b) integrates new recruitment and training approaches to increase the success rate of the training. The model will be developed bottom-up, through a process of co-creation in which employers, LSP, (public) vocational training organisations, knowledge institutes and public employment services are involved. By boosting the learning motivation, skills and career competences of LSP and stimulating a culture change among (manufacturing) SMEs regarding the investment in training of LSP, BHC21 wants to contribute to a reduction of unemployment rates amongst LSP in the 2 Seas area.
The main outputs are pilots for real-life testing of the outcomes of two series of tests to integrate ILTs and modern pedagogical approaches in vocational training for LSP for the manufacturing industry. Aided by innovative recruitment methods, these pilots will help to identify and mitigate learning barriers and enhance understanding of the potential of ILTs and pedagogical approaches. Public employment services, LSP and companies suffering skills shortages will all benefit. A new training model, including the training of work floor coaches, will be jointly developed, tested, validated & evaluated.
The final output is a feasibility report based on the pilots, demonstrating the economic and sustainable viability of the BHC21 training model. Improved quality of training (from a learner’s perspective: increased motivation, less stress, high perceived usefulness) helps SMEs to find/retain qualified personnel and helps LSP to establish sustainable careers.
Cross border approach
Cross-border cooperation enables development and testing of a versatile training model that can be easily adopted in any vocational training context in the 2 Seas region, regardless of the national legal or educational framework. Working crossborder, but with a joint focus on SMEs in the manufacturing industry, allows to take into account any local factors that may affect the rolling-out of the model. This is particularly appropriate as many manufacturing companies in the 2 Seas region are part of cross-border value chains. An increase of their employees’ skills also increases the global
competitiveness of these value chains. The project partners bring in their expertise and provide access to complementary technological, pedagogical or organisational knowledge from their region. From this pool of expertise, knowledge exchange captures test/pilot results from each region and incorporates them into a new training model. A common methodology guarantees the comparability of the results.
The project has taken an operational start in March. In a first stage each region has collected local good practices with proven success in the recruitement and pre-training of the LSP. In UK, Tavistock, based on their expertise and with the input from all partners, has developed a training/ coaching programme where LSP, families and in-company coaches will be involved. This programme will run back-to-back with WP2. In France, MEEF has organized a first co-creation session with partners and external stakeholders. Also in Flanders different exploratory meetings have taken place. Kulak is supporting the partners with instruments and advise around the baseline measurements for WP1. A cross-border meeting will be planned in April.
Regarding to the WP2, Kulak has performed a literature review and is finalizing the methodological framework . Plans for the baseline measurements for WP2 are made for all the regions. Numerous meetings took place with the Flemish partners under the leading role of Skilliant to discuss around the decision tree. This tends to become a rather complex instrument, which will help partners make well-founded technology choices. Cross-border feedback will be given in a meeting in February. CETIM and VDAB are in the phase of screening the curricula for the vocational training and have an idea about the ILT’s they will use. The UK-partners have already purchased a VR-installation and developed a vocational training which will be delivered in February.
Three successful roadshows took place, with the involvement of partners and external stakeholders.The road shows have highlighted a number of innovative technologies such as performant electronic learning platforms (FR), a VR-application for welding (UK), or the pick by light system and technology box to stimulate learning culture (BE). Significant differences were also noticed with respect to the training infrastructure/capacity in industry though it was also very clear that all the regions face the same challenges.
It can be concluded that the partners focused in 2019 on the development of the project in their own region. Nevertheless, they also had the opportunity to learn and inspire each other and contribute together to the development of deliverables such the methodological frame and the decision tree in a cross-border context. The added value of the cooperation across regions will become very obvious in the following phases.