The research project SEED (Sustainable Energy Education) aims to optimize vocational education in the field of renewable energy. In this endeavor, universities, training institutions, and companies from Finland, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany collaborate to enhance and share best practices in vocational education across borders. Additionally, each region develops a strategy to improve the training of young workers and tailor it to the needs of businesses through innovative approaches and collaborations.
SEED is part of the Erasmus+-funded Center of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) initiative. Therefore, researchers Eva-Maria Kempe and Nora Abel participated in the Forum of Vocational Excellence in Amsterdam on September 26, 2023. More than 400 participants on-site and 300 online participants from over 40 countries gathered to exchange insights on Vocational Education and Training (VET) and CoVEs. The representatives from the Sustainable Technologies Laboratory attended two workshops on the topics of "CoVEs – Cooperation between different levels of education in regions" and "Join the green transition and be part of the solution." Furthermore, they gained insights into EU-wide CoVE projects and established international connections.
The following day marked the beginning of the Transnational Meeting of SEED project partners in Utrecht. On September 27, the focus was on the skills required by businesses for new workforce entrants in individual regions. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Semih Severengiz, Yara Matschalow, and Lena Fuhg joined as educators. As part of their work package, Aleksi Heinonen and colleagues from Finland conducted a survey to identify personal and technical skills lacking in young workers according to businesses. Based on the survey results, workshops were held in Utrecht to train and raise awareness among educators from different regions about these skills.
Over the next two days of the Transnational Meeting, the newly established online platform of the project was introduced to enhance exchange and networking among the best practices of each region. The results of the Maturity Scan for each region were also discussed. Another workshop aimed to strengthen the Co-Design competencies of project partners. Additionally, the representatives from the laboratory conducted their own workshop, encouraging project partners to provide critical feedback on five selected best practices. This feedback will be utilized in the future to improve the quality and feasibility of these practices. The workshop received highly positive feedback, leading to the development of an online version post-Transnational Meeting to address additional best practices.
Excursions to various learning locations in Utrecht complemented the workshops and presentations. Project partners were guided through the Energy Lab of Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, the ROC MN Automotive College, and the Denver House, a student project on the campus of Utrecht University of Applied Science.
Participation in the Transnational Meeting in Utrecht laid the groundwork for upcoming tasks in the project. In the coming months, the focus will be on developing the Regional Development Plan and improving best practices. Both initiatives aim to advance vocational education in the field of renewable energy and tailor it to the needs of individual regions. The next Transnational Meeting will take place in Kozani, Greece in mid-February 2024.