Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing: An Integral Training Curriculum for EU technicians to deploy and manage digital tools in Smart Manufacturing or DTAM in short, is a three-year Sector Skills Alliances in VET project, cofunded by the Erasmus+ program of the EU.

The coordinator of the DTAM project is the associated centre of FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri, S. Coop., partnering with a total of 10 other organisations from 5 European countries. Politeknika Txorierri is a VET and HVET centre in the Spanish Basque Country. The school specializes in: Environmental Control & Education, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Robotics, Sales and Commercial Management, Mechanical Design, Mechanical Production and Machining.

The DTAM project comes in answer to an ever-increasing need for the upskilling and reskilling of technical workers and students in the EU to help improve their employability in a skills intensive fast evolving labour market i.e. advanced manufacturing (AM). According to Josu Orbe, general director of Politeknika Txorierri, DTAM will contribute to the mission of this centre to be a point of reference for companies and leaders in the comprehensive and continuous training of people, and in their adaptation to this ever-changing technological world. The project will also address other multiple needs which have recently became even more evident because of developments such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Among those needs are the (1) digital and technical skills mismatches in demand and supply of labour, (2) demand for sector-tailored industrial workers, (3) lack of recognized VET programs on the topic and a practical training through access to developed IoT (remote) labs and WBL and last but not least (4) the need for an updated training for low or under-skilled adult workers threatened by replacement or obsolescence due to technological advances.

Therefore, DTAM will deliver a new curriculum in digital transformation dedicated to the quality training of mid-high-level technicians in key enabling technologies for Advanced Manufacturing. The curriculum will help grow a workforce of technicians capable of understanding, installing, configuring, monitoring, analysing, transferring data and maintaining digital systems in advanced manufacturing environments so meeting a critical skills gap in EU Industry 4.0 and addressing partners’ regional RiS3s.

FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, along with more than twenty European institutions from the field of education, took part in the first peer learning activity of PRALINE project (Promoting Adult Learning in Networks), that dealt with adult education and training.

This first session of workshops and lectures counted on the active participation from FPEmpresa and the Association of public VET centres from the Basque Country Ikaslan Bizkaia. FPEmpresa explained the structure of adult education in Spain as well as its main characteristics, and also presented the company Haizea Wind Group, represented by the HR Manager, José Colsa, as an example of good practices. More specifically, this company described its project aimed at creating a specific school for welding, in collaboration with Centro de Formación Somorrostro, with the purpose of training qualified staff for the companies within the holding company. As for Ikaslan Bizkaia, they highlighted some distinctive elements of the Basque education system with regard to adult education. Then it was the turn for The Finish Association for the Development and Vocational Education and Training AMKE to share with the attendees the latest reforms carried out in Finland and their impact on adult education. To conclude, a panel discussion, led by Marguerite Hogg from the Association of Colleges (AoC) in the UK, was held. During the debate, some specific issues related to the adult education sector were discussed. The whole session was moderated by Manfred Polzin, from MBO Raad, PRALINE’s coordinating institution from The Netherlands.

The general objective of this project is to strengthen the already existing transnational networks of adult education providers via mutual learning, peer counselling and capacity building.

PRALINE has been presented under the frame of the Erasmus+ programme, within Key Action 3: Support for policy reform, and under the specific subaction «Social inclusion and common values: the contribution in the field of education and training».