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Advancing sustainable vocational training in Europe trough Pantour

As active members of the PANTOUR project, Gestlabor had the opportunity to participate in the Peer Learning Activity (PLA) “European Vocational Core Profiles – Towards a Sustainable Model of Joint Vocational Content” organised by the European Commission on 21-22 May 2024. This online event brought together experts and stakeholders in vocational education and training (VET) to discuss innovative approaches and challenges in the development of joint training content across Europe.

The PANTOUR project, representing the “Next Tourism Generation Alliance”, is a pioneering initiative aimed at fostering sustainability and innovation in the European tourism sector. We are dedicated to developing the skills required for the tourism industry to flourish in an increasingly digital and environmentally conscious world. This includes the promotion of social, digital and green competences, which are essential for the delivery of exceptional experiences to tourists and for maintaining competitiveness in an ever-changing environment. Our participation in the Peer Learning Activity enabled us to share knowledge and best practices with other European projects focused on closing skills gaps through collaboration and innovation.

Designing the Future of Vocational Training

The first day of the PLA focused on the key elements needed to design strong European vocational profiles. The sessions commenced with a keynote address by the European Commission, which was followed by a productive discussion on the basis of shared vocational content and methodologies for identifying emerging skill needs.

This was followed by presentations on several leading European projects, including the European Battery Alliance Academy/InnoEnergy Skills Institute, T-shore, ARISA and the OECD’s PISA-VET initiative. The presentations demonstrated the value of data-driven decision-making and cross-sector collaboration in addressing skills gaps. The European Union and the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG-EMPL) are working to facilitate the transferability of credentials through national frameworks, thus promoting European workforce mobility.

Furthermore, the quality of joint vocational content, training programmes for trainers and the issuing of micro-credentials were discussed. The presentations emphasised the importance of maintaining skills up to date and the necessity for effective quality assurance of training.

A particular highlight was the comprehensive and detailed explanation of how data sources and methodologies are applied to identify current and emerging skills needs. Representatives from various organisations shared their experiences and best practices, providing a comprehensive overview of the current landscape and future perspectives.

Implementing Sustainable Models for Vocational Training

The second day was dedicated to the practical aspects of implementing and sustaining joint vocational content. The sessions focused on the mechanisms for quality assurance and the strategies needed to ensure the relevance and excellence of vocational training across Europe. The working sessions were designed to facilitate interactive discussions where participants could exchange ideas on overcoming barriers and implementing best practices.

European apprenticeship models were discussed, including the European information model, the apprenticeship model, application profiles and extensions for specific uses. The current state of European Digital Credentials (EDCs) adoption was also highlighted, with 14 institutions actively issuing EDCs and more than 30,000 EDCs stored in Europass wallets.

The focus on developing a sustainable model aligned with PANTOUR’s strategic objectives. The necessity for ongoing skills enhancement, particularly in sectors undergoing rapid technological advancements, was a key point of discussion. This aligns with our mission to provide the tourism workforce with enhanced soft skills and the competencies needed to adapt to digital transformation and environ mental sustainability.

PANTOUR: Bridging the Skills Gap in European Tourism

Our participation in PANTOUR is driven by a commitment to address the changing needs of the tourism sector. This project forms part of the European Union’s Sector Skills Cooperation Scheme, which aims to develop strategic approaches to closing skills gaps in key sectors, including tourism.

The PANTOUR initiative is focused on three key areas:

Digital skills: The project will enhance the digital skills of the tourism workforce to meet the demands of modern travelers and implement smart tourism strategies.

Green skills: Promote sustainable tourism practices that minimize environmental impact and contribute to the green transition.

Social Skills: Improve customer service and interpersonal skills to provide exceptional experiences for tourists.

Comparison of Projects Presented at the PLA

During the PLA, several projects were presented that offer a comprehensive overview of joint vocational training in Europe:

The European Battery Alliance Academy/InnoEnergy Skills Institute: This project addresses the skills shortage in the battery industry by offering courses in several languages and issuing European digital certificates. Its approach involves collaboration with industry and educational institutions to develop relevant training content.

T-shore (Centre of Vocational Excellence project): The project’s focus is on offshore renewable energy, to establish a European network of schools and vocational training centres specialising in offshore wind energy. The initiative also aims to promote innovation and collaboration between vocational education and training (VET) providers, industry and research institutes.

ARISA (Artificial Intelligence Skills Alliance): ARISA’s focus is on artificial intelligence, with the development of AI skills strategies and curricula. These are regularly adapted to reflect AI developments and provide certification methods.

ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance): The organisation provides learning tools to train and retrain individuals in high-demand professional software roles, with pilot programmes in several European countries.

PISA-VET: Is an initiative that aims to measure and compare the skills of vocational education and training students on an international scale, providing valuable insight to enhance the relevance and quality of VET programmes.

A comparison of these projects with PANTOUR reveals that, while PANTOUR focuses specifically on the tourism sector, the other projects cover a variety of sectors, including battery technology, renewable energy, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. All of these projects share a common goal: to develop professional profiles and training programmes that are recognised and valued at the European level. This will facilitate mobility and the recognition of qualifications across borders.

European Policies and the Path Forward

The PLA focus on European Vocational Core Profiles is in alignment with the broader EU policy framework, including the European Skills Agenda and the Pact for Skills. These initiatives underscore the significance of lifelong learning and adaptability in response to digital and green transitions.

Looking Ahead

As we move forward, all PANTOUR partners remain committed to the project objectives and broader European policies on vocational education and training. The insights gained from the PLA will be instrumental in shaping our efforts to develop training content that is innovative and of high quality to meet the changing needs of the tourism sector.

Our aim is to ensure that the European tourism industry remains a global leader in sustainability and innovation. Through PANTOUR, we are not only addressing current skills gaps, but also preparing for the future by fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability.

We invite all stakeholders to join us on this transformative journey and to stay informed about our progress and achievements. For more information about PANTOUR and our initiatives, please visit the PANTOUR Project.

 

This blog is written by Patricia Downey, Gestlabor

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