AFPA´s Flagship for Excellence in Circular Economy: Highlights of ETTE´s Second Joint Staff Training

Along with its project partners – CEFOCHIM, ENAIP NET, ENDURANCE, EVTA, IME-GSEVEE, LE FOREM, TECHNIFUTUR – EVBB has participated in the second training circuit dedicated to European VET centres within ETTE. Organised by AFPA, the circuit was a discovery journey of the circular economy´s futuristic wonders and their potential for training programmes strongly embedded in the local reality.

Lille’s lively gracefulness and AFPA’s flagships for excellence in the circular economy marked the second study visit carried out within the frame of ETTE. For three days, from June 18th, up to the 21st, VET managers, teachers and training staff from four countries and nine different organisations participated in a full intensive training circuit revolving around skills centres, recycling factories, and clusters of little and medium enterprises committed to working together to ensure a more sustainable and fair development for future generations.

ETTE (European Trainers’ Training for Excellence) is an Erasmus+ project aimed at enhancing structural synergies and cooperation among VET centres of excellence with a view to fostering the local dimension of quality along with the continuous professional development of teachers and trainers. Within the ETTE project´s context, four joint staff training circuits are implemented with the aim of testing the quality and effectiveness of VET excellence centres across Europe, promoting the exchange of good practices, fostering transnational networking and creating a breeding ground for improvement and further development on the way for a European label for excellence.

After LE FOREM in Wallonia, it was now the turn of AFPA to show the way of excellence in the Hauts-de-France region, just past the Franco-Belgian boarder.  An association for the professional training of adults, AFPA is the first national agency providing qualifications to workers and highly specialised training in certain professions. For almost 70 years by now, AFPA has been an invaluable partner of the French Ministry of Labour by designing and implementing certification programmes, developing studies on the new skills and foresight on future needs of the employment sector, all within an approach committed to social interest and long-term sustainability.

The three-day visit to the Hauts-de-France´s training centres was an extraordinary opportunity for VET operators from other European VET excellence centres to get an overall view of how different socio-economic actors join forces to establish and foster circular-economy loops at the local and even regional level. The AFPA cutting-edge training centres of Lomme and Hazebrouck were in the spotlight. Participants could visit the training platforms (plateaux de formation) where trainees made ready for their future job within a very hands-on, problem-solving methodology. The pedagogical approach of AFPA is in fact based on realistic practical problems the trainees are asked to confront by thinking both individually and together. Trainers are available to support and eventually guide the students to the work out appropriate and well-tailored problem-solving strategies. The training staff consists of highly professional and motivated teachers who are capable of conveying enthusiasm and trust. This last is an essential ingredient of the training provided by AFPA, as most of their beneficiaries are adults who have lost or quit their previous job and are looking for a fresh start into a new profession, and adolescents who dropped out from school and need pedagogical tools and approaches others than those offered in traditional educational settings.

Other highlights of the staff training circuit were the visits to the “Vitamin T Group” headquarters and to the museum “La Piscine”.

Established as an enterprise aimed at providing employment to jobless young people, Vitamin T developed as an inspired and inspiring group who made of their brave vision of the future a concrete reality. Today, it consists of a partnership of regional enterprises which cover, together, entire cycles of sustainable economy, from the biodynamic production of food to the high-specialised recycling factories that are the jewels in the crown of the the Hauts-de-France region.

The art and industry museum André Diligent is better known as “la Piscine” (the swimming pool) and was established in 1835 in Roubaix, less than 15 kilometres away from Lille. Its development throughout more than a century represents a good example of a prolific synergy between a cultural site and a multiplicity of local actors, including vocational schools, arts and crafts, and publishers. The museum includes considerable artwork of the Art Nouveau and Art Déco styles around a swimming pool that has for long served public health purposes and whose architecture draws inspiration from Greek and Roman classical thermae. Artwork by artists as Chagall and Picasso enrich the collection.

Beside learning about the AFPA approach, the ETTE partners were also given food for thought on the topic of circular economy through diversified opportunities to exchange, as by sharing presentations on their own activities in the field, participating in icebreaking games and taking the lead of the final evaluation session.

Giving all and every one a second, third and umpteenth chance is certainly one of the distinguishing features that mark AFPA´s training provisions. The underlying philosophy is that every individual deserves to get as many opportunities as needed to develop their skills and find their way into the job market. Another bur related hallmark of excellence consists in AFPA´s training centres being so deeply embedded in the socio-economic fabric of the region and respondent to its specific needs.  Along with the bustling landscape of social and green enterprises they belong to, the Lomme and Hazebrouck provide training programmes that are at one and the same time needed by the local employment market and forward-looking with respect to the needs of the global economy. They design and implement certification programmes that respond to the braveness and the ambition of a socially responsible and environmentally friendly economy. With this respect, it is work mentioning the two professional profiles specifically created by AFPA: the technical agent of waste collection and the agent of soil remediation.

The next joint staff training will take place in Conegliano, Italy, on the topic of food catering and hospitality.

Author: Luisa de Paula
Designer: Samir Cheriaa

For more information regarding the ETTE project, please click here.

Visit of IME GSEVEE executives in France for a training focusing on circular economy

(translated from the Greek original version)

IME GSEVEE executives participated in the second joint staff training foreseen by the ETTE project. The visit took place in Lille, in the north-eastern France, from June the 18th to the 21st.

 The ETTE project aims to branch out practical centres of excellence providing vocational education and training with a specific focus on the continuous professional development of trainers and managers who are directly involved in the design and implementation of educational programs at local, regional and European level.

 The project intends to highlight and showcase new innovative practices in vocational education, encouraging the exchange of effective strategic approaches, educational partnerships and looking-forward pedagogies. It is implemented through a series of training circuits targeting local excellence in VET and aimed at defining high-quality benchmarking training experiences. The first joint staff training was designed by Le Forem and allowed participants to learn about the training provision in the logistic sector in Belgium. The second, organised by AFPA, was carried out in France and focused on circular economy.

 The program included:

  • a visit to AFPA, which was founded in 1949 and is the main provider of vocational training at national level in France. During the visit, the organization`s structure, daily work and training workshops specifically addressing technical professions were presented along with circular economy`s most innovative training sections.
  • a visit to a recycling factory and a presentation of waste collection and recycling techniques, recycling and maintenance of batteries and soil decontamination.
  • a visit to the ‘Vitamine T’ group of companies which applies pioneering methods of circular economy of discarded materials through repair or reuse in other applications.

Within the framework of the visit, Mr. Dimitrios Giakoulas, executive and participant from IME GSEVEE, gave a presentation covering crucial issues and dimensions of circular economy in Greece, as:

  • The structure and actions of IME GSEVEE
  • The current circular economy practices in Greece
  • The involvement of IME GSEVEE in projects related to the circular economy as well as its future goals and prospects in the field.

As it emerged from the above, the integration of circular economy into SMEs is not only driven by the need of better allocation of resources for the production process and the protection of the environment but also by the fact that it can be a lever of growth and added value for them. In Greece circular economy practices have been particularly widespread in the past, especially in the agricultural sector. Today, the great challenge is to review these past methods and reform them in the context of new productive needs, as well as to adopt more advanced practices from abroad.

Dimitris Giakoulas

translation: Simone Ramo and Lorenzo Principi