Vocational Excellence made in BE: Le Forem “Skill Centres” in the spotlight of the ETTE project

 The concept and practice of Skill Center (Centre de Competence) has been at the core of the Joint Staff Training (JST) organised by Le Forem from March 18th up to the 20th across the Walloon region. Trainers and practitioner from Italy, France, Greece and the Netherlands had the opportunity to discover the VET excellence “made in Belgium” by visiting the flagships of the Walloon Agency for employment and vocational training dedicated to the logistical sector.

The meeting went off without a hitch, in a spirit of curiosity for the many inputs and learning situations through which participants could get a glimpse and a taste of the Walloon logistical cluster.

The “Forem Logistique” in Charleroi and Houdeng were the highlight of the first two days of training. Engaging presentations given by the masters of the house introduced the ETTE partners to the history, background and general functioning of the skill centres´ lab. But the visits were far from being one-sidedly theoretical: participants could also see and touch the learning tools and environments where warehousemen, storekeepers and truck-drivers learn the tools of their trade. They attended training sessions for future body shop mechanics busy to repair, among others, the Maserati engine of an exclusive Gillet. After due introductions and explanations, they could step in the trainees’ shoes by testing truck-driving under the expert supervision of the local trainers. And if it is not every day that one can climb behind a lorry’s wheel, even more unusual is it to find oneself drunk in a virtual truck, as it can only happen – we hope! – through a skilled simulation and the smart equipment of a skill centre. Whatever the case, the simulated experience has a certain deterrent effect on any temptation of being actually drunk at the driving wheel of a lorry.

The third day of training was dedicated to the Liège airport, which is quickly growing into Europe’s most important aerial harbour. Participants learnt about the infrastructures and investment plan underlying the hub and could explore the hangars and facilities of what has been designed to be the first marshalling house for all kinds of containers travelling in and out of Europe.

The historical industrial site of Marcinelle was the high point of the last day of training. Here, on August the 8th of 1956, an explosion caused the death of 262 miners. A physical and emotional journey in the everyday existence of mine workers from many different countries who had come to Belgium with the expectation of a better life just to find poverty and death left participants touched and grateful to live in better times.

The training ended with an exchange and sharing of the impressions gleamed during the previous days.

The next meeting will take place in France and focus on the circular economy.

ETTE aims to foster and showcase the pursue for excellence in the training of the trainers within a European framework which makes room for a pluralistic perspective on excellence by enhancing local and regional declensions of a qualitative professional education.


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