The composite industry is characterised by a high added value. It mostly employs workers performing accurate, high-quality manual labour. It is one of the few industries still valuing manual labour fabricating aircraft, boats, sports equipment, wind power turbine blades and even bathtubs from fibre materials.
Despite the fact that it employs hundreds of thousands of workers across Europe and is making about 70 million EUR each day it has gone under the radar of the educational system. This is due to the fact that for decades the productions techniques were closely guarded secrets. As a result, there is a total disconnect between the industry and education.
The project partnership will produce a holistic, useable and attractive training system for future composite fabricators. Partners of the CompoWIN project will jointly compose lessons plans, teacher preparation materials, along with the self-assessment exercises. That way, along with the combination of compohub.eu existing e-courses, VET teachers/trainers of general technical knowledge will be able to rapidly convert into teaching basic composite techniques.
The training system will represent one of the significant results of the project. The second equally important result will be the ability to introduce this training system very rapidly into organisations with no previous experiences with composites. Such an organisation needs would need a list of the basic material conditions before attempting a composite training course. This list will serve as a basic reference for an initial go/no-go decision by the educational organisation manager whether to adopt the training or not. Furthermore, it needs costeffective materials kits for the courses.
Apart from Slovenia, there is a total lack of national vocational standards in the field of composite manufacturing. Therefore, as a result of the project, the Slovenian ecosystem of industry-education-public organisations will be localised to Bulgaria and Croatia. In both countries, project partner will submit the vocational standard for composite manufacturers to their national educational systems. Having three countries within the EU adopted an almost identical vocational standard will promote the proliferation of this standard to other EU countries.
CompoWIN will involve participants of the following target groups:
- SMEs in the composite industry (i.e. companies that use the composite materials to manufacture composite parts for different industries (e.g. aerospace, automotive, marine, etc.) offering them training to improve their skills and knowledge in coherence with the latest development in the industry.
- SMEs, working in the regional wooden, textile, metal and other traditional manufacturing industries (i.e. furniture production, joinery, etc.) - offering them a chance to reskill and diversify their activities.
- Training organisations/institutions and VET providers - offering them a comprehensive training course for the composite industry, designed for educational and VET providers.
- Educational institutions in the field of VET - enabling them to immediately start training composite fabricators, utilising a proven system for rapid adoption of a course for the composite industry.
CompoWIN is a self-sustained project. The industry will organically grow and adapt the contents and material according to their needs ensuring sustainability in the post-project period. It will provide a fast, economical, and goal-oriented course and, furthermore, define and develop a new/upgraded occupational standard and catalogue of the “composite fabricator” (influencing also the future development of the national occupational qualifications). This will assure that skills and qualification can be more easily recognized, within and across national borders, as well as in the labour market.
CompoWIN is driven with three key innovation approaches:
- creation of a successful holistic employment model with input from completely different stakeholders;
- making the project results sustainable by introducing a futuristic model of organic didactic content development within all stakeholders after the project completion.
- addressing the lack of a national vocational standard for composite workers in Europe. It addresses and exploits it with the implementation of the same standard across all countries;
The project will present a durable and result-driven strategic partnership on a European level, maintained and enhanced, also after the end of EU funding. For Bulgaria, it is a visionary project, since in times of economic turmoil it already looks at preparing for the next industrial cycle. Bulgaria will benefit from facilitating the entry of a new high-tech industry sector supported by education. EU will benefit by consolidating an important industry sector making it more resilient to competitive pressures of Asia.