The Basque Country outlines the Basque VT Strategy for Industry 4.0
- At the invitation of the European Commission, the Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Vocational Training, Jorge Arévalo, was in Brussels to explain the VT-based strategy that the Basque Country has been implementing to drive Industry 4.0
- The Deputy Minister's presentation was part of the consultation process that the European Commission has been conducting for the future Skills Agenda for Europe and to ensure it is in line with the professional needs of Industry 4.0
At the invitation of the European Commission, the Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Vocational Training, Jorge Arévalo, spoke this afternoon, at the meeting of the European Advisory Committee on Specialisation and Industry 4.0, headed by the European Commission. The Committee is currently coordinating and comparing initiatives and proposals in the run up to the future Vocational Training Skills Agenda for Europe, with the close cooperation of the Basque Country Delegation to the European Union, in which context the Deputy Minister was speaking. The committee is made up of the Directors of the European Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise, along with representatives from different Ministries of EU States.
Deputy Minister Arévalo was the only representative of the European regions and presented the Basque Vocational Training Strategy, along with the results and specific initiatives based on VT that the Basque Government is leading in the Basque Country to meet the needs of Industry 4.0. The statement to the Committee, usually reserved for Member States, is yet further EU recognition of Basque Vocational Training, highlighting that the Basque Vocational Training Strategy is at the spearhead. Special mention should also be made of its openness, appropriateness and the specific results achieved, always in association with the people who make up the vocational training environment.
The New Skills Agenda for Europe is going to set the future European curriculum agenda, and involve all European territories, as its educational policies will have to adapt to that European Agenda, and meaning it is one of the most far-reaching European reforms. The Basque Country, therefore, has made good progress and is at the forefront of Europe. It has brought the VT sector and company together to ensure it continues to be a territory specialising in innovation and competitiveness.
Basque Strategy through Vocational Training
During the session, Deputy Minister Jorge Arévalo outlined the strategy that the Basque Country is implementing through Vocational Training to drive advanced industry and Industry 4.0, together with the professional skills that people will need to work in them.
During his intervention entitled Skills for the Competitiveness of Industry 4.0: the Approach of the Basque Country, Arévalo stressed the need to define a strategy to work in complex frameworks such as the present one, a strategy that divides this complexity into manageable spaces, thus providing solution to its different parts, and to ensure progress. In this regard, he stressed the importance of "preparing people in a different way, capable of managing complexity", and he highlighted and cited cross-cutting skills, including the capacity to interpret, understand, analyse, synthesise, transmit and, in particular, decision-making capacity that industry professionals have to acquire and develop.
In close connection with skills-based learning, the Deputy Minister explained the far-reaching methodological transformation in which Basque VT centres are immersed, by means of the introduction of the High Performance Cycles. Challenge-based collaborative learning is the core aspect of this innovative model. The methodological change, which even embraces a new layout of the physical facilities, seeks to incorporate new contexts to the classroom that allow the professional skills of the students to be better developed in their learning process (both cross-cutting and technical skills). Improving the skills acquisitions of those skills is also an opportunity to make the companies more competitive. Currently 46 VT centres in the Basque Country are applying this methodological method, involving 1,646 teachers and 3,474 students in 139 different training cycles.
During his presentation, Arévalo also referred to the importance of SMEs beginning to embrace the 3.0 strategy. "If our SMEs do not begin to work on Strategy 43.0, they may end up disappearing," he warned, to recall that Vocational Training in the Basque Country focuses on driving the development of Applied Innovation in the SMEs as a strategic line. Therefore, Basque VT is putting all the expertise and knowledge existing in vocational training centres as the disposal of the SMEs, by means of providing services and comparing new prototypes, materials and products.
Specialisation programmes are another of the strategic lines of Basque VT that Arévalo covered in Brussels. Those programmes are set up to provide real and rapid responses to the competitiveness and employability needs of our companies. Arévalo also listed the areas on which Basque VT is currently working, including additive manufacturing, connected factory 4.0, advanced manufacturing, smart systems, flexible robotics, virtual reality, Big Data and cyber-security.
The Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Vocational Training ended his presentation by stressing the need for collaborative and joint work to improve competitiveness and innovation, both in the Basque Country and in Europe overall. "Competing by cooperating," he stressed, adding that "the strength of a territory, of a country, and of the European Union itself, is the sum of the strength of the people that make up its society.