Finnish higher education institutions developing future solutions for digitalisation, sustainable development and the marine industry
The 2022 application round was the first application round of the new programming period. The total amount of funding available was EUR 46 million. Funding was awarded to a total of 39 projects, of which 24 were cross-sectoral digital education or green transition projects, 10 were VET projects and 5 were adult learning projects. The total number of eligible applications submitted within the deadline was 91, of which 43% were awarded funding.
The three Finnish higher education institutions contributing to projects that were awarded funding are Aalto University, the University of Jyväskylä and Turku University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Machine Technology Center Turku Ltd.. The projects that they are contributing to focus on digital education, sustainable development solutions in education and new solutions for the maritime industry in the VET lot.
Support for developing competence and skills in the maritime industry and increasing the appeal of the sector
Turku University of Applied Sciences was awarded funding as part of an international consortium in the 2022 application round for Forward-looking Projects. The consortium’s CHAlleNGE 4S project is a VET project that primarily aims at developing the competence and skills of maritime industry personnel and tackling the shortage of talent in the industry. The consortium consists of educational institutions, maritime industry companies and clusters in Finland, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The Finnish contributors are Turku University of Applied Sciences and Machine Technology Center Turku Ltd..
The project will organise training for marine industry machinery professionals and produce material for attracting new talent to the industry. The project is also expected to have broader impacts in the regions of the participating organisations by facilitating the growth of employment, competence and business activities.
Turku University of Applied Sciences has extensive experience in contributing to international projects, but this is the first time that the university is involved in an Erasmus+ Forward-looking Project. The university’s participation in the project was inspired by concerns about the lack of talent in the maritime industry and a desire to contribute to maritime industry VET and the competence development of the industry’s professionals.
The impetus for participating in the CHAlleNGE 4S project application arose from a genuine need in the maritime industry and the Turku region. ”In practice, the factors behind challenges in the maritime industry are similar in many regions: personnel is getting older, young people do not find the industry very appealing and new talent is needed for both existing positions and new jobs created particularly as a result of digitalisation and the green transition. One of the major issues being looked into is how more of these competence development measures could be carried out collaboratively,” comments Senior Advisor Juha Valtanen from Turku University of Applied Sciences. The project is expected to provide examples of effective education and development measures, create new major partnerships and result in further research and education projects. Over the long term, the project is also hoped to increase the international business activities of companies based in the participating regions. In Turku, participation in Erasmus+ projects is considered very important. “With the field being more or less global/Europe-wide, participation in these kinds of projects is essential,” Juha Valtanen states.
Next application round in early 2023
The next application round for Erasmus+ Forward-looking Projects ends on 15 March 2023. During this application round, funding is available in three project lots: digital education (cross-sectoral), vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning. The programme is managed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). In Finland, information about the programme is provided by the Finnish National Agency for Education, which also provides support to applicants alongside the EACEA.