The project will catalyse industry and education provider partnerships to develop and deliver technically current and accessible VET, supported by ICT enabled learning which leads to reliable and trusted national qualifications, based on robust assessment practices. The project will mobilise partners from industry and the education sectors in the 2 northern European countries cage farming fish. Both the industry and education sectors will have an important role to play in sustaining activities. Full and associated partners will have a sufficient vested interest to commit resources in support of the continuation of project forums and communication networks, proven to be effective as supporting is consistent with the achievement of their organisation’s mission and objectives.
The project will culminate in a new training plan for aquaculture VET innovation and the harmonisation of national recognized qualifications between Norway, Iceland and The Faroe Islands. This will address previously neglected workforce development issues, sustaining the momentum generated by partners and industry, thereby contributing to the sustainable growth of acuaculture by improvings staffs green and ICT knowledge.
The project will have a range of immediate short-term impacts, and will catalyse an immediate, but limited, improvement of best practice into aquaculture VET delivery in fish farming industry in Norway and Island, and to the Pharos Iselands within the next 2-3 years. This Strategic Partnership and VET innovation project will build on this embryonic collaborative VET activity, significantly. There are some long term impacts and the opportunity to transform the governance of the sector at northern European level through the creation of a northern European Aquaculture Forum driven by industry engagement.
Short term expected impacts:
The industry and the VET sector will have a robust evidence base to inform their workforce development and VET planning at regional, national and European level, including information on;
- The proportion and distribution of aquaculture best practice for company employees that lack the qualifications appropriate to their role,
- Best practice input to occupational definitions, including occupational profiles, levels and ‘species specific’ standards for high priority occupations to inform VET design and development,
- The skills needs and VET demand, including; aquaculture best practices practices and technology, new digital and green skills that providers need to reflect in their courses and qualifications
- Relevant, existing aquaculture courses and national qualifications (NQs) from VET providers and equivalencies that will implement training to promote and enhance development of joint best practices. This will also be of direct benefit to learners.
In addition, supported by best practice sharing within the VET provider networks established, small scale improvements to delivery practices will also be possible, including;
- The deployment of new ICT tools and methods to support the accreditation of best practices increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery of NQs programmes applying group learning to develope and implement best prctices
- The increased inclusion of ICT enabled delivery modes that can support work based learning and assessment.
Longer term expected impacts:
The aquaculture industry in each country, including the producer, processing and technology supply sectors, will become more aware of the workforce development challenges that they have in common, and the benefit of collective action to establish and apply best practice withnin training programes. The multinational technology supply companies will continue to help define future skills needs in response to technological advancement. The industry will be better able to anticipate changes to the knowledge and skills requirements of their operatives at all levels, informing collaborative VET development strategies and leading to a much more responsive VET system.
- Occupational profiles and standards for aquaculture best practice will be expanded, building on the methodology applied to marine cage farming, to create a comprehensive occupational map to guide further European workforce development planning.
- The ESCO definition of aquaculture will be revised incrementally with best practice development and implementation, and completed, increasing transparency and raising the profile of the aquaculture sector within the Blue economy.
Through consideration of the final reports, the industry will have the opportunity to accelerate its own development and maturation, guided by an action plan for best practice that has been informed by companies and their employees. The project has the potential to help catalysing the establishment of a northern European Aquaculture Forum, as highlighted on page 7 of the Blue Growth, Opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth (European Union, 2012). This new forum could unite northern a European aquaculture interests and take responsibility for supporting European workforce development in the longer term.
Furthermore, a higher skilled workforce is going to lead to
- Local level: Safer workspace, better work environment, enableing creativity and innovation in the workspace, and a thriving community
- Regional level: Attracts more people to move to the lesser populated regions where fishfarming often is situated.
- National level: A safer industry, leads to a pride in the overall community. An exciting industry for young people to join into.