A regional planning process for sustainable urban development carried out by Hordaland County Council (HCC) during 2016 concluded to put an extra focus on the development of urban centres and towns. HCC also recognised that, although upper-secondary VET schools are mostly situated in urban centres and act as important local providers of competences and future local labour force, they are generally not invited to local planning processes in which these centres are created.
Modern societies are urban, and the number of urban centres is rapidly growing. A general challenge is to develop towns/centres in a sustainable way, which is a multiple task, and requires multiple participation. Regional and national plans are pointing at these challenges. The Europe 2020 strategy emphasises that a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth will deliver high levels of employment and social cohesion. To strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness the New Skills Agenda for Europe highlights the need for more work-based learning and business; that is, education partnerships and cross-sectorial cooperation as a tool to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
In this context, a strong European partnership has been created between six European regions, which have defined together the objectives and framework for this project: “Sustainable development of urban centres with active involvement of VET (VET in Urban Centres).” The project takes the New Skills Agenda a step further and adds local/regional authorities to the business-education cooperation. By cross-sectorial cooperation, sharing of best practices and methods on local planning and VET programmes, observing differences, challenges and solution in other regions, new ideas and approaches will be identified, and solutions developed.
It is a strong European partnership, coordinated by HCC, representing VET providers, businesses, regional planning authorities and umbrella organisations for VET and businesses/the labour market.
The objective for this innovative project is to create governance models for active involvement and participation of upper-secondary VET schools/providers and the local businesses in the planning processes and development of urban centres. Furthermore, develop new VET programmes that are directly linking schoolwork to the challenges and possibilities in the local centre. Creating an cooperation arena between VET providers, municipalities and the labour market; Strengthen VET programmes in line with the needs in the local/regional labour market; Develop the innovation capacity in VET; Strengthen VET students’ engagement in the devel-opment of their hometowns/centres and thus increasing their motivation and employability and possibly to reduce the percentage of NEETs ; And inform the policy makers on this important matter.
The project will produce two intellectual outputs:
O1: Develop a model for useful and efficient local cooperation to meet these challenges.
O2: Develop a model a new innovative educational VET-programme.
The project will have six transnational project meetings during the project period of 27 months. These will be organised as project management meetings combined with workshop activities and site visits. Between transnational meetings, the partners will conduct surveys and testing in their home regions. A final multiplier event will be held in Brussels.
The project has a wide range of target groups and is aiming to influence ways of organising local/regional partnerships and to embed the results into the educational programmes. In this way create attractive, sustainable urban centres and thus make a change for people and the societies as a whole. Inspire and motivate local planning and economic development authorities; owners of VET Institutions/providers/schools; VET teachers and students, local business and labour market and local policy makers. Ultimate that the results will reach other relevant stakeholders at regional, national and European level. The project is also aiming to motivate stakeholders and the project partnership to work further on this subject and create spin-offs.