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UPWOOD multiplier event in Spain: insights

The national information day of the UPWOOD project took place at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) on Thursday 18 November while simultaneously streaming via Microsoft Teams. More than a hundred people attended the event in total.

Elisa Peñalvo and Javier Cárcel, from the UPV, opened the event by welcoming and introducing the stakeholders and proceeded to present the UPWOOD project. Elisa Peñalvo talked about the main objectives of the project as well as the activities within each intellectual output that the consortium was carrying out to reach these targets. Subsequently, she gave the floor to the invited experts to take part in a round table discussion on vocational and educational training for new apprentices in wood construction and energy efficiency and get their different points of view about the project.

The first expert to speak was Celia Ruiz, a representative of the National Reference Centre for the Transformation and Installation of Wood and Cork. She gave positive feedback about the UPWOOD learning units and resources showed and made special emphasis on the importance of energy efficiency and environmental protection in wood construction VET courses. 

Secondly, Jose Ramón Albiol, who is an expert in the field of wood construction from UPV, spoke from the perspective of wood construction research, commenting on some of the latest advances that would be interesting to incorporate into vocational training courses. 

Later, Hugo Bilbao, a teacher of a vocational training course in carpentry and woodworking from the IES Barrutialde BHI, told us about his courses and his interest in updating and adding new content and learning resources in his lessons since he considers it essential for trainers to be in continuous training in order to be able to pass on the best knowledge to their students. The resources to be made available by the project would be of great help in this regard. 

Then, Antonio Aznar and Heriberto Nortes, from SIDO MADERA which is a privately owned company with extensive experience in the wood construction sector on a large scale, told us about the difficulties they find as a company hosting vocational trainees in incorporating the trainees directly on a real construction works as they usually need previous courses on safety at work and they think that it might be interesting to include them as part of the vocational training. They also stressed that it is a growing sector since they are having more and more workload but that it is a sector that is constantly being updated where there are currently highly digitalised processes that require some specific training in design and software handling.

Finally, Celia Ruiz who had been taking notes of the needs commented by both teachers and companies, pointed out that they, as a national reference centre and part of the public administration, have the capacity to influence active policies that make on-site training in companies difficult and also in the promotion of the latest knowledge and technologies in the sector. In this respect, she commented that they are also starting to offer courses including virtual reality simulators to prepare students as well as possible for real-life work and that the training of vocational training students must be trusted. She considered it very interesting that the UPWOOD project could have brought them all together for this purpose.

Elisa Peñalvo ended the event by summarising these and other relevant thoughts that had arisen during the round table and gave the floor to the audience to ask their questions to the speakers as most of them were from the construction and training sector. The event was finalised with a good feeling but also with the desire to share more time among the invited experts, who will follow the project closely.

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