To meet growing demand for energy-efficient buildings, the CraftEdu project developed an e-learning platform that helps to ensure the availability of the right skills amongst on-site workers and vocational schools in Czechia.
Achieving greener building standards, such as nearly zero-energy buildings or deep renovations, relies on specialist skills amongst construction professionals. The EU-supported project CraftEdu (Setting up national qualification and training scheme for craftsmen in the Czech Republic and developing the further offer of training courses in Slovakia, Austria and Bulgaria) has developed training and qualifications for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, initially for Czechia. “COVID-19 restrictions spurred us on to increase the online component of our training. Our interactive e-learning platform will include over 30 training videos and around 20 e-learning modules, with regular online consultations between trainers and students,” explains project coordinator Jiří Karásek, from the SEVEn Energy Efficiency Center. “We are already seeing good levels of engagement, with one training video for electricians already receiving over 550 views.” CraftEdu built on the achievements of the previous StavEdu project in Slovakia, which had stimulated a dialogue between policymakers, vocational trainers and employers about how to deliver the construction skills needed to meet the EU’s 2020 energy targets. StavEdu led to a voluntary initiative called Building Future, established in Slovakia, for the training of professionals working on energy efficiency solutions and the use of renewables. CraftEdu extended this initiative to Czechia.
Reaching educational and professional stakeholders
CraftEdu set out to provide a full qualification package for seven established professions key to energy-efficient buildings, in either construction or renovation. These were heating, ventilation and air conditioning installers, carpenters, low-voltage electricians, high-voltage electricians, hydro-insulators, stove and chimney builders and inspecting technicians, to which the project added the more recently established window installers. Development of the training modules involved trainers and vocational schools already developing training courses, alongside Czech and Slovak ministries and construction associations, guilds and chambers of commerce, including the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Association of Construction Entrepreneurs in both countries. “While the project initially aimed for just one e-learning programme, given our pivot to e-learning, we will likely develop around 18, increasing the project’s impact,” says Karásek. “We already have over 350 registered participants, and interest is strong across the portfolio.” Once fully implemented, those who successfully complete a course will receive the CraftEdu certificate. The courses are currently being piloted in Czechia and Slovakia with 280 craftspeople, and should be completed by autumn 2021. To roll out the programme to nearby countries, such as Austria and Bulgaria, the training is designed to be as visual as possible, using icons instead of words to reduce translation requirements. The CraftEdu courses and support can be accessed after registration on the CraftEdu database which is available in four languages (Czech, Slovak, German and Bulgarian), with most of the training available in Czech and Slovakian.
Enticing young people into Green Growth careers
CraftEdu’s programme contributes directly to EU efforts to create Green Growth jobs, by offering training and qualifications in an industry tasked with delivering energy efficiency as part of the European Green Deal. “Crucially, by designing training which is engaging and modern, CraftEdu helps to attract young people who are starting out in their careers,” adds Karásek. The team will continue to collaborate with ministries, construction companies and schools to further develop the training schemes. It is also working to integrate the platform within the curricula of vocational schools in Czechia and Slovakia. Additionally, working with construction associations, the team has influenced policy, such as proposing an upgrade to qualification standards in Czechia, while the new Slovakia building code will be introduced with support from project partner ZSPS (website in Slovak).
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