MATES Steering Group Meeting Thessaloniki

MATES Steering Group Meeting took place in Thessaloniki, north Greece, on 16-17th October 2019. 

Revision of next steps: coordination of activities for WPs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9.

There were detailed presentations for each WP: a full report can be accessed in the MATES Intranet.

However, a new feature of this SG meeting was the organisation of Hands-on sessions to extend the range and impact of the 11 Pilot Experiences (see 2nd post to see how this was tackled ).

The Pilot Experiences aim to tackle skill shortages in the shipbuilding and offshore marine renewable industries – two sectors of many which are experiencing both opportunities and challenges with the drive towards a greener, knowledge-driven economy.

MATES is tackling these challenges head-on, building on the premise of partnership – or a Sectoral Skills Alliance – between industry and academia. Treated within such a structure, addressing skill gaps becomes a collaborative process. With a specific focus on shipbuilding and offshore marine renewable energy, MATES partners have been engaging with stakeholders over the past twenty months. This culmination of efforts has resulted in the publication of the MATES Strategy Baseline Report which has identified key paradigm shifters for both industries. It is these paradigm shifters which form the basis of the design of the MATES Pilot Experiences.

While some of the Pilot Experiences aim to increase the quality and relevance of curricula to better align education and training with industry needs, others will provide real-life work experience through staff and student exchanges between industry and academia. One Pilot Experience will strategically input new skills into ESCO (the European online classification of Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) which is part of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

According to MATES partner Margaret Eleftheriou, who took part in the Europe 2020 Initiative ESCO and the EU Expert Group on Skills and Career Development in the Blue Economy, “ESCO is a tool that provides a common language for the labour market, the education and training sector, and jobseekers, allowing for and leading to better understanding, transparency and labour market mobility. MATES contribution to ESCO will ensure that the new emerging occupational profiles in the shipbuilding and offshore marine renewable energy will be transferred to the wider ESCO community assuring extended impact.”

Andy Kontoudakis, EC Policy Officer for DG MARE, also in attendance at the MATES meeting, emphasised the importance of linking with ESCO, “By revising and updating occupational profiles, through ESCO, Sectoral Skills Alliances will improve Vocational and Educational Training. This grounding in ESCO is one of the key requirements to ensure the success of a Blueprint project.”

Hands-on Sessions

Two interactive sessions were devoted to Hands-on Pilot Experiences; this was an effective method for kick-starting both the design process itself and how to maximize the impact of each Pilot Experience (PE).

It is worth taking a closer look to see how this worked out in practice.

The Hands-on sessions were organized to try to get the PE leaders and their partners to think out of the box in order not only to explain their PE but to work out how to communicate the concept as clearly and briefly as possible. Necessary support material (crayons, pens, infographics, paper) was provided.

In the first session each PE leader worked with a single partner to prepare a visual/conceptual poster to produce a 1-minute pitch presentation containing:


2) CONTENT: Exactly what is the PE going to do? (Define the PE using pictograms/ words/ own drawings, etc.)

3) An attractive/innovative CONCEPT (use keywords/infographics/icons to explain the idea).

Here you see the Ocean Literacy team at work in the first stage of the process.

In the second Hands-on session, there were 3 groups with 4 PE leaders: A) VET; B) Ocean Literacy; C)Industry 4.0. After each PE leader had made their 1-minute pitch from each PE was carried out, the groups had to find answers to the following questions:

1. What are the final “tangible” products for your PE?

2. How do you see the scale-up ofthe Experience? And the PE products? Could the certification of qualifications be an option? How do you envisage the exploitation of your PE?

3. What could go wrong when implementing the PE? How could this be prevented? Identify at least 3 points and the contingency measures.

And here you see the group deciding how well the process had worked and making further changes


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