About the WOODCircle project
WOODCircle aims to cope with the twin transition of the industry, by focusing on the creation of a new profile for the Circular and Sustainable Woodworker, capable to solve both technical and environmental issues, thus supporting an ethical process based on producing and at the same time respecting the basic principles of sustainability.
The actual situation
The furniture sector is a very relevant sector for the EU economy, employing about 1 million workers in about 120.000 enterprises (composed at 99% by micro, small and medium size companies), generating an annual turnover of around €96 billion and producing 25% of world Furniture.
Europe is the world's second largest furniture market, with 26% of global consumption, second only to Asia-Pacific (43%) and larger than the North American market (23%). More than 80% internal furniture consumption in Europe comes from European manufacturers: Italy is the largest furniture producing country in the European Union with a production value of 22.365 million euros, followed by Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
The recognised creative capacity for new designs and the responsiveness to new demands give EU furniture manufacturers a good reputation worldwide: European industry can combine new technologies and innovation with cultural heritage and style and provides jobs for highly skilled workers. The EU is a world leader in the high-end segment of the furniture market. Nearly two out of every three high-end furniture products sold in the world are produced in the EU.
The main objectives
Similar to the partners' previous project WOODigital, our aim is to develop a dual system model and training offer that builds on and develops existing knowledge and practices in a way that is relevant to the sector and facilitates the transition to a circular economy;
Optimising and sharing a well-organised dual system model to promote the skills needed for the transition to a circular economy in the wood sector, based on specific methodological guidelines and by promoting innovative training approaches, including mobility and e-learning;
Developing a learner-centred training offer that can be replicated and developed in other EU Member States (micro and small enterprises) and initiatives, with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector.
The action is targeted to help youth from the EU (ages 18 to 35) become key drivers for properly answering to the challenges posed by the requirements of circular economy and sustainable production, which have been reshaping the woodworking and furniture industry in recent years.
It also contributes to feeding a sector made up almost completely by SMEs and aged workforce with young skilled workers, and thus avoiding the loss of European manufacturing and craftsmanship history.
The expected results
Improving the skills of woodworkers for the transition to a circular economy and making the sector more adaptable and resilient to the changes required by the necessary change of mindset, by making training offers and systems more flexible and innovative; Enhancing cooperation and dialogue between different stakeholders (SMEs and representatives of entrepreneurs/employers, VET providers, innovation experts and practitioners) with the aim of stimulating innovation across Europe, both at training and industry level;
Promoting innovation in wood and furniture vocational education and training provision/transition from school to work, supporting the integration and employability of young people by enhancing the acquisition of digital skills in a work-based transnational environment;
Develop, test and validate a dual model for enhancing sustainable learning mobility, including innovative teaching, learning and assessment practices; and Developing a quality-driven cycle by drawing lessons and results from other projects to create further synergies between wood-based projects at EU level, and then inspiring other national initiatives (including Horizon Europe, COSME, ESF).
Dual vocational training combines activities carried out in both the training center and on the job.
The project thrives within both cooperation and knowledge frameworks of other EU projects (WOODUAL, FUNES, IM-FUTURE, DIGIT-FUR and others), which have been claiming the use of dual training system in the wood and furniture sectors to improve digital skills and employability of young people and cooperation between business and VET providers across Europe.
At the core of the project there is a strategic management of knowledge by:
Fostering teaching and learning of circular skills, WOODCIRCLE strives to strengthen employability and key competences of young people, making woodworking a knowledge-based industry. The more woodworking processes and products are digital and digitised, the more data and information are available to SMEs and other relevant players to make their offer more attractive and valuable for the market, enhancing the decision-making process;
Running a feedback loop, the partnership is committed to nurture strategic links to further enhance synergies among woodworking-based projects at EU level;
Being involved in long-lasting cooperation and business relationships, partners have been producing new knowledge that is worth investigating through additional resources, facilitating a knowledge-transfer process between education and business for mutual improvements.