EUKA, drone cluster for Flanders, and co-promoter Hogeschool PXL, yesterday presented the ESF SWITCH exchange project at DronePort. With the support of the European Social Fund (ESF), both partners will this year create a framework in which SMEs and companies can learn from each other through workplace learning. Employees and self-employed people are given the opportunity to temporarily work in a different job context in 2020, in order to master the necessary competences. As long as it has to do with drone applications in the broad context.
In 2018, Hogeschool PXL carried out the “ESF-SCOPE” study on behalf of EUKA and CEGEKA. In this study, researcher Inge Ectors investigated which competences are necessary in the rapidly changing drone industry. This research showed that a great deal of knowledge and expertise is needed to work with drones, while there is not always a compliant answer.
“Training institutions only have limited training options available, while companies, SMEs and small self-employed people already have a great deal of knowledge and expertise in-house,” says Mark Vanlook, President of EUKA. “Together with colleges and universities, we want to offer a solution to fill this knowledge gap. Why not cross company boundaries and learn from and with each other?”
The project focuses on four industries: the drone industry, the construction sector, the agricultural and fruit sector and the security industry. For this, the sector associations Confederatie Bouw Limburg, Proefcentrum Fruitteelt, Boerenbond and APEG-BVBO were involved. In some sectors, drone applications are already more commonly used than in other sectors. This project provides the space to learn from each other and to grow faster.
“We are looking across these sectors for candidates who want to learn something about the application of drones or who want to acquire effective drone-related competencies,” explains Evi Knuts, Head of Research at the Expertise Center for Innovative Entrepreneurship at Hogeschool PXL. “On the other hand, we are also looking for experiential experts who are willing to take on that coaching role. The intention is that we ultimately come to a number of qualitative matches to start a SWITCH process with.”
With this approach, the promoters of the project want to stimulate “learning on the job”. “What you can learn during this project is very practical and quickly applicable. All competences will be clearly defined in advance in an in-depth interview and are individually adapted. As a result, we come to a unique tailor-made training course, in terms of both content and organization. In addition to the skills that the participants acquire, they also broaden their understanding of the sector and their network.”