AGRISMART project

Sustainability and Digital Skills for the Agriculture Sector

The E+ AGRISMART project is the result of a strategic partnership of 6 European countries, aiming at adapting VET & WBL provision to existing and emerging occupational needs & strengthening the climate-smart and digital skills of workers in agriculture.

About the Project

The EU has prioritised the promotion of sustainable agriculture, also referred to as “climate-smart” agriculture and has signed up to relevant international commitments. Digital technologies are central for the development of a smarter, resource-efficient, more competitive agricultural sector. The digital divide between urban and rural areas in Europe, a barrier towards this goal, still persists, notwithstanding EU’s efforts and various activities to improve digital skills in rural areas. It should further be noted that in terms of initial and continuing education and training, the vast majority of farm managers in the EU rely solely on practical experience; Work-Based Learning (WBL) is, thus, vital for achieving the development of climate-smart and digital skills in the sector and, in turn, VET programs and WBL schemes need to update their offerings and skills portfolio to better address learners’ climate-smart and digital skill training needs and to develop training opportunities for upskilling existing workers on the basis of such competences. AGRISMART project’s outputs will be some tools for responding to this challenge. 

The Challenge

Goals

The Partners

The effort to develop the digital skills of workers and increase the sustainability of the sector needs to take into account that agriculture has a very strong practical experience component; correspondingly, Work-Based Learning (WBL) is vital for achieving this objective. Yet, existing training offerings at post-secondary and VET level place little to none emphasis on these dimensions, as demonstrated by current curricula offered by VET providers in most EU countries. There is thus an increasing need to better align WBL with existing and emerging workplace requirements and realities, especially as regards environmentally sustainable and digital practices and applications. WBL schemes need to update their offerings and skills portfolio, to better address learners’ climate-smart and digital skill training needs, and developing training opportunities for upskilling existing workers on the basis of such competences.

The main objective of the project is to adapt VET and WBL provision to existing and emerging occupational needs. The AGRISMART project also aims to strengthen the climate-smart and digital skills of workers in agriculture. AGRISMART is also expected to offer the opportunity to third parties, at an international level, to identify which aspects of the project would yield significant benefits if transferred to their own framework of activities.

The partnership comprises 6 organisations from 6 EU countries (IT, GR, BEL, PL, SK, GER), from the world of research and agricultural training. The lead partner, UNIMI, is home to one of the strongest faculties of Agricultural and Food Sciences. DEULA-Nienburg, ARID and AGROINSTITUT are leading VET providers in agriculture with significant experience in the development of training programs and WBL activities. EXELIA and INNOVELA are experts in R&D and delivery of innovative learning methodologies. 

Results

Objectives

The AGRISMART project aims at adapting VET and WBL provision to existing and emerging occupational needs and strengthening the climate-smart and digital skills of workers in agriculture. In particular, the project will:


  • Design a course curriculum on climate-smart and digital practices, addressing current and future occupational needs.
  • Introduce various training delivery methods and innovative open access pedagogical resources, tailored to sectoral characteristics, to support VET and WBL provision.
  • Increase the capacities and enhance cooperation between public and sectoral stakeholders, to promote the integration of climate smart and digital skills development in training offerings and regional policies, thus reaching out to agricultural communities.
  • A set of learning outcomes (clustered into learning units) for the development of climate-smart and digital agricultural skills.
  • A modular course for VET provision and OERs.
  • A VOOC comprising the AgriSmart course in its online form.
  • A Mentor’s toolkit for the integration of the AgriSmart learning outcomes in agriculture WBL.
  • A position paper for the integration of the project results in VET offerings and regional policies.
  • A set of resources for the promotion and implementation of training on climate-smart and digital skills in agricultural communities.
  • A Statement of Support on the validity of the developed learning outcomes.
  • 6 national information days (one in each partnership country) to promote project results and set an open discussion on sectoral skills development needs and ways to address them.