EU’s 3D4VET Studies Project Developing Program to Add 3D Printing Curricula to Vocational Training

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3D4VET Studies (3D4VET) is a project co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ program that is on a mission to add 3D printing to the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). The aim is to define a common competence – in this case Expert on 3D Printing – that can be applied to a variety of VET domains, and to create a corresponding learning pathway for it.

The idea, according to International R&D Projects Researcher Beatriz González del Valle from Spanish project partner INCOMA, was to develop a collaborative online training and resources platform for teachers and trainers to use.

According to the 3D4VET website, “The project mainly aims at developing innovative curricula based on the usage of new digital technology to implement in the additive manufacturing industry, in line with the priority related to open and innovative education, training and youth, imbedded in the digital era. Furthermore, the new curricula will be adapted to the ECVET point system to guarantee an easy recognition in all partner countries, thus contributing to the transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications to facilitate learning, employability and labour mobility.”

3D4VET project activities will make it possible to produce 3D printers, so that VET providers are able to create their own training equipment to use. As the website states, this will help to promote sustainable investments, high efficiency and performance in education and training, and improve the quality of the learning process for students and trainees so that they can become more employable.

The proposed curriculum developed by the project is based on the use of new digital technology which can be implemented in the AM industry. It will then be adapted to the ECVET point system so it can be easily recognized in partner countries to facilitate learning, labor mobility, and employability.

In addition to INCOMA, other project partners are the BioAvan R & D+i laboratory in Spain, the Industrijsko-obrtnička škola Slavonski Brod (IOS) secondary school in Croatia, Spanish educational center IES Antonio de Ulloa, the not-for-profit training center IFOA in Italy and Forcoop Cora Venezia Sc in Italy, and the woman-owned UK SME Inova Consultancy Ltd. Several partner meetings, in addition to a pilot testing for students and teachers, have already been carried out.

3D4VET lists three main outputs:

  1. Definition of the 3D Expert Competence – the set of knowledge and skills collected to define a “transversal competence”
  2. Development of 3D Expert Learning Pathway – this will be tested and validated in three EU countries
  3. Collaborative platform – this can be used by trainers to share learning material, expertise, and other important resources

The expected impacts of this program on students, teachers, and target groups are many, and include improved ability for entrepreneurship and knowledge acquisition, trainer capacity building and a recognized learning path, and reinforcement of workforce mobility potentials, increased implementation of 3D printing technologies, and more available learning resources. Without training, the 3D printing revolution will not have the workforce to be implemented.

3D printing is being included more frequently in curricula for vocational training around the world, so the 3D4VET project is in good company.

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