The S.T.R.E.E.T. project was funded by the Erasmus programme in the field of Education and Training and one of its aims was to make a contribution on tackling the socio-economic changes. For this reason, we combined two major changes: the growing need of a sustainable mobility and need of young people to gain skills that could support them in the labour market.
It was an ambitious and long project and the young people involved had a heterogeneous background and were very skilled in some fields related to the topic of sustainable mobility. So the challenge was ambitious and the goal was to provide them with additional skills that could help their professional growth.
Combining a partnership with different scope and missions was another challenge as often different professional fields have their own vocabulary and keep themselves within their boundaries, which makes difficult to connect with other areas. In the project we realised that synergy and cross-fertilisation must be promoted in Europe for a competitive economy.
At the end of the project we can say that, although it requested a lot of effort, we managed to teach 21 young people a set of skills transferred by professionals in the fields of Sustainable Mobility and Transport and we did it in an innovative way as, thanks to the Erasmus Plus funding , the learners were able to experience the topics directly on the field of the partner countries. They were able to make connections, see real companies working on sustainable mobility and generate fresh ideas for their future profession.
We used modern tools to disseminate the project and we decided, after the end of the project, to open the Learning Platform and make it accessible to all, even if the field of sustainable transport and tourism is known to be changing rapidly.
From the point of view of a training organisation, ENGIM very clearly understood what is expected in general terms from the point of view of the roles of education and training in the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy: to keep the EU competitive and innovative it is important to provide EU citizens with skills and competences the European economy and society need. At the same time, EU citizens should be the objective of effective social cohesion and inclusion policies.
Besides, we identified two other Erasmus goals to achieve in S.T.R.E.E.T.:
- fostering improvements, innovation and internationalisation in training organisations
- providing more attractive training programmes, also with ICT-based methodologies
We provided contents of the learning activities both online and offline (in classrooms) and the latter are now also available online after being converted in video lessons.
The learners were given constant feedbacks concerning contents of the lessons and the programme of the learning activities; one evaluation session was made using the innovative “Lego Serious Play” method that gave useful insights on perspectives and lessons learnt. The final evaluation of the training method carried out with the learners at the end of the project underlined the importance of group lessons, exercises and practical case studies: this is a valuable suggestion we will take into consideration for future projects and similar activities.
The innovation and internationalisation of the training organisations and improved management competencies and strategies are often heritage of those working in projects and the challenge is to spread this knowledge to the rest of staff. We must also underline that every day we struggle with the rigidity of the training systems at local level that are often not even organised at a national level but a regional level. Because of this, it is also hard to provide trainees with skills which are clearly understandable and recognisable by other systems. This generates a problem in a modern Europe made of young people who live and work in countries different from the native one.
The efforts being made in this field by the EU are massive and are gradually changing the local systems, however there is still a lot to be done within the organisations themselves too: the trainers and the management teams need to acquire a wider perspective which goes beyond the regional and even beyond the national borders.
From the training point of view we can say that the focus of the project was on the learners: they were not passive “participants” but they actively contributed to the development of the activities, they made presentations during the learning activities, they were included in the panels during the multiplier events and they proactively and constantly gave opinions, feedbacks and points of view so that they could have a project respondent to their need as young people and European citizens.
TRANSPADANA as the project dissemination manager paid special attention to shape communication registers in relation to the different kinds of stakeholders addressed including – but not limited to – policy makers, sustainable transport & tourism solutions providers and end users. The added value of our students has been effective in preparing the project newsletters, populating social networks and expressing their opinions during the Turin and London Multiplier Events. This made us think that future Erasmus initiatives should regularly involve their participants to learning activities in carrying out communication and dissemination activities in close co-operation with project partners. To make this possible, though, we realised their daily reimbursement fees should be increased accordingly.
It is the ALPINE PEARLS partner’s opinion that the project showed this kind of learning activities can be very useful for young people of mountain villages working in the tourism sector or in the field of mobility, as in these regions there is no successful tourism without efficient mobility and, vice versa, there would not be enough resources for mobility infrastructures without tourism. On the one side we are living in a time where tourist expectations are always higher as far as mobility is concerned; on the other side touristic areas need to develop mobility solutions able to match also the needs of inhabitants.
The exchange with students from urban areas and the heterogeneity of the learning contents of the S.T.R.E.E.T. project (especially during the study visits) was a very good opportunity to collect new expertise and wider know-how. This interdisciplinary approach was very appreciated by the students and should be further implemented in future projects, maybe in form of Summer Schools open not only to the target group identified in he S.T.R.E.E.T. project, but also to collaborators of municipalities and tourism organisations and providers.
The S.T.R.E.E.T. students gave OBČINA BLED, one of the Alpine Pearls, some great ideas on how to improve a poor traffic situation that is mainly triggered by tourists. Some of the proposals given to the municipality at the end of their study visit in Bled were realised. It was also important for students to meet new people and assess different opinions.
Even if we already knew that, being Bled a very small town, it would have been inappropriate to compare solutions introduced in Turin or London, we realised the design and implementation of measures for managing transport and tourism flows should be carried out in a different way. As a matter of fact, larger cities have a well-developed public transport system, whereas smaller cities and towns (where all the distance could be covered on foot or by bike) have completely different needs.
One of the main concepts the project highlighted is that smaller municipalities should focus on improving their infrastructures for walking and cycling and promote them among residents and tourists. One excellent opportunity to take actions on advertising soft mobility solution is the European Mobility Week held in many EU cities between 16-22 Sept of every year.
The experience gained during the S.T.R.E.E.T. project was definitely positive for EPN CONSULTING as the selected group of students that attended the Study Visits showed an excellent level of curiosity about learning the specific challenges that every city has to face and assessing commonalities and differences that affects the implementaion of the concept of sustainable mobility and tourism.
From the point of view of a consulting firm expert in sustainable transport, EPN Consulting aimed to provide students with the wide plethora of issues that a large city such as a London has to face every single day to ensure an efficient mobility across its area. It was good to show them how multi-modal transport hubs are organised, how simple ticketing fares structure and payment solutions along with an effective communication and travel information provision encourage the use of public transport. These topics were taught in classroom at the beginning of the first study visit in London and they were more understood when the students were able to make their experience on the field. The opportunity of visiting other locations with different transport solutions definitely opened students’ mind and now they should be able to properly assess which range of sustainable transport solutions would be more suitable in different cities/towns located in different environment: urban, rural, mountain, etc with different kinds of mobility demand: seasonal, daily peak and off-peak, holiday-dependant, etc.
Additional concepts EPN Consulting wanted to convey regarded costs and economy of scale of implementing an effective system of sustainable transport to promote sustainable tourism. Students were taught that, although a technical solution may seem excellent to solve a specific problem, the design process should always account for costs of implementation and maintenance both in the mid and long term to ensure the transport service provided will always consider the quality and safety as top priorities as well as a high customers’ satisfaction. The latter is important, otherwise travellers will not consolidate the aimed behavioural change and be back to use private cars with the well-known negative consequences.
The creation of a permanent network of stakeholders (municipalities, tourist offices, tourist operators, transport operators, hotel industry, etc.) in each geographic area that aims to develop and encourage sustainable tourism would be the natural follow up of the project legacy. This network could make use of the S.T.R.E.E.T. experiences described and detailed in the project TOOLBOX that EPN Consulting realised together with the other project partners.
- https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52011XG0304(01) ↵
- Lego Serious Play is a facilitation methodology created by the Lego Group and since 2010 is available under an open source community-based model. Its goal is fostering creative thinking through team building metaphors of their organizational identities and experiences using Lego bricks. Participants work through imaginary scenarios using visual three-dimensional Lego constructions, hence the name "serious play” ↵