Skills for Industry: Curriculum Guidelines 4.0
PEOPLE has been acknowledged as best practice example by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and DG GROW of the European Commission. PEOPLE is part of the initiative on “Curriculum Guidelines for Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT)”, coordinated by PwC. In line with this initiative, the PEOPLE project aims to contribute to increasing the quality and relevance of existing curricula and to promote better cooperation between industry and education and training organisations, to align AMT education and training with the needs of the new age. More specifically, the PEOPLE project impact has been acknowledged in the area of incorporating non-technical disciplines into the curriculum to develop cross-cutting competencies and a mind-set beyond the technical expertise.
PEOPLE project participated in several expert panels and final conference on “Skills for Industry Curriculum Guidelines 4.0″ (Brussels, November 2019).
Our key message was related to the fact that understanding people (their values, motivational factors, behaviours, habits and practices) and furthermore, involving people as co-creators of products and services should become an indispensable part of the industrial development process from the very beginning. This requires a shift in understanding and changing the mindset, it requires rethinking the conventional problem-solution paradigm, and – last but not least – it requires modifications of existing higher education curricula. Study programmes should be designed to take into account the key principles of people-centred development; should enhance interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering and social sciences and humanities; and should furthermore enhance cross-sectoral collaboration between universities, companies and broader society so that the students are able to apply and test the acquired knowledge in practice.
People should not be perceived as passive consumers of the technology but rather seeing technology as something still unfinished, incomplete and always reshaped by the people (users) who improvise and manipulate with it. Crucial innovation lies in the ability to understand “what people will do with technology” and not “what technology will do to people”. The key intended learning outcome should not be the skills to design and develop technologies that will impose a desired behavioural change, neither the skills to create the need for these solutions. The taught skillset and competences should focus on involving people in the very beginning of the product, service, or system development process – opening-up the innovation opportunities through co-creation with the people and trying to understand how the existing behaviours could be the foundation for the societal and environmental change we aim to achieve. To develop meaningful, desirable, reliable, viable and sustainable products and services we need a people-centred mindset that goes beyond pure technical expertise.
Full report from the conference can be found here.