DEVELOPMENT OF NEW VOCATIONAL TRAINING MODULES ON SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE AND REFURBISHMENT
To contribute to the development of the European Union as an advanced knowledge-based society, a common language is required in the reference systems. To this end, the Vocational Education and Training (VET) has an important role to ensure the development of national qualifications frameworks based on learning outcomes. In this line, the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council highlighted in 2009 the need to design and compare the qualifications in the different European countries.
Although Sustainable Construction is considered a priority within the European Union, and despite the availability of proven techniques, most buildings are not constructed or renovated in a sustainable way. The main reason attributed is the lack of interest from builders and buyers who incorrectly perceive sustainable construction as expensive and doubt about the reliability and performance of new technologies. This behaviour should be changed promptly, because Directive 2012/27/EU establishes that from 31st December 2020 all new buildings constructed should be nearly Zero Energy Buildings (n-ZEB) and remarks the importance of building refurbishment. This makes indispensable a training renovation in the construction sector, and at all Education levels.
In this context, this article presents the methodology and main results obtained in Spain within the FORMAR Project, a European-funded project under the Leonardo Da Vinci scheme (Lifelong Learning Programme), whose main goal is to jointly develop training resources and modules to improve the skills on sustainability issues of buildings maintenance and refurbishment workers, in three different European countries: Spain, Portugal (Project Coordinator) and France. The Units of Short-term Training (UST) developed within this Project are focused on the VET of carpenters, painters, bricklayers, building technicians and installers of solar panels, and a transversal unit containing basic concepts on sustainable construction and n-ZEB is also developed. In parallel, clients’ guides for the aforementioned professionals are also implemented to improve the information provided to clients and owners in order to support the procurement decisions regarding building products and materials.
This paper details, as a case study, the development process of the UST for carpenters and building technicians in Spain, including the analysis of needs and existing training materials, the main contents developed and the evaluation and testing process of the UST, which involves the active participation of several stakeholders of this sector as well as a classroom testing to obtain the students’ feedback.
As a result of the project, the trainees should be able to choose more sustainable products, especially through the purchase of products that contribute to improve buildings’ energy performance and improve indoor air quality. In addition, the trainees are expected to use a set of best practices for a more sustainable application, use and end-of-life of products. Consequently, the skills of professionals will be improved and this will contribute to implement a more sustainable construction sector. Another important Project outcome is the replicability of the methodology proposed, which can be easily applied to other vocational sectors, improving the quality of the professional certificate contents included in the Vocational Training Catalogue.