Posts and videos published under the YEP MED project.

Education is key for a new society

Eduard Rodés - Director of the Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Written by: Eduard Rodés, director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

As I write this, 2021 is coming to an end. Much like 2020, it has been one for the history books. Unlike 2020, however, it has been filled with silver linings. This year, at the Escola, we have successfully expanded our operations in the Italian shores, adapted our training programmes to the digital sphere (in response to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions), and successfully created a virtual port community that allows us to mimic freight forwarding operations in door-to-door supply chains. What does all of this mean, in the greater scheme of things? I have recently written an article, which was originally published on the CETMO website (in Spanish), which considered the implications of the changing nature of our societies on the educational and professional worlds. I thought that, to close the year, it would be good to share this article with you all. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any thoughts or comments on it, feel free to write to us – this topic (as almost anything these days) is a fluid one and welcomes varying perspectives. 

Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year to all of you who were, one way or another, influenced or affected by the Escola and our educational offers. 

“Paideía – “education” in Greek – for some becomes the only task worth devoting themselves to in life. The meaning of the word becomes richer and richer, and when Romans like Varron or Cicero needed to translate it into Latin, they chose the term “humanitas”. It became the starting point of European humanism and its later radiations”.

Irene Vallejo – Infinity in a Reed: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World

A new world?

We live at a time when the model of society is evolving at an accelerated pace, leading to a rethinking of many things. We all have a certain awareness that we will have to change the way we understand our society, and that this will involve a transition that will reshape our roles, what we are able to give and what we can expect to receive. We are also aware of the need to continue educating ourselves and our children and future generations about what each of us can and should contribute to society. To understand each other and to move forward, I believe it is necessary for us to specify the points or principles from which to start. In my view, our rights are legitimised when we fulfil our obligations. In order to arrive at education, I believe it is necessary to start from experiences that will predetermine the steps to be taken.

In all the things that are changing, the first element is globalisation, and as everything becomes globalised it seems clear that the United Nations, as a body representing all nations, has an important role to play in this transition. Its role is being debated, and has been debated even more as a result of the previous belligerent US administration on many fronts. In 2017, the United States decided to abandon the Paris Agreement signed by 194 nations in 2015, which aims to keep this century’s global temperature rise to well below 2°C pre-industrial levels, and to make efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Upon taking office, President Joe Biden decided to return to the pact in January 2021 with the goal of bringing the country back into the Paris Agreement and joining the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and individuals who are taking ambitious action to address the climate crisis.

It is very important that countries are able to agree on global issues in order to deal with the adverse effects that climate change is currently causing coherently. It is even more important for these efforts help mobilise cities, businesses and individuals.

This strategy must be framed within the programme of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030, whose, in my opinion, global approach must be highlighted. A basic pillar is that the goals cannot be achieved in isolation and that they must all be achieved to make their success possible. This requires the involvement and commitment of everyone.

A second element is the COVID-19 pandemic. The health crisis has evolved into a global problem in which countries, hand in hand with the United Nations, have had to coordinate and fight together to fence off the attacks of the virus, which by its very nature does not respect borders. Dealing with the pandemic has brought about a radical change in living and working habits. For almost two years, the way we do things and the way we communicate has undergone a major shift. There has been a digital explosion that has substantially transformed many sectors, and these effects will forever change the way we understand relationships and work.

A third element stems from substantial changes in production and supply patterns. It became apparent that large ships can block a vital transit points in international trade, such as the Suez Canal, that there are no containers to meet shippers’ demands, and that freight rates change the basis of the cost structures on which operations were designed. The VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment takes over and many of the basic paradigms begin to change.

The world has suddenly become too small for us, and we are now in the process of rebuilding a new reality that will doubtlessly be different. In the 5th century BC, Athens, invaded by the Persians, sought self-awareness. In other words, it sought to rebuild a new reality, with what they called Paideia or new culture. The German philologist Werner Jaeger gave it a more precise and evocative meaning in his great work: “Paideia or the formation of Greek man”. For him, Paideia stands for an education provided both by the city and by a formal education that is in harmony with what the city teaches informally. It could be summarised as follows: we can only form (in the sense of conceiving) on the ideas by which we were formed (in the sense of modelling) … and vice versa. Commenting on Plato and Protagoras, Jaeger wrote: “the harmony and rhythm of music must be communicated to the soul so that it, in turn, becomes harmonious and obeys the rhythmic laws.” (Paideia, p.361). This training was called Areté and was given to young Athenians in three areas: physical, mental and spiritual education. As a whole, it would be what we can today call civic education oriented in the light of their virtues and their devotion to public life.

A new education?

In the development of the learning model, in which it is necessary to re-interpret the role of the student and the teacher, it is prudent to consider the characteristics that it should have in terms of its possibility of adapting to the scenarios in which the education is to be carried out. In the course of the last decades there has been an evolution from a type of education called behaviourism to a new one called constructivism.

The conductive (behaviouralist) model is governed by a pre-set programme in which the teacher is the guide and instructor and the pupil is merely the recipient of this knowledge. This model was predominant until the middle of the last century.

From the end of the 20th century onwards, the constructivist model was developed, based mainly on the ideas of the Swiss epistemologist Jean Piaget. In the constructivist model, the protagonist is the learner, who plays an active role and must construct his or her own learning. The teacher in this case is a facilitator who guides and facilitates knowledge.  The very dynamic of the learning process is action-oriented, which favours its application in the business world.

In the case of projective education, learning is based on the creation of projects and the student must develop his or her research potential and put his or her conclusions into practice, using theory as one of the tools for their realisation.

The Escola Europea, since its inception, has been committed to a hybrid model based on constructivism and projectivism through practical experiences with our means (transport equipment and infrastructures) and the use of digital tools. This is attempt to respond to the new reality to be built in which the student is the protagonist of the learning process and in which practice is combined with the development of social skills such as teamwork, conflict resolution, negotiation skills, rhetoric and public speaking. Digitalisation plays a fundamental role, as it allows us to create virtual worlds that mirror physical realities at a negligible cost. The tools that have been developed in recent years mainly for driving vehicles, especially expensive ones (planes, ships, trains, space shuttles, etc.) are now entering the world of business and operations. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are becoming fundamental resources for education.

The YEP MED Project, which began in 2020 under the framework of the ENI-CBC MED Programme of the European Union, has entered this new territory through the creation of the portvirtuallab.com platform in which a Logistics-Port Community made up of avatars of the companies that comprise it makes the simulation of operations between the different operators in door-to-door transactions in international trade possible.  The contents have focused on the management of sustainable import and export operations in international trade from the perspective of a freight forwarding company. With this approach, it was necessary to understand the door-to-door operations and the entire logistics chain to be served, its external costs, passing through the ports and their operators: terminals, consignees, port authorities, customs, etc. The result has been surprising for everyone, as it has allowed the parties to reproduce operations that are practically identical to those from the real world, albeit in a virtual business environment. What started as a problem – with the forced implementation of e-learning as a consequence of the closing of all borders – has turned into an opportunity and the start of a new generation of simulation-based educational tools.

This opens up new training perspectives in which students can build their own training by carrying out projects on the import and export of goods, in which they have to collaborate in teams with students from other countries in order to successfully complete their operations – all from the convenience of their computers. The teachers become tutors and accompany them in the work of constructing the proposals and in carrying out the scaffolding to achieve the success of the projects to be carried out by each team. This teamwork, which corresponds to the current reality of companies, is a fundamental part of the learning process.

New professional profiles?

Education must respond to the challenges that societies face. Digitalisation, sustainability, English, the circular economy, blue skills… We have had a sabbatical year (actually six months) so to speak – one that made us rethink an important part of the educational strategies and forced us to take a major leap forward. As the young people in Spain would say, we have skipped four screens – by-passed many steps accelerated further by the challenging circumstances of the past two years.

All these elements, which were already important, have become critical for all companies in the sector. Digitalisation became a major element in the design of solutions. The internationalisation of the economy has become a fundamental element of progress in our economy for the well-being of our region. The environment is becoming a critical and discriminating element in terms of the viability of operations, becoming a fundamental part of the configuration of all the elements involved in the sector; from infrastructures to the design of products, taking into account the distribution processes and their recycling. These gave rise to so-called Multi-Local companies – small multinationals that export to and from innumerable countries. This calls for a new culture and a new way of doing things. To make this accelerated transition possible, adequate and easily accessible training will be necessary.

The MEDPorts Association carried out a study to identify professions that are needed in ports but which are not yet covered and in some cases not existing. The results were combinations of the requirements described above oriented to specific areas:

 

Algorithm expert

The responsibility of this expert will be to analyse information and evaluate results in order to choose the best solution and solve problems using algorithms. He/she/they will be an expert in algorithm design and software development.

Head of cyber security

Their primary responsibilities will be to protect Port Authorities by developing security-focused strategies, effectively integrating and managing new or existing technology systems to deliver continuous operational improvements, and detect, respond to and mitigate threats. This role will require a deep understanding of cyber security capabilities including security and privacy strategies and governance, IT risks, security testing, technology implementation/operations and cyber crime.

Drones expert

This expert will be responsible for operating, testing and repairing drone devices to be used in a port. This role will require extensive knowledge of robotics.

Legal IT expert

This expert will analyse information and evaluate how to find the best/most creative solutions within the framework of the law and take advantage of the possibilities offered by new IT developments.

Robotisation/automation expert

They will be responsible for planning, implementing and coordinating the progress of automation and robotics projects in port authorities. He/she will also provide judgement and analysis for the design, development and implementation of plans and procedures related to automation and robotics in ports. This profile may include a mechanical version that will have to build, install, test or maintain robotic equipment or related automated production systems.

 

Environmental Area

Energy transition manager

This manager will be responsible for the development of tailor-made energy transition plans in port authorities that will bring significant environmental and economic benefits. They should have the research and innovation capacity to find the best solutions to improve efficiency and environmental performance.

Waste management expert

This person will plan, implement and coordinate waste management systems designed to maximise opportunities for waste prevention, reuse and recycling. They will provide guidance to improve efficiency, while addressing issues of sustainable waste collection, disposal, resource management and other related special features, including waste avoidance strategies at ports.

Cruise & city-port area

 

City-port relationship manager

Managing the city-port relationship more strategically is now fundamental for ports. It is one of the most important challenges facing city ports today. This professional will have the responsibility to show the way forward to transform the city-port relationship into a more productive one. They will have to lead the re-evaluation of the city-port relationship that questions everything from the structure of the port authorities to what the realistic expectations of their stakeholders should be.

Cruise and tourism marketing director

The responsibility of this professional will be to promote the Port Authority as a preferred cruise destination and to achieve the planned growth and development of the sector. Close coordination with the city’s tourism managers will be essential. In carrying out this function, the Cruise and Tourism Marketing Manager will have to interact with the main partners in the private and public sector.

Other

 

Cold chain supply expert

Due to the increasing relevance of cold chain traffic, the position of cold supply chain expert will be needed to ensure the functioning of cold supply chains in ports. To do so, the supply chain expert will have to monitor stocks and orders as well as forecast future supply needs. This function combines analysis and reporting to ensure smooth transit of goods through the ports.

Emergency manager

The main duty of this post will be to protect and preserve security in the port. Responsibilities include coordinating emergency response efforts and ensuring that the emergency authorities’ plans are properly implemented.

Expert in intelligent energy networks (Smart grids)

Smart grid engineers are responsible for designing systems that can regulate smart grids and make them work efficiently. The main focus of their work will be to improve energy distribution by making power grids more efficient. Their job will be to develop design plans and evaluate the effectiveness of these designs.

Intermodal network manager

This manager will be a key contributor to the Port Authorities’ strategy. This position is a key element for any business where freight transport is essential. It will coordinate the main intermodal networks of the ports and ensure their efficiency and fluidity.

Public-private partnership manager

The main function of this manager will be to lead and support the creation of policies, strategies and programmes to accelerate private sector development and public-private partnerships (PPPs) in ports. They will also be involved in the development, structuring and delivery of PPP projects as well as port cooperation initiatives with public-private components. They will work directly with governments, private sector investors and financial institutions.

This exercise of identifying new profiles could be done with all types of companies in the sector, and the results would undoubtedly be remarkable.  This leads us to a disturbing reflection: are there teachers and training programmes to teach these subjects?

From the Escola’s experience we know that there are teachers who, by making an effort to adapt, can begin to prepare the contents and materials with the collaboration of the educational centres and, increasingly, the developers of training software. The Escola has recently carried out the first course of the programme derived from this study, dedicated to energy transition in port authorities. To prepare this course has not been an easy task and required the help and involvement of many experts.

What will we have to change?

A new society, with a new education, for new professional profiles necessarily leads us to the question of how training centres, their teachers and the students themselves will have to evolve. In a world in which the speed of change is constantly accelerating, it is necessary to build a model that allows rapid adaptation to these changes, at the risk of others being able to do so more efficiently, which could mean a significant competitive disadvantage.

The necessary adaptation process is not the result of individual action. It must necessarily involve a shared and synchronised strategy that must anticipate the general changes that may occur and how to deal with them well in advance.

A major part of this must involve joint collaboration between companies, knowledge centres and public administrations, which must be capable of adapting to the changes so that there are no distortions in the development of companies and in working conditions.

Collaboration and coordinated work by all the actors in order not to miss the boat. The development of the MEDPorts Partnership training programme would be a good example. Four training centres from four different countries have agreed to develop courses to start training in the profiles described. All the centres are directly involved in some of the content prepared by the other centres. This makes it possible to prepare a significant volume of training material in a relatively short period of time. Ports that compete with each other collaborate in training, and this is a powerful message for society.

Conclusions

Communities that progress are those that are able to adapt and learn.  Those that have the ambition to progress, which build on principles based on values, must first accept that today almost everything remains to be learned.  We must build a new world with new tools. We are facing energy, economic, digital, social and many other transitions. Each change will require new knowledge and new skills. It is the time for training, and this training must become part of our daily reality.

In the Mediterranean, the port sector must be a driving force for change. It must encourage and facilitate the processes of digitalisation, innovation, social, environmental and economic sustainability. The future will heavily depend on the ability to exchange goods and services, and goods will largely have to pass through ports. A very high percentage of companies will be influenced by the efficiency of their operators. Proper education and training is essential to help us achieve this. If it takes the creation of numerous specialised training centres, let us do it to make it possible.

Escola Europea visits Beirut to promote the European YEP MED project

During the visit, meetings were held with local stakeholders during which the outputs of YEP MED were discussed, and plans were laid out for the future.

Eduard Rodés and Marco Muci from the team of the Escola Europea travelled to Beirut on the 16th of November 2021 to meet with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon – one of the partners of the YEP MED project. They have been welcomed by Mr. Sabra, who also greeted other attendees of the meeting who represented the stakeholders of the port of Beirut.

The meeting progressed with a presentation from Mrs. Hana Haidar from the Beirut Chamber, who described the objectives achieved in the preparation of the courses for students of International Trade in Beirut, both in the training of trainers and in the realisation of the courses for students, who have completed the visits to the port.

Mr. Eduard Rodés explained the development of the YEP MED Project, its objectives and the changes the project underwent as a result of the global health crisis. The electronic platform portvirtuallab.com and the ERP programme of Click&Cargo – born out of the new online reality that emerged in the past year – were then demonstrated.

The new training model proposed by the YEP MED Project was also discussed, in which the roles of the teacher and the students are redefined through the active participation of the students in the development of the training content and in which the teacher takes on the role of a tutor.

To finish the day, a debate was held among the participants, with a representative of the local freight forwarders group highlighting the need for the sector to be able to rely on trained personnel to face the digital transitions taking place across the industry.

Meeting participants:

  • Eduard Rodés – Director – Escola Europea
  • Marco Muci – Italy manager – Escola Europea
  • Elie Zakhour – President of the international Chamber of Shipping – Beirut
  • Marcel Hinain – Vice Chairman for External relations – American University of Technology
  • Swansan Wazzan – Board Member – Chamber of Beirut and Mount Lebanon
  • Ziad Kenaan – Chairman – Director General of Beirut Container Terminal
  • Walid Lattouf – President Lebanese Forwarders Syndicate
  • Antoine Gharios – CMA CGM 

The YEP MED project has a budget of €2.9m, with a 10% contribution from the European Union, and a duration of 30 months since it began in September 2020. For more information you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.

Port of Damietta

Damietta Port: Youth in the Heart of the Maritime Industry

Damietta Port is one of the leading Egyptian Ports in the Mediterranean. It acts both as a gate for local imports and exports and as a hub for the transshipment trade in the East Mediterranean. It is a place also for many petrochemical industries; including LNG, methanol and propane. The port handles an average of 40 million tonnes of containerized goods and general cargo per year. Damietta Port is well connected to its hinterland through a multimodal network that includes roads, rail, river and pipes, and this is why the port is able to serve almost the whole Egyptian market of more than 100 million people. To meet the expected increase in demand, the Damietta Port Authority is implementing an expansion plan by establishing the 2nd container terminal and a new multipurpose terminal with a total capacity of about 5.3 km of quays.

Damietta Port has a large community of partners from public and private sectors, all working closely together to provide the best services for our clients. In fact, Damietta is the lead between Egyptian ports in the fields of Information Technology, safety & security, environmental protection and social responsibility. The Port Authority is committed to play an effective role in community development and social participation. Human resources development is an essential part of our sustainable development plan. The port sees the youth as the pulsating heart of the maritime industry and its vision is to create a base from young men and woman qualified to work in port-related activities in the future.  To achieve that, the port authority implements a yearly plan for youth training with the aim of building their capacities and giving them opportunities to acquire new skills and competencies in fields related to maritime transport and port operations.

To that end, Damietta Port Authority provides training courses to an average number of 1000 trainees of young males and females every year. Training is offered from both theoretical and practical sides for academic students and fresh graduates from the Damietta governorate and other neighboring governorates. Our training courses cover many fields like basic business skills, English language, port management and operations, occupational safety and health, IT, marine services, environment protection, engineering…etc. It harnesses its assets from trainers, classrooms, marine units, and workshops to provide students with a fruitful learning experience. In addition to that, we have built a long-term partnership with professional training providers like the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport. Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we continued our training plan for youth through online channels.

In a culmination of our efforts in that field to date, the Damietta Port Authority (DPA) and the Port Training Institute (PTI) have participated in the YEP MED project “Youth Employment in the Ports of the Mediterranean“ which is co-financed by the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) of the European Union. The project aims to build the capacities and develop the skills of young people from participating port communities, which includes the Damietta governorate, helping them be qualified for work in logistics and port-related activities with training courses in 3 main areas: foreign trade, sustainable development and port logistics. On the 28 March 2021, DPA and PTI have started successfully the training activities with the 1st vocational training course. The port is currently preparing to launch the 1st occupational training course by November 2021.

On Monday, July 12, 2021, Damietta Port Authority and Port Training Institute have signed an institutional agreement with Damietta Port Community for cooperation under the YEP MED project. The MoU has been signed by Rear Admiral/ Waleed Mostafa Awad – DPA Chairman with a number of 12 partners, representing all port sectors; terminal operation, stevedoring & warehousing, inland transportation, shipping agency, customs clearance in addition to academic education and dual training. The project’s local partners will help  provide the practical side of training and internships to students in order to increase their opportunities for getting jobs in the field of logistics and port operations in both public and private sectors.

Damietta works with the Escola and all other YEP MED partners from other countries to share experiences and best practices together in order to maximise the project’s end results as professional and efficient as planned.

Finally, as  youth is the backbone and future of maritime industry, the port will continue working with our partners to build its and their best possible future.

The EU-funded projects YEP MED and INTERNISA support and upskill young Lebanese women in time of crisis

In today’s difficult economic climate in Lebanon where young Lebanese women have very little hopes in attaining successful professional careers, the EU-funded YEP MED project came at a crucial time to support the Lebanese youth and provide it with strength and hope to believe in a better tomorrow, as well as ease their entries into the labour market through the offered training programmes in the field of port logistics. The first bunch of 33 YEP MED graduates obtained the “YEP MED Port Logistics Training certification” signed by Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and the Escola Europea -Intermodal Transport from Barcelona last July. Among these graduates, a few of the young women showed interest in enrolling in the training programmes offered by another EU-funded project – namely INTERNISA – which promises to enhance the digitalisation of the skills of young women skills.

Josiana Beaino (18 years) – 2nd year in USEK majoring in Transport and Logistics

“The YEP MED training given in April 2021 was honestly my favourite programme since I became a transport student and I care about encouraging young women and men in the port logistic sector. YEP MED was an amazing experience for me and I am willing to participate in other trainings as well related to transport and logistics.  I encourage every Lebanese woman to join and learn new skills through two training programs offered by the EU funded projects, namely YEP MED and INTERNISA.  These programmes help a lot empowering women and boosting up our skills in many arenas. I personally enrolled in the YEP MED training programme and got certified in port logistics sector where I acquired further knowledge in the blue economy alongside the simulation exercises of import and export in sea transportation. These newly acquired skills will make a huge difference in my future and will positively impact my career expectations. On another hand over the past five days I learned a lot and developed new skills in digital transformation and communication skills. But what I liked the most is the self-awareness journey that inspired me to evaluate my skills, identify myself and ask myself so many questions in order to self-explore because there is no better time for it than the present. I really enjoyed both training programmes – YEP MED and INTERNISA – and I am looking forward to join similar trainings programmes.”

The two projects – YEP MED and INTERNISA – fall under the same thematic priority of the ENI CBC Med Programme – to enhance social inclusion and fight against poverty. The ultimate objective of the Chamber of Commerce of Beirut is to create a synergy between diverse development actions initiated by EU funded projects in order to upscale the Lebanese youth talents’ pool – namely women – by optimising their access to jobs or internships opportunities and enhancing their faith in future career paths in Lebanon.

The YEP MED project is financed by the European Union and involves partnerships with key ports and maritime training institutes from 7 Mediterranean countries namely, Spain, Italy, France, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon which is represented by the Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon. The project aims to strengthen the networks between the different port communities’ and build up the youth employment in blue sector across the Mediterranean basin.

Sarah Abi-Younes (22 years) – Bachelor in Transportation management

“I believe that the YEP MED training programme represents a good step that gave me -and gave us- a lot of prospects and opportunities. I also gained valuable experience from professional instructors and I hope I can join every training prepared by this programme in the near future. It was a pleasure for me to be part of the two extremely interesting courses  of the YEP MED and INTERNISA projects that I attended within the same year 2021. I learned a lot during these trainings which were so interactive and practical based on case studies and simulations. The instructors were very knowledgeable: they explained very well and always engaged us to participate and share our ideas and insights. As we know the economic situation is very bad in our country therefore we admit that we may start by low scale positions and then grow gradually through capacity building programmes and trainings. We are a generation that lived very tough situation however through more beautiful days we will rise again.”

 

INTERNISA training programme – a glance of hope for Lebanese young women

Following the identification of a digital skills gap of Lebanese young women across key economic sectors, and based on the related developed training curricula, the Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, a key partner of the EU funded project INTERNISA, organized a multi modular training programme over two weeks dedicated to young Lebanese women from diverse cultural and geographical areas. 55 young Lebanese women took part in this online training programme, which took place between the 4th and the 19th of  October 2021. In spite of the unprecedented economic collapse and ascending youth unemployment rates  in Lebanon, this initiative, which aims to enhance social inclusion and fight poverty,  represents a genuine opportunity for the Lebanese youth to improve their skills and competences, make them more marketable to the labour market and keep them believing in a better tomorrow.

Farah Damaj (25 years), Bachelor Degree in Civil engineering

“Enrolling in the YEP MED’s training programme which encourages young women to participate in port maritime sector allowed me to enhance my knowledge in all fields related to port logistics especially in networking with experts. As a Lebanese young woman, I enjoyed participating in YEP MED training programme as well as INTERNISA’s, which helped me to facilitate my access to the labour market especially in the current circumstances of high rates of unemployment and lack of job opportunities. So, it was a great chance to get trained in these two different programmes funded by the EU in which the focus was to equip women with required skills and competences to allow them join the labour market. So I benefited from the technical knowledge in a promising sector which is the port logistics while I boosted up my digital innovation skills which will help me in my job later on.”

INTERNISA aims to develop a network to enhance/contribute to the digitalisation of the skills of young women. Its objective is to increase the number of digitally trained women in the European Neighborhood territories through the matching of demand and supply in the labour market. This project is led by the Macedonia Region in Greece, in partnership with 8 organisations from municipalities, training institutions and youth agencies at the Mediterranean Sea from Spain, Italy, Greece, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Lebanon.  The Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, a key partner in this project, is the leader of the capacity building programme, which aims to develop training curricula, tools and digital programmes in the agro-food, textiles, finance, and tourism sectors.

Nour Riman (28 years) – Studying Business management in AUCE University

“I have studied accounting over the past 3 years. I then worked for Touch tele-communication company in data entry and documentation and also as a supervisor in Spinneys. However, the economic situation suspended my job experience in view of devaluation of salaries and the financial crisis. That’s how I have become unemployed 7 months ago. Therefore, I would like to thank YEP MED and INTERNISA projects for the informative and inspiring workshops that I have had the chance to enroll in recently. The sessions were fruitful and enjoyable. A big thank also for the trainers who gave all efforts to involve us in interactive activities which made us partners during the sessions. Both training programmes provided us with handouts and training materials that I just needed to boost my knowledge in many areas, namely the simulation applications and digitalisation tools that are much requested nowadays to excel in the job market. I finished the sessions with many takeaways that I can put into practice in the port logistics field as well as in digitalisation transformation and I look forward to attending future innovative trainings organised by EU projects.”

New Technologies, New Technical Skills

We are currently witnessing a new industrial revolutions – with the exponential evolution of technological advances, jobs are disappearing and new jobs are emerging across all sectors. All of this was further accelerated with the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, which drove many professions into the digital sphere. This did not leave the transport sector untouched. The conventional maritime careers of the the late twentieth century are evolving, and therefore it is important for the educational sector to keep pace with these changes to make sure that the future workforce is well prepared. This is why the work that is being done by the European YEP MED project is vital – the partners have been working together with the local professional and educational sectors in the participating countries to create custom-made training curricula that enable the students to experience realistic transport operations in a safe and controlled virtual environment.

The need for new technical skills brought by the new emerging technologies was highlighted by Capt. Anwar Buftain,  the Team Leader Fleet Personal of the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, which is reproduced below.

Post-Pandemic Virtual World

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes in the way we are doing business, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees working from their homes and thus redefining the concept of “distance”. Seafarers faced unprecedented worldwide lockdown and severe travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has taught us that things can go horribly and unexpectedly wrong at times, Keep learning something new, keep enhancing your skills. You never know what might help in times of crisis.

Written by Anwar Buftain, Team Leader Fleet Personal Kuwait Oil Tanker Company

In the Digital Era, where our life relies on digital products much more than in previous decades, digital activities have been helping us in many fields, ranging from daily life to scientific research and from automated production to school learning. The technology development accelerates, emerges, and touches everyone, us as individuals, consumers, ship owners, and operators, regulators, policymakers, and the public as all. We have witnessed this transmission and sensed the short period of time required for transiting new developments into mature technologies. Lloyd’s Register, reported in Global Marine Trends 2030 (GMT 2030) the extensive technology revolution, how it will play out differently in commercial shipping, naval, and ocean space sectors.

After examining more than 56 critical technologies that might be developed and implemented in 2030 and selected 18 technologies for further studies. In this new reality, the interrelationship between technologies and sectors became crucial. Commercial Shipping in 2030 will have a significant impact on vessel system design and vessel operations. The competition will encourage technology sophistication and operational efficiency to gain commercial advantages by including propulsion and powering, shipbuilding, and smart ship. Maturing technology is ripe for transfer to vessel system design and operation to enhance safety as well as financial and commercial performance, by the development of sensors, robotics, big data analytics, advanced materials, and communications. Where these eight technologies are connected to each other.

The question here, Is our seafarers ready to face these expectations, new challenges, and technologies! We believe that our seafarers should develop more skills than non-technical soft skills like communication skills, leadership, team management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

A basic understanding of computers became a must, demonstrate understandings of hardware and software, and intermediate to advanced computer skills are commonly desired. Significant skills are required due to job roles changes by 2030, with a systematic assessment, Seafarers should have new significant technical skills, for instance, interacting with robotics like fire fighting robotics. Demonstrate technical skills to cope with developed wireless communications like electromagnetic waves, the congestion of shared spectra, and the use of the allocated spectral band, high order modulation, and pulse shaping. Technical skills related to wireless sensor technology and the new generation of micro- and nano mechanical sensors for monitoring data. And understanding of smart ships new technologies and operating procedures.

 

* This article first appeared in the Arab Mariner Specialized Maritime Newsletter – Issue No. 7, Winter 2021

YEP MED meeting - October - Civitavecchia

YEP MED to launch second round of occupational training courses for the Italian youth

“Occupational training”. A new course of the EU-funded project YEP MED for future professionals in the transport and logistics sector has been launched in Civitavecchia

 

On the 26th of October, representatives of the Italian partners of the European YEP MED project met in Civitavecchia to finalise the planning and scheduling of new courses for the training of future professionals in the field of port management and logistics. The project is funded under the ENI CBC Med Programme of the European Union.

This meeting, previously announced in the summer months, brought together the local partners of the Civitavecchia port community and representatives from the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport – the project leader. The partners discussed the new calendar of “occupational training” courses.

This will be the second cycle of highly specialised vocational training courses, which gives the students the opportunity to develop skills in the logistics and intermodal sectors in the participating countries to facilitate the development and promotion of new Motorways of the Sea that connect the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. The courses will start mid-November. The coordination committee, which met at the headquarters of the Port System Authority of the Central-Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (AdSP), is proceeding with the evaluation of the teachers and the development of the selection procedures for participants. In the next few weeks the publication of the call for applications will take place, which will be advertised on the AdSP website and on the social media channels of the port authority.

About YEP MED   

The YEP MED project, led by the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport, aims to develop port-logistics training and vocational (TVET) resources adapted to sector needs to strengthen youth employability; increase and upgrade local employment opportunities through the creation of real dual-learning programmes with job placements, strengthening the role of SME’s operating in the port ecosystems for future employment creation; and set up collaborative national and transnational partnerships between port-logistics associations, operators, SMEs, training centres and VET providers, whilst introducing a PPP co-management process.

The project counts on the participation of partners from Spain, Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Throughout 30 months, the partners and associates of the project will implement tools to achieve the main objectives of this initiatives, in the short, medium and long terms. For a full list of partners of the YEP MED project, you can go to the project’s website.

As associated entities, MEDPorts association and Consell Valencià de la Joventut will also join the project. The project will receive 2.9 M€ (90% EU Contribution) in funding over its lifetime.

For more information on the project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat.

Port Logistics Community Training

October and November will see the return of the Escola’s YEP MED courses

With the colder months of autumn on their way, the Escola has opened up registrations for the new series of occupational training courses – as part of the European YEP MED project – in port logistics and administrative processes.

The Escola Europea Intermodal Transport, lead partner of the EU-Funded YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) project, jointly with the Council of the Prat de Llobregat (Ajuntament del Prat del Llobregat) and Barcelona Activa, has opened up the registrations for the second semester of courses in the Barcelona region.

The courses, which will be carried out online – with an inclusion of some in-person visits to the local port terminals – will provide an all-encompassing overview of the port logistics community and the administrative processes that surround transport operations within a port environment. Thanks to the funding from the European Union – these courses will be free for the students.

The first course – Introduction to International Trade Operations – will take place online between the 6th and the 15th of October 2021. During the training, the students will receive a general introduction to the administrative processes related to international trade operations in Barcelona, as well as become familiarised with the key aspects related to import and export operations. Registrations are now open for young students and women who have an administration background and are currently looking for employment opportunities. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

The second course – Port Logistics Community Training – will take place both in Barcelona and online between the 18th and the 22nd of October 2021. This course will give the participants a more in depth view of the Port of Barcelona, its infrastructures, logistics equipment and operations, and it will give the local companies offering the workshops the opportunity to showcase their operations and present the professional profiles that they are currently searching for. Like before, this course will be open to young students and women who have an administration background. The completion of the previous course will be a pre-requirement before enrolling in this edition. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

The final course of this series – Administrative Processes in International Trade- will take place at the end of October over a period of 10 half-days. This course will be taught online and it will incorporate the new innovative approach developed for the YEP MED project which involves the Simulated Practice Enterprises Methodology. The students will have the opportunity to practice all that they have learned in a digital twin of a port community – the Port Virtual Lab – that imitates all transport operations that take place in the real world. This course will ensure that the students finish the 3 course training programme with a complete knowledge and practical experience that will prepare them for the work force. For more information, you can consult the event on our website.

For more information about the YEP MED project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.

The Ports of Rome and Lazio, the Italian “Community” boosting the training of logistics operators of the future

Guiliana Satta

Written by: Giuliana Satta, Port Authority of Civitavecchia

At a difficult and uncertain time such as the one linked to the pandemic crisis due to Covid-19, projects such as “Youth Employment in the Ports of the Mediterranean” are of fundamental importance, especially in view of the messages, at the European level, that are becoming the basis for the future and that are at the heart of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to reverse development models and in every sector. And this is what is being done through the YEP MED project, co-financed by the European Union’s ENI and led by the Escola Europea, and in which the Port System Authority of the Central-Northern Tyrrhenian Sea is the only Italian partner present. With the contribution of the entire local port logistics community, which was formed last March following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, the project aims to increase and improve employment opportunities through the creation of real dual learning programmes with job placements, therewith strengthening the role of Small and Medium Enterprises operating in port ecosystems for future jobs creation.

The port of Civitiavecchia

In today’s historical moment, the Italian Port Authority is focusing on specific training of human capital to increase the skills of each individual port operator. To ensure that this can happen, it is essential to strengthen cooperation between actors who, on a voluntary basis, as happened with the creation of the Port Logistics Community (‘Community’), a. re willing to build a common strategy to contribute to the competitiveness of the entire port system in Lazio through the development of professionalism. Together with the “Community”, the Ports of Rome and Lazio will be able to build a global strategy in relation to the development and training of human resources that will have to be in line with the new demands of the labour market. To achieve these objectives, they are working closely with specialised training institutions to develop appropriate training programmes and establishing national and transnational partnerships with members of other port communities to exchange knowledge and best and most suitable practices.

The “Community”, made up of operators, associations and institutions, will hold regular meetings which will be coordinated by the representatives of the Port Authority. This will be done on the basis of a programme that will incorporate an annual calendar and a list of training activities. The sectors in which the Port Authority will focus on will concern Ro/Ro cargo traffic and the reception of large container ships in particular, with the YEP MED project aiming to play a major role in this new phase of maritime transport and logistics.

Container traffic at the Port of Civitavecchia has been consistently growing

Another important element in this initiative of the Ports of Rome and Lazio is a view to create new and foster existing commercial links with the countries of North Africa, with the ultimate aim of better improving the cooperation between the ports of the North and South of the Mediterranean. The entire port community believes in this interesting project, which incorporates 11 partners representing 7 countries from around the Mediterranean – an area in which the port of Civitavecchia is aiming to foster growth in the coming years. Today, in order to assess the growth and strength of a port, human capital is a fundamental element: it is the actions, energy, skills, strength and enthusiasm of the people that make the difference in successful port operations. Hence the importance of the YEP MED project. Vocational and educational training are essential for the training of the workforce, particularly the technical and highly specialised workforce that should live and gravitate in and around ports. For this reason, it is necessary to develop increasingly articulated professionalism in relation to the transformations imposed on shipping and logistics by the computerisation and digitalisation of processes, which will bring about more radical changes in the next five years than those that have taken place in the last 50 years. Therefore, having a high level of professionalism today and training young people will allow us to have a growing human capital for the next 30/35 years, with prepared professionals who will be protagonists of the positive change.

Talent is our organisation’s main asset

The world of employment has always seemed daunting to young people. Having completed either higher education or specialised training programmes, young people frequently lacked the technical know-how that was expected of them from the get-go. Traditional educational models haven’t focused on practical experiences to prepare the youth for the challenges of the future. Nevertheless they have always represented talent – a sea full of potential for companies to seek new talent from. In recent years, and in particular following the technological advancements of the 21st century and the shifting employment environment after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, employers now began to focus on seeking true potential from new employees – and have begun to value life experiences and other soft skills over technical experiences that mattered so much more in the past – changing the aspects of their employability. As the Escola has been focusing on improving the employability of youth in recent years, in particular in light of the YEP MED project, we wanted to understand the approaches used by companies to source their talents.

In the following article, José del Moral from the Barcelona Talent Logistics company, talks about the evolving approaches of companies seeking new employees.

José del Moral

Written by José del Moral, CEO, Barcelona Talent Logistics

“Talent is our organisation’s main asset”. Apart from an absolute truth, this is one of the most recurring statements in the speeches of CEOs and business leaders when addressing employees in the frame of meetings and events’ celebrations.

However, how does the activity look like when it comes to Talent Acquisition and Management in the Logistics industry? Thorough studies on this subject, platforms like Glassdoor and several public/private institutions in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region seem to agree on certain trends and scenarios:

  • The average time from the moment a white collar vacancy opens up until new talent is in place is around 90 days.
  • Staff turnover in the first 3 months from start date is nearly 22%.
  • Regarding the level of satisfaction with their role, survey metrics show a range between 60-70% of detractors/neutrals out of all employees in the sample, 3 months after joining.

The above, along with massive other data and indicators, reflects an immense cost in terms of productivity, work environment, staff turnover/burnout and employee’s lack of trust, while the financial impact for the organisation is ultimately enormous.

“Talent is our organisation’s main asset” should not be just a declaration of will, but serve as the kick-off for a well-developed plan to acquire and nurture talent to the highest level according to the business needs. No excuses, no appeals. Logistics enterprises need to further develop their vision towards this subject and make a commitment to upgrade their levels of professionalism so as to improve competitiveness in the market.

Making logistics enterprises increases their competitiveness, by upgrading their acquisition and management of talent. This is the exact goal companies like Barcelona Talent Logistics focus on, while delivering excellence in 5 key stages along the way:

  1. Talent Needs Analysis: This is where one of the main problems usually lies. The lack of in-depth understanding regarding the exact need that the business requires makes the purpose of acquiring the right talent unfeasible. A clear insight into the role, its requirements, work environment, organisational culture, reporting lines, department’s structure or company’s concept must be the base line for each single process to acquire talent.
  2. Talent Mapping and Segmentation: This activity should always be conducted before the need to do so comes up. A proper identification of all potential candidates for a particular role is a work to be done upfront, not to delay the process for the acquisition of talent later on. A thorough knowledge of the logistics talent community and powerful software for talent segmentation and lead nurturing is crucial for the success of the strategy in Talent Acquisition.
  3. Candidate Assessment: Behavioural patterns are far better predictors of future performance than any other indicators in most of the roles in logistics. However, are we assessing behaviours properly, along with traits, qualities, hard skills, cognitive capabilities, expectations, motivations, financial needs,…? Once again, a great part of this activity must be performed before the need for new talent, to avoid losing efficiency afterwards throughout the process. Additionally, technology and artificial intelligence need to be applied within this stage, as we will need massive amounts of data to be exchanged with leads and candidates, all the while avoiding setting time-consuming tasks for them.
  4. Decision-Making Process: hiring managers and business leaders are the ones to decide what exact talent will be hired for a particular role. However, decisions made in this stage may lead to losses/profits in dozens of thousands of euros. Therefore, this is actually the stage where Talent Acquisition experts must provide valuable and structured information to the business more clearly, so as to maximize the chances of making the right choice.
  5. Appraisal and Performance Management: certainly, acquiring the right talent, at the right moment, in the right place is a great advantage to make the business succeed. However, employees life-cycle is influenced by a wide range of factors, which need to be assessed on a regular basis by experts in talent management. Thus, managers will have access to up-to-date data and thorough analyses concerning the talent under their scope, for them to lead their teams appropriately and create, consequently, a positive impact on the financial performance of the business.

 Logistics is one of the most added value activities across companies, thus it must be left to logistics experts. Talent, on the other hand, is the most valuable asset in any company, and thus its sourcing must be brought to talent acquisition experts.

José del Moral

Chief Executive Officer

Barcelona Talent Logistics

The YEP MED training was carried out largely online using the Google Meet platform

148 students join the first YEP MED fully digital international training in Barcelona, Tunis, Civitavecchia and Beirut

The YEP MED training programme based on simulated enterprises allowed students to practice international trade operations using a real-life Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform

The first fully digital international training of the YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean) project kicked-off last week in four different port communities: Barcelona, Tunis, Civitavecchia and Beirut. The training course finished on the 31st of May 2021. Each port community was responsible for bringing to life a simulated freight forwarding operator and execute international trade operations between the participating countries.

Thanks to the digital tools, a total of 148 students from the four port communities took part in this unique course. The global coordination and organisation of the project was overseen by the Escola Europea, lead partner of the project, whilst local project partners gave national level support. At the international level, participants could interact with students from other Mediterranean countries and support each other in the export operations they need to design, plan and manage as part of the training. Alongside having a widely international character, the student group also featured a high proportion of women in its midst – who formed around 41% of all participants. Making it easier for women to access employment in the Mediterranean transport sector is one of the key bastions of the YEP MED initiative.

This course was the first of the series of the 2nd stage of the YEP MED training. The first stage comprised vocational training (VT) courses that offered an introduction to port logistics and operations. This second stage gives the students an opportunity to gain practical experience and to gain a global understanding of the port-logistic operations first-hand through the use of a newly designed virtual platform that replicates a real port community in the virtual sphere. The students need to work together to design and prepare transport operations that freight forwarders regularly carry out by accessing the Port Virtual Lab. This virtual reality created by the Escola Europea allows students to interact with different companies that are involved in the process of an import / export operation: shippers of several industries as real-life substitute customers (Play Fine Fruits, Play Fine Clothing, Play Fine Cars, Play Fine Pharma, Play Machine Tools, and Play Chemicals), transport operators such as a shipping line, a rail operator or a haulier company (SDG Lines, Port Railway, Play Haulier), customs related entities such as customs brokers and customs administrations (Play Customs Agent and Play Smart Customs) and a Port Community System (MedTrade). You can find out more about these theoretical companies by going to the Port Virtual Lab site.

The Simulated Practice Enterprise is a methodological didactic strategy of “Learning by Doing” – through a digital lens. With the ERP system provided by Click & Cargo, the Escola Europea and its partners have worked to develop a digital environment that promotes simultaneous and integrated development of functional competencies of organisational management (social, human and business) based on a methodological-didactic simulation system that allows for contextualized and experiential knowledge. At the same time, the Click & Cargo system contributes to the vocational guidance of students and the employability of graduates through the creation of role-playing assessments and specific tasks representative of the world of work.

“From the point of view of knowledge to be transferred to the students, the training succeeded in achieving the objectives for which it was developed. The content of the sessions is very satisfactory insofar as it offers very varied technical knowledge to be able to use the Click and Cargo. Technical knowledge well founded by theoretical knowledge in international maritime trade techniques. On the educational level, the succession of sessions has been well studied ensuring the progression of the knowledge produced.” – Mr Anis Romdhani, lecturer from Tunis

An additional benefit of the YEP MED training courses is the unique benefit gleamed from the international community of teachers. Thanks to the collaboration of more than 30 teachers from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres and professionals of the sector, the students were presented with a distinctively multicultural and very experienced teaching staff – which further added to the authenticity of the heterogenous Mediterranean training.

“In these two weeks, I had the opportunity to meet students from Beirut, Ortona, Barcelona and Tunis. We have learned how import and export shipping works through the Click&Cargo ERP platform. We have learned and increased our knowledge in the logistics sector with the collaboration of professionals who explained the different procedures and aspects. I found it very useful and interesting for the students who want to continue their career in the sector”. – Flavia di Capua, student from ITS Caboto (Italy)

These YEP MED VT2 and VT3 digital international training courses will take place over the early summer months, concluding before the autumn months and paving the way for the next stage of the training model – the integration of the successful participants in local companies through apprenticeships that will complete the dual training model.

For more information about the YEP MED project you can contact Concha Palacios from the project office at concha.palacios@portdebarcelona.cat or head to the website.