Tag Archive for: simulation

Port Virtual Lab Transforms South African Students into Logistics Experts through a pilot course

Port Virtual Lab (PVL), in its ongoing mission to bridge theoretical knowledge with real-world applications, proudly announces the successful conclusion of another pilot course aimed at training future logistics experts, this time for 18 students from Global Maritime Legal Solutions (GMLS), South Africa, thanks to the generous economic support of the international company Savino del Bene. Throughout April, these young visionaries, aged between 18 to 30, delved into the complexities of international logistics through a comprehensive virtual programme spanning three weeks.

Structured around a diverse curriculum, the course zeroed in on critical aspects of logistics such as port-logistics communities, delivery contracts, and operations, with a particular focus on electronic documentation, market research, and strategic packaging planning. Students were also introduced to the critical legal frameworks of Incoterms and the SAD document, equipping them with the theoretical skills they needed to complete the second part of the training – through a simulated port community environment.

PVL takes teaching a step beyond traditional learning. The course’s hallmark was its dynamic, simulated port community where students were able to collaboratively work in teams to plan international door-to-door logistics operations. The PVL environment encompasses 23 simulated companies, allowing students to assume vital roles in the logistics chain, from freight forwarders to operations managers.

Thanks to ERP software developed by Click&Cargo, the course can offer hands-on experience in maritime and airfreight operations, tariff classification, and export management. Such interactive learning journey extends beyond simple logistics; it fosters a deep understanding of economic principles within the context of global trade. By navigating real-time scenarios, the GMLS students could hone their problem-solving skills and acquired the analytical acumen necessary for impactful decision-making.

‘What an amazing project this has been! I am deeply grateful to Escola and the entire team. My numerous questions were met with patience, grace, and honesty. The presentations had a profound impact, and I valued the opportunity to share a space with the system designers, lawmakers, and environmental leaders. I would gladly repeat this experience,’ said Cynthia Thandeka Magagula, a student from GMLS. The course earned an impressive average evaluation rating of 4.88 out of 5 from the participants, underscoring their high level of satisfaction.

Looking to the future, PVL remains committed to providing education that links academic theory with practical industry skills. The course’s success with the GMLS students demonstrates the effectiveness of PVL’s approach and its ability to establish valuable educational partnerships. GMLS now joins the ranks of the University of Barcelona, STC Netherlands, and the Saudi Logistics Academy in partnering with PVL to offer pilot courses that focus on virtual and experiential learning that are closely aligned with industry requirements.

PVL continues to welcome collaboration with industry professionals, educational institutions, and students. Each course aims to set new benchmarks for hands-on learning in the logistics and transportation sectors.

Port Virtual Lab continues to bridge knowledge and practical application in international logistics

PVL welcomes the Saudi Logistics Academy and ITS La Spezia among its collaborators

Port Virtual Lab (PVL), has launched comprehensive trainings designed to hone the skills of students in the intricate world of international logistics and transportation operations this past week, bridging the gap between knowledge and practical applications of the industries. The two separate pilot courses have been designed for students coming from ITS La Spezia in Italy and the Saudi Logistics Academy. The former will begin on the 25th of January and continue until the 15th of March, whereas the latter has launched this past Monday on the 22nd of January, and will continue until the 28th of February. The sessions will be held over eight weeks with half-day instruction, marking a significant step in the practical education of future logistics professionals. These courses aim to test and pilot the concept that came out of the Escola’s participation in the European YEP MED project, which finalised in December of 2023. By providing students with hands-on training in international logistics and transportation operations through a simulated environment offered by Port Virtual Lab (PVL), we aim to refine and enhance the practical applications of the innovative ideas developed during the European project.

Empowering the Next Generation of Logistics Experts

Over the next few weeks, participants will engage in an immersive learning environment that spans the full spectrum of the supply chain. Adopting roles within the platform’s extensive range of simulated companies, students will experience first-hand the operations of freight forwarders, whilst interacting with simulated shipping and airline companies, road transport, railways, and port terminals in a controlled and realistic environment within the platform. 

The course’s strategic objectives are threefold: to provide a simulated environment for participants to sharpen their logistics and transportation skills, to foster autonomous development in solving real-world problems, and to deepen understanding of economic principles within the context of international trade.

A Deep Dive into Real-World Simulations

Port Virtual Lab (PVL), a cutting-edge educational resource, serves as the backdrop for this advanced training programme. PVL encompasses a platform that holds 23 simulated companies within a digital port community system. The course includes a pioneering freight forwarder module developed with Click&Cargo, which offers participants near-real-life operation simulations of import and export operations.

The benefits of such simulation in training are profound. They offer real-time practice, diverse scenarios for robust problem-solving, and opportunities to test different transport combinations. These simulations allow participants to balance sustainability with the need for speed, a crucial skill in today’s fast-paced, eco-conscious market.

Through PVL’s immersive simulations, students can translate theoretical knowledge into practical expertise. They get challenged to navigate unforeseen circumstances, incidents, and conflicts that arise from the dynamics of a company’s interactions with customers and suppliers. This experience is invaluable in developing a responsible and proactive approach to decision-making.

The training also emphasizes the application of economic analysis to international trade, a critical aspect of the global market. Students will learn to identify the benefits and constraints of how global markets operate, equipping them with the analytical skills necessary for strategic decision-making in international logistics.

Looking Ahead

Port Virtual Lab courses are more than just a training programme; they serve as a bridge to the future of logistics education. By merging real-world scenarios with state-of-the-art simulation technology, PVL is setting a new standard for experiential learning. The course is not only equipping participants with the necessary tools to excel in the logistics and transportation sectors but also aims to instil a keen understanding of the global trade mechanisms and the versatility required to adapt to its ever-changing landscape.

PVL invites industry professionals, educational institutions, and students to continue this journey of discovery and professional development. The success of this course is a testament to the collaborative effort between PVL, ITS La Spezia, and the Saudi Logistics Academy, and serves as a call to action for other organisations to join in shaping the future of logistics training.

The lab is constantly evolving, with new simulations and modules being developed to mirror the latest industry trends and technologies. Those interested in being at the forefront of logistics innovation are encouraged to get involved. Whether it’s to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, to engage with a network of like-minded professionals, or to contribute to the evolution of the logistics sector, PVL remains your premier partner in professional growth.

Final Conference of the TECHLOG project Highlights Achievements and Innovations in Mediterranean Logistics

The TECHLOG Final Conference, hosted at the University of Cagliari, Italy, on December 1st, marked the culmination of 30 months of dedicated efforts within the ENI CBC MED – EU co-financed project aimed at advancing Technological Transfer for Logistics Innovation in the Mediterranean area. With a robust attendance of over 73 participants, the event showcased the project’s milestones, outputs, and profound impact on the regional logistics sector.

The conference commenced with esteemed speakers extending institutional greetings to the attendees. Notable figures included Francesco Mola, Rector of the University of Cagliari; Ada Lai, Counsellor for Labour, Vocational Training, Cooperation, and Social Security of the Sardinia Region; Massimo Deiana, President of the Sardinian Ports’ Authority; and Fabio Mereu from the Chamber of Commerce of Cagliari, who also served as the delegate of ASCAME, the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce.

Marco Melis, Director General of the ENI CBC MED Programme, Autonomous Region of Sardinia, delivered a comprehensive presentation, setting the tone for the conference and emphasizing the significance of ENI CBC MED projects in fostering collaboration and innovation within the Mediterranean region.

The heart of the conference featured two engaging roundtable discussions. The first focused on TECHLOG’s scientific results, with active participation from project partners representing the 5 participating countries Italy, Egypt, Spain, Lebanon and Tunisia. The roundtable covered topics including capacity building, agreements, and pilot actions in the Mediterranean area, featuring video presentations showcasing project results and interviews with crane and truck operators.

The second roundtable explored New Scenarios of the EURO-Mediterranean Transport Sector, offering insights into the evolving industry landscape. Moderated by Morena Pivetti, a transport and logistics journalist, the discussion included external stakeholders and industry experts from around the Mediterranean region, such as Vittorio Marzano, Professor at Federico II Naples University, Euan Lonmon – Board Member at GRENDI Group, Dr. Alaa Ezz – Secretary-General of the Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations, Naima Zamoum – Business Development Manager Africa Trade Lane at CEVA Logistics  and Ummuhan Bardak – Senior Human Capital Development Expert – Skills Demand Analysis – European Training Foundation.

Audience members actively engaged in a dynamic questions & answers session, enriching the discussions and facilitating knowledge exchange. As TECHLOG enters its final month of the 30-month implementation period, the conference provided a valuable platform to reflect on the project’s impact and set the stage for future collaborations in the fields of logistics and technology.

TECHLOG (Technological Transfer for Logistics Innovation in the Mediterranean area) is an EU co-financed project with a duration of 30 months and a total budget of €3.4 million, of which €3.1 million (90%) is funded by the European Union. The project partners include the University of Cagliari in Italy (Lead beneficiary), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts, and Agriculture of Maremma and Tirreno (Italy), the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (Egypt), the European School of Short Shipping, EEIG (Spain), the Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations (Egypt), the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (Lebanon), the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce in Alexandria (Egypt), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax (Tunisia), and Sfax University (Tunisia).

For more information about TECHLOG, please visit: https://linktr.ee/techlog_project

Port Virtual Lab Expands Academic Alliances with the Fundació UAB

In a move that reinforces its commitment to promoting local and international educational collaborations, the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport is delighted to announce a significant partnership with the Foundation of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) Foundation (Fundació UAB). This collaboration marks the company’s second agreement with a prominent Barcelona-based university, underscoring its dedication to advancing educational and research initiatives both at home and abroad.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two entities mirrors a successful agreement with STC Group Netherlands and with the University of Barcelona (Spain), setting the stage for an innovative approach to port logistics education.

This new educational initiative, set to commence in November 2023, offers a distinctive opportunity for participants to elevate their expertise in the field of port logistics. The backbone of this transformative endeavour is the Port Virtual Lab (PVL) training platform, which has garnered acclaim for revolutionizing education in the port logistics sector. The UAB Foundation’s esteemed reputation in academia and research further enriches this dynamic training solution.

Port Virtual Lab is an innovative and extensive platform that employs cutting-edge technology and educational resources. Functioning as an online logistics lab, it offers international trade, logistics, and transport professionals and students the opportunity to immerse themselves in realistic simulations of port operations and access a wealth of tools to enhance their skills and knowledge.

The platform encompasses 23 simulated companies within a digital port community system. Notably, it includes a pilot freight forwarder module perfected with the support of Click&Cargo, enabling near-real-life operation simulations of import and export operations. The PVL training program, now spanning nine days, includes interactive training modules and hands-on operations. Participants will be presented with realistic contracts and up-to-date information, ensuring a dynamic and immersive learning experience.

The concept of Port Virtual Lab emerged in 2020 when Escola Europea initiated a search for a software company to develop an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) as the core of its virtual training model. This vision culminated in the creation of the platform that replicates a genuine port community, allowing course participants to engage in a controlled yet authentic environment and conduct simulated international trade operations.

Participants in Port Virtual Lab courses adopt various roles within the platform’s extensive range of companies, encompassing the entire supply chain. These roles span freight forwarding, shipping, airlines, road transport, railway companies, and port terminals. Plans are underway to further enrich the simulation by introducing additional supply chain actors to enhance the users’ experiences.

The significance of simulation in training endeavours cannot be overstated. Virtual simulators offer multiple advantages, including real-time practice, diverse scenarios for effective problem-solving, and the ability to test different transport combinations, prioritizing sustainability or speed as needed.

Educational offerings play a pivotal role in preparing future professionals for evolving industries. Simulators and virtual realities are key in providing hands-on experience and confidence to young jobseekers. Port Virtual Lab has been a significant leap in the development of such training tools in the Mediterranean region, and this collaboration with the Autonomous University of Barcelona Foundation marks its expansion across Europe and beyond. Notably, in a recent course, participants rated the platform with an impressive score of 4.94 out of a maximum of 5, highlighting the effectiveness of Port Virtual Lab in enhancing participants’ logistics skills.

The impact of this platform is expected to reverberate across various regions worldwide, leaving a lasting legacy long after the project’s scheduled completion in 2023.

Port Virtual Lab

Port Virtual Lab: Empowering Logistics Professionals Worldwide

The Escola Europea is thrilled to announce the resounding success and international expansion of its Port Virtual Lab (PVL) training platform. Since its inception, this innovative educational initiative has transformed the landscape of port logistics education and created waves of opportunity for students and professionals worldwide.

Port Virtual Lab

In November 2023, the Port Virtual Lab will embark on yet another exciting journey, uniting with the Autonomous University in Barcelona (UAB) – our newest partner. This collaboration represents a significant milestone, bringing the PVL’s immersive learning experience to an even broader audience. The UAB is the second Barcelona university to put their faith in the Escola’s turn, incorporating the platform into their programmes, and ensuring that what they teach truly prepares their students for on-the-job demands of the logistics world. This follows the strategic partnership forged with the STC Group in Rotterdam. This alliance not only bolstered the PVL’s reputation but also marked a pivotal moment in the internationalization of the course. STC Group, a distinguished training provider in the bustling port of Rotterdam, added its considerable expertise to the PVL, making it a force to be reckoned with in the logistics education sphere.

Expanding Horizons: The Saudi Logistics Academy Partnership

The Saudi Logistics Academy’s reputation as a hub of logistics excellence in the Middle East is well-established. This month, our team travelled to Saudi Arabia to participate in the first edition of the Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) in Jeddah, organized by the Transport General Authority (TGA) and the Saudi Arabia Government. It was an event dedicated to shaping the future of the maritime industry in the region. During the event, we have discussed ways that we could leverage our innovative platform’s capabilities to nurture a new generation of logistics talent in the region, whilst nurturing trade and networking capabilities between the Mediterranean and the Middle East through education – which resulted in our signing of collaboration agreements to work together in initiatives like PVL and PLIKA – the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy.

Escola team with Mr. Kitack Lim from the IMO

From left to right: Eduard Rodés (director, Escola Europea), Kitack Lim (secretary general, IMO) and Marco Muci (country manager, Escola Europea)

This partnership will introduce PVL’s dynamic, real-life port community simulation to Saudi Arabia, allowing participants to delve into the intricacies of international trade operations in a controlled yet authentic environment. It will bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, equipping logistics professionals with the skills they need to excel in a rapidly evolving industry.

A Global Impact in the Making

As discussions with the Saudi Logistics Training Centre progress, the Port Virtual Lab’s influence will extend far beyond the European borders where it first began. This expansion signifies not only the PVL’s global recognition but also its commitment to shaping the future of logistics education worldwide. With each new partnership, the Port Virtual Lab reinforces its mission to address critical skills gaps in the transport and logistics sector on a global scale. It’s a testament to the power of virtual simulators in preparing young professionals for the challenges of the industry, regardless of geographical boundaries.

Port Virtual Lab: Bridging Real-world Skills and Virtual Innovation

The Port Virtual Lab is more than just an educational platform; it’s a gateway to the future of logistics training. At its core, PVL offers a dynamic, real-life port community simulation, enabling participants to immerse themselves in a controlled yet authentic environment. It’s here that they can conduct simulated international trade operations, honing their skills in logistics, transport, and international trade. Over the past 3 years, the PVL has trained 3000 students, expanding its reach and impact.

With 23 simulated companies within a digital port community system, PVL sets the stage for an unparalleled learning experience. The platform’s crown jewel, the pilot freight forwarder module developed with the support of Click&Cargo, allows participants to engage in near-real-life import and export operations. These simulations provide participants with real-life contracts and up-to-date information, ensuring that learning is not just theoretical but truly experiential.

PLIKA: Transforming Port Communities through Innovative Training and Collaboration

Introduction

The birth of the Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy (PLIKA) can be attributed to the imperative of adapting and innovating in the face of the challenges brought about by the global pandemic in 2020. Amidst these unprecedented circumstances, the YEP MED project emerged, shedding light on the demand for novel methodologies and solutions to provide remote training within an international framework. It was within this backdrop that the Port Virtual Lab was conceived, a ground-breaking simulation platform that revolutionized the landscape of international trade operations.

The pandemic brought forth various restrictions and limitations that disrupted traditional training methods and hindered international collaboration. Recognizing this challenge, the YEP MED project team sought to create an innovative solution that would transcend physical barriers and enable remote learning and collaboration. The solution came from the hand of Port Virtual Lab; conceived as a groundbreaking platform that allowed students to engage in international trade operations by exchanging simulated operations with teams from different countries and ports. This virtual environment transformed the way operations were conducted, innovating on the traditional approach and introducing a new level of interconnectivity and collaboration.

Advancements in technology facilitated the seamless integration of participants from diverse backgrounds and locations. Port Virtual Lab provided a realistic and immersive experience, enabling students to navigate the complexities of international trade operations, exchange information, and make informed decisions in a risk-free environment. This became the key to success – making sure that the students that passed through our doors got real hands-on experiences that would help them flourish once they have found employment.

Enhanced Collaboration

The platform fostered collaboration between teams from different countries and ports, transcending geographical boundaries. Participants were able to work together, exchange knowledge, and gain insights from diverse perspectives, resulting in enriched learning experiences. The need to interact with students from other cultures, in different time zones, and with diverse perspectives greatly enriched the work and interpersonal skills of participants. I count both students and instructors in this group. These intercultural exchanges provided a unique learning experience, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of different perspectives, customs, and practices. It broadened participants’ horizons, enabling them to develop cultural intelligence and adaptability, crucial skills in today’s interconnected world.

They learned to be flexible, accommodating varying schedules and finding ways to collaborate effectively despite geographical constraints. Moreover, the interaction with students and instructors from different cultures enhanced participants’ interpersonal skills. They developed cross-cultural communication skills, learned to navigate cultural nuances, and built strong relationships based on respect and understanding. These interpersonal skills are invaluable in a globalized world, where effective communication and collaboration across cultural boundaries are essential.

Realistic Simulation

Port Virtual Lab provided a realistic environment where participants could engage in simulated trade operations. This immersive experience allowed them to develop practical skills, make informed decisions, and understand the intricacies of international trade. This also served as a practical solution for students who were unable to participate in on-site internships due to pandemic-related restrictions. Many companies were hesitant to allow external individuals access to their facilities, making it challenging for students to gain hands-on experience.

Port Virtual Lab’s simulation capabilities proved to be a game-changer in this regard. By immersing students in simulated trade operations, Port Virtual Lab offered a viable alternative to traditional internships. Students were able to engage in practical exercises, familiarize themselves with essential ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, and gain a comprehensive understanding of basic operational procedures. This not only facilitated their learning but also enabled them to acquire valuable industry-specific skills.

The results of this approach have been remarkable. Companies have recognized the value of students’ experience with the simulation platform and now actively seek interns who have been trained using Port Virtual Lab. This shift in attitude is primarily driven by the time and resources saved by companies. By having interns who are already familiar with the operations and workflows through the simulator, companies can streamline the onboarding process and minimize the need for internal staff to dedicate extensive time to training basic operations.

Furthermore, the Port Virtual Lab’s simulation experience provides a level of consistency and standardization in training. Students from different educational institutions or backgrounds receive the same fundamental knowledge and skill set, ensuring a common baseline of expertise. This standardization not only benefits the companies employing interns but also enhances collaboration and communication among industry professionals.

PLIKA – YEP MED’s legacy

Recognizing the potential of simulators, training centers and instructors are embracing this technology as a valuable tool to enhance their teaching methodologies. This transition requires adapting instructional approaches, curriculum design, and assessment methods to effectively incorporate simulators into training programmes. It necessitates upskilling instructors to leverage the full potential of simulation technology and integrate it seamlessly into their teaching practices.

This is where PLIKA comes into play. The birth of the Academy marks a significant step towards fostering collaboration and progress among port communities worldwide. It serves as a collaborative platform where, on an international level, training centers, instructors, and industry professionals can come together to share best practices, exchange experiences, and collectively address the challenges associated with the integration of simulators in training programmes. It provides a space for knowledge exchange, networking, and cooperation, fostering a community-driven approach to enhance training effectiveness and innovation. The primary objective of PLIKA is to build a strong network of collaboration, positioning port communities as lighthouse of development and drivers of societal progress. It’s founding members are those who collaborated on the YEP MED project, including the MEDports Association – which helps enlarge the collaborative forum of partnerships.

Through PLIKA, training centers can share insights on successful simulator implementations, discuss strategies for curriculum integration, and collaborate on the development of standardized training modules. Instructors can exchange pedagogical approaches, explore simulation-based teaching methodologies, and access resources to enhance their instructional techniques. Industry professionals can provide valuable insights into the practical applications of simulators and contribute to the development of industry-relevant training programs.

The collaborative nature of PLIKA enables stakeholders to learn from each other’s experiences, leverage collective expertise, and accelerate the adoption of simulators in training environments. By coming together under the PLIKA umbrella, training centers and instructors can navigate the transition process more efficiently, avoiding duplicative efforts and benefiting from shared knowledge.

Conclusion:

PLIKA’s establishment symbolizes a collective commitment to empower port communities, training centres and drive societal progress. By fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and embracing innovation, PLIKA enables port communities to become catalysts for economic growth, sustainability, and social well-being. Through its initiatives, PLIKA aims to create a future where port communities thrive, making a lasting impact on the industry and society as a whole. Training centres are not left behind. The emergence of simulators as a vital component of business training has necessitated an unprecedented transition effort by training centers and instructors. PLIKA serves as a collaborative platform where stakeholders can share experiences, exchange best practices, and collectively address the challenges associated with incorporating simulators into training programmes. By fostering a collaborative community-driven approach, PLIKA aims to enhance training effectiveness, encourage innovation, and facilitate the seamless integration of simulators in the educational landscape, whilst at the same time ensuring that port communities stay at the forefront of global innovation and progress.

Written by:

Eduard Rodés, Director - Escola Europea - Intermodal Transporrt

Written by: Eduard Rodés,
Director – Escola Europea – Intermodal Transporrt

Written by Lidia Slawinska, Digital Communication Manager – Escola Europea Intermodal Transport

Written by Orlando Revecco, Digital Product Manager of the Escola Europea

Driving Innovation: Escola Europea and Barcelona Port Foundation join forces

The TECHLOG Project, Port Virtual Lab and the Green Deal

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea

Written by Eduard Rodés, Director of the Escola Europea

At the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport we are slowly approaching the end of a very busy period. With the Europea project YEP MED nearing its final days, the Escola’s signature course bookings gaining full steam ahead, the SIL conference at which not one, but two of our big projects were featured alongside our signature training offers, and more, we have had very short periods of respite. This is good news for us – a testament to the influence that we hold throughout the Mediterranean port community. But this quarter I wanted to share with you – our alumni community –a particularly special partnership that we have forged; one with the Port of Barcelona’s Innovation Foundation.

This past month, the Escola Europea has forged a strategic alliance with the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation, setting a firm commitment to propel the transformation of the maritime-port sector. The agreement highlights already existing innovative initiatives such as TECHLOG – a project co-funded by the European Union which will encourage joint Technology Transfer Initiatives (TTI) to achieve common quality standards for transport and port specialized staff within the participating ports and beyond – and Port Virtual Lab – a complete logistics virtual simulator that offers technological and educational tools through which international trade, logistics and transport students or professionals can simulate real life operations. Central to these efforts is the two parties’ dedication towards achieving the objectives of the European Union’s Green Deal, with a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

Transforming the Maritime-Port Sector

The Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation, supported by prominent entities such as the Port of Barcelona, Ackcent, and Aggity, has set forth an ambitious mission to establish the maritime-port sector as a worldwide leader in innovation and operational excellence. Fuelled by their unwavering dedication, their primary objective revolves around transforming the Port of Barcelona into a dynamic Smart Hub, underpinned by the seamless integration of cutting-edge technological advancements and the fundamental principles of the Blue Economy.

And this is where we come in.

TECHLOG

TECHLOG project

As an integral part of this endeavour, the Escola Europea actively participates in the TECHLOG project, which is co-financed by the ENI CBCMED programme. This initiative entails a series of activities directed towards training educators for the development of Living Labs.

“A Living Lab (LL) is an open-innovation ecosystem centered around user participation, situated within a public-private-people partnership. This unique model is rooted in a systematic user co-creation approach, seamlessly integrating research and innovation processes.”

The Escola Europea has been at the forefront of these labs in Livorno (Italy) for participants from the Western Mediterranean, and in Alexandria (Egypt) for participants from the Eastern Mediterranean – making sure that the knowledge is accessible by parties from across our shared Sea.

Most Mediterranean sectors suffer from poor connections between research, development and education, from one side, and, the real economy, from the other side – a situation that TECHLOG wants to address by strengthening ties between academia and the (trans)port industry. By encouraging joint Technology Transfer Initiatives (TTI) to achieve common quality standards for transport and port specialized staff, the goal is to create a Mediterranean Open Lab to promote and share those initiatives within the (trans)port communities. These TTI will be tested through pilot actions, in real port operators, and will involve trained staff.

The Port Virtual Lab

Moreover, the Escola Europea and the Foundation are collaborating on the development of Port Virtual Lab (PVL). This venture is an innovation laboratory where burgeoning technological solutions are explored and validated, creating a unique environment of collaboration and learning using simulators and simulated companies. Essentially, PVL is a training platform that allows performing operations related to logistics and international transport in our Virtual Port Community. Both professionals and students are be able to experience first hand activities related to international trade, while interacting with our simulated companies.

Success of Port Virtual Lab

The Escola has received numerous success stories following the launch of Port Virtual Lab and its incorporation in the courses developed under the European YEP MED programme, of which we are lead partners. The development of the European project encountered significant obstacles in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, and the experiential training courses planned for the initiative could no longer take place. This gave rise to the PVL platform. With an instrumental partnership from Click & Cargo, at the Escola we were able to create this amazing and comprehensive tool that would help us take the port operations and transactions directly to the monitors of our remote students. PVL was fundamental in maintaining continuity in education and student internships.

The platform’s power has been enhanced through its continuous usage and improvement processes. Today, companies expect students to have prior simulator training, which greatly speeds up their learning curve when they begin internships or enter the workforce directly. This demonstrates the practical value and effectiveness of the training provided by Port Virtual Lab, and shines a bright light on its future.

Commitment to Sustainability

Each project spearheaded by the Escola Europea underscores its unwavering commitment to holistic sustainability, embracing the realms of economic, social, and environmental well-being for us as global citizens. This profound dedication finds resonance with the ambitious targets outlined in the European Union’s Green Deal.

The Green Deal, proposed by the European Commission, is an audacious set of policy initiatives directed towards making Europe climate neutral by 2050. These initiatives not only focus on environmental preservation but also on revitalizing the economy and improving the quality of life for all citizens. By aligning our pursuits with those outlined in the initiatives, we are striving to ensure our contributions effectively drive towards a sustainable, resilient, and just Europe. Working together, the Escola and the Barcelona Port Foundation can work towards ensuring that Barcelona is at the vanguard of Europe’s efforts to bring around a sustainable Mediterranean.

Conclusion

The partnership between the Escola Europea and the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation is built upon the pillars of collaboration, sustainable development, knowledge, and innovation. Leveraging the Escola’s pioneering simulated business solutions and training methods, their expertise can be harnessed at every stage of the innovation process.

The strategic alliance between the Escola Europea and the Barcelona Port Innovation Foundation plays a pivotal role in spearheading innovation, sustainability, and efficiency within the maritime-port sector, with a unique Mediterranean and Barcelona perspective. With a steadfast commitment to education, innovation, and the development of transformative solutions, we can  contribute significantly to the transformation of the Port of Barcelona into a globally recognized Smart Hub.

You too can get involved!

Today, we must all accept that innovation is the fuel for building a new society that needs to confront substantial economic, environmental, and social challenges. Follow the activities that the Foundation and the Escola are doing and will do in the future. Engage in those where you can contribute.

Together, we are strong

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.

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.

Simulated Resource Enterprises help bring reality to students' laptops

Digital Training in the 21st century

Practice makes perfect

Written by: Lidia Slawinska, Consultant

There is no doubt about it. Historically educational models that incorporated experiential and real-life experiences have proven to be more successful. Currently many professions already employ experiential training approaches – learning-on-the-job, internships, and fellowships are but some examples.

The Escola Europea Intermodal Transport has always believed in the experiential teaching model – explain the theory of the transport operations to the students whilst simultaneously taking them to the places where the operations themselves take place. This was made possible through the signature MOST and SURCO courses, which included on-board sections of the courses where students go to visit transport terminals and experience journeys in intermodal transport means (a Ro-Pax vessel or a train). 2020 has put a stop to this and forced us to think of new models that will help bring the operations closer to the students. Through the EU-financed project YEP MED (Youth Employment in the Ports of the MEDiterranean), which launched in September 2020, a new training methodology morphed into existence – one that incorporated cyberspace with our own reality: Simulated Practice Enterprises.

Simulated Practice Enterprises

Simulated Practice Enterprises are enterprises recreated in a digital environment that simulates real-time conditions to allow for nearly real-life situations without actually having to involve real companies (and therewith lowering the possibility of costly errors). Running simulations with such practice enterprises provides a unique interactive learning experience for participants – as it forces them to apply what they have learned in a robust and risk-free environment. The students can cement their conceptual knowledge, develop vital skills and try out a number of different business strategies and business management concepts to hone their skills – all through such experimentation.

Such synergy between the theory and practice leads to the “formation and development of entrepreneurial spirit and skills, making integration easier prerequisites of future graduates in the labour market.”

Teaching business operations in a classroom is challenging, as it is nearly impossible to teach it in a purely theoretical fashion. Unlike other subject matters (science, sports, etc. where in-class experimentation and training is possible), within the field of business and business management, experimentation is not a feasible option. Frequently theory is not enough to prepare the student for realistic scenarios. Since the early 2010s, many companies have already begun to integrate simulated scenarios to their learning methodologies to better prepare students for the employment world. For example, in the Western Michigan University, Dr. Bret Wagner has integrated a simulation system, called ScrimmageSIM, which “gives students real-world experience in a virtual business setting”. The programme itself is “an effective tool because it does not give students the impression that there is a “right answer” to a business problem, as textbooks do. Rather, the programme engages students in the simulated business problem and shows how business concepts and theory provide insight into these complex situations. It does so by different business scenarios tailored to the business concept being taught.”

It is with this thinking, that the concept for the simulated environment was born for the YEP MED project.

Learning by Doing

The next iteration of a training methodology is in the virtual sphere. 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 will:

  • Promote simultaneous and integrated development of functional competencies of organisational management (social, human and business) based on a methodological-didactic simulation system that allows for contextualised and experiential knowledge.
  • Encourage the responsible and autonomous development of the student body from a problem solving and decision-making standpoint, when faced with unpredictable events, incidents and conflicts that can emerge from the dynamics of a company and its interactions with customers and suppliers.
  • Develop a permanent synergy of the contents from the continuous connections between teaching and learning activities within the local productive system.
  • Contribute 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.

This innovative and new approach will allow for the Escola and its partners to maintain its experiential teaching method, whilst giving the students more opportunities to test out many of the business and supply chain management concepts. Keeping in line with the Escola’s ideological approach which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the simulated environment will be open to 17 distinct groups – each corresponding to the thematic aspects of the SDGs themselves. The groups will be able to use the platform to prepare different commercial offers, learn about managing dangerous goods, discovering the machinations behind the cold chain, among other primary transport operations.

The Simulated Resource Enterprises will be put to test in the courses carried out under the YEP MED project – which themselves are divided into three parts. The ERPs will be used by students when they reach the 2nd and 3rd levels of the training. The simulated environment is designed to be as realistic as possible – and could replicate the conditions of a practical internship, giving the students the invaluable skills and experience before entering the workforce. Because the pandemic has made it difficult for companies to accept trainees to offer such opportunities, it is the goal of this part of the YEP MED project to have the simulated environment act as a near-identical virtual substitute. This way, before entering the workforce, the students will be able to learn by doing, and therewith enter the employment sphere fully prepared with virtual experience.

Digital practice will, in fact, make perfect.

Sources:

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Port Virtual Lab Training of Trainers going digital

Este curso ofrece una formación para los que buscan liderar la transformación digital en sus organizaciones a través de la implementación IA en sus operaciones de marketing y de ventas en la comunidad portuaria de Barcelona.