“Ecotextyle: Vocational Education and Training on Product Environmental Management for the Footwear and Textile Sector» was a 24-month partnership at European level coordinated by the Centro Tecnológico del Calzado de La Rioja (CTCR) (Spain) with the cooperation of Neo Sapiens (Spain), BATTI (Bulgaria), Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) (Italy), Institute of Leather Industry in Lodz (IPS) (Poland), Zavod IRCUO (Slovenia) and SATRA Technology Centre (United Kingdom). Funded under the Key Action 2 of the Erasmus+ programme for strategic partnerships for vocational education and training, this development of innovation project gathered organisations from different countries but working on the development of programmes to train and educate on product environmental footprints (PEF) on the footwear sector and the production of textile complements related to it. The objective of the project was to overcome the needs faced by manufacturing companies to offer the highest quality in products, reach a competitive differentiation and reduce operating costs to promote exports thanks to the creation of a training pathway for their workers. Considering sustainability and environmental accounting as the base for new job positions and vocational profiles, the project made possible the creation of a training itinerary dealing with life cycle assessment processes and services resulting from their implementation (Environmental Product Declaration, Eco-design, Product Environmental Footprint, Carbon Footprint, etc.).
To make this possible, the project partnership developed a working programme of two years focused on exchanging good practices and knowledge among professionals of the sector that could be afterwards gathered in a single and interactive space. In order to ensure not only the quality of this output but also its suitability and matching with the project target groups, Ecotextyle carried out different activities on its six partner countries such as focus groups, interviews, workshops, online testing, impact research, etc. that also involved those who potentially could use the project results after the project end: students, workers, board members and professionals in general related to the footwear and textile industry and belonging to SMEs or VET centres. As a result, Ecotextyle developed an Online Training Platform providing updated information and materials divided in five independent thematic modules dealing with the bases for the production of eco-friendly products on the footwear and textile sector: Product life-cycle analysis, eco-design, carbon footprint, ecolabelling and environmental product declarations and product environmental footprint. This tool will allow the users to properly apply Product Category Rules (PCR) and to implement the EPD and/or PEF (still in testing phase) in line with the current and future European policies.
According to all of this, Ecotextyle has made possible the creation of an interactive training tool that allows its users to tailor made their own learning itineraries and acquiring key competences related to their working sector and market. Moreover, the platform contains self-assessment tools to encourage its users’ interaction and that provides recognition to those completing all the theoretical and practical content included on it. All of this will contribute to develop the training of a new generation of workers on the footwear and textile sector. They will be aware about the importance of implementing new production methods that could be respectful with the environment and have a positive impact on their areas, while promoting new procedures that could optimise the use of the limited raw materials and resources of this industry.
- CTCR (ES) (Coordinator): The Footwear Technology Center of La Rioja provides with its qualified staff and facilities innovative research and development solutions.
- Neo Sapiens (ES): Mobility and training company focused on offering training alternatives and non formal education through transnational activities and interculturality.
- BATTI (BG): Bulgarian Association for Transfer of Technology and Innovation is the largest association in Bulgaria, focusing on transfer of technology and innovation.
- UNIVPM – DIISM (IT): The Industrial Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Dept. works with and for footwear and textile industries inside and outside Marche region.
- IPS (PL): Leather Industry Institute is an institution devoted to provide support to the entrepreneurs from footwear and leather industry in Poland.
- IRCUO (SL): Development and testing center for leather and footwear industry in Slovenia working towards increasing quality and innovation on that sector.
- SATRA (UK): Research and technology membership organisation for the consumer product industries, in particular with respect to the footwear industry.