The UPC helps to define a new professional profile for the European textile sector

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The researchers of the Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation Institute of Terrassa (INTEXTER), Mònica Ardanuy and José Antonio Tornero

A team of researchers from the Terrassa Institute of Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation (INTEXTER) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) have updated the professional technical profile needed by the European textile sector in the framework of the European project Skills4Smart TCLF Industries 2030. The project, which has received four million euros in funding from the Erasmus+ programme, involves 22 entities from nine European countries.

Feb 07, 2020

Enhancing the modernisation and competitiveness of the European Union’s textile, clothing, leather and footwear sectors is the aim of the European project Skills4Smart TCLF Industries 2030, which involves updating training and curricula, enhancing the attractiveness of the textile sector to engage new talent and creating a professional profile that matches the technological and business reality of the 21st century.

A consortium of 22 European textile schools and institutions from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Romania are working on the project, including the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Terrassa. The participants from the UPC are Mònica Ardanuy, a professor in the bachelor’s degree in Textile Technology and Design Engineering at the Terrassa School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering (ESEIAAT) and a researcher at the Terrassa Institute of Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation (INTEXTER), and José Antonio Tornero, R&D promoter at the latter. Within the framework of the project, they have made an in-depth analysis of over a hundred textile companies in the clothing, leather and footwear sectors—including 20 Catalan companies—and 50 training institutions to identify the training and the technical and cross-disciplinary skills that professionals need to successfully face the commercial and industrial challenges of the global market.

Professionals for the 4.0 industry
The work has helped to define a new profile for professionals, who need to develop cross-disciplinary skills that are common to all industrial sectors and to have training in five specific technological fields: digital marketing, 3D design, supply chain control, sustainability and industry 4.0 (industrial process automation and smart manufacturing).

According to Tornero, “the textile sector is wide-ranging and very diverse, which is why defining a single professional profile is too reckless. Based on the information provided by companies, we have been able to define a professional profile that is versatile, generalist and ready to respond quickly to the particular needs of any company with its own particularities”.

Ardanuy states that “this professional profile bridges the gap between textile companies, whose workforces still have 20th century skills, and the new industrial, technological and market reality”. She adds that “the project aims to jump-start the European textile industry towards a more competitive future and open the door to new employment opportunities”.

Updated curricula
The work of Ardanuy and Tornero in the framework of this ambitious European project includes a proposal for new curricula in all schools specialised in textile, clothing, leather and footwear in accordance with the needs of European companies.

The proposal especially focuses on digital technologies, marketing, production and manufacturing, industrial processes, robotics and industrial automation, sustainability management and quality, and cross-disciplinary skills such as leadership, teamwork, language proficiency, interpersonal communication and the ability to adapt and take responsibility.

Over the next two years, in the second stage of the project, Ardanuy and Tornero will report and discuss the results of their work with the most significant textile business associations, such as Texfor, AEI and AMTEX; the general business associations CECOT, CEPYME and PIMEC; and the chambers of commerce. They will subsequently present the new technical profile to vocational training schools and academic institutions so that they can successfully adapt their curricula. A pilot course with the updated curriculum is planned for implementation for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Skills4Smart TCLF Industries 2030 project has received four million euros in funding from the Erasmus+ programme, of which 100,000 euros are managed by the UPC.