Many countries across Europe take water production and supply for granted. However, the operation is complex, requiring skilled professionals. The shortage of skilled workforce is a reality for many countries and not many young people think of relevant training as an attractive option. In order to address this problem, certain European colleges and water sector professionals have joined forces.
Pilot PoVE water is a European project in the renewed Erasmus programme that aims to improve the skills of VET (water sector) professionals and focuses on forecasting skills that will become increasingly important in the future. The project intends to create the necessary conditions for embedding vocational excellence in the water sector in Europe, laying the grounds for the development of the vocational curriculum.
The project was launched on 10 October 2019, during the fourth annual national water conference held at the institute of applied science within the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) It falls under Erasmus+ sector skills alliances framework and will end in October 2021.
The project brings together vocational training and education (VET) and higher education institutions, stakeholders in the water industry, research centres, government institutions and water sector representatives from Czechia, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and the UK-Scotland. These partners share a common interest in developing the full potential of VET institutions to play a proactive role in support of growth, competitiveness and innovation of the water sector.
A recent online webinar revealed that there are significant differences between various European regions in this respect. All project partners operate within contrasting contexts and face different challenges and opportunities. High freshwater scarcity is a major challenge in Malta; it is the country with the lowest water resources index and the highest water competition index among its Mediterranean counterparts. In this respect, it is vital for the country to invest in educating talented professionals for the water sector.
It is within this setting that MCAST’s water research and training centre has much to offer. The centre focuses on water enterprise and aims to apply creative ideas and innovations, to offer practical solutions in the water sector, and also deal with other challenges encountered locally. Each year the centre organises the national water conference to showcase the latest local developments.