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Closing event of Erasmus+ project Industry 4.0. in Latvia takes place in Jelgava

In order to look back and evaluate the work completed in the Erasmus+ Skills Aliance project “Industry 4.0 CHAlleNGE: Empowering Metalworkers For Smart Factories Of The Future” over 3 years, as well as  to exchange opinions and experiences on what the Industry 4.0 means, how it changes our lives and what skills will be required in labour market, the project partners from Latvia, industry experts, VET teachers and future professionals – the students from Crafts Secondary School and Jelgava Secondary School of Technology gathered for the project closing event in Zemgale Region Human Resource and Competences Development Centre on November 19.
The seminar was opened by the Centre’s Deputy Head Skaidrite Bukbārde, who explained why this project was created and what it has managed to achieve. She also presented one of the most important results of the project - the training material relevant for prospective professionals, industry specialists, vocational and higher education institutions.
Jānis Markus, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department of Riga State Technical School shared his vision of what the metalworking industry might look like in 10 years' time.
Experience-based ideas on how to develop the child’s creativity and interest in robotics and programming at an early age were shared by Kaspars Antonevičs, deputy head of school and IT at Jelgava Secondary School of Technology.
The manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0 and its characteristics in comparison to other industries known in history were outlined by Lauris Kārkliņš, the representative of PLM Group Latvia.
In the practical part of the workshop teachers and industry experts had the opportunity to explore the project’s e-learning platform and challenge themselves by taking one of the tests available there; meanwhile the students gathered in a relaxed atmosphere of World Café to discuss Industry 4.0 requirements and how to prepare for them.
As the result of the discussions the future professionals identified the most important skills needed to be successful in this industry – knowledge of technical language, digital skills (programming, 3D modelling), as well as such personal qualities as ability to adapt and change, being patient and attentive. In order to become better prepared for Industry 4.0, the participants emphasized the importance of taking part in non-formal hobby clubs or projects, friendly and supportive teachers, digital environment, coverage of trending topics in the study process and placement opportunities in innovative companies.
Students also came up with some innovative ideas  such as  robots-surgeons, 3D printers for home use, automated food growing - from seed production to the delivery of consumer-ready product, repairs performed by robots, as for example in tire replacement.
At the end of the event, the participating schools were awarded with the set of training materials consisting of textbook, workbook and teacher’s guide.
VET teachers admitted that there was a lack of quality and up-to-date training material. "It gives me great satisfaction to see this training material ready, especially the book, which contains really modern and original images. We will definitely use this book in the teaching process as so far we have used materials published 30 years ago and even older," said Elmārs Aberfelds from Ventspils Tehnical School who took part in the piloting of the project materials.