The European Footwear sector, as most of the manufacturing sectors, has been affected by the economic and financial crisis in Europe. Europe has a very long tradition in the production of footwear, but the sector is very sensitive to international challenge represented by globalization like opening of markets with lower wages and lower production costs because of not respecting the high quality standards in force in Europe.
European footwear is highly appreciated around the world as demonstrate European export statistics to third countries, which illustrate an increase of 46% in quantity and 78% in value from 2009 till 2014. However, the leading reputation can only be maintained if businesses’ competitiveness comes, inter allia, from a very high capacity for innovation, which cannot take place without the appropriate trained workforce
Consequently, the nowadays challenges of EU companies include to count with highly qualified engineers, product & process developers, top and middle managers among their staff. They should have the right mix of skills, both professional and transversal, to demonstrate their competence for applied research, development and technological transfer.
Making the knowledge triangle work by connecting Higher Education, Research and Business for excellence is one of the goals of the EU policies and national political priorities in all EU 28 countries. The partners of the Erasmus+ Knowledge4Foot project recognize the benefits for the sector’s growth of such partnership approach, and will develop innovative tools for transferring knowledge to the European footwear sector by providing the High Education (HE) students and professionals with skills for applied research and innovation.
Specific objectives of the project are:
- to develop active collaboration among universities, business communities and research centres to assess the needs of skills for innovation and technological transfer;
- to design, test and implement a common curriculum for virtual internships and the related e-learning content, which incorporates a creative thinking and problem-solving approach;
- to set-up a Knowledge Platform that facilitates the transfer of innovation in footwear manufacturing by simulating the developing stages of the research projects.
- Students enrolled in Higher Education
- Professionals involved in top and middle management in footwear companies: managers, designers, engineers and technicians