A new course for junior experts in sustainable development and circular economy

The first intake began in January 2021 and will train 26 young Europeans as higher technicians to facilitate innovation processes to foster the transition to the circular economy.

The innovative course Junior Expert in Circular Economy is breaking down barriers for newcomers to the circular economy with the launch of a higher technician course that will award them a certificate after completing its 1-year curriculum. The course organisers include myclimate (Switzerland), University of Oulu (Finland), ART-ER (Italy), Centoform (Italy), and Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia). The course is free and funded by EIT RawMaterials and is authorised by the Emilia-Romagna Region. At the end of the course, participants will receive a Higher Technical Specialization Certificate, corresponding to the 4th level of the European Qualifications Framework.

The certification course is offered in English, and its first intake includes students from Switzerland, Finland, Italy, and Estonia. The course represents an evolution in circular economy learning as it was designed to include 480 hours of interactive online classes,

320 hours of internship and live training in Ferrara, Italy, enables students to have a personalised learning experience with a meaningful career impact.

Participants will acquire the skills necessary to monitor and evaluate the environmental impact of productions, through the application of Life Cycle Assessment methodologies. They will also benefit from a “dual system” approach to training in which gained skills are applied in practical tasks, receive lectures from active professionals in the industry and academia, and complete an internship as recommended by the EU Modernisation Agenda.

At the end of the course, participants will be certified as Technicians in Sustainability and Circular Economy of Industrial Processes, with skills applicable in different professional contexts, including industry, manufacturing, and consulting. They will respond to the emerging needs of product planning, design, and development, introducing sustainability and circular economy criteria at each stage. Moreover, thanks to the course setting, the new technicians will be able to operate in international contexts.

The Junior Expert in Circular Economy is based on the successful model of the Italian IFTS (Higher Technical Education and Training), which eventually will be implemented in other European countries represented in the project. 

For years, the Emilia-Romagna Region has been investing in energy and sustainability through system actions such as the development of the Regional Energy Plan, the Law and the permanent table on the circular economy. By accompanying sustainable development policies with training interventions, it makes available the technical and professional skills necessary for the innovation strategies of companies. The course was designed in collaboration with Italian companies such as Caviro, AIMAG and Hera together with startups such as Sfridoo and international partners including Rytec Circular AG (Switzerland), Wuppertal Institute for Climate (Germany), and Yara Suomi Oy (Finland).

Applications are now open for companies and organisations interested in hosting internships which can contact JECE partner CENTOFORM by writing to contact@studycirculareconomy.com.

The course will be inaugurated with an online event on 5 March at 3:00 pm (CET). The event will be attended by representatives of the Emilia-Romagna Region: Paola Salomoni, Minister for Education, University, Research, and Digital Agenda, Vincenzo Colla, Minister for Economic Development, Green Economy, Labour and Vocational Training and Morena Diazzi, General Directorate of Knowledge economy, Labor and Business.

A project that realises the commitment to guarantee the skills necessary for a greener economy by enhancing the circular economy strengthens the professional tertiary training designed with the collaboration of local and European companies and that fully enhances the connections between research and training, giving concreteness to the objectives shared by the signatories of the Pact for Work and Climate.

Vincenzo Colla described the Junior Expert in Circular Economy

An example of the capability of the training system and the research and innovation ecosystem to seize national and international funding opportunities to attract new projects, resources and talents and to favor the internationalisation processes of training courses to enhance collaborations between our (Italian) universities and European universities.

Paola Salomoni, Minister for Education, University, Research, and Digital Agenda, Emilia-Romagna Region

The online launch will also have the presence of Didier Zimmermann, Director Education and Innovation at EIT RawMaterials, Chiara Pancaldi, Director of Centoform srl, Marina Silverii, Executive Director of ART-ER, and Pier Luigi Franceschini, Innovation Hub South Director at EIT RawMaterials. The event will be hosted in Italian with English translation.

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