In 2015, all the Members from the United Nations signed an agreement to implement the 2030 Agenda. The Agenda included 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to be reached by 2030 and a ‘call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges.’
Despite the growing interest from businesses in sustainable innovation, the SDGs are largely new territory for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Nevertheless, as it has been recognised by the European Commission, the SDG can only be achieved if countries manage to build up supporting systems for SMEs, including the provision of capacity building programmes addressed to them.
SME Green Skills HUB project is a European multi-stakeholder partnership and a learning network between SMEs, sectorial clusters, regional governments, HEI, and VET providers from five European countries, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey, and Italy. This consortium worked together to identify common needs and challenges and key areas of intervention in order to achieve the main aim of this project: support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in SMEs through VET. During the preliminary analysis partners identified two main factors for success:
- The ability to adapt the SDGs to the context and situation within which each business operates, that will require expert support to SMEs staff from VET teachers, trainers and mentors, skilled to provide initial and/or continuing training to them.
- The use of effective and innovative training approaches and pedagogies for work place learning in SMEs, as traditional employee training and on boarding processes can become monotonous, resulting in diminishing engagement and poorer results.
Based on this analysis, the partners have set the following OBJECTIVES for the project:
- To co-define a structured set of competencies on implementing the SDGs in SMEs following ECVET and EU standard methods: the IO1 European Framework of Competencies.
- To co-design, test and implement a next-generation ICT-based educative tool to provide OER, including training contents and VOOC, on implementing the SDGs in SMEs through VET: the IO2 SME Green Skills HUB Virtual Campus
- To co-create, test and implement a digital assessment tool to evaluate competences on the implementation of the SDGs in SMEs through VET: the IO4 Mobile Assessment App.
- To elaborate a policy set of recommendations to promote transparency and recognition of skills on the topic of the project: the IO4 Guidelines to promote transparency and recognition of skills to implement SDGs in SMEs.
- To establish a European multi-stakeholder community of practice on supporting the implementation of the SDGs in SMEs and the further development of green skills in SMEs staff: the SME Green Skills HUB.