Already know everything? Vocational training and life-long learning opportunities for forestersNew research findings are being published every day. Researchers investigate on complex interrelations of forest ecosystems and its’ components to learn from the past and to make forecasts. The goal is also to share and communicate the outcomes of research activities with a broad public. A wide-ranging target group interested in forest information makes the knowledge sharing challenging.
Sharing information has never been easier before. Social media, online news papers and magazines as well as continuative training for free make learning accessible to everyone. The sources for news and education seem unlimited. The Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) is a well known institution offering up to date research information and organizing diverse practical courses at the forest training centres Ort/Gmunden and Ossiach.
New conceptsNowadays new formats are needed to keep the audience interested in forest topics. Well established tools are online courses. The concepts of lifelong learning and vocational trainings are especially focussing on adult education. BFW has been a pioneer in offering such courses for foresters, forest owners and interested nature lovers. Today’s forest owners differ a lot from the traditional owners of the past. The new owner might live in the city, far away from his or her property and sees forests rather as recreational reserves than working place. It is therefore of high importance to also offer educational trainings for such user groups in interesting and accessible formats.
Knowledge exchange at home and abroad The project “Cooperation for Innovative Approach in Sustainable Forest Management training” (CIA2SFM) brings together seven research and educational institutions under the lead of the Croatian Forest Research Institute (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) and Austrian Research Center for Forests (BFW) from Austria, Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) from Croatia, Slovenian Forest Institute, Slovenia Forest Service and Slovenian Institute for Adult Education).
Main priorities addressed by the ERASMUS+ project are the increasing labour market relevance of vocational training and to fostering access to quality training. Dr. Robert Jandl from BFW highlights the added value of the transnational cooperation: “Each country has its’ own traditions in the educational field, but we have also identified many overlaps and will implement the developed ideas in Austria.”
Learning from each otherSlovenia has a forest cover of 58 per cent and has the most hectares of wooded land within the international project. 53 per cent of the forest is deciduous forest. In Croatia the share of broad-leaved forest is even higher and encompasses 85 per cent of the 2.5 million hectares of forests. 19 per cent of Croatian forests are private owned. An average forest owner in Croatia owns 0.5 hectares. Slovenia counts 314.000 private forest owners, managing about 72 per cent of the forest land.
For all three countries forestry plays an important economic role and forest acts regulate the legal issues in the forestry sector.
The main reasons for starting this collaboration were raising numbers of young unemployed forestry professionals and private forest owners, who lack knowledge and practical skills in sustainable forest management.
Up to date, online and down-to-earthThe focuses of the collaboration are e-learning platforms, multimedia courses and online training materials. The outcomes of the CIA2SFM project will be increased training skills for employees of the partner organisations, increased digital competence of trainers and new networking opportunities. The collaboration helps to learn from each other and to offer transnational networks to identify chances also abroad.
Video about the project
Course programme of BFW 2017