RISKREAL’s International Conference in Catania: Promoting RISKREAL’s Resources Together
The RISKREAL consortium’s reunion in sunny Sicily
On Tuesday, July 4th, the partnership members of the RISKReal project gathered in Catania (Sicily, Italy) in order to hold the project’s Final Conference for the tools and resources that have been in development for the past three years.
The goals of the international conference were:
- To disseminate and promote the three outputs developed by the partnership of RISKREAL
- To promote the possibilities of VR in the training of psychosocial competencies
- To reach out and creating a dialogue with several components of society.
The event was hosted by the Italian partner IPPO Engineering, who invited an audience that represented the project’s main target groups; these being educators, HR managers, entrepreneurs, people with an interest in VR, students and policy makers/associations.
The Topics covered during the conference
In compliance with the objectives of the event, the main topics of interest for RISKREAL have been addressed by the experts of the partnership. In addition, the resources that have been developed during the previous three years of the project have also been presented to attendees.
To kick-off the event, Mr. Angelos Schoinas, a representative of the Greek partner PROTASI ZOIS, gave an overview on the importance of soft skills within different fields of work, a foundational principle that has guided the conception of the project itself. Although the importance of soft skills is widely recognised by insiders, there is still a rather low awareness by society at various levels. The reality of this has been outlined by the intervention made by Ms. Simona Oliva, a representative of Associazione Siké – a youth organisation based in Catania – which highlighted the lack of awareness among young people, students and general public on the topic of soft skills together with their role in determining employability.
After this general overview of the overarching issues at hand, the conference moved towards a slightly more technical approach in terms of the activities undertaken during the project’s lifespan. Initially, Ms. Eleonora Drago, an expert psychologist from the Istituto di Gestalt, presented how the assessment of soft skills works, which are the possible techniques and which approach has been adopted by RISKREAL.
Following this theoretical introduction; Mr. Andrea Puglisi, a Project Manager from IPPO Engineering, presented the project output: the RISKREAL App for the evaluation of psychosocial skills. Andrea went through all the features of the app, explaining how the tool is aimed at assisting both employees, prospective workers and companies alike. The goal of RISKREAL is not merely that of creating awareness in relation to soft skills, but also in informing users in terms of their strengths and weakness concerning soft skills, together with facilitating the cultivation and development of such skills. Therefore Ms. Vicky Ibars, from the Spanish organisation KVeloce I+d+I, presented the project’s second output: The toolkit for the capacity building of psychosocial skills of low qualified workers of the manufacturing industry.
Another way through which the partnership of the project aims to improve workers’ soft skills is through the use of innovative technologies, employed in order to simplify and facilitate the effective transfer of knowledge. Therefore, Mr. Keith Coleiro from the Maltese partner MECB presented the various opportunities offered by the latest technologies in terms of their application towards new perspectives for learning and the training of employees. Building upon the previous presentation, Mr. Andres Bustillo Iglesias from University of Burgos presented the third and final project, that of the Virtual Reality Simulator for adapted training and empowerment of low qualified workers at risk within the wind and manufacturing industry, presenting how the simulator works together with the training strategy that has guided the consortium in the development of such a resource.
The above mentioned Virtual Simulator was readily available to the conference’s attendees in order to be experienced and tested. This was made possible by the University of Burgos, who managed an area of the even where, through the use of a VR headset; several participants could test the two simulator environments developed by the partnership of RISKREAL.
Feedback from participants
Participants attending the event have been surveyed about their perception and opinion on the conference. In general, the event has been widely appreciated by all participants for its capacity to shed new light on a topic that is still widely unknown and for promoting freely available resources that can be of great use for workers (both current and prospective), together with the companies employing them.
Written by: Andrea Puglisi – Project Manager
from IPPO Engineering