The ITS Tech&Food Foundation is a pole of excellence born from the partnership between companies in the agrofood sector, institutions, schools, universities, training and research institutions in the Emilian territory. In its HQ located in Parma, Reggio Emilia and Bologna, it runs 4 two-year courses to train highly specialized technicians with immediate employment perspectives in the strategic sectors of the local productive activities:
- the course “Higher Technician in food design and production technologies” (PR)
- the course “Higher Technician in food product marketing and promotion technologies” (RE)
- the course “Higher Technician in product and packaging design for agro-food sector” (PR)
- the course “Higher Technician for environmental management and circular economy in agro-food sector”
The internationalization strategy, which develops the one already undertaken in 2017 with the ECHE accreditation, as identified by the Technical Scientific Committee and the General Coordination, is based on the following pillars:
- Improving the level of qualification of students with professional, interpersonal and intercultural skills, according to the needs of the agri-food labour market and self-employment/business development options.
- Promoting the specialization of ITS staff by updating specific skills on work-based, problem-based and researchbased
teaching methods, expanding the range and content of courses and fostering the exchange of skills and experiences.
- Connecting higher education, research and business for agro-food excellence and regional development also through the implementation of dual learning system ITS Tech&Food’s strategy aims at internationalization as an opportunity for modernizing the situated learning practices during the curricular courses and work-based learning during the curricular internship experiences at the Foundation’s member companies, which, moreover, strongly focus on the marketing and export activities of their food products in EU and non-EU countries – including Barilla (pasta&bakery), HiFood (functional ingredients for the foodindustry, Lesaffre (yeasts), La Doria (sauces), Agugiaro&Figna (flours), Devodier (hams), Grissin Bon (bakery), Coppini (oil), L’Isola d’Oro (fish preserves), Monte delle Vigne (wine).
In this context, specific target countries for the internationalization strategies are the ones where GDO penetration of Italian food export products is high (anglosaxon countries, north¢ral EU), as well as countries equipped with agrifood research centres (Spain) or with centres for the promotion of agrifood entrepreneurship. The update of the internationalization strategy also foresees a specific alignment with the assets identified by the European Education Area, with particular reference to SELF-ENTREPRENEURSHIP as a key and lifelong competence, able to inspire HEI students to develop new food products and new agroindustrial businesses, to SUSTAINABILITY for the development of food product with low impact on the environment, to the circular economy and for the respect of the animal wellbeing, as well as to DIGITAL SKILLS for the modernization of the agro-food sector, with particular reference to technologies for food traceability and production big data for the optimization of the plant and the technical production process.
KA1 MOBILITY FOR HEI STUDENTS AND STAFF
Mobilities will be implemented through participation to Ka1 projects representing the ITS network at regional and/or national and agrifood sectoral level, prior to the identification, at sending Consortium level, of EU receiving organizations able to offer both students and HEI staff academic/training programmes fitting their own curricula and/or production and manufacturing companies able to provide work based internships in dual learning perspective. The progressive establishment of a network of international institutional relations will also be aimed at implementing procedures for the reception at ITS, and/or at member companies of the Foundation, of inbound mobilities of both students and international staff. At the internal ITS organizational level, the General Coordinator will be responsible for identifying, both for inbound and outbound mobilities, the curricular didactic units and time windows suitable for
inbound mobility, as well as the mechanisms for the certification of the activities carried out and the automatic recognition of the learning outcomes according to ECTS. The Coordinator will in turn identify a Tutor responsible for assisting inbound and outbound students, also about the linguistic preparation in class or through the OLS platform as well as for carrying out the requested documentation (contracts, learning agreements).
KA2 STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS FOR COOPERATION AND EXCHANGE OF PRACTICES & FOR INNOVATION
The activities will be implemented through participation to Ka2 projects dedicated to specific priorities and objectives related to process and product technologies as well as to innovation and self-entrepreneurship in the agro-industrial sector, based on the positive experiences of ITS in previous partnerships (Project Food4Growth 2015-1-IT01-KA202-004763, Project Passeurs de Culture 2019-1-FR01-KA202-062112). ITS intends to refine the strategy already in
place, so the General Coordinator searches and selects the project proposals consistent with its internationalization strategy, confronting with the European Projects Project Manager for the identification of the strategic priorities of the annual calls.
CONTRIBUTION OF THE ACTIONS TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF EPS STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
In terms of impacts on ITS Tech&Food as HEI institution, the full integration of inbound&outbound mobilities, for students and staff, both in virtual &blended mode, pursue the objective of modernization and internationalization through the progressive transition from a self-designed and self-delivered didactic path to co-designed, joint and
blended training modules, courses and curricula. Inbound mobility: the inclusion of foreign students and staff within ITS is able to produce effects in terms of cultural enrichment and development of soft skills related to communication and networking, as well as active debate among teachers and coordination staff on product and process technologies in the agri-food sector, and on work-based and dual learning issues in higher education.
OUTBOUND MOBILITY OF STUDENTS AND STAFF, PARTICIPATION IN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS: for students and staff, language improvement (English or other vehicular language), development of soft skills related to communication and networking; for teachers, experimentation of innovative methodologies and contents aimed at expanding the curriculum with topics of relevance for the agro-industrial sector. For the students, early company
placement thanks to work-based internships in industries from the agrifood sector, with research-based learning experimentation for product development, problem-based for processes and work-based for all organizational assets, easing the following transition to the labour market. For the staff, full participation in the community of HEI practices and the international agri-food sector, with the possibility to improve the implementation of the dual system in higher education. For the Foundation’s member companies, the possibility of recruiting highly qualified personnel, already socialized with corporate environment and already expert in organizational dynamics, as well as knowledgeable of the most advanced technologies of the agro-industrial sector available at international level.
ITS Tech&Food’s participation in SUPPORT TO POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION ACTIONS (KA3)
contributes to the achievement of the institutional strategy of internationalizing, innovating, modernizing and making attractive its training offer with the specific objective of accompanying and encouraging a coherent evolution of the regulatory framework and the reference context of programming by local and national government institutions.
Impacts on ITS Tech&Food deriving from Inbound&Outbound KA1 Mobilities of STUDENTS, starting in 2021 and for
the entire duration of the programme:
- Outbound mobilities within the framework of internship programmes for at least 10% of the students of each twoyear course implemented at the ITS Tech&Food Foundation
- Outbound mobilities, also in virtual and blended mode, as part of study programmes in tertiary VET institutions in the foreign agro-industrial sector for at least 10% of the students of each two-year curricular course implemented at the ITS Tech&Food Foundation
- A total of 5 inbound mobilities each year within the framework of internship programmes, based on the 3 two-year curricular pathways currently provided by the ITS Tech&Food Foundation
- A total of 5 inbound mobilities per year within the theoretical study programmes, also in virtual and blended mode, for each of the 3 two-year curricular pathways currently provided by the ITS Tech&Food Foundation Impacts on ITS Tech&Food deriving from Inbound&Outbound KA1 Mobilities of STAFF, starting in 2021 and for the entire duration of the programme:
- Outbound mobilities, also in virtual and mixed mode, within the framework of teaching, job shadowing or professional update/advancing programmes in tertiary VET institutions or in companies abroad, for at least 5% of the ITS Tech&Food Foundation staff members for each training year
- A total of 5 inbound mobilities each year within the framework of teaching, job shadowing or professional updating/advancing programmes, also in virtual and blended mode, on the 3 two-year curricular paths currently implemented at the ITS Tech&Food Foundation
- Subscription of at least one inter-institutional agreement with another tertiary VET institution from one of the key countries of the ITS Tech&Food Foundation’s internationalisation strategy (identified among the target countries for the export of food products of the agroindustrial companies member of the ITS Tech&Food Foundation), for each year of implementation of the Erasmus+2021-2027 programme, possibly giving priority to those with the infrastructure to accommodate also students and staff with disabilities or special needs, based on the services made available
- Subscription of at least one agreement between the ITS Tech&Food and a manufacturing company and/or researchcentre in the agrifood sector and/or fair organization at European level, aimed at the regular mobility of students/staff to attend work based internships, lab activities, research&development and/or promocommunication of agrifood products, for the benefit of local companies members of the Foundation, for each year of implementation of the Erasmus+2021-2027 programme, possibly giving priority to those with the infrastructure to accommodate also students and staff with disabilities or special needs, based on the services made available.
Impacts on ITS Tech&Food deriving from the participation to KA2 STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS:
Participation, as a partner or as an applicant, of the ITS Tech&Food Foundation in at least 1 KA2 partnership for the exchange of good practice or innovation, with intellectual output, for each year of the programme from 2021 and for the duration of the Erasmus + programme.
Impacts of ITS Tech&Food deriving from the participation to KA3 SUPPORT TO POLICY REFORMS Actions:
Participation, as partner, of ITS Tech&Food to at least 1 KA3 multiannual project to support the development &cooperation policies within the end of the Erasmus + 2021-2027 program, identified as relevant for the strategy of the Foundation, in agreement with the relevant local public government institutions and/or the Ministry of Education.