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Stories from the projects' side - #4

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These are the latest news from all UIA projects – find out how they are progressing and what they are working on at the moment!

Energy transition: when UIA projects show the way
The FED project in Gothenburg aims at developing a new type of energy market place. The Research Institute of Sweden, RISE, one of the project's partners, develops the market design and analyses drivers and barriers for future local energy systems. For Magnus Brolin, from RISE, the solution put in place by FED could serve as a model for the Local Energy Communities concept set up by the EU – and the simultaneous trading with several energy carriers as proposed by FED is so innovative that it could show the way to many European cities! 


Jobs & Skills in the local economy: UIA cities tell us what they’ve been up to and what their ambitions are

The City of Bilbao is looking into the Industry 4.0 sector with their AS-FABRIK project, which intends to make the most of the transformation of the City from an industrial to a services City. The project will transform the Zorrotzaurre district, a large brownfield near the City centre, into the heart of a new university district, an entrepreneurial hub and a place of economic dynamism. In this interview, their project team tell us about the implementation of this project and about their innovative concept of a “Venture builder”.

How do you create closer links between employers and schools? That's the question that the BRIDGE project from Rotterdam is trying to answer with their innovative tool called Career Start Guarantee. Thanks to this mechanism, 420 places in the technology sector and 180 in the healthcare sector were already guaranteed by employers for students entering secondary vocational education. But the work environment is evolving very quickly, and in order to ensure that the results of their training programmes will be long-lasting for their young beneficiaries, BRIDGE is also carrying out a study to identify the job opportunities of the future and the type of skills that would be required. Cees Stoppelenburg, the strategic adviser carrying out this research, found out for instance that  hard skills (craftsmanship, technical background and ICT) will continue to be important, but that developing soft skills (cooperating, communicating, flexibility, producing creative solutions and critical thinking) will become even more important for employees.

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Young students from the BRIDGE project

In Madrid, the MARES project is initiating an urban and resilience strategy to recover from the impact of the economic crisis: they have launched spaces called M.A.R.E.S  in four City districts, Centro, Villaverde, Vallecas and Vicálvaro, in order to promote employment in key industries (mobility, food, recycling, energy and social and care). The active participation of citizens in the design, development and implementation of the project’s activities is a key pillar of their project, and already 200 collective business initiatives are working in the MARES spaces. Read the interview with Mr. Bernardino Sanz, General Director for Economy in the Municipality of Madrid, to learn more!

In Milan, the Open Agri project supports jobs & skills in the local economy with an innovative urban agriculture project. In this interview with project manager Rossana Torri, they tell us how the Expo 2015 World Fair, focusing on the new role of Milan in food and nutrition, inspired their Open Agri project, and about the highly integrated approach of their Urban Agriculture Lab, including innovative techniques in urban agriculture, education and training, and social inclusion activities.


What have the urban poverty projects been up to?
In Birmingham, the USE-IT project has launched last year the Soho Social network, in order to support social enterprises' access to market, growth and clustering. The FUSE'SE progamme is especially designed to help developing an enterprise idea into a sustainable business. In this news item, discover the testimony of Janet Gray, founder of Feed My Creative, a repurposed textile social enterprise, who benefited from USE-IT support!

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Feed My Creative social enterprise benefited from USE-IT! support

The Tast’in Fives project in Lille aims at fighting urban poverty by opening an original building dedicated to food, where joint local activities could support and enhance social mixity and economic development in the neighborhoud. The final building will open in 2019, but a prototype of the future collective kitchen already opened its doors at the end of November 2017. The building includes offices, a urban farmer container, and a collective kitchen. It has already started to host many activities, like cooking workshops for kids or local NGO's working sessions.


Concrete results from the UIA cities working on the Integration of Migrants and Refugees
The City of Anwterp organised a special group session, the “mid-spring course” for the young refugees of the CURANT project, together with Human Link, an organisation specialised in psychological help. Nine youngster participated in this group session and the objective was to help them overcome traumatic stress and deal with changes. The CURANT project is focusing on 1:1 integration of young refugees with voluntary buddies via a cohabitation solution, but it also highlights the importance of various support mechanisms for  the young refugees, such as training, psychological support, etc, in order to avoid the risk of overburdening the flatmate and lay the ground for a more balanced relationship.

Supporting a quick integration of refugees into the labour market is a key element of the CORE project in Vienna, and trainings are being put in place to learn about the Austrian system and get skilled for a job. Since the beginning of September 2017, CORE project partner, Vienna board of Education, has been implementing a training programme for recognised refugee teachers in cooperation with the University of Vienna. During ten months, 23 participants will be prepared for their engagement as teachers in schools with high attendance of refugee pupils. There are around 5.500 refugee pupils in Viennese schools at the moment, and it is expected that having a pool of trained teachers coming from this programme will also ease the integration process and adaptation of the newly arrived children. Another partner, the Vienna Business Agency, started in November to organise trainings and workshops to encourage a pool of potential entrepreneurs to build their own business, and the IT training programme already gathers 14 participants.

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Refugees participating in a training programme in Vienna

 

First news from our 2nd Call projects on Circular Economy
On the side of the newly approved projects from the 2nd Call for Proposals, two circular economy projects from Slovenia, Urban Soil 4 Food in Maribor and Applause in Ljubljana, joined forces to organise a joint kick-off event on 18th January in Maribor.  The kick-off was attended by the deputy mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Dejan Crnek, and by th deputy mayor of Maribor, Mr. Saša Pelko. Eager to enhance collaboration between the two UIA projects, the project partners discussed common areas of work and have made plans for joint activities and gatherings. If both projects are working on the topic circular economy, Urban Soil 4 Food focuses on using cities‘ waste (biological and mineral) to produce a safe and certified soil for food initiatives in the City (urban farm and  community gardens), when Applause focuses on how to turn invasive alien plant species, usually considered as harmful,  into a ressource to develop new sustainable products.