The ITA's Committee on Education and Training met in Naples on 7th May within the scope of the 2019 World Tunnel Congress. The 21 attendees from 9 different countries included official Committee members and regional correspondents from Member Nations with whom ITA-CET regularly works to develop course programmes. It was good to see that there were also several new faces, from universities or Member Nation representative bodies, interested to learn more about the Committee's work and to develop collaboration on training and education actions.
This annual meeting was a chance to look at the work undertaken over the last year, and exchange ideas on future actions. The agenda kicked off with a reminder of the distinct roles of the ITA-CET Committee and the ITACET Foundation, as there is often some confusion. As Vice Chairman Michel Deffayet pointed out, the Committee is in charge of developing the pedagogical content of training sessions/Master courses and choosing suitable lecturers. The Foundation deals with the financial and organisational aspects of training events and provides scholarships for students enrolling on ITA-endorsed Masters. In order to clarify the missions of each entity, a joint Committee/Foundation flyer has been produced, complete with a new Committee logo!
Despite a slight drop in the request for training events over the last 12 months, 8 events for over 600 students and professionals were co-organised by the ITA-CET Committee and the ITACET Foundation in France, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Nepal and Italy. Some of these events were organised as an "extra" within the scope of national conferences, which is a practical means of limiting travel costs for participants.
Discussions are underway with several other ITA Member Nations who wish to organise training events over the next few months, including Malaysia, Nigeria, Colombia, India, Mexico, Chili and Thailand. Member Nations who wish to organise a training event are invited to contact either the ITA-CET Committee or ITACET Foundation secretariat.
The Committee has continued to develop training actions with industry. Michael Kompatcher (leader of Activity Group 2) reminded the participants that ITA-CET is willing to organise seminars for companies such as the one on « Structural Use of Fibre-reinforced Concrete in Precast Segments”, organized in April 2018 in Paris, at the request of Bekaert Macaferri. A meeting with industry representatives was organized just after the Committee meeting in order to discuss possible future avenues of collaboration between ITA-CET and major companies.
The Committee meeting was also an opportunity to discuss how to strengthen the ITA-CET university network. In order to facilitate the exchange of information between professors and to encourage collaborations between universities, the Committee has decided to organise its 1st meeting of European university professors, to be followed by a conference where selected PhD students from ITA-CET universities can present their work. These events will take place at the Polytechnic University of Turin on 5th-6th December 2019.
In adition to face-to face training events, ITA-CET is also working on developing educational material in the form of short videos. The idea is to provide a ten-minute lesson on a particular subject dealt with by the ITA working groups, with the aim of encouraging the viewers to read the WG reports to obtain futher information. Daniele Peila, (leader of activity group 4) presented a pilot video during the meeting and informed the participants that the Committee intends to work with several WG animateurs over the next few months to develop further videos based on WG publications.
After discussing other issues, such as the Committee budget for the forthcoming year, the meeting rounded off with a group photo. Many thanks to all those who attended.