Leading companies and the media repeatedly talk about the fatal consequences of the shortage of skilled workers for German companies. These worrying forecasts apply not only to Germany but to countries throughout Europe. While the current tense situation on the labour market in industrial nations such as Germany has serious economic and socio-political consequences such a shortage of skilled workers in the skilled trades, in industry and in the social sector, other European countries with less economic power are suffering from the fact that more and more young people are leaving their home country because they do not see any professional prospects for themselves there.
With regard to the future career prospects of our pupils, we have decided together with our partner schools to counteract the shortage of skilled workers with a long-term project by making students aware of the diversity of European professional occupations.
We want to make people more aware of the extinction and decline of traditional professions and reflect on their future in Europe on the basis of innovative technical achievements.
The goal of our project A Digital Mapping of traditional Jobs in Europe is to create a digital documentation of traditional crafts in Europe. Our pupils in the respective partner countries will explore typical crafts trades and their associated special techniques by not only researching their history and current significance on the labour market, but also thinking about the future prospects of these trades in the digitalized world of work.
Our long-term goal, which goes beyond this project, is to incorporate the knowledge gained by our research into the exploration of occupational fields at grammar schools. Pupils should learn that not only academic professions have their value, but that dual studies, internships, apprenticeships and hands-on job training also offer added value with good employment opportunities and a secure income. In this way, we also want to motivate pupils with special technical skills. (see Europe 2020 guidelines).
In order to record traditional occupations in different regions in the respective partner countries, we will map traditional occupations using geocaching throughout the course of the project. Each partner country will set up a kind of "professional hiking trail" for the meetings by placing information for the pupils of the partner countries in a box with a multilingual logbook for the most important locations for the respective professions (production facilities, workshops, vocational museums). The pupils then take part in a "treasure hunt" following the traces of the respective traditional occupations of a country. All the students acquire the central information about the specific occupations and production techniques and at the same time learns about the country’s typical, historical, geographical, social, causal and traditional facts on the background of the location factors.
These results are also made available to a worldwide community via geocaching. We therefore achieve a very high distribution of information via various digital platforms. The pupils also acquire important key skills in the digital field (creating a website, working with 3D printers, tools for image and sound processing, graphics, film editing, documentation and presentation of work results, evaluation of surveys and data sets). The pupils improve their foreign language skills and intercultural competence in regular skpye conferences, via twin space, and at project meetings at partner schools. In workshops (university workshops, companies, artists' studios, and small manufactories) the pupils get to know the practical work as well.