The Escola Profissional de Aveiro: Towards a sustainable tourism practice

AEVA – Escola Profissional de Aveiro offers the vocational course of Events Planning, EQF level IV. All students have a work Experience in enterprises, in each of the 3 years. Every year, the students must write a report about the technical and professional activities performed, as well as the knowledge and competences acquired and/or consolidated during the same year, in the hosting organisations, between February and May.

This period of time has a duration of 500 hours each year, and includes the WBL component and part of the component of the school activities where essential learning issues of the 3 training components are developed: socio-cultural, scientific and technological.

This year, they have also started a mock enterprise named ‘Play Events’ and the 2nd year class will organise the whole day of the Final Practical Exams of the 3rd year students which is a ‘Summer Festival’, to be held in July. On that day, each senior student receives an envelope with the tasks to be done and has to set up the whole event together with the rest of colleagues. All these envelopes with tasks are prepared by the 2nd year’s students.

During COVID-19 pandemic, events in person were not possible and so the students organised virtual events and webinars with specific topics for the hosting enterprises. Also, this year, the freshmen students will organise an Open Day to show the community their competences and examples of events that may be organised by them or events already organised by previous students from the same course. This will lead to more enterprises interested in hosting our students for internships and/or proposals for their organisation of real events in the region.

AEVA is also involved in two Erasmus+ projects related to Tourism. The first, TOURISTIC – Upskilling disabled people with digital skills applied to Accessible Tourism jobs (2019-1-EL01-KA202-062593) aims to upskill disabled people in Digital Skills applied to the design of innovative commercial services and products in Online Accessible Tourism, creating new skills pathways and labour opportunities for disabled people in Europe, supporting ICT-based teaching and assessment practices and promoting the transparency, validation and recognition of skills and competences acquired through OER.

Eight European VET experts and providers, companies and intermediary bodies in the fields of Tourism and support of disabled people from 6 countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey, Slovenia and Spain), are working together to carry out the following Outputs:

  • European Framework of Reference on Digital Skills for Accessible Tourism
  • TOURISTIC Virtual Campus. Includes the following Open Educational Resources: (i) an Online Instructional Guide on Digital Competencies for Virtual Learning; (ii) a set of structured Training Modules (iii) VET Open Online Courses (VOOC)
  • TOURISTIC Mobile Assessment App
  • Guidelines to foster transparency and recognition of Digital Skills for Accessible Tourism in Europe

It is expected that the Tourism sector will then count with new training tools to improve the competitiveness of the sector and support its transition towards a more accessible tourism offer. The envisage long term impact of the project will be a strengthening of the Digital skills and the VET systems in Europe.

The other project, Cities by Heart (2019-1-FR01-KA204-062217) aims to promote a type of responsible tourism “at zero kilometre” in which protagonists are citizens with a family or individual migratory path (whether new entrants or settled in the neighbourhood for several generations) who are involved in the creation of touristic tours in the respective hosting country/city/village. These tours are addressed to two target groups: the inhabitants of these territories, to bring them to an understanding of all migratory strata and this perpetual human movement by breaking down the arguments of “good” or “bad” immigration and international tourists, in search of new circuits, closer to the population, in order to promote past and contemporary Europe under the lens of cultural diversity resulting from immigration. The project, regarding the design of its circuits, includes economic actors from urban areas with a strong cultural mix: restaurants, shopkeepers, “host” inhabitants, etc. we visit during the tours.

The objective is twofold: to create a link between the residents of these urban areas to avoid communal conflicts and to trigger an economic dynamic to respond to the precariousness of the inhabitants of disadvantaged neighbourhoods.