VETAAL – Vocational Education and Training for Ambient-Assisted Living


VETAAL seeks to integrate AAL – Ambient-Assisted Living – systems in furniture to create products that can offer ‘smart’ support for people in the later stages of life or people living with physical disability so they might live independently.

The project fulfils this by training staff from the furniture manufacturing sector to provide them with the skills for designing and manufacturing these products where ICT sensors are integrated into the frames of the finished articles. The training will mean the furniture manufactured will be in accordance with specified safety requirements so they are CE marked and fulfil ISO Standards, fulfilling legal and safety requirements for European and International Markets.

The VETAAL platform will connect experts and students from the furniture sector. Users will have the chance to share information, knowledge and experiences with other EU users. VETAAL will also become the first step for collaborations with an approach to enhance the EU cooperation in AAL and its correct integration in the furniture sector. For the project Partners, VETAAL reduce the dependency of furniture SMEs on other auxiliary organizations like environmental consultancies, and will offer competitive Smart Support Furniture for AAL to them as SMEs.

The care and support of elderly and disabled people is an emerging, niche market for the furniture sector. To cover the requirements of this group, more and more furniture organizations are focusing on this market, even integrating AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) systems in their final products to produce what is called Smart Support Furniture.

However, it has been found that most of the furniture manufacturers do not have the skilled employees required for designing and manufacturing products for this sector according to the specific safety and mechanical needs (CE marked, ISO Standards, etc) that these products must accomplish to fulfil the legal and safety requirements for European and International Markets. Consequently, the main objective of VETAAL is to address the challenges of the vocational skill mismatch that the new demand of an AAL-integrated Habitat has produced, by the development and validation of a harmonized European curriculum based on the principles of ECVET in the area of design and the manufacture of Smart Support Furniture that provides e-learning through introductory face-to-face sessions to provide experts working in the furniture sector or preparing to enter the labour market.

The specific objectives (SO) of the VETAAL project are:

  1. Define skills needs in the field of AAL and requirements for designing and manufacturing Smart Support Furniture for Ambient Assisted Living.
  2. Design and develop a Joint Curriculum on Smart Support Furniture for Ambient Assisted Living by implementing innovative methods in e-learning and face-to-face learning.
  3. Develop a Multilingual eLearning Platform for teaching the remote learning part.
  4. Involve VET policy makers contributing to the outcome dissemination to guidance services, representative organisations as well as to relevant national, regional or local authorities, exploiting the project outcomes and recognizing it as a standard VET model, which will ensure a high impact on VET policies.
  5. Develop a Memorandum of Understanding: Defining criteria for memorandum of understanding and recognition of learning outcomes and concluding a MoU to shape future operational partnerships between partners.
  6. Develop Draft training recommendations that can be adopted by training institutions in all European countries
  7. Develop Draft training recommendations that can be adopted by training institutions in all EU countries

VETAAL will set three different training paths depending on the user’s professional background. The training paths will also be based on four main learning pillars (Basic concepts on electronics, design and ergonomics, psychology and needs of elderly and disabled and AAL integration in furniture) which will be developed in detail between all the partners according to the real training needs of the target sector.

TOLEDO – Facilitating web-based marketing in 
non-native languages

A project focused on enhancing the contribution SMEs supplying sophisticated, conceptual services can make to growth by improving their capacity to present their products in the online digital environment beyond their borders in other languages.

Good SMEs with innovative solutions and robust business models may not be able to reach the empowerment offered by the WWW without tools that enable a powerful presentation with impact. These connections are usually made through clarity of content and effective interpretation of the content prior to translation.

Large corporations with their much greater access to both financial and human resources are inevitably affected less by the constraints facing SMEs, so gaining a direct advantage. The project will set up a network of regional bodies and agencies that have direct contact with SMEs in their region and a defined stake in their success. This network would receive its own set of information services, supported by specialist suppliers based within the project consortium, to supplement exchanges between network members.

These services would facilitate the maintenance of a web-site connecting users to language resources and easy-to-use tools that could help them to analyse how they need to develop their message and how they can make this most cost-effective. The results and reports that will emerge from the project’s research into message clarity, cost-effectiveness and implementing interpretation into translations will be resources in themselves to be applied to the intended ends. The outputs will include webinars and a final conference to launch the network of regional bodies and the website dedicated to language resources for SMEs.

This project is to be a starting point for involving other groups of SMEs, increasing the application of resources and tools supplied through the project, enhancing innovative enterprise in line with the objectives of ‘Europe 2020’.