JUMP! Training for Trainers August 2017- August 2020

JUMP! is a project aimed at building trust and upgrading competence for trainers in ecological building. For this, a new common core curriculum, units of learning outcomes for trainers and tools for these trainers will be developed and tested. Access to the new and existing resources will be improved by the creation of a new common European online portal.

At the heart of the new curriculum and tools is the desire of the consortium to enhance a paradigm shift. As Albert Einstein stated a hundred years ago: “The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Sustainable building cannot be achieved only by new technology. The new manner of thinking Einstein refered to includes non-technical and non-materialist aspects. We believe that change is a major motivation that drives designers, builders and customers of eco-construction and that change can and should be explicitly included in the learning process.
The second focus of training for trainers that we will develop is on how to access and best use all the guidelines and resources that have been produced thanks to our European networking over the last 15 years.

The consortium focuses on earth building and straw bale building, two sectors with strongly developed regional, national and European grassroots networks. Wood, hemp and other natural fibres used for construction which are closely linked to forestry and agricultural which have closer links to industrial processes and organisations with teaching schemes and strategies which usually follow a different logic. Nevertheless, the project’s outputs can be applied in these sectors and we will encourage it’s use in mainstream initial VET training for the conventional construction.

Currently, building with earth and straw bales is mainly taught by craftspeople outside of the mainstream training pathways of the construction sector. Many small, specialised training providers, often NGOs, have been developing all over Europe for more than 30 years. European cooperation was been initiated in 2002 to create common teaching materials for earthen plasters that remain the most significant part of the market for natural building materials in many countries. From 2008, there has been a noticeable increase of promotion, teaching and building activity for the ecological construction sector. Since 2009, units of learning outcomes for clay plasters exist, based on the ECVET principles. With the growing demand for straw bale houses and for earthen architecture, even in the public sector, there is a growing need for skilled craftspeople and for specialised trainers.

JUMP! is the first time that the earth building and straw bale building organisations have joined in a common project. A first even though there has been a close connection between the earth building and straw bale building networks at a European level. Straw bale buildings are almost systematically associated with earth as a building material in various ways. Many of the training providers teach the use of both materials. In some countries there are separate national umbrella associations for the two materials but in others associations promote both. The development of professional training in straw bale projects took over some of the pedagogical approaches developed by the earth builders and adapted the processes and tools to their context: i.e. teaching modules and competence standards based on ECVET.
So far, the two networks have had different strategies for training and for training for trainers. For earth construction, the training for trainers initiatives started in 2005 but remained rare, mostly non-recurrent and only a few addressing the units of learning outcomes approach. For straw bale construction, the establishment of codes of practice in some countries has enhanced the teaching and therefore the training for trainers in the recent years.
European projects funded under Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig programs have created high quality and consensus based resources for learners, trainers, assessors and training centres for straw bale and earth building. The results and products are translated and scattered unevenly on different associations’ and projects’ websites, including this one.

Despite the growing awareness around healthy buildings, indoor climate and natural, low carbon materials, there is still a huge ignorance in the mainstream construction sector when it comes to earth and straw bales as building materials. The specifics of these materials, the associated design and technology are not recognised. Qualifications entirely dedicated to these processes are rare and only concern continuous training. Training funds are steered by governments at local, regional or national level, generally with little or no understanding of earth and straw bale construction. In building regulations sustainable construction usually means limited to thermal performance. In this global context, trainers in eco-construction are not supported nor recognised. In the context of our eco-construction training centres, they often teach only occasionally, in a particular module according to their professional competence. Most of them do not have a pedagogical background and even their construction skills have been built up throughout their building practice, learning by doing, often after career changes, and not based on formal training. On the other hand, studies have shown that teaching and training in eco-construction is at a high level in comparison to other sectors. So the competence already exists in our networks and cooperation will allow good practice to spread.

See the project website http://www.trainingforchange.eu/