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Out of the Box Europe is happy to announce the approval of Erasmus+ KA2 project “Designing the new job profile of the Circular Economy Manager to apply Circular Economy theory, techniques and practices in SMEs of the Food and Agriculture Sector” (CiEMS for SMEs)!

Every year the Global Footprint Network calculates Earth Overshoot Day – the day of the year on which we have used up all the resources the Earth can naturally provide in one year. In 2019, this day was July 29th, the earliest it has ever been. That means that we consume 4 months’ worth of natural resources more than we should in a year. The EU and many European countries have already prepared for are preparing a plan for the switch from a linear to a circular economy. The main argument for a circular economy is its power to decrease our depletion of raw materials and therefore lead to a more sustainable consumption rate.
Circular Economy is both an opportunity and a need for Europe. It can play a catalytic role for productive reconstruction and has a clear regional dimension. Circular Economy is a model that can lead to the social welfare of the people connected with it, as well as to the society as a whole, through the various benefits that its implementation brings (e.g. less waste, more job positions, less use of plastic, etc.). The model of the Circular Economy can lead to the creation of man new job opportunities, which can lead to the reduction of the unemployment and the increased wellbeing of people, as well as to the social inclusion of several social groups (such as refugees, migrants, etc.) by hiring them in the processes developed. In addition, people who are involved in the Circular Economy’s actions can develop several new skills, improve the existing ones and gain new knowledge, as these actions are connected with innovation and new technologies. In addition, an important factor in the economic benefits of circular economy is the change in and better understanding of the demand side. How companies deal with their customers and the role they play throughout their lives ultimately leads to less use of raw materials, less waste generation and changing production (WE Forum, 2017).
“CiEM for SMEs”, taking the above into consideration and understanding that even though the need for circular economy is imminent but the world of businesses and SMEs lack the knowledge and the skills required in order to actually be a part of it, proposes the design of the Circular Economy Manager job profile who will be the one to help SMEs in their transition from linear to circular economy.
Even though the project will focus on the Food and Agriculture sector, the objective is that the profile which will derive can be adapted and applied to a variety of sectors. The Circular Economy Manager will be based on a needs analysis carried out by the partnership for the definition of the learning outcomes and the EntreComp framework for the definition of the key competences; their combination will lead to the development of a specialized training curriculum. The curriculum will include modules for the theoretical study and mobile applications for a gamified, practical experience. Ultimately, the project certification process after the piloting phase will ensure that the CiEM profile is recognized at EU level.

Project’s objectives:
-supporting the professional development of SMEs managers to help their companies with the transition from linear to circular economy;
-contributing to skills development of VET learners and to the integration of circular economy needed skills
-development of the job profile of the circular economy manager (CiEM) and set the role of CiEM, aiming to increase the quality of circular economy job opportunities;
-development of an innovative curriculum, employing gamification for competence development;
-establishing the certification process of the Circular Economy Manager;
The main target sector of the CiEM for SMEs project will be the Agricultural and Food sector, although all methodologies developed will be applicable to every other sector of the economy. This means that the material developed in the frame of the project will be able to improve their knowledge and skills and make it easier for them to enter the labor market – which will lead to the reduction of unemployment. Apart from the employees themselves, the labor market will also be benefited by this project. This will happen due to the fact that more skilled employees will be entering the job market. Finally, the quality of the work will be highly increased as both employees and employers will be satisfied–something that will lead to the wellbeing of the people.

The project will be led by OTB Europe and implemented by 7 partners from 5 countries: Greece (IED), Slovenia (MIITR), Cyprus (STANDO LTD, CSICY), Italy (AREGAI) and Spain (EVM, UCAM).



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