Paolo Buoni, Director of the European Centre of Technology (ECT) is interviewed exclusively as part of the 2017 Countdown, discussing the latest developments, opportunities and what to expect in the New Year.
Renewable Energy, Finance and Management are three sectors that are constantly evolving. How do you keep updated to provide the best training for your students in the latest technology and policy?
ECT Director, Paolo Buoni (PB): “They certainly are! Which means that our Galileo Master Certificate (GMC) approved courses are constantly developing and updating their content. An important part of how we do this is communication & information, and that includes regular communication with our course participants, our expert lecturers and with our global network of partners, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and leading universities worldwide. That way, we can always stay up-to-date with the latest changes in science, technology and policy.
A great example of this is our recent Digital Marketing & Communications course, which is obviously teaching particularly rapidly-developing subject matter. Along with the lecturer, we have worked hard to ensure that it is constantly updated to reflect the current Digital Landscape and the feedback we’ve received from participants of the course has been really positive.”
This year has seen some major updates with the European Centre of Technology (ECT), both online and in the classroom. What was behind this development?
PB: “The most notable development is the recent launch of our new online learning portal (http://onlinelearning.theect.org/ ) which offers GMC-approved courses remotely. As our classroom courses became increasingly popular, we found that a large number of international people who were keen to attend were unable to do so. For some it was work commitments, for others it was the fact that they were abroad and for many people it was simply because they would rather study a course in their own time, using their own methods.
Due to our international reach, we have been running Distance Learning courses for many years now. We actually started off our Distance Learning programme using VHS videocassettes and with the advent of the internet, it became easier to expand our Distance Learning portfolio to include the online courses that we offer today. This background gave us the ideal platform to offer a strong alternative for the increasing numbers of people from all over the world who were unable to attend our classroom courses.
Because of that, this year we have expanded our Distance Learning programme so that now almost all of our classroom courses offer a Distance Learning equivalent. The new site is more intuitive and is designed to accommodate different types of learner- participants can re-watch videos if they want, print off the course materials for home use, and study at hours that suit them.
In terms of course content, both online and in the classroom, we have expanded our portfolio to include subjects as varied as Project Management, Digital Management & Communications and Fintech, in addition to our updated Renewable Energy Courses.”
What do you see as the future for Training and Development?
PB: “The future lies online for courses awarding the Galileo Master Certificate (GMC). Increasingly, we are finding that our participants would rather study in the more flexible environment offered by our online GMC-approved courses. As the technology becomes more adaptable, it is easier than ever to access our courses on-the-go on a mobile device and this has helped a number of people who may not have able to physically attend our classroom courses or who may not have the time to sit down for several hours of study.
The online courses also offer participants the opportunity to rearrange their studies around the domestic and professional lives, rather than the other way around. A recent development that we’ve noticed is that a number of employers have chosen the Distance Learning course options specifically because it means their employees do not need to take time off of work during their studies.
Of course, many people still prefer to take part in our GMC-approved classroom courses and we are continuing to expand this part of our work. A major part of this has been the development of a number of new courses for 2017, in areas such as Fintech and Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility. With the Distance Learning courses taking their content directly from our classroom programmes, the two very much work in harmony together to create the best possible learning experience for all types of learner.”
What does 2017 hold for the ECT/EEC?
PB: “We have a whole raft of new courses coming up, online and offline, across both organisations.
The EEC has a number of classroom dates scheduled throughout 2017, including a number of new US courses, as part of our ongoing transatlantic collaboration with George Washington University. Additionally, the EEC Distance Learning courses have a new home, over on our online learning academy site (http://onlinelearning.theect.org/ ) and several of our Renewable Energy training programmes have new, updated content.
The ECT has several brand-new courses coming up, beginning with our Essential Marketing Strategy course in January, as well as a continuation of our successful Digital Marketing & Communications course from November this year. Additionally, our Project Management course now has a Distance Learning option for the very first time and you can expect to see an increasing number of ECT Distance Learning options over the course of 2017.
We’re also continuing our work with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this year too, helping to organise a 2017 conference as well as the 2016/2017 International Special Issue that we publish in collaboration together.
It’s a very exciting time just now for both organisations, so keep an eye out for further announcements and updates throughout the year!”
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
PB: “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here at the ECT/EEC. We look forward to helping further your career in 2017!”
The latest ECT’s Educational Activities were launched globally in the 2016/2017 International Special Issue, which is published in print with the United Nations (UNEP).
The Issue has been distributed at UN Protocol Congresses to Heads of State and Ministries of 180 Governments, who were signatories of the Protocols. The Journal contains topical articles contributed by the ECT-EEC’s network of international experts and policy-makers.
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