Erasmus+ EU4Shepherds promotes innovative training for sustainable shepherds

The Erasmus Plus EU4Shepherds project is innovating herders' training to increase the resilience of extensive livestock farming, as showcased in its workshop held in Austria, 5-7 July 2022.

Photo: Pixabay

The Erasmus Plus EU4Shepherds project just held its third workshop in Austria between 5 and 7 July 2022. This meeting served to present the progress of some of its works, such as the Curriculum for shepherds and the Guide for shepherd trainers. Moreover, the online training platform that Cesefor foundation (a partner in this project) is developing was also presented during this training workshop.

EU4Shepherds aims to improve and update the training offer for shepherds, keeping in mind current barriers (administrative or otherwise), new scenarios (climate change and its consequences) and opportunities (trends in organic production, agrotourism, etc.). The goal is to ensure the sustainable maintenance of extensive sheep farms by providing them with tools to be resilient.

The project, which involves nine organisations from seven different countries, will adapt teaching methods for trainers and trainees according to the principles of work-based learning. To ensure the sustainability of the profession and of extensive livestock farming, the training will take into account the current barriers and logistical problems of extensive livestock keepers, such as the fact that many of them spread across isolated rural areas. In addition, EU4Shepherds will provide a training platform designed for herders and promote the use of digital tools for training.

The project will meet these objectives through the development of three “intellectual outputs”: new curricula for professional herders; a new flexible training methodology for trainers; and a new training platform for herders. Although shepherds are the main target group of the project, the trainers involved are the key element to make the necessary change in the training of professional herders possible.

This project addresses a problem common to many European rural areas, especially in countries where extensive livestock farming models have a significant presence and effect on local societies. Most of these countries are included in this project. The EU4Shepherds partners represent all the actors needed to develop the project efficiently and to implement the results successfully. Particular emphasis is given to linking vocational training providers and the needs of extensive livestock farming, in order to include the curricula and methodologies necessary for trainers to implement a certifiable shepherd training course at a later stage.

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Cesefor is a Spanish private non-profit foundation. It promotes and provides funds for the Castile and Leon region in Spain while especially dealing with the forest sector, and its industry. The Foundation came into existence in January 2003 and since then it has been providing a dedicated service to the forest sector through various projects and business solutions.