Robotics, a tool for innovation in education

The world is in transformation: in 2025, the rate of automation of the workforce will be 47%, according to the report The Future of Jobs 2020 (The Future of Jobs 2020) of the World Economic Forum (WEF, in its acronym in English). Industry 4.0 is no longer a concept of the future to be more and more present in factories. The industrial automation process continues to grow and with it has emerged a new job market that will increasingly require new specialized professionals.

Meeting this demand, according to Universal Robots, a world leader in the manufacture of collaborative robots, involves offering quality training in robotics and automation adapted to new challenges in the classroom. This was explained by the company last Thursday, January 28th, in an online conference entitled Robotics, a tool to innovate in education , which can be seen again on demand by requesting information on the same website. “Training is the key in the introduction of new technologies so that there is a better application in the industry,” said Jordi Pelegrí, General Director of Universal Robots in Spain and Portugal, and moderator in this online conference.

It is not enough to have the technology. “Universal robots has to be a product that makes automation possible for any type of company, and for it to be possible, the academic part is one of the key points, ” argued Ignacio Moreno, Sales Development Manager.

And nobody better than the centers that have already incorporated this technology, to explain its advantages first-hand. This is the reason why Xabier Ugarte, teacher of Electronics at Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri, was invited to the conference. Txorierri, thanks to their participation in the Erasmus+ Innovation project called INCOBOTICS, has been able to develop and be up-to-date in this training methodology. During the conference Xabi had the opportunity to share his experience in introducing robotics in the classroom via real challenges solved through the use of collaborative robots and artificial vision cameras. According to Xabi, the implementation of the training material developed by the #INCOBOTICS project is helping Politeknika Txorierri to achieve something he believes to be paramount: “to create workers of the future for the company of the future”. During the conference Xabi also stressed that thanks to the fact we have adapted our training offer in automation and robotics to the challenges of Industry 4.0, we have managed to get the collaborating companies we work with interested in the training we offer.


Xabier Ugarte, from Politeknika Txorierri, was invited as a speaker to the Digital education & training – Youth at the heart of the social economy conference organised by the Pact for Skills initiative on January 28th.

The ‘Digital Road to Mannheim’ (Roadmap) consists of 8 fully digitized online events. Each roadmap event focusses on a specific topic and aims to connect different Social Economy actors in Europe in a highly interactive format, present best practices and use cases as well as provide first-hand insights in interactive sessions from change makers all around Europe. The #Roadmap strengthen the social economy in Europe and harness its contribution to economic development, social inclusion as well as green and digital transitions.

In her political guidelines, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the need to unlock the potential of digital technologies for learning and teaching and to develop digital skills for all. Education and training are key for personal fulfilment, social cohesion, economic growth and innovation.

The Digital Education Action Plan outlines the European Commission’s vision for high-quality, inclusive and accessible digital education in Europe. With the RoadtoMannheim event on “Digital education & training – Youth at the heart of the social economy” there is a wish to strengthen cooperation at European level and to discuss how we can all learn from the COVID-19 crisis and make education and training systems fit for the digital age.

Xabier Ugarte was one of the guest speakers in the Pact for Skills Experts Roundtable where he shared Txorierri’s experience on how educators are facing the COVID issue when teaching/educating. Xabi also had the opportunity to share the information about the project Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing (#DTAMproject) and the challenges it will be meeting by developing an Integral Training Curriculum for EU technicians to deploy and manage digital tools in #AdvancedManufacturing while promoting links between educators, SMEs and the labour market.


Xabier Ugarte held a webinar on December 16th to share the INCOBOTICS Module and Guide. This event was organised by TKNIKA, the Basque H/VET Applied Research Centre and Politeknika Txorierri was given the chance to organise a workshop to inform about the project. There were 75 attendants from TKNIKA and from H/VET schools in IKASLAN and HETEL networks of Basque VET/HVET centers.

Xabier had the opportunity to present the INCOBOTICS Module and the 3 units within this module. He showed the participants the video in unit 1 that explains the evolution of Industry 4.0 towards 5.0 and the concept of cobotics. It also covers the issues facing the integration of cobots such as safety, productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, the video presents the different types and areas of use of collaborative robots, the main brand of collaborative robots and their characteristics. The next part of Unit 1 covers the basic characteristics and most popular functions of the three different cobot brands in the French, Italian and Spanish institutions, partners in the project: Omron, Staubli and Universal Robots and proceeds to show the elements of cobot installation and set-up which the students as qualified technicians and engineers will be responsible for.

Xabier then proceed to show the material developed in Unit 2 of the Module. It covers the programming of the three cobots (Omron, Staubli and Universal Robots): their movements, routines, managing I/O (inputs and outputs), palletization and manipulating tools. It also covers the programming tasks to cover the main Industrial functions: selection, inspection, sorting, manipulation etc. for the most relevant industrial/general functions. Unit 3 of the Module covers the programming tasks of the Artificial Visioning (AV) Systems which permit each cobot brand to “see” and safely move around spaces and persons.

Xabier explained the participants the short video tutorials embedded in the ppts in units 2 and 3. Teachers can use those videos to show their students the practical steps and they can also adapt the ppts to the new functionalities that may be developed in the future. The ppts are living “documents”. The other videos developed are a more visual presentation of the ppts and video tutorials for any student, teacher or worker that wishes to learn about cobots and their related AV systems.

Xabier also presented The INCOBOTICS Best Practice Guide, which offers teachers using the INCOBOTICS Module with key methodological support. It offers challenges/projects for students around which to develop competence in cobotics. The Guide supports user staff in the understanding of Challenge Based Learning and how to adapt or develop challenges for students in their cobotics and other courses. Xabier showed the attendants how they could amplify, adapt or develop their own challenges for the Module using the Best Practice Guide supporting structure and materials.

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Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing: An Integral Training Curriculum for EU technicians to deploy and manage digital tools in Smart Manufacturing or DTAM in short, is a three-year Sector Skills Alliances in VET project, funded by the Erasmus+ program of the EU.

Coordinator of the DTAM project is POLITEKNIKA IKASTEGIA TXORIERRI S.COOP partnering with a total of 10 other organisations from 5 European countries. In the Basque Country the participating organizations are AFM, GAIA, BasqueGame and SARENET.

The DTAM project comes in answer to an ever-increasing need for the upskilling and reskilling of technical workers and students in the EU to help improve their employability in a skills intensive fast evolving labour market i.e. advanced manufacturing (AM). The project will also address other multiple needs which have recently became even more evident because of developments such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Among those needs are the (1) digital and technical skills mismatches in demand and supply of labour, (2) demand for sector-tailored industrial workers, (3) lack of recognized VET programs on the topic and a practical training through access to developed IoT (remote) labs and WBL and last but not least (4) the need for an updated training for low or under-skilled adult workers threatened by replacement or obsolescence due to technological advances.

Therefore, DTAM will deliver a new curriculum in digital transformation dedicated to the quality training of mid-high-level technicians in key enabling technologies for Advanced Manufacturing. The curriculum will help grow a workforce of technicians capable of understanding, installing, configuring, monitoring, analysing, transferring data and maintaining digital systems in advanced manufacturing environments so meeting a critical skills gap in EU Industry 4.0 and addressing partners’ regional RiS3s.

The project is set to achieve this through the following key activities:

  • DTAM teaching methodology and training program. The partnership will create a Digital Transformation Skills Index in the field of digital transformation, a training methodology and a training curriculum, including a dedicated Trainer’s manual.
  • Preparation of DTAM Training course. In this key project activity, learning materials will be developed together with a dedicated online learning platform and a tool for self-assessment of digital and transversal skills. Possible training topics are: digital skills, cybersecurity, transversal competencies, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data. The training course will be available in 6 national languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Greek and Bulgarian.
  • Creating a DTAM IoT Hub. The idea behind this activity is based on the need to have a centre for sustainable cooperation for various stakeholders, including students and teachers, entrepreneurs and professionals developing IoT products and services, buyers from private organizations or public administration, and end users. Creating the DTAM IoT hub, will allow access to training content and materials to both national and international stakeholders.
  • Pilot testing. Prior to the official presentation of the DTAM training course, a pilot test will be conducted to validate the training methodology, the training curriculum and the training content.

We invite you to take part in the project and get notified about its activities by subscribing for the official DTAM project newsletter.

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Should you have any queries related to the DTAM project, please feel free to contact Anabel Menica:


Two groups of Basque Global Training interns, enthusiastic and determined to grow and refine their professional and personal skills, have just completed a 50 h´ training course at Politeknika Txorierri as part of their preparation for their upcoming 6-month GLOBAL TRAINING experience.

Each year, Politeknika Txorierri organises and provides a series of 6-7 day training courses for the 60 interns selected annually by the HETEL- Politeknika Txorierri-Confebask-ADEGI consortium as part of the GLOBAL TRAINING programme financed by the Basque Dept. of Economic Development and Infrastructures. Selected interns spend 6 months developing their professional skills in an international company or organisation.

In the GT preparatory courses the participants get to know each other and importantly explore and get to know themselves better. They learn how to develop their strengths and work with limitations, establish objectives, cultivate helpful attitudes and the capacity for self-regulation, develop their personal competences and critical thinking … all essential for their growth and wellbeing. These skills are especially important for the participants at this particular moment as they face the challenges of integrating into another culture and professional environment. In many cases the GLOBAL TRAINING internship is their first professional experience.

In an open, informal context, the participants interact and share experiences and develop their competences in a practical way. The invites the interns to take a closer look at the characteristics of the most relevant competence profiles and to consciously initiate or further develop their self-leadership. Competences covered include: attitude, socio- emotional intelligence, the advantages of intelligent optimism, self-confidence, proactivity and initiative, self-motivation and performance, resilience, adaptability, creativity and problem solving, communication and the assertive mindset, intercultural competence and the intricacy of communication skills in multicultural environments, teamwork and conflict resolution… The courses are given in English for the interns to also practice their language skills.

The two courses just completed have hosted some exceptional young people from a wide range of professional profiles and going to work in an equally wide variety of sectors and countries. The participants from all over the Basque Country include, engineers (chemical industrial and IT), maintenance, production and design technicians, graphic and web designers, marketing graduates, teachers, journalists, architects, lawyers… and are destined to countries such as Chile, Indonesia, UK, Ireland, the U.S, Belgium, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Italy…

Some interns have already arrived at their destinations and others are preparing to leave shortly. It´s time to activate confidence and all their skills and talents. As usual from Politeknika Txorierri we wish them all the best for this amazing adventure.

The kick-off meeting of the Erasmus+ project INCOBOTICS took place in Politeknika Txorierri last week. The INCOBOTICS: Ready for Industry 5.0 project (2019-2021) unites four EU partners from France, Italy, Greece and Spain (Basque Country) in the development of innovative didactic materials in cobotics. The integration of cobots (collaborative robots) into the industrial and business sectors of the EU which will work side by side with their human counterparts in workspaces is predicted to grow from 2020.

Future electronics and robotics graduates will be required to work alongside AI data technicians to programme, monitor and analyse the data fed into and coming from cobots and their integrated artificial vision (AV) systems. Skilled programming and monitoring will see cobots safely perform an ever wider range of (interactive) functions in the world of work.

The INCOBOTICS project will create an INCOBOTICS Module with a general visual introduction to Industry 5.0 for all students, presenting current or planned examples from companies in each partner region. It will then cover the main characteristics and functions of cobots and develop structured units of learning in understanding and programming cobots and AV systems. The Project will develop a Best Practice Guide for teachers and trainers and offer “challenges” for students around which to develop competence in cobotics. The Guide will support user staff in the understanding of Challenge Based Learning and how to adapt or develop challenges for students in their cobotics and other courses.

The INCOBOTICS Module and Best Practice Guide will be tested by pilot groups in Spain, France and Italy in 2020-2021, refined and freely available in Sept 2021 for downloading from the project website. The final products will be reviewed and validated by major cobot distributors and industrial representatives from partner countries. Politeknika Txorierri (EUS-ES), ADAMICS (FR), APRO (IT) and IDEC (EL) aim to provide higher education providers with the most innovative, quality and ready to use didactical materials in cobotics which will see student graduates in electronics and robotics better prepared for the emerging 5.0 scenario. The INCOBOTICS Module comes with integrated ECT accreditation guidelines.

All INCOBOTICS outputs will be produced under the Creative Commons License. Project partners actively encourage higher educational organisations and other training entities to use the INCOBOTICS: Ready for Industry 5.0 Module and Guide.


vetgpsBusiness and VET providers both recognise the importance of preparing young people for the world of work, ensuring they gain the necessary skills to face the real challenges. While it is crucial that VET providers and the curriculum they offer are geared to meeting the needs of modern day business and industry, it is also undeniable that today, there exists a lack of real world experiences and an inability to apply the theoretical skills and knowledge to real scenarios.

Our role as VET providers is to supply the students with a solid and relevant preparation for this ever-changing world, with skills that could prove useful in a workplace. We highlight the importance of connecting the supply of education with the demand of the work environment, where students become aware of the importance of the ‘soft skills’, which enable people to work together, be creative, sole problems and take initiative, among others, as well as developing their practical skills in the workplace.

At Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri we consider a priority to develop innovative educational projects that enable the students to develop the aforementioned skills. The two Erasmus Plus projects called LifeOnLine and VET-GPS, in which Politeknika Txorierri collaborates, seek to offer VET Teachers and Trainers a set of new tools, learning materials and resources adaptable to any level of Vocational Training to enhance their curriculum offer.

LifeOnLine has developed a training resource; learning materials, tasks and activities including Assessment methodologies that reinforce the need for young people to be more entrepreneurial and thus make them more employable in today’s age. Prepared and tested in all partner languages, these training packages offer modular resources to support these skill developments.

VET- GPS is looking at the development of training packages in the wider aspect of ‘soft skills’. These are seen as both attributes/attitudes and characteristics associated with operating in today’s work  environment – but not only in associated with work – but more generally in young people’s ability to contribute their communities and society as a whole.

With the projects in which Politeknika Txorierri is involved, we seek to adapt to the new challenges our students need to face on the workplace and on real scenarios.



In the photo you can see the participants of the Global Training grants during the training course given in October at Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri.

In the European project called Life OnLine we have developed a course called “Master your future” and within this training we have piloted two modules of this course that are: Communicate like a Pro and Master the art of Teamwork.

We have considered that these are two very important competences for the 60 Global Training participants who are going to do a 6 month internships abroad this year.

To see more information about the course

The OPENIN project continues, with good progress being made towards the common goal of creating innovative and easy-to- use Arduino material for designing automated systems in the classroom.

From 5 to 9 February, teachers who will be in charge of piloting the OPENIN took part in a training course in Oporto at the ISEP – Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto.

Portuguese teachers Ricardo Almeida and Paulo Matos from ISEO, Greek professors Giannis Fasoulas and Spyros Panagiotakis from TEI CRETE, Italian professor Silvano Bertaina from Apro Formazione S.C. and Xabier Ugarte, teacher from Politeknika Txorierri all partipated in the course.

The week was very productive not only in gaining experience on how best to use the OPENIN materials, but also allowed for making important decisions for the project.

Participating teachers were able to exchange experiences and work towards achieving the common project goals. Common parameters regarding the format and the content of the units were also established.

The training period was a great experience for all involved as it was an opportunity to establish new teaching methods which will be used in different cultures using a common language and technology and a strong desire to improve teaching.


vet_gpsThe VET-GPS project partners attended the first meeting of this new project in Porto, Portugal, the last week of November.

The partners are developing a professional development programme aimed at integrating soft skills into the VET curricula for young people. The aim of which is to prepare young people with the skills to meet today’s and future labour market needs and prevent early leaving.

Politeknika Ikastegia Txorrieri takes part in this Project together with the coordinators of the Project Mentortec, CECE, ANESPO, Blickpunkt Identität, Efvet, Pixel and Connectis. In total 8 partners from 5 different countries.