Training has been of upmost importance for the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA) for the last years.
Firstly, ITA had recognised the training importance and included it in its strategy and created a working group (WG-18) devoted to this matter. In 2007, the ITA strategy explicitly decided to create a committee (ITA-CET) to deal exclusively to all education and training (E&T) activities in the ambit of the ITA, and later, to promote the creation of a foundation to organise and administrate the demanding E&T events.
All these actions have happened very rapidly, in the last 5 years, and since the Foundation ITACET has started its activities in the second half of 2009, twelve E&T events have been delivered and more than 1000 professionals have been trained.
This is an incredible achievement, but, on the other hand, it requires a lot of co-ordination and interaction among all parts involved, namely the ITA, fixing its needs and strategy towards training, the ITA-CET Committee, responsible for setting course programmes and selecting lecturers, and the Foundation ITACET, the organisational arm in charge of implementing, preparing and delivering courses, seminars and workshops.
The two bodies, ITA and the Foundation, have been doing an enormous effort together to fulfil their mission, promoting training and delivering E&T events efficiently and with high technical standards. Both have co-signed a letter, establishing a new policy of risk sharing for the organisation of E&T activities, in which the major benefits go to the ITA member nations, and in last instance, to those who really needs continuing education and training, the tunnelling engineers and workers.
More recently, a new step has been done in favour of this common target to have more numerous and efficient events. A meeting of the ITA Executive Council in New York City, last January, devoted a long time to discuss deeply this topic and possible actions to improve the fulfilment of the ITA aims regarding training. It is desirable and of paramount importance that all have a unique voice on the need of training and how to organise the events, in such a way that they reach efficiently those who need them.
From the Foundation viewpoint, the future perspective is very positive, because the proactive interaction of the ITA is essential to bring activities and also to provide experts as lecturers. On the other hand, from the ITA perspective, a robust Foundation is the guarantee of events organised efficiently and delivered in high technical standards.
It is worth to mention that the interaction and synergy between ITA and Foundation are the key point to ensure the fulfilment of the ITA strategy and the Foundation aims and mission, going together towards better education and training actions.
Interview with Felix Amberg, President of the Amberg Group of Companies (Amberg Engineering Ltd, Amberg Technologies Ltd, Hagerbach Test Gallery Ltd) and Chairman of CUC Foundation, a Founding member of the ITACET Foundation.
On the growing involvement of the industry and subsequently on its impact on the Foundation future training courses.
The starting point of the Foundation was the academic network of ITA CET Committee. However successful underground construction means that all stake holders of the sector do a good job and consequently they all should be addressed and integrated in the activities of ITA CET Foundation.
When the industry, through the itatech committee for example, is getting a more recognized position within the ITA, this gives a good opportunity for the Foundation to engage a dialog to identify and address their needs for training and adapt or extend its actions accordingly.
In the training field, collaboration with the industry is also mutually beneficial. A tunnel is not entirely “man made” but also deals to a large extend with nature; the close interaction between research and its application on site is very important as new findings can be applied properly only on site, in the tunnels either during their construction or operation.
“Training for professionals” is thus one of the keywords of a future development in the Foundation’s actions , thanks to a its dynamic relation with the industry.
On the development and adaptation of the Foundation courses Portfolio and new ways to organize training courses.
This collaboration will bring a new sector of the industry to the attention of the Foundation, such as workers on site, site engineers, legal bodies etc.
As they are much closer to the practical process or the application of scientific findings, the Foundation will need to adapt its course program. By example, “Hands on” training courses, combining theoretical lecture and practical work are likely to be developed.
Do to so means that specifics needs are to be taken in consideration, by example, workers are less used to travel to attend courses than, let’s say, post graduate students. This may lead to tailor made courses on site instead of in universities classrooms. A first course that went into that direction and which was very much appreciated by the attendees was the training course on sprayed concrete on the occasion of WTC 2011 in Helsinki.
Training courses for trainers could also be a new way to contribute to better trained professionals. Local trainers, educated by the Foundation, can act locally later on as trainers for the local professionals.
Other stakeholder, like for instance legal bodies, insurers etc may also have their specifics needs that could be addressed by the Foundation.
On the Foundation’s activity two years after its set up.
Let say I have two souls in my chest on that matter. One is appreciating the progress the Foundation has made in two years, especially the fair number of actions organized and the presence we achieved in the underground and tunneling industry.
On the other side there still are a lot of issues we need to take care of. To address the professionals as we discuss before is one of them. At the moment certain domains in training and education are not yet taken care of because there has not been an explicit demand for so far and the Foundation has not developed its own initiative on. Also there could be a wider geographically spread of our actions.
It is for certain that the Foundatio will not start to repeat what it has done the last years. On the contrary: the Foundation can call itself active in all domains of tunneling and underground work not before another two to five more years.
To conclude, I think it has been tremendous what the Foundation has achieved up to now but there are still a lot of options and opportunities for the Foundation in the near future.
At the occasion of the 13th World Conference of ACUUS to be held November 7-9 , 2012 in Singapor, the Foundation together with the Society for Rock Mechanics & Engineering Geology (Singapore) and the scientific collaboration of the ITA Committee on Underground Space (ITACUS) is preparing a two-day Seminar on Underground Space Use.
Main topics coverd by the seminar:
- Introduction and Overview to Underground Space Use
- Advantages and Disadvantages / Sustainability and Need for Planning
- Planning and cost-benefit issues for broad-scale underground space use
- Guidance for planning and design of underground spaces
The Foundation together with the Società Italiana Gallerie is preparing a two-day training course on "Mecanized Tunnelling in Urban Areas" to be held april 13-14 2012 in Roma.
The Foundation and the organizer managed to invite an international panel of thirteen very high level lecturers both from the academic and corporate world.
During the training session they will give insight on technical, practical and historical sides of mecanizing tunnelling in urban area. Please, read the tentative program to know more about their interventions.
The ITACET Foundation ran a successful training course on “Health and Safety in Tunnelling”, in conjunction with the Tunnelling Association of India, the Central Board of Irrigation and Power and with support from Delhi Metro, on 20th and 21st February at the Indian Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
Around 100 delegates working in the hydro power, irrigation and transportation sectors from all over India attended the course.
The Nepal Tunnelling Association (NTA) and ITACET Foundation jointly organised 2-day training program on "Sprayed concrete (shotcrete) in tunnelling under Himalayan Conditions" on 9-10 December 2011 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
146 participants from Nepal, India, Bhutan and China attended the training. All participants were satisfied from this training and expected more such training in near future
The training program and internationally renowned speakers were organised by ITACET Foundation to conduct this training. To know more about this traing session >>