The objective of the meeting was to review the proposed models for Training of irrigation professionals and decide on models and training courses which will have priority attention of the group.
Other forms of knowledge transfer were not specifically discussed at this meeting and will be part of agenda in some of the future meetings.
Tailored courses provided by EIA members
All participants agree that tis model should have the highest priority because it taps into massive knowledge base already available at many EIA members. Furthermore, quite a few EIA members already provide training courses which can be appropriately adapted for delivering through EIA training scheme.
The discussion on this topic came out with the following conclusions.
The model of providing training courses organized by EIA members can launch only if several members will be involved from beginning. Min. number of members involved in providing specific courses was not determined, but it must be appropriate to maintain that the overall training scheme is brand independent and unbiased.
The work group members will propose minimum requirements for training courses and develop the guidelines for delivering training courses through EIA training scheme. Such courses must provide educational value to participants, with practical applicability outside product range of any specific manufacturer. The document must also instruct on training methodology, attendance certification and various other details such as use of products photos and similar.
All group members agree that training courses organized through EIA should aim at advanced irrigation knowledge. Although basic courses in design and installation are not excluded, the preference is towards courses covering advanced water saving technologies, solutions, and practices, thus enhancing participant’s competence in irrigation water management and conservation.
The work group will develop an invitation letter to EIA members and intensively promote the training concept to attract enough members willing to participate. The members will be invited to provide training in any of the three different formats:
- Recorded webinars
- Interactive on-line training courses
- Physical training courses with or without practical demonstrations
It was acknowledged that the work group will have to develop some form of screening procedure where a course provider will have to present the course and training materials to nominated EIA representatives to verify that the course falls under earlier mentioned requirements and guidelines.
All work group members agree that the courses should involve participation fee and generate revenue for the association. Detailed arrangements about fees and cost sharing will have to be discussed on case- to-case basis, but some general principles should be proposed by the work group upfront.
Implementation of such training scheme will require the development of online platform for registration and payment through EIA website as current EIA administration capacity is not sufficient to manage future requirements. This matter will be communicated to EIA Working Group 6, which oversees the redesign of the EIA website.
Special courses with affiliates
The discussion on training courses in specific areas such as irrigation with reclaimed water, soil and weather sensing technologies and similar came up with conclusion that such training courses are more than welcome and should receive close to similar priority attention of the work group.
This model of training organization very much resembles the previous and should follow the same path, criteria, and organization steps. The difference may be in that some courses may be offered with less stringent requirements in terms of brand dependence and brand visibility if they are provided to participants free of charge.
EIA training and certification courses
All work group members agree that development of distinctive EIA irrigation training courses is not manageable with current EIA structure and capacity. The discussion confirmed that potential number of participants is not sufficient to justify resources and investment required to develop new training materials, maintain permanent panel of trainers, and provide courses in different languages.
Automatic Irrigation Proficiency Test
The discussion on this model of training certification with multiple choice irrigation proficiency test came up with conclusion that this project should not have priority. Few working group members challenged the benefit of such test unless it is preceded by proper training course, and the general conclusion of the work group was that the proficiency test in its’ current form is not bringing sufficient value to participants.
In the end it was agreed that the next meeting of EIA work group 4 - Training& Knowledge Transfer Meeting will take place before end of July, with the aim to discuss priority training models in more details, propose timeline for operationalization and distribute tasks to work group members.
Participants : Damir Čizmek (In-Aqua, Croatia), Group Leader, Rafael Diaz (Riego Turf, Spain), Joao Florido (Norma Group / Irrigation, Spain), RamunasRederis (Laistymas, Lithuania), Rob Hoogeven (Certified Irrigation Designs Inc., Netherlands)
EIA members interested in contributing to the working group Training and Knowledge Transfer are most welcome to contact EIA communication Officer Fleur Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.