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Fostering Skills for Europe's Defence Industries

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EDSP conference “Fostering Skills for Europe’s Defence industries” organised by the European Commission and Aerocampus Aquitaine on 9-10 October 2019 in Bordeaux, France


One year after the launch of the European Defence Skills Partnership (EDSP), and at a crucial time for Europe, with the start of the new European Commission and European Parliament for the period 2019-2024, this conference built on the work of previous and existing initiatives to tackle the issue of the skills gaps in the Defence Sector.


More than 100 participants, including EDSP members, from 14 EU countries representing industry, regional authorities, research institutes, universities, training institutions and regional development agencies gathered to discuss common needs, exchange best practices and design the way forward.


The event showcased innovative practices that are being carried out across Europe, and allowed participants to discuss how these practices, as well as new initiatives, could be concretely developed, go cross-border, get up-scaled at European level.


The identified common needs touch upon various challenges the sector is facing, are consistent with the European Defence Skills Strategy, and will be taken into consideration in next EDSP activities. These needs are:


  • A defence ecosystem to join forces and find new partners
  • Use EU programmes for working together in collaborative projects
  • Focus on the next generation of defence capabilities, technologies and skills
  • EU harmonisation of education – qualification and certification of skills to consequently fill gaps, increase employability and mobility
  • Develop a “spirit of defence” as value in the civilian ecosystem, and a “defence attitude” and become “the best partners for students”
  • Connect SMEs with activities at universities, encourage primes to match-make with SMEs
  • Use cross-sectoral fertilization in the education system


See below the programme with the presentations and a selection of event photos.




Wednesday 9 October


08.30      Registration and Welcome coffee





09.00      Welcome by Jérôme Verschave, General Manager, AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine


09.10      Setting the scene – state of play of EU defence industrial policy on skills and next steps, Paul Anciaux, Policy Officer, European Commission



SESSION 1: The vocational education system meeting the needs of defence industries


09.30      Panel discussion moderated by Benoit Consolini, Training Director, AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine


Best practices in building skills for the naval industry - Isabelle Petit Cubas, Corporate Learning Manager, Naval Group


Creating a defence ecosystem: the next phase of the European Defence Skills PartnershipMarion Feurtey, EU Affairs Manager, Airbus 


Fostering cooperation on defence skills standards in Europe - Rute Ferraz, Chief Executive, European Welding Federation


Partnering Naval Forces with vocational campuses - Christine Boireau-Canet, Director, Riberac Vocational School 



11.00      Coffee break



11.30       Walking tour of AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine training facilities presenting the case of building skills for the defence industry



13.00      Networking Lunch



SESSION 2: Attracting new talents to the defence sector


14.30      Panel discussion moderated by Tim Pike, Content and Digital Communications, Thales / Aerospace Valley


Initiatives by large companies to attract talents - Philippe Suplice, Head of Defence Programmes, ArianeGroup


How can SMEs attract young talents? - Adrian Huta, International Projects Specialist, Polish Aviation Valley


Attracting women to Defence - Béatrice Nadau, Head of Military Avionics Operations, Thales



16.00      Coffee break



16.30      Opportunities for cooperation at European level: Short presentations followed by a networking session


A series of small presentations (5min) will provide the participants with information on emerging opportunities for cooperation in the frame of upcoming calls and/or to build on existing European projects. A networking session will then allow participants to discuss on the basis of the presentations. 


Establishing a Knowledge Alliance on Defence - Dr Peter Nielsen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Aalborg


Open Source Initiative - Jean-Marc Quiot, Head of RPAS, Airbus Helicopters


Setting-up a project proposal in the area of defence for the next European Universities - Sébastien Thierry, Deputy Director, Erasmus+ French National Agency


Setting-up a project proposal in the area of defence for the next Centers of Vocational Excellence calls - Sébastien Thierry, Deputy Director, Erasmus+ French National Agency


Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) - Facilitating the building of consortia for defence-related projects - Emilien Watelet, EEN Project Manager


Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership on Customizable Drones - Christelle Rouby and Candice Thomas, AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine


Expanding the defence skills ecosystem through the upcoming Defence Sector Skills Alliance - Klaus Bolving, CEO, Center for Defence, Space & Security - CenSec



18.30      Pre-dinner Drinks and Dinner hosted by the European Commission in the AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine Castle




Thursday 10 October


09.00      Welcome coffee



09.30      Speech by Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region 


09.45      Keynote speech: General Jean-Marc Laurent, Chair on Defence and Aerospace, Fondation Bordeaux Université, on behalf of Sciences Po Bordeaux and University of Bordeaux



SESSION 3: Innovative approaches in higher education for defence-related skills


10.15      Panel discussion moderated by Joanne Pageze, Vice President for Internationalisation, University of Bordeaux


Technological Universities meeting defence challenges - Dorota Stadnicka, Associate Professor, Rzeszow University of Technology


Staying one step ahead of technological (r)evolutions in defence - Dr Peter Nielsen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Aalborg


Providing professionals with defence-related knowledge - Michel Bosco, Adjunct Professor and Associate Researcher at the University of Nice


11.45      Key take-aways from the conference

                Rapporteur: Klaus Bolving, CEO, Center for Defence, Space & Security - CenSec



12.00      Networking Lunch



13.30      Industrial Visit: Campus Thales, Mérignac highlighting this large Defence company's skills strategy



16.30      Return to AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine and end of conference









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