Being aware of the importance of the training pillar for the consolidation of knowledge transfer processes, the PROCULTHER-NET Consortium Partners and stakeholder institutions decided to invest in a capacity building programme aimed at building a workforce of trainers and facilitators able to design, customize, deliver and evaluate a series of learning programmes for local, national and international target audiences.
The ratio behind this initiative is the Protecting Cultural Heritage Course- PCH organised by the project in March 2023. This advanced training module brought together, for the first time, experts from both the disaster management and cultural heritage protection sectors with the objective of exchanging knowledge-building on key topics of concern, as well as to reinforce the adoption of standards to guide disaster risk management operations in a coordinated and sustainable way. Evaluations of this course indicate that it was successful in providing a training delivery model for further dissemination of important knowledge, skills and strategies for both sectors through interdisciplinary training programmes.
This PROCULTHER-NET pilot online Training of Trainers that took place over two half day blocks on 9 and 10 May 2023 was the necessary reaction of this emerging need, to support and complement the efforts made to strengthen the Union Civil Protection Mechanism capacities in the cultural heritage protection field encouraged by the Knowledge Network. Indeed, this virtual workshop was conceived for those subject matter experts already experienced in trainings or likely to be involved in the future and willing to enhance their knowledge thanks to the improvement of their training skills.
The 22 participants represented a well-versed range of roles and topical interests from the national and local disaster risk management authorities and cultural heritage protection institutions of the project Consortium Partners and stakeholder institutions: 41% of participants belonged to the disaster risk management field, 45% came from the cultural heritage world while 11% had interdisciplinary expertise.
As a preparatory activity, the workshop organisers asked the participants to share elements to identify their most common training needs and expectation, allowing the team to shape an agenda that was customized for the group as a whole. With the breakout sessions that allowed for group work, facilitated discussions and peer-to-peer exchanges, this Training of Trainers provided an opportunity for fellow training personnel to become familiar with each other, thereby forming an important bridge to working effectively as a team on future training initiatives.
Overall, this was considered a highly useful opportunity to join together members of the nascent PROCULTHER-NET trainer pool and provide a networking opportunity to further consolidate it.
Finally, the proactive cooperation of workshop participants allowed to gather some suggestions for their further development as members of the PROCULTHER-NET trainer pool and indicate a priority pathway for future training actions in this field.