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Improvement of Branding for Rural Areas through Vocational Education
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Oct 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Partnership: Ceutí municipality, Spain. Local authority. Tranemo municipality. Sweden. Local authority. Lemvig municipality, Denmark. Local authority. Vzw Midwest Development, Belgium. Regional non-profit organisation. Colegiul Economic Buzau, Romania. Vocational school specialized in business administration and tourism studies Ekonomska Skola Braca Radic, Croatia. Secondary vocational business school. Exesios Ltd, U.K. SME company specialising in Branding, digital, and design projects. University of Almería, Spain. One of the youngest and most dynamic universities in Spain. Context/ background: Partners’ territories in this project and other rural areas in Europe face the same problem: population is decreasing, low educational level and a need for new market opportunities. Partners in this project think they could attract more people by creating jobs and working on a better image. Tourism offers a mixture of both. Objectives of the project: Participating municipalities and local SMEs in the tourism sector will work together with vocational schools, the University and the company expert in branding Exesios, to develop vocational skills by exploring already existing branding methods, and identify the most effective methods on a municipal level to strengthen the link between SMEs and the municipality with a special emphasis on SMEs with focus on tourism. This is to create employment and a more attractive local area where residents and tourists want to come and stay. Activities and methodology: We will have four different workshops on different topics hosted by different partners. During and between the workshops all partners and participants will work on different tasks: 1. Global/ European/ national/ local scanning 2. How do we see ourselves? How do others look at us? 3. Traditional/ non traditional branding methods/ tools 4. Local action plans on branding All workshops will be aimed at learning the learners, being the first target group the staff members like municipal development professionals and teachers. During each meeting, a lecture on each topic will be made by Exesios, to which vocational student and SMEs on tourism will attend As some of the partners can bring very good examples of tourism projects, the University of Almería, together with Ceutí Town Council and the collaboration of the rest of partners, will develop an intellectual output: a Study and Analysis of Tourist Resources to provide advices to foster process innovation and entrepreneurial activities in rural areas. It will include a toolkit and recommendations for local and regional authorities on branding and local action plans, innovative ideas for SMEs, contents for vocational schools curriculum and a guide to create apps for smart phones with the aim of promoting tourist resources and local SMEs. Results and impact: The partnership is built up on common needs and all partners have been/will in near future work with branding and tourist planning together with local SMEs in the tourism sector. All partners have different experiences and different knowledge about branding and will bring new methods and ways of seeing things to the partnership. Expected results are new networks, new knowledge and skills on branding, cooperation with SMEs, development of methods, SWOT's, do's and dont's, new learning process, a movie, the intellectual output, etc. Longs-term benefits are: more attractive partners' territories, creation of employment in the tourist sector, better skilled staff, students, workers in SMEs.

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