PIEP Academy is born to qualify the plastics sector

PIEP – Polo de Inovação em Engenharia de Polímeros, in partnership with the School of Engineering at the University of Minho, has created the PIEP Academy to qualify the plastics and polymers sector in Portugal. The aim is to affirm the competitiveness and visibility of this sector, which has 43,000 workers, 1,150 companies and a turnover of eight billion euros, around 4% of the Gross Domestic Product.

The academia.piep.pt portal is the window for responding to training needs, as well as training workers and young people in this field. Advanced training is planned at postgraduate and specialist level, personalised and modular plans for companies, training certified by the Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations, exchanges with scientific centres and international universities, as well as learning factories, workshops, webinars, open days, forums and actions with secondary and university schools.

The first training course, “Polymeric materials, extrusion and polymer compounding”, began on 20 February and lasted 28 hours. There are ten more certified short courses until June, namely on thermoplastic materials, environmental sustainability, design, injection moulding, composite materials, failure analysis and good practices in the sector. The Academy is based at the Azurém campus in Guimarães and aims to stimulate and respond to the challenges of companies, professionals and young people in education, through re-skilling, up-skilling and personal development actions.

PIEP is a benchmark in the field and is recognised by the government as a Technology and Innovation Centre. It was born in 2000 through industry and in close liaison with IAPMEI and UMinho. It supports the R&D needs of companies in various sectors and also reaches out to society through training and the creation of tools and technologies, such as a space capsule, a smart suitcase, high-speed solutions and innovations with sustainable materials.

The Department of Polymer Engineering at UMinho’s School of Engineering has been training graduates since 1978, and has the only bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field in Portugal, as well as the Aerospace Engineering course, whose degree has the highest entrance grade in Portugal (18.86). Its research is internationalised and is linked to the Institute for Polymers and Composites, PIEP and the spin-off Stratosphere, which has projects with the European Space Agency and Airbus, for example.