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SUROCAT, a project to professionalise and protect the cork peeling profession

The demonstration project has been launched SURROGATE for professionalize the profession of cork peeler, improve the training and education of current workers and ensure that there is generational relief. The objective is to create a certification/card that helps to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector, promotes good practices and allows at the same time to weave a network of transmission and exchange of knowledge between different actors and territories. The mentioned card will be developed taking into account the European methodology developed in the creation of the European Chainsaw Card (ECC) of the European Forestry and Environmental Skills Council (EFESC).

This project will be carried out on Forestry Science and Technology Center of Catalonia (CTFC) with the participation of theAgricultural and Forestry School of Santa Coloma de Farners, the Forestry Consortium of Catalonia (CFC) and of the Catalan Institute of Cork Foundation (ICSuro) and is supported by the department ofClimate Action of the Generalitat of Catalonia and of European Funds for Agricultural Development (FEADER). The project is financed through Operation 16.01.01 (cooperation for innovation) of the Rural Development Program of Catalonia 2014-2020.

Throughout the project, expert peelers will be consulted to gather knowledge and best practices from different cork territories and this knowledge will be integrated into the training material and the description of the skills needed by future peelers.

The current context

There is currently no up-to-date certification for the profession of cork peeler, which results in a lack of specific and practical training to face the threats and opportunities in the sector.

It is worth saying that the use of cork has a revolution in terms of the techniques and methods of exploitation that can be key to improving the exploitation of corks and making up for the lack of young labor or the deficiencies in experience of new workers. The mechanization of cork peeling would increase the yield of the process, reduce possible injuries to the trees and facilitate the entry into the profession of people without high expertise.