Polo Poschiavo (PP) is a competence centre for continuous education and support for development projects with an established reputation at the cantonal and national levels in Switzerland. Polo Poschiavo’s field of competence is e-learning and blended learning. In that field the centre offers the general public access to new technologies and thus helps improve the competitive position of the region as a whole. In addition, the competence centre is especially active in cross-border co-operation (Interreg IIIA).
PP is a public law organisation involving the following actors: the Grisons cantonal authority, the Puschlavtal/Valposchiavo regional authority, the Bergell/Bregaglia regional authority, the Puschlav/Poschiavo local authority, the Brusio local authority, the Valposchiavo Association of Trade and Commerce (Associazione Artigiani e Commercianti della Valposchiavo), and the Valposchiavo Working Group for Regional and Economic Development (Gruppo per la Promozione Economica e Regionale Valposchiavo). Polo Poschiavo co-operates closely with the Italian-language department of the Swiss Teacher Training Institute in Lugano (Istituto Svizzero di Pedagogia per la Formazione Professionale Lugano).
In addition to the above actors, Polo Poschiavo’s activities involve the participation of large numbers of residents and business people in the region (women wishing to return to work, owners of small trade and commercial businesses, farmers, senior citizens). In the framework of Interreg IIIA, significant forms of collaboration have been established with public bodies in Italy (local authorities, foundations, universities). Talks are currently being held on the subject of collaboration on individual projects with the University of Italian Switzerland (Università della Svizzera Italiana).
Polo Poschiavo retains the project-specific objectives of Progetto Poschiavo (1995-2000) and thus ensures continuation of the latter, especially with regard to the continuous education and retraining programmes. IT offers remote regions a link to the globalised world. All the activities of Polo Poschiavo are targeted at the overriding goal of creating the conditions for human and ecological development in harmony with social, cultural and economic conditions in the region involved. The centre sees itself as an enabler whose task is to communicate and promote the potential of computer-mediated communication. With this facilitator role in mind, PP operates with the potential available in the region. It is currently working on a project to establish a research centre for renewable energy with a focus on hydrogen.
Development and organisation of IT training courses as both traditional and blended-learning courses, development and organisation of continuous education courses as traditional and blended-learning courses, video conferences with knowledge centres on a variety of subjects, co-ordination of projects in the field of cross-border co-operation, organisation and co-ordination of a Centre for Energy Studies with a view to establishing a research centre.
Polo Poschiavo is now recognized at the supra-regional level as a competence centre for e-learning, blended learning, IT communication and IT marketing. Polo Poschiavo and the knowledge taught there have direct and indirect effects in the creation of new jobs. The innovative education offering at Polo Poschiavo has increased awareness in the region for supra-regional stimuli. Co-operation with surrounding regions has been strengthened by the project. At the same time, a process of structural change has been initiated; new opportunities for economic development have been identified and implemented within the region. Polo Poschiavo has enhanced awareness in the region for its strengths and weaknesses. Since 2002 Polo Poschiavo has held 82 courses, and a total of 855 students (415 female, 440 male) have completed those courses. At present Polo Poschiavo is participating in seven Interreg projects with a total budget of EUR 1,790,500.