Human Resources Based Improvement Strategies
Nowadays it is important that training courses are really recognised and attendees receive a certificate valid for all European countries. As a backbone of this initiative the EU supported the establishment of the European Certification and Qualification Association (ECQA).
The European Certification and Qualification Association (ECQA) is the result of a number of EU supported initiatives in the last ten years where in the European Union Life Long Learning Program different educational developments decided to follow a joint process for the certification of persons in the industry.
The overall objective of the project was to establish the ECQA which is supported by training organisations from European countries (currently organisations from 18 countries participate) developing and maintaining a set of quality criteria and common certification rules which are applied across the different European regions in the Life Long Learning scope in the IT and services, engineering, finance and manufacturing sectors.
This resulted in a pool of professions in which a high level of European comparability has been achieved by an Europe-wide agreed syllabus and skills set, an European test questions pool and European exam (computer automated by portals) systems, and a common set of certificate levels and a common process to issue certificates.
Through the ECQA it becomes possible to attend courses for a specific profession in one country and perform an Europe-wide agreed examination at the end of the course. The certificate will be recognized by European training organizations and institutions in 18 member countries.
Why is such a certificate of interest?
European work forces need to be highly flexible and need to work for industries all across Europe. Imagine that you are attending a course in one country and that you successfully complete the exam at the end of this course. The certificate issued will then be recognized by certifiers and training organisations in all European countries. This will automatically lead to a higher recognition of the certificate issued and higher chances of working for customers in an open European market.
EU projects that helped in the development of the ECQA platform strategy
- LLP multilateral project dEUcert: in which the ECQA and the EU Cert Campus are disseminated in all European countries and regional certification centers are set up (2010 - 2011).
- LLP multilateral project EU Cert Campus: An online training campus was developed, supporting skills assessment, online training, certification and a trainer pool (2008 - 2009).
- E-Learning Project PLATO: The EPI portals were developed to facilitate new ways of certification delivery between universities and industry in placement schema (2006 - 2007).
- LLP project EQN: A Europe-wide valid quality criteria to empower an Europe-wide quality control in course delivery and certification for courses in the LLP schema was designed. These guidelines formed the basis to form the ECQA association legally with defined quality and certification guidelines (2005 - 2007).
- E-Learning Project EPI: New learning methods and portals integrating e-learning with skills assessment were developed (2003 - 2005).
- FP5 Project MM 1032 CREDIT: Skills portals, skills assessment functions and standards for skills sets in Europe were developed (1998 - 2001).