The baseline of European tools within VET

© Sergey Nivens /

Qualification is one of the most important goods of European citizens. It is citizens’ currency on the labour market and catalyst of quality and innovation for the European economy. But how valuable is this currency if not understood across borders?

Understanding the value of qualifications in order to fill skill shortages

Formal vocational qualifications are usually easily understood at national level. An employer or a training provider can count on a common understanding of a national qualification and what can be expected from a holder of such a certificate. This gets a bit more difficult if the candidate comes from abroad because the European Union has very different vocational training systems that are hardly comparable with each other and use very different terms and labelling. It is, therefore, difficult to understand or communicate the real value of a foreign qualification properly.

But mobility of workers and learners not only national but across borders gets more and more important for the European economy and welfare. Skill shortages in one country that can not longer be compensated nationally can be compensated through job-seekers from another country. One of the obstacles for such a mobility of workers on a European labour market is the transparency and the recognition of qualifications across borders.

This is what the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) stand for: the mobility of learners and workers in Europe under recognition of their qualifications!

To cut a long story short