Title Development and test of a system for the recognition of professional competences in the field of commerce, regardless of how these competences have been acquired
Project Number DE/13/LLP-LdV/TOI/147664
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text This project developed an ECVET system for the recognition of competences, regardless of how these competences have been acquired. The system is an online-based system. It reflects the occupational area of commerce, as an example. On the basis of the individually acquired competences, test procedures were compiled. The competences and skills which can now be assessed are selected by the candidate. They are based on the candidate’s acquired professional competences. The structured module enables the compilation of structured descriptions of learning outcomes. The test results provide a competence profile, and a competence description shall be generated for it. The competence assessments and the identification of the competences are done by a certification partner. Being a neutral third party, this partner issues the competences certificate and confirms the candidate’s professional competences. The system enables a cost-efficient competence assessment for the EQF-levels 3 and 4.
In the era of life-long learning, the recognition of informal and non-formal learning is crucial. The competence profile of a person is shaped by different forms of learning and should be assessed as a whole. The European Standard on Personnel Certification (EN ISO 17024) controls this process but it is difficult to apply it to all the EQF-levels because there are not enough offers which apply this standard in an economically justifiable way. The existing offers refer to the levels 6 to 8, and there are no offers for the levels 3 to 4.
This project developed an ECVET system for the recognition of competences for the EQF-levels 3 to 4, regarding commercial qualifications and regardless of how the competences have been acquired. The system which was developed is an online-based System, provided via a competence evaluation platform. On the basis of the individually acquired competences and skills, individual competence tests are compiled. The assessment results provides a competence profile. A competence description shall be generated for it, which will be confirmed by a certification authority. This means that the acquired competences are confirmed by a third party and it is not important how these competences have been acquired. The online-based system enables a cost-efficient competence assessment. This way, personnel certification is made accessible to occupational groups which had been excluded so far due to economic reasons.
The system which was developed closes a gap in personnel certification for those people that have not yet found a suitable and efficient offer on the market. A person with his/her individual competence profile determines the certificate. This leads to competence balances which will increase labour mobility because the acquired competences gain a professional identity. These competence balances can be added to reference letters or partly substitute them if a person should not have received a reference letter. The system is created as a European project. Thus, transnational and comparative competence recognitions are possible, and this has a positive effect on the European labour mobility.
In the era of life-long learning, the recognition of informal and non-formal learning is crucial. There are, however, numerous barriers on the way to the recognition of competences which were acquired in an informal or non-formal way. Nowadays and in the future, everyone must be mobile regarding their jobs/tasks and regarding their potential employees. Careers increasingly tend to become a sequence of working periods and orientation phases. Nowadays, only 30 % of the working population works in the job that they were originally trained for. This shows that people acquire competences mainly through informal and non-formal learning which is not certified. The competence profile of a person develops via various forms of learning and should be assessed as a whole. The European Standard on Personnel Certification (EN ISO 17024) controls this process but it is difficult to apply it to all the different situations and population groups. We do not have sufficient tools or instruments to implement this competence recognition in a cost-effective way and therefore make it accessible and affordable to a broad group of people. The existing offers regarding personnel certification lay within the upper four-digit Euro-range. Especially for the EQF-levels 3 and 4, there are no economically realistic offers for the target groups.
Objectives and tasks
This project developed an ECVET system for the recognition of competences, regardless of how these competences have been acquired. The system is an online-based system and is provided via a competence evaluation platform. It reflects the occupational area of commerce, as an example. On the basis of the individually acquired competences, test procedures werde compiled. The competences and skills which shall be assessed are selected by the candidate with the help of a structured module which is based on an allocation matrix. They are based on the candidate’s acquired professional competences. The structured module enables the compilation of structured descriptions of learning outcomes, which consist of competences, skills and technical terms that are interlinked with each other, as a thesaurus on the horizontal level and as a taxonomy on the vertical level. The test results provide a competence profile, and a competence description shall be generated for it. The competence assessments and the identification of the acquired competences are done by a certification partner. Being a neutral third party, this partner issues the competences certificate and confirms the candidate’s professional competences. The online-based system enables a cost-efficient competence assessment for the EQF-levels 3 and 4. This way, personnel certification is made accessible to a broader group of people which had been excluded so far due to economic reasons.
Being a European system, the system is offered in French, German, Swedish and Italian. It will therefore cover the European core area. The competence tests are generated on the basis of a menu structure which is the same for every country. Consequently, cross-country comparative competence assessments are possible. The competences and skills which are defined on the bottom level have the same content in all countries. On the basis of these competences and skills, tests for the different countries can be compiled. The questions which are used to generate the tests are comparable but not necessarily identical. Since there are different laws and regulations in each country and different tax systems, the questions cannot be identical for all countries. The system will help ECVET to overcome the difficulty of transnational competence assessment.
In Comp4you, there was a transfer of methods and tools which had been developed for ECVET in the field of formal vocational training, and they will be used for the recognition of professional competences which have been acquired through informal and non-formal learning. These methods and tool had been developed in the LdV-project M-ECVET-S and in the ECVT-project ESyCQ. The transfer was made to four additional countries at the same time.
The following products from M-ECVET-S had been suitable for a transfer from a modular system of formal vocational training to the area of non-formal learning:
1. ECVET methodology for a modular system in formal vocational training
2. Methodology for calculation and allocation of credit points by using the concept of “notional learning time"
3. Descriptions of learning outcomes for professional commercial competences
There was an innovation transfer from the project ESyCQ – „European Credit System for Commercial Qualifications“, a project which dealt with professions/qualifications in vocational training. The ECVET products/methods/strategies for the recognition of informal and non-formal learning which were developed during this project were transferred. This concerned the following aspects:
4. Descriptions of learning outcomes for 6 selected commercial professions/qualifications which shall consist of competences, skills and knowledge
5. Online-based test procedure for selected professions/qualifications for the confirmation of acquired competences
The consortium possessed the necessary expertise. For every work package (WP), there were partners who have the necessary know-how. These specialists were in charge of the WPs and had been supported by the partners. The consortium consisted of core partners who know the products that were transferred and of selected partners who had special competences and are able to effectively support the transfer and dissemination.
The project was divided into 10 work packages.
WP 1 Launch
WP 2 Analysis according to the objectives
The analysis was done in the form of an evaluation of the current status of recognition of professional competences, regardless of how they have been acquired. This is an assessment of the state of the art in order to use the findings for the project.
WP 3 Innovation transfer I – Transfer of the learning outcomes (LOs) to new countries
The existing LOs, which are in German and partly also in English, had to be adjusted/amended for the transfer. This refered to the descriptions of learning outcomes and for the allocation matrix which is put onto the CEMES competences platform so that they can be used in different countries.
WP 4 Innovation transfer II – Transfer of the pool of questions to new countries
The test questions are also available in German and partly in English. More questions were developed because in the other projects, only certain areas were covered. The questions had been translated into the partners’ languages. A literal translation was not possible due to the different laws and regulations for commerce and tax issues. The questions were allocated within in the allocation matrix.
WP 5 Innovation transfer III – Adjustment of the methodology “ECVET – allocation of the credits”
In the project M-ECVET-S, a methodology for the calculation of ECVET credit points for a modular system in formal vocational training was developed. This method, which is based on the “notional learning time” had been adjusted.
WP 6 Creation of a certification system for the confirmation of acquired competences
In this WP, WP 2, 3, 4 and 5 were merged and put into a system. The CEMES platform must be adjusted and the tools for the generation of a candidate’s learning outcome descriptions and for the calculation of the ECVET credits must be programmed. Examination regulations were be developed. They serve to regulate the certification process in Europe, following the European standard on personnel certification.
WP 7 Test phase
WP 8 Dissemination, valorisation
WP 9 Project management, quality management
WP 10 Evaluation
Recognition, transparency, certification
Other Service Activities
description of new occupation profiles
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement
transparency and certification
The project developed the following products.
Analysis of the current situation of the introduction and implementation of ECVET in the field of vocational training in Europe, analysis of existing opportunities for the recognition of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge and their implementation in Europe
Description of learning outcomes for an office clerk
Description of learning outcomes for the area “commercial shipping and logistic services”
Structural matrixes for the competences of an office clerk
Structural matrixes for the area “commercial shipping and logistic services”
Pool of examination questions for competence tests in the field “office clerk”
Pool of examination questions for competence tests in the field “commercial shipping and logistic services”
Methodology “ECVET – Allocation of the Credits for learning time for informal and non-formal Learning"
European examination/certification regulations
Structure of the Comp4you system and the actors that are involved
Comp4you examination tool
European marketing and business model