Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text Through WACOM, a first competence and qualification model for the water management was established exemplarily for the management of sewage treatment plants that can be transferred easily into other fields in the water sector (and also into other branches).
Summary Due to the shortage of the precious resource water and the consequences of the climate change, numerous European policies have been developed and adopted for the protection and sustainable utilisation of water creating a huge demand in particular in the vocational training. Economic factors like privatisation and increasing cost pressure in water management are heightening these educational needs leading to the demand for VET (Vocational Education and Training) opportunities and products as short and tailor-made as possible. The situation of the vocational education and training in the water management will be improved by the WACOM instrument, which defines within the water sector the needed competences and qualifications for the different tasks, working places and employees for the first time. In this way WACOM aims at increasing the volume of mobility throughout Europe as well as at a higher transparency and recognition of qualifications and competences. All and in particular modular VET opportunities and products in the water management can be exactly defined concerning the addressed competences and qualifications and will become transparent and easy to select that they are accurately fitting for users.
The WACOM project (Water Competences Model Transfer) developed the WACOM Water Competence Model (WCM) and to this end transferred the European Qualification Framework (EQF) as well as the German Reference Framework for Competence Modelling PAS 1093 into the water sector and its Vocational Education and Training throughout Europe.
For this reason WACOM National Workshops were held in the participating European partner countries and an online questionnaire was conducted in order to investigate the needs of stakeholders from water management and Vocational Education and Training (VET).
In addition to this, existing European policies, research results and standards were examined and compared to one another according to their applicability and transfer potential through an investigative study. Based on the results of these findings, WACOM built the basis for the development of the Water Competence Model WCM through the integration of the following items:
• PAS 1093: The German Specification for Competence Modelling (valid for all branches)
• EQF: European Policies for the Differentiation of Qualification Levels
The long-term sustainability for the WACOM project and all its outcomes could be ensured and achieved by many dedicated activities from the WACOM consortium:
1. Main dissemination and exploitation activities during the project lifetime for sustainability:
The University of Duisburg-Essen as the WACOM coordinator and all project partners have realized it by broadest dissemination and exploitation including:
• Organisation and hosting of two European Conferences in Bucharest, September 2010, and in Brussels, September 2011 (both in conjunction with the European INES conference),
• Press releases, articles and papers that were distributed and published in almost all European countries (e.g. by European newsletters with > 30,000 subscribers),
• Presentations and speeches at many events and conferences (in > 10 European countries),
• Presentations, discussions and input at European and international standardization committees (ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 at international and CEN TC 353 at European level) with participation by > 30 European countries and > 60 international countries plus European and international liaison organizations (with members in > 150 countries),
• Call for Papers for the final WACOM conferences and the 4th European INES conference,
• Reviews of the papers and Publication of the selected scientific papers in the proceedings,
• Development of a specific website for both European conferences: the final WACOM and the 4th European INES conference (www.learning-innovations.eu).
All the numerous dissemination and exploitation activities were attracting a huge interest and many experts within the water sector and beyond:
The final WACOM conference was attracting participants from all-over the world:
• whole Europe but also
• from Africa, from America and from Asia.
Media partnerships for the project and both conferences could be realized and signed leading to several publications of our press releases and dissemination material. WACOM was presented in many national, European and international conferences and articles and scientific papers were written and published in many journals, newspapers and books. The close cooperation with the Water Associations was also leading to the spreading of the WACOM outcomes in the partner countries and across Europe.
Therefore it can be summarized that the WACOM dissemination and exploitation activities were very broad and also very successful for the long-term and sustainable usage of the WACOM outcomes.
2. Main other activities during and after the project lifetime for sustainability:
WACOM project was the first European project that developed a competence model for the water sector in general and the WWTPs field. There was and is a great interest and desire to use and implement the project outcomes and in particular the main result: The Water Competence Model (WCM), also continuing after project ending!
The European Water Association EWA (representing more than 100,000 members and water experts across whole Europe) as well as the National Water Associations in Germany, Romania, Hungary, Greece and even in Bulgaria (not a partner country!) expressed their serious intention to disseminate and use the WACOM Water Competence Model amongst their members and within their countries.
In particular managers and practitioners from the small and medium sized WWTPs expressed their strong interest to use the WCM for the selection of the new personnel, better description of the working places and the task and responsibilities for the personnel as well for internal training.
The reported direct impact of WACOM on the national VET systems will lead to an update and improvement of the vocational education and training for the water sector in all partner countries.
For best impact and sustainability by many implementations, all public WACOM outcomes and results are shared free of charge with Creative Commons licence (BY-NC-ND 3.0, see: http://creativecommons.org) and accessible online for download and distribution amongst interested third parties, stakeholders and colleagues on the website of the WACOM project: http://www.wacom-project.eu.
And also after the project ending the WACOM partners are very active for the sustainability:
UDE will use own resources for the maintenance and update of the WACOM website providing Open Access to all WACOM outcomes for at least two additional years (without any funding).
Through the input of the WCM to the European standardization, the water competence model can become a European Norm: Then the maintenance, update and revision will be ensured by the European standardization Body CEN and the national delegations.
The WACOM results will also be used in the future thanks to the established connections and cooperation with other European projects: As the topic of the WACOM project is highly important and several other projects are dealing with similar challenges of competence descriptions, the WACOM outcomes are considered as an important input and impact for these projects.
A first success was the selection of the WCM by the COMPAT coordinator and project for the transfer into the public sector and its adaptation and usage for competence modelling in the eGovernment services by the European COMPAT project (http://www.compategov.eu).
Through these liaisons with other EU projects, the revision, re-use and optimization of the WACOM outcomes and in particular of the WCM can be ensured including the transfer into other sectors.
In addition the WACOM partners are:
• planning further dissemination activities of the project and its outcomes in conferences and workshops,
• undertaking and integrating the WCM in other national and international projects,
• promoting the competence model in the national water associations in order to be used and implemented by all water operators in the country.
There will be a continuation of the European Conference INES in October 2012 where partners from the WACOM consortium will present the WACOM outcomes and the usage of the WCM.
In addition the WACOM partners are planning a follow-up project (WACOM+) in the water sector for 2013 to continue the great cooperation amongst the consortium partners.
Finally the WACOM partners intends to ask for other EU funding or enterprise funding to address the identified research and development needs and to improve the WACOM outcomes by benefiting from the successful cooperation and relationship with the WACOM partners and consortium.
A huge success was the excellent evaluation and selection of the AGRICOM proposal thanks to the demonstrated great cooperation by the applicants: Several WACOM partners including the University of Duisburg-Essen (also coordinator of AGRICOM) have developed a follow-up project based on the outcomes from the WACOM pilot testing and recommendations for future implementation and transfer: AGRICOM as a European Leonardo-da-Vinci Transfer-of-Innovation project adapts and transfers the WCM to the agricultural sector what was successfully tested and indicated as a main potential future application for the WCM (http://www.agriculture-competences.eu).
In summary, it can be stated for all WACOM partner countries (and beyond as proved by surveys) as well as for whole Europe: The Water Competence Model is applicable for the whole water sector, for all water operators and in particular for WWTPs in all European countries and regions as well as for the transfer in other branches and sectors. The on-going activities of WACOM continuing after project lifetime are demonstrating and ensuring the long-term usage and sustainability of the WACOM outcomes.
More information on the WACOM website: http://www.wacom-project.eu
Recognition, transparency, certification
Utilization and distribution of results
Open and distance learning
Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
Administrative and Support Service Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Other Service Activities
Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security
Information and Communication
description of new occupation profiles
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement
transparency and certification
Through the transfer of EQF and PAS 1093, a Reference Model for the Competence Modelling was introduced in the water sector. That enables the identification of the VET needs by employees and learner, of required competences and qualifications at specific working places as well as of the improvement of transparency and comparability of VET opportunities and products.
Overview of Project Results:
A short summary of the most important results of the project overviewed so far, which is subsequently explained in greater detail: at the WACOM National Workshops in all partner countries, a great need concerning competence modelling in VET in the water sector was discovered. WACOM therefore developed a Competence Model for the Water Sector (WCM), which was tested in multiple pilot-applications at various Wastewater Treatment Plants within the partner countries. This gave information concerning possible transfers into other areas of the water sector as well as into other branches. In order to advance dissemination and marketing activities, a website at the address http://www.wacom-project.eu was created. The interim results of the WACOM project were presented and discussed at the 3rd International Conference “Innovations for the Water Sector” (organized by WACOM and took place in Budapest in September of 2010), and furthermore WACOM invited all interested experts from the water sector, vocational education and human resources to the international conference in Brussels concerning competence modelling in the water sector in September of 2011.
The sustainability methodology for the transfer of WCM within other sectors could also be tested and approved (what was not planned and unexpected):
It was transferred and used within the agricultural sector by the two European partner projects eCOTOOL (see:
http://www.competencetools.eu/) and CerOrganic (see: http://www.cerorganic.eu/), whereby web-based tools were developed for implementing the generic model of the WCM and defining the competences of the agriculture sector as well as for defining VET opportunity descriptions and job profiles based on the competence structures defined by the WCM.