EUPA Newsletter Special Edition for Personal Assistants

13 July 2012

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Based on the EU policies regarding the recognition of qualifications, EUPA's main objective is to develop a model for the recognition and validation of the qualifications of the sector of personal assistants, based on learning outcomes.

The sector of Personal Assistants (PAs) has been selected (as a case study) for the following reasons:

  1. PAs often do not have academic qualifications, which makes the validation of other skills and competences a necessity.

  2. A signifiicant number of inactive women, when entering the labour market, request a position as a secretary or a PA and in many cases they have no formal qualifications. Evaluation of their non formal and informal learning will ease their access into the employment market.

  3. PAs are of vital importance in every EU Company. Their role has been upgraded during the last decade.

EUPA is supporting the improvement of flexible learning pathways, through the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework and systems for the validation of non formal and informal learning and lifelong guidance. In this light, EUPA is developing a qualification framework based on learning outcomes and a certification based on the validation of formal, non formal and informal learning outcomes.

A qualification framework for EUPA has been developed which consists of several steps, and is based on research that identifies not only the knowledge, skills and competences needed by a personal assistant, but also the importance of different learning outcomes. An assessment tool is also developed to assess the knowledge, skills and competences of PAs. Additionally, training modules are designed and developed for different learning outcomes.


What is EUPA? Why should EUPA interest me?

Aims and


EUPA Qualification


What is specialabout EUPA training?


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EUPA ...

What is EUPA?

EUPA is a system for the development and certification of personal assistants

Eupa has identified the knowledge, skills and competences needed by a personal assistant and has classified them in levels, thus providing personal assistants with an opportunity to develop themselves in accordance with the identified knowledge, skills and competences as well as to certify themselves.

As a development system EUPA has developed

  1. A qualification framework, consisting of four levels, which states the knowledge, skills and competences a personal assistant should have in order to belong in a particular level. EUPA starts from level 2, which is considered the lowest level for a personal assistant, and continues up to level 5 which is the highest level a personal assistant can reach.
  2. Training material, with which personal assistants may be trained.

As a certification system EUPA has developed

  1. An assessment tool which can be used by expert assessors to assess personal assistants, and identify the level of each personal assistant.

Steps to be taken by employers to utilise EUPA results

If you are interested to get the EUPA certification please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the coordinator or one of the partners.
  2. Receive a copy of the qualification framework. The qualification framework exists in four languages: English, Greek, Swedish, Slovak.
  3. Try to identify your current level in terms of knowledge, skills and competences
  4. Identify your target level
  5. From this point on, there are two different paths you could follow:

    Path A

    1. Run the assessment to identify gaps for development.
    2. Use trainings to reduce the gaps.
    3. Run the assessment once more for certification purposes.

Path B

  1. Participate in all trainings for the requested level.
  2. Run the assessment for certification purposes.



EUPA ...

Why should EUPA interest me?

EUPA has been designed in accordance to the European Qualification Framework (EQF). Therefore it is adopting an output based approach. We no longer focus on how a personal assistant has gained his/her knowledge, skills and competences. We only focus on what she/he  knows and is able to do.

Based on the above, EUPA provides you with the opportunity to certify ALL your knowledge, skills and competences independently of how you managed to gain them.  With EUPA you can certify your knowledge, skills and competences gained through non formal learning, that is your work experience or even through informal learning, that is your life experience.

With EUPA we do not focus on whether a personal assistanrt has or has not any academic qualification. EUPA certification is the key for progression in your career

What is more:

  • EUPA allows you to develop yourself through training. EUPA is a flexible way of learning since the training developed through EUPA is modular, therefore you can participate only in the trainings where you actually need development.

Eupa ...

Aims and Objectives

The main objective of EUPA is to develop a model for the recognition and validation of the qualifications of the sector of personal assistants, based on learning outcomes.

The specific objectives of the program EUPA are:

  1. To develop a qualifications framework for Pas based on learning outcomes (LOs).

  2. To identify learning outcomes that may be easier to be developed through non formal and informal learning and to use this information to design methodological tools to be used during formal training for these outcomes.

  3. To develop, with the aid of an Assessment Tool, a European certification for secretaries and PAs. The Assessment Tool is two dimensional and uses different methodological tools for the assessment of different learning outcomes. Therefore, when customized, it can be used across sectors.

  4. To develop a modular curriculum and training material that will enable PAs to certify and to assign credits to the modules of this curriculum.


EUPA ...

Qualification framework

Eupa qualification framework has been developed according to the European policies. It consists of 4 EQF levels. In total it consists of 21 work areas that are listed below:

  • Office Procedures

  • Office Equipment and Technology

  • Communication, Telephone Handling, Social and Relationships

  • Written Communication

  • Filing System Documentation and Databases

  • Accounting and Financial Issues

  • Business Travel, Diary Systems, Meeting Organisation and Event Management

  • Visitors/Customer Service

  • ICT skills

  • Projects

  • Human Resources Issues

  • Numeric Skills

  • Foreign Languages

  • Office Effectiveness and Efficiency

  • Team dynamics

  • Self-Management, Supervision, Management and Leadership

  • Business Environment

  • General Legislation

  • Assistance at a Corporate Level

  • Innovation and Change

  • PA as a Manager

For each level, one area of work consists of several units. Each unit then consists of several learning outcomes. Level Two consists of LO 1-37, Level Three of LO 38-94, Level Four of LO 95-137 and Level Five of LO 138-166.

The EUPA qualification framework can be downloaded from the EUPA web site. Using the following link:



The EUPA qualification framework has been translated in Greek, Swedish and Slovak. The translation of the framework can also be downloaded from the following link:


Why is the qualification framework important for personal assistants:

The existence of the qualification framework provides employers with significant opportunities:

  • It provides them with a structured framework presenting their role. It should be noted that the term PA is sometimes interchangeably used with the term secretary or executive secretary.  However, in its essence, the role of the PA involves much more than the role of a secretary.

  • Development of personal assistants can be done systematically through the existence of a qualification framework.


Eupa ...

Assessment experience

EUPA assessment is in fact an enjoyable experience. The assessors have been trained to make PAs feel comfortable through the procedure and to ensure that the result of the assessment indeed reflects the true situation of a personal assistant.

Assessments take place either in the form of individual assessments or group assessments. The duration of an assessment is 6-8 hours (usually in two sessions)

The following types of evidence are included in the EUPA assessment tool:

  • Direct Observation of the learners’ performance by their assessor

  • Outcomes from oral or written questioning

  • Products of the learner’s work

  • Personal Statements and /or reflective accounts

  • Outcomes from simulation, where permitted by the assessment strategy

  • Professional Discussion

  • Assignment, project/case studies

  • Authentic statements/witness testimony

  • Expert witness testimony

  • Evidence of recognition of prior learning

The assessment tool is being accompanied by two very important tools:

1.     The current situation map which, as its name indicates, presents the current level of the personal assistant on each of the LOs.

The current situation map presents the current situation (in blue) versus the ideal situation (red).

2. The EUPA personal development map (next page) presents the ideal and the assessed situation together with the gap. Therefore, the learner can visually see the amount of development they have to undertake to reach the requested level.


Why is the assessment tool important for personal assistants:

  1. It is through assessment that a personal assistant will manage to receive his/her certification on a specific level. This certification will help the personal assistant to progress in her career.

  2. Existence of a certification provides a fairer treatment of the personal assistants in an organisation, as it can be used as the basis for promotion, for instance.




Eupa ...


What is special about EUPA trainings?

The main characteristics of EUPA trainings make them very special

  1. EUPA trainings are flexible because they are modular. Each training module enables the personal assistant to develop himself/herself on a specific unit (that is a set of related outcomes). Therefore the personal assistant can use the results of the current situation map and the development path and decide which trainings she/he needs to participate it.

  2. EUPA trainings use innovative methodological tools.  The following types of methodological tools have been used:

Written exercise

  •  Video analysis

  •  Simulation

  •  Multiple choice

  •  Group exercise with cards

  •  Exercise using ICT

  •  Role play

  •  Competition

  •  Group discussion

  •  Case study

  •  Creative Group work

Some methodological tools are undertaken individually while others in groups. EUPA methodological tools are fun and creative and make the learning experience an enjoyable one.



Findings, results and conclusions

The main findings of EUPA are summarised in the following points:

·         Non formal learning (on the job learning) is extremely important and it must be validated. The EUPA project proved that non formal learning in a specific sector (PA's in this case) is vital for a person working in the sector, to be able to have all the knowledge, skills and competences needed for the specific sector.  Formal learning will significantly enhance the results of informal learning, but still non formal learning is vital to enable a personal assistant to be certified.

·         Informal learning is also very important. One could argue that informal learning takes you half way through your development but will most probably not lead you to certification. It seems that the development through informal learning is much slower. Informal learning is strongly related with reflection, that is the ability of the person to gain knowledge from lifetime situations, and this is probably another skill one has to develop in order to gain from informal learning.

·         Formal learning is very important but may not always be enough to guarantee a certification. A small amount of work experience may also be required. If combined with non formal learning, success is almost guaranteed.

·         As far as learning outcomes are concerned:

o    There are specific learning outcomes that can easily be developed through non formal learning and these learning outcomes are learned through experience.

o    There are learning outcomes that cannot be developed through non formal learning. Probably, expert input is required for the development of these LOS.

o    There are some learning outcomes that can be developed solely through formal learning. However, a combination of learning is needed for most of the learning outcomes to be developed.












Keep in touch

So many ways to keep in touch with EUPA

By becoming a EUPA friend you will receive update emails on the project every two weeks as well as invitations for several project events. If you wish to become a EUPA friend please inform us by sending an email to eu@mmclearningsolutions.com

  • EUPA in on Facebook. Just log in to Facebook and search the word EUPA,  or enter.





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 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.