Erasmus is one of the most successful and well-known initiatives of the EU. Still, a few know there is not only for University students, but also for VET, adults or even sport-related training.
Similarly, ECVET (European credit system for vocational education and training) is not as widely spread as ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). And still, the key factor is the same: progressive cooperation and trust among certifying authorities.
Indeed, ECTS was created in 1989, as a key tool for the Bologna process within the Erasmus programme at University level, "as a way of transferring credits that students earned during their studies abroad into credits that counted towards their degree, on their return to studying in their home institution. In the following years, it came to be used not only for transferring credits (...) but also for accumulating them in institutions’ degree programmes" (ETCS user's guide).
However, VET is more heterogeneous as regards university degrees and no Bologna process has been still possible. Indeed, ECVET was created in 2009 and its Secretariat and national experts provide support on it, hoping to provide tools that will enable to advance step by step towards more interconnected EU VET systems. To do so, ECVET is linked to several EU initiatives and tools on the field of VET and employment:
- the European Qualifications Framework - EQF, since all ECVET shall refer to the relevant level(s) among the available 8.
- concerned national or regional qualifications frameworks - NQFs, since it is based on an agreement of certifying authorities
- EQAVET, a community of practice that promotes European collaboration in developing and improving quality assurance in VET, as regards the quality of the training programmes delivery
- Europass, which includes 5 documents to make skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe: a template for cv and language passport available for EU citizens, and 3 documents issued by education and training authorities (Europass Mobility, Certificate supplement and Diploma Supplement).
- European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations - ESCO
- The European Job Mobility Portal – Eures.
In thise sense, some key features of ECVET shall be highlighted:
- It is only applicable for VET, for higher education (university level) ECTS is applicable.
- It is a flexible scheme, including different options according to the possibilities of each case for all 8 EQF levels promoting geographical mobility, within a member state or transnationally, and/or promoting lifelong training.
- It is based on memorandum of understanding (MoU) allowing mutual recognition between certifying authorities, among their different certifications (included or to be included in the relevant NQFs), totally or partially
- It is based on learning outcomes methodology and linked to the validation of non-formal and informal learning
- It allows transferability and recognition of mobility (transparency, accumulation and transfer).
Having said so, how to use those ECVET?
The project Erasmus+ SSA PRODOME (Professionalising domestic housekeepers) has proposed a concrete application through a comparative analysis: following the convention generally accepted for ECTS credits by Universities, considering that a standard university year is 60 ECTS and that each credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours (ECTS users' guide) which means that a standard university year is about 1800 hours (60x30). Then, in order to have a reference, the number of credits was calculated for the existing training and certifications of this profile of omestic housekeepers in the member states involved in the project: "employé familial" in France and "empleo doméstico" in Spain. In France the number of hours is 571, so about 19 credits, and in Spain is 200, so about 6,5. Therefore, considering that the training proposed by PRODOME proposed a length of 300 hours, it could make a certification of about 10 ECVET credits. This gives a concrete estimation of the lenght and the effort required for such a training in case a certifying authority, from a member state where no such certification is available, is interested in implementing it.
PRODOME project was completed in October 2019, but partners are available and willing to share their experiences to any intersted organisation. So, any question or doubt? Please, this way https://www.prodome.eu/en/, "contact us".