Two members of EA Executive Committee, Emanuele Riva (ACCREDIA, the Italian NAB) and Ignacio Pina (ENAC, the Spanish NAB), the EA Vice Chair, attended a meeting in Brussels, regarding ESCO, a project managed by the European Commission, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

ESCO is the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations, relevant for the EU labor market and education and training. It systematically shows the relationships between the different concepts.

ESCO is structured in 3 pillars:

  • Occupations: 2942 occupations are already mapped in ESCO (on the basis of ISCO-08 code). Each occupation also comes with an occupational profile. The profiles contain an explanation of the occupation in the form of description, scope note and definition. Furthermore, they list the knowledge, skills and competences that experts considered relevant terminology for this occupation on a European scale;
  • Skills / Competences: 13485 skills / competences are already mapped in ESCO. This includes an explanation of the concept in the form of description, scope note and definition, highlighting also their relationship with occupations;
  • Qualifications: so far ESCO has collected 2414 qualifications (namely those concepts gathered from Latvia and Greece). Qualifications are the formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards. Qualifications displayed in ESCO come from databases of national qualifications that are owned and managed by the European Member States. Member States provide this information to ESCO on a voluntary basis. It therefore depends on each Member State to ensure information on its qualifications in ESCO is available, complete, correct and up-to-date.

For the Qualification pillars, the European Commission also envisages integrating private, international and sectorial qualifications from other sources into ESCO in the near future. This process is called « direct inclusion ».

EA presented its activities and the benefits of accreditation to guarantee competence and confidence in accredited bodies performing conformity assessment services such as Certifications of persons (welders, IT expert, auditors, data protection officers etc).

Having accredited personnel of accreditation:

  • To be visible for all European Member States (and end-users), as happens today for public national qualifications. This could generate new job opportunities for certified people;
  • To be included into European analyses and guidance on professional and educational cursus;
  • To be easily recognised across Europe, mostly in relation to the occupations the certifications are associated to;
  • To have an official classification of the skills and competences that are referred to a specific certification scheme;
  • To have an official directory of all certification schemes of persons accredited in Europe.

The next meeting EA/ESCO will be held on 1st February 2018 in Brussels. On this occasion, examples of certification of persons will be presented and the starting of a pilot program on different schemes to support their development and recognition within the ESCO project will be discussed.