Cross-national equivalence of vocational skills and qualifications

Establishing the comparability of educational qualifications across member states is an essential component to ensure free movement of labour across the European Union. 

This project aimed to anlayse how key concepts relating to vocational and educational training (VET) are understood and applied within different national contexts. Researchers looked at four countries, England, the Netherlands, Germany and France, through case studies drawn from four sectors (IT, construction, health and logistics) and four qualifications (software engineering, bricklaying, nursing and lorry driving). 

A critical focus was to assess the value and difficulties of applying the European Qualification Framework (EQF). Given the distinct traditions of VET systems and labour processes in European countries, the EQF raises important questions regarding the validity of comparators and thus the feasibility of such a framework. 

The findings suggest important obstacles to and opportunities for the development of a common understandings of qualifications and skills. 

Full findings are detailed in the book: Knowledge, Skills and Competence in the European Labour Market, published by Routledge in May 2011.