Project for European Certification of vocational education
in the energy development and distribution sector
A Leonardo da Vinci II projectFunded by the European Commission
The Leonardo da Vinci project 'EURCERT' was carried out in the period of 01-12-2000 up to and including 30-11-2003. In the project about European certification in vocational education and training a methodology was developed on the basis of one selected qualification in the energy production and distribution sector. This methodology can be easily transformed or adapted for use in other sectors.
The project involved 5 partners from the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands, of whom Kenteq International was the Dutch participant. The project was concluded in November 2003 and may be continued with new initiatives. This brochure describes the aims, methods and results of the project.
Big changes are taking place in energy generation and distribution and the construction of electrical installations in Europe. Not only do energy companies distribute to users in their own countries, they also serve other European countries in an increasing measure. Energy companies have been or will be privatised and do, to a certain degree, go over into foreign hands. Large internationally operating energy companies come into existence which must conform to European legislation, while electrical installations must meet strict European safety regulations.
Currently these changes are also taking place in energy companies in the Mid-European countries seeking admission to the European Union.
Moreover, it is partly because of this that different demands are made from the staff of energy and installation companies. These people must be professionally schooled and additionally trained on a permanent basis in, among other things, procedures, technology and safety regulations. As there is a big number of providers of curricula and additional courses available, it is difficult for companies to establish whether curricula and courses are up to date, and how valid diplomas are.
A transparent education and examination system is of great value to energy companies. Thus the sector very much needs a system of European qualification end certification. It is beneficial to students who leave vocational schools in the electrotechnical sector and who start work with energy companies that their diploma is recognised in all EU member states.
Other sectors show a growing need for transparency of education and examination and a system of European certification as well.
The European Commission stimulates, by way of providing subsidies for Leonardo da Vinci projects, initiatives from the working area which may lead to the development of European tools for transparency and certification.
The Czech Association of Energy Companies ČSZE took the initiative in 2000 to carry out Leonardo project EURCERT in co-operation with European partners.
The project was carried out by the Association of Energy Companies in the Czech Republic ČSZE in Prague, the school for secondary vocational education and training ISŠe at Chomutov, Czech Republic, the Association of the Metal and Electrotechnical Industry in the state of Thuringia, VMET Erfurt, Germany, the school for vocational education and training F+U Thüringen GmbH Erfurt, also in Thuringia, Germany and the knowledge centre for technical engineering Kenteq at Hilversum (formerly VEV, Nijkerk), the Netherlands.
The aim of the project 'European Certification of vocational education in the energy development and distribution sector' was to develop a system of certification for those engaged in vocational education and training. Candidates who have been educated and successfully examined in accordance with European standards, are awarded a certificate which is recognised by trade and industry all over Europe. The methodology developed in the project should in principle also be applicable in other sectors.
The project knew 5 phases: selection, comparison, definition, development and implementation.
In the selection phase the corresponding curricula and examinations for the profession of electrician were selected in the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands. These programmes were:
The selected curricula and their examinations were mutually elucidated and documents exchanged by experts from the three countries in workshops, especially held for this purpose.
The programmes and examinations were compared with each other and visits paid to examination locations where examples of practical examinations could be seen. Specific attention was given to the broadness and depth of the curricula, the degree of practical assignments and the way in which examination work was assessed.
The comparison of the curricula proved to be very difficult because
The comparison of the examination method and the assignments appeared to be much easier, as these could be made visible in demonstrations in the examination classrooms.
It was established that there are considerable differences between the curricula and the manner in which examinations are held in the participant countries and that all systems show strong and weak points.
In the Netherlands and in Germany social partners have a relatively strong influence on the examination programmes and on the examination requirements. In the Czech Republic schools were, voluntarily or not, left to their own devices by the companies they belonged to, over the past 10 years. This caused their curricula to get a more 'schoolish' character. Trade and industry have almost no influence on examinations.
In the past years and with help from the Netherlands, initiatives were taken to modernise curricula and examinations in the Czech Republic and to involve trade and industry more in the development of qualifications and examination. New modular curricula were introduced, new examination centres established and examination committees set up.
So far however these new modular curricula and examinations have not been officially included in the national VET-system. This modernisation of education and training is influential though, in the gradual renewal of the existing VET-system. It will take another number of years however before a level is reached which is equal to that of the Netherlands or Germany.
Workshops were the venue where the partners in the EURCERT Leonardo project defined the starting points for the development of a European system of examination and certification and the development of a European programme of curricula and examination.
Starting points for the development of a European system of examination and certification
The European system of examination and certification should in principle be usable in several sectors and is an addition to already existing national systems.
The European examinations must be based on a European training and examination programme which has been laid down by a competent international authority.
Students who pursue an additional training programme according to the European training programme, beside their national programme, must be enabled to obtain a part qualification by sitting a part examination. These students receive a EURCERT-pass. The EURCERT-pass will register where and when a part examination has been successfully sat.
If the student has passed all part examinations as well as his national examination, he will be presented with the European certificate of proficiency.
This certificate contains in his native language, and in English, his personal data as well as the parts that the examination has consisted of.
The period between the acquirement of the first and the final part qualification is not to exceed 3 years.
People already employed in industry must also be able to take part in the examination. In their case and for practical reasons all modules together are examined as one whole examination. Employed people must be able to prove beforehand that they are sufficiently schooled and have a 3 year practical experience.
The examinations are held in schools and companies which meet previously set quality requirements. They are recognised as examination centres. Students from other schools can also sit examinations in these examination centres.
The examinations are developed by an international examination committee. A national examination committee is responsible for the examination papers in national languages. Samples of examinations, including assessment protocols, will be developed and provided to the institutions which take care of the actual schooling.
An organisation is set up in each country which co-ordinates the activities and controls their quality.
The cost of the examinations is financed from contributions by the candidates.
Starting points for the development of a European training and examination programme
The partners in the project must together have sufficient expertise to be able to make up this programme.
There is no need to develop a fully new attainment targets document. This takes relatively much time and there is no budget available for such an exercise. Use can be made however of usable parts from existing attainment targets documents which have already been translated into English. If required additions and changes can be put in.
If attainment targets have not have been translated into English, this must be done as yet in a professional way. The specialist expressions make a good quality translation a requirement.
The attainment targets are split up in clusters which can be recognised by education and trade and industry (modules/part qualifications). As soon a module/part qualification has been worked through during the training this module/part qualification will be examined.
An English language description is made of the theory that goes with the modules/part qualifications. Also as many as possible existing descriptions are used.
The training and examination programme must be attainable for just over average students in the partner countries.
The training and examination programme can be extended later by adding modules with a more profound character, including the newest technologies. If necessary optional modules can also subsequently be developed.
An evaluation is made of the results of the training and examination programme, and adjustments carried out according to need, by the relevant and competent authority.
The manner of examination and certification is laid down in the EURCERT Regulations.
The starting points defined by the project partners are the basis for the development of the method of European certification in the EURCERT Leonardo project.
Regulations were drawn up, which describe the manner in which EURCERT examinations are developed en executed, which persons may take part, how they are organised and on which conditions the European certificate - EURCERT - is awarded. These are called the EURCERT Regulations.
Each country has an organisation responsible for the EURCERT Regulations and the control of quality. In the Czech Republic this is ČSZE, in the German state of Thuringia VMET, and in the Netherlands Kenteq. Together these organisations are the board which will be responsible for the implementation of the EURCERT Regulations.
Attainment targets EURCERT electrician
On the basis of comparison of attainment target documents and curricula in the three countries, as well as advice from experts, a European attainment target document - including level indication - was made up for the European electrician (EURCERT Electrician).
The EURCERT electrician is a rather broadly and well educated person who works independently on the level of First Craftsman: Elektrikař (CZ) - Gesell (D) - Eerste Monteur (NL). 8 Part qualifications have been defined which have to be examined. These part qualifications have a direct relation with the daily professional practice.
There are two routes for the acquisition of the European certificate of proficiency: one for students and one for skilled workers in industry.
The student who is educated in accordance with his national programme attends an extra training programme which is based on the attainment targets for EURCERT Electrician as well. During the course he sits 8 part examinations at a school which has been recognised as an examination centre.
The skilled worker in industry can, if necessary after an additional schooling, sit an examination too in one of the recognised examination centres. The examination for skilled workers does not consist of part examinations, but of one complex assignment which has to be executed in two days.
An international document has been developed for the registration of part examinations which have been passed. This is a personal document, identical to a national passport, called the EURCERT Pass. The EURCERT Pass contains a short description of the part qualifications and there is room for signatures and stamps for when the candidate has passed a part examination.
The EURCERT Pass is printed in the national language and in English, and can be shown in the case of a period of practical training abroad. A part qualification obtained abroad can also be entered in the EURCERT Pass.
A model has been developed to represent the European proof op proficiency. This document is called EURCERT and is a certificate printed in colour on a A4 format, in the national language and in English. The back contains a description of the 8 part qualifications.
A student who has passed all part qualifications, as well as the national examination, will be awarded EURCERT, the European certificate as proof of proficiency.
A skilled worker in industry who has passed the complex examination, will also be awarded the European EURCERT certificate.
All through the project the partners have taken care of publications in education and other technical magazines. Seminars were held in the Czech Republic. The results of the project were presented at a thematic monitor of Leonardo projects in Brussels in June 2003 and to a special group of interested persons and companies at a final conference in Prague in November 2003.
The dissemination of information on a large scale was deliberately held up until all documents would be ready. As off 1 January 2004 all project information has been widely spread in the partner countries and outside, including among other things the use of the internet.
For further information please contact one of the partner organisations mentioned hereafter or the EURCERT secretariat.
Ing. P. Chejn
Tel. +420 2 6675 3576
ISŠ energetická Chomutov
Mgr. J. Mareš / M. Frnka
Tel. +420 396 629954
F+U Thüringen GmbH, Erfurt
Tel. +49 361 2200716
Dipl.Ing. Egon Schröpfer
Tel. +49 361 6759 140
Kenteq International, Hilversum
Ing. D.J. Platier
Tel. +31 35 750 43 44
Kenteq International, Hilversum
Tel. +31 35 750 43 54