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Understanding qualifications

Certificates, diplomas and titles are commonly known as qualifications. Their purpose is to show employers, training providers and individuals what the person holding the qualification has learned and can do.
Every country issues many different qualifications. But for the European labour market to work as intended – that is, for European citizens to be able to work in any EU country – employers, schools and education authorities need to understand what qualifications from other EU countries represent.
Cedefop helps to achieve this mutual understanding by contributing to the concept, design, development and implementation of common European instruments and principles in education and training.
These are designed to help people progress through education and training at any age, to change career or move abroad for work or further education. They are also expected to lead to greater consistency in employment, education and training policy throughout Europe. In addition, ESCO, the classification of European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations aims at providing a single language for all jobseekers, employers and educators.

The common EU instruments and principles include:

Cedefop gives high priority to strengthening synergy and coherence between the EU tools an issue critical for their further implementation and a condition for strengthening their relevance and usefulness to end users. Contributing to the above, Cedefop will support the Commission’s initiative to set up a ‘European area of skills and qualifications’. The purpose of this initiative is to clarify how the European tools can be better connected and further developed in the period 2015-2020. Cedefop will systematically address existing and potential links between the tools and indicate where simplifications and synergies are possible.



Associated Projects


ECVET Magazine No 20 (June 2014)
ECVET Magazine No 20 (June 2014) (08/09/2014) new
Keeping you informed about European Credit System for Vocational Education & Training
Credit transfer systems: what will it take for them to work together?
Credit transfer systems: what will it take for them to work together? (08/09/2014) new
Last May, Cedefop held an expert workshop on how credit transfer systems can open doors between vocational and higher education. Participants investigated how credit transfer systems work in practice, and sought complementary and alternative solutions to the challenges these systems face.
Quality assurance challenges synergies between European tools
Quality assurance challenges synergies between European tools (29/07/2014)
Cedefop Director James Calleja praised Malta’s efforts to draft a national quality assurance framework for further and higher education based on the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European higher education area (ESG) and a European quality assurance in VET (EQAVET) perspective.
EQAVET Newsletter June 2014
EQAVET Newsletter June 2014 (01/07/2014)


ECVET Forum 2014 'Trusting skills and qualifications in the Europe of tomorrow' (29/07/2014)
30/10/2014 to 31/10/2014 Vienna, Austria
Cedefop conference 'Stepping up the pace' (09/07/2014)
27/11/2014 to 28/11/2014 Thessaloniki, Greece

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