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The European qualifications framework (EQF), with its eight levels, serves as a translation grid between qualifications acquired in different European countries.

Part of Cedefop’s work to make qualifications easier to understand and compare, this study takes a closer look at those acquired through initial VET and assigned to EQF levels 3 and 4 via national classifications and frameworks. It explores what they have in common and in what way they differ. It looks at their purpose and value on the labour market or for further learning, and how they are assigned to the national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) and EQF levels. It also sheds light on the different weighting of occupational and transversal skills and competences and levels of complexity, and between qualifications at both levels within the same occupational area; these issues are not that often examined. While it confirms that describing the intended outcomes of learning improves understanding and eases comparison of vocational qualifications, the study highlights other aspects that are equally important, such as their currency and value on the labour market and in further learning.

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Cedefop (2020). European qualifications framework: initial vocational education and training: focus on qualifications at levels 3 and 4. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop research paper, No 78. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/114528


European qualifications framework

EN 3.57 MB