This article is part of a series developed by Cedefop community of apprenticeship experts. It was drafted by Andrzej Stępnikowski, Community expert for Poland, and was revised by Cedefop staff.
 

In Poland, tasks related to environmental protection were included in the update of examination tasks for 40 craft occupations. 
By the end of 2020, 160 examination tasks were updated or developed regarding environmental protection in particular: 80 for journeymen exams and 80 for craft masters’ exams in occupations with which apprenticeship has been traditionally associated (e.g. technology, machinery, vocational drawing). Since then, their number has grown to over 200. They were designed for qualifications both in IVET and for adults (Levels 3 and 5 of the Polish Qualification Framework and the EQF). The tasks areas are described in the standards of examination requirements for journeymen and craft masters.
The tasks refer to legal and normative changes (e.g., executive acts of the Ministry of Environment and the Council of Ministers), waste management, sustainable business models etc. The first tasks referred to the ‘Manual of Environmental Education for craft companies’ (Derda I., Wojciechowska I., 2014) and topics identified within the ‘3xenvironment’ project (see below). Later, new tasks were developed regarding the implementation of the European Green Deal also through national legal acts affected by EC recommendations. 
Several tasks (and corresponding questions) pre-existed and were updated, while 50 new ones were developed. Some preexisting tasks varied significant among regions in terms of quality and had to be aligned and become comparable at national level.

The need for new examination tasks in the area of environmental protection had become evident from the results of the ‘3xenvironment’ LIFE+ project (lead by REFA Wielkopolska with the participation of the Polish Craft Association and other stakeholders). The project had shown that 75% of craftsmen were ready to take up additional costs to introduce environmental-friendly solutions, although only 49% of them (44% microcompanies) made any kind of calculations on the resources they used (water, energy, etc.). At that period, they were greatly interested in sources of financing and new legal changes (Stępnikowski A., 2015). Those issues were visible across all craft branches. 

Another ESF-funded project titled ‘New quality of vocational exams in crafts’ built on those results. This project referred to the overall update of examination tasks (not only in relation to the environment). It was carried out by the Polish Craft Association (ZRP) in 2016-20, under the supervision of Ministry of Education (ESF Programme POWER). 
Craft companies hire 60-70% of all apprentices in Poland. The Polish Craft Association (ZRP) is delegated by the Ministry of Education to run the qualification examinations for craft occupations. The Association and the Ministry aimed at updating the examination tasks, and through these, at informing the training content (Programme basis), but also at training people involved in the process. They both supervised the work of examination boards of craft chambers, that actually rolled out the examination process. 
The 160 tasks related to environmental protection entrepreneurship were part of the circa 17,000 examination tasks that were developed for vocational subjects, and the circa 1,000 tasks in general topics that are relevant for all craft occupations. 
All the developed examinational tasks were uploaded on the EWR platform (https://ewr.zrp.pl/), which gives Craft chambers examination boards the possibility to develop tests (draw questions and tasks), and to conduct on-line examinations nationwide.
As part of the project, 150 members of ‘author teams’ (AZ) were trained on developing examination tasks with reference to difficulty level and assessment tools and methods. The teams included two authors per occupation and two per general task area, assessors/methodologists and reviewers by topic, occupation and branch. Moreover, 1000 members of examination boards of the Craft chambers (over 200 women) were also trained on using the newly developed tasks.  

Thanks to the introduction of a unified methodology for developing examination tasks, and the training of authors, methodologists, reviewers and examination boards, the field of environmental protection in apprenticeships can be assessed in a comparable way across the country and occupations.
In 2021, tasks from the environmental protection area were used in all 20,080 journeyman and 2,064 craft masters examinations (data from ZRP and ewr.zrp.pl). Such tasks were used in 12,798 examination sets generated by the EWR platform, but also in examinations conducted outside the platform, as they are available to all examination boards members of craft chambers.