International qualifications - awarded by social partner organisations or multinational companies rather than public authorities - now cover fields as diverse as ICT, welding, sports, air transport, financial services and hairdressing. A recent Cedefop study asks what this trend means for education and training standards and for the wider recognition of qualifications.

‘It’s been quite fascinating to see how ambitious certain sectors and companies have become in initiating and supervising vocational training in their fields’, says project manager Loukas Zahilas. ‘But it’s important for public authorities to retain some oversight, not just to ensure standards but also in order to better understand how the various economic sectors are developing.’

The study aims to contribute to a wider discussion on how the reach and popularity of international qualifications may affect two European initiatives: the European qualifications framework (EQF) and the European classification of skills/competences, qualifications and occupations (ESCO). This is the subject of a workshop on qualifications and governance, to be held in Thessaloniki on 27-28 September 2012.