Spring is usually a busy time for visits – this year, Cedefop received visitors from various countries and institutions, including Athens College, universities from Greece, Finland and France, and two institutions dealing with the validation and recognition of qualifications: the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) and the Ankara Chamber of Commerce from Turkey.

NOKUT works on foreign education recognition in Norway under the Ministry of Education and Research. They have a well-developed system for recognition of qualifications; in 2015 they treated more than 7 500 applications for recognition both from Norwegians and foreigners.

The group visited Cedefop to learn more about its work on vocational education and training (VET) qualifications at EQF level 4 in connection with the establishment of a new recognition procedure for VET NQF 4 A/EQF 4 in Norway.

As their expertise, in turn, is precious to Cedefop experts working in similar fields, part of the visit was devoted to a peer-learning session which was highly useful to the experts who attended.

The visitors from the Ankara Chamber of Commerce had a similar focus of interest. To strengthen qualified and certified labour in Turkey, they are designing a certification system based on vocational standards. They have opened a pilot certification centre in Ankara which deals with certification of (foreign) qualifications, linking this work with other labour market services (e.g. career guidance, training and work placements).

Both the Norwegian and the Turkish visitors were looking for Cedefop expertise against the backdrop of the refugee and migrant crisis, as their countries are among those who have been receiving high numbers of refugees and migrants, and urgently need to find ways to integrate them into their labour markets.