ECVET is a European transparency instrument for qualifications across both, the national borders and across the boundaries of educational sectors. It enables internationally valid certification also for new and interdisciplinary educational programmes. The basis for this is the description of the acquired competences, independently of learning location, learning context and learning duration.
The certification encompasses the knowledge as well as the skills and the implementation competence acquired in the training. It thus supports the development of new qualifications as well as the certification of work experience and so-called non-formally and informally acquired competences.
With the Recommendation on the development of the ECVET system adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council in 2009, the EU supports the Member States in promoting transparency, comparability, transferability and recognition of professional qualifications and competences.
The application of ECVET in the Member States is on a voluntary basis in accordance with national legislation and practice. This means that it is neither intended to harmonise national (education and) training systems nor to break them down into individual, rigid module sections. Neither is ECVET associated with automatic credit transfer. ECVET is intended to promote the development of mutual trust between the actors of the national training systems, between the bodies and institutions concerned and between those directly involved.
This sets out key principles for agile VET that rapidly adapts to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for all age groups.
To support these reforms, the Commission is promoting Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs).
Based on the Council Recommendation on Vocational Education and Training for Sustainable Competitiveness, Social Justice and Resilience and the updated European Skills Agenda, the Osnabrück Declaration focuses on the following four areas for the years 2021 to 2025:
- Resilience and excellence through quality, inclusive and flexible professional education and training.
- Building a new culture of lifelong learning
- Supporting sustainability through professional education and training
- A European education area and an international dimension of VET
On 30 November 2020, the Declaration was signed by the Ministers responsible for VET in the Member States, the EU candidate countries and the EEA-EFTA countries, the European social partners and the European Commission. It is supported by VET providers' associations at European level (VET4EU2) and learners' representatives (OBESSU, European Apprentices Network).