European Quality assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) is an initiative designed to ensure that the quality assurance arrangements for vocational education and training (VET) can be trusted in order to help people who want to continue education and training or to use their qualifications in other countries. It will help to make standards across all countries consistent.
EQAVET is a network made up of representatives of EU member states, candidate countries and European Economic area countries, social partners, scientific advisers and the European commission. The work of the Network is supported by the EU Secretariat.
What does the EQAVET network do?
- Assists member states to develop effective approaches to the development and implementation of quality systems.
- Supports the development of a culture of quality at all levels with the help of Quality Assurance National Reference Points Quality Assurance National Reference Points) and other Network members.
- Supports member States and the European Commission in the monitoring and implementation of quality assurance systems within the context of the Education and Training 2020 strategy.
- Supports the quality assurance dimension of work in EQF and ECVET.
A European Quality Assurance Reference Framework, has been devised as a tool for policymakers and those involved in developing and implementing quality assurance systems.
How does the Network operate?
By exchanging information and experience in discussions and meetings. In particular it develops a common understanding of quality assurance principles, reference criteria, indicators and tools for quality improvement in VET and the implementation of the reference framework. This community of practice leads to higher levels of cooperation within and across EU member states on quality assurance related issues.
There is an EQAVET secretarial that organises annual meetings for information exchange and an annual conference where current developments in quality assurance can be shared and discussed in detail
Who are the Network members?
- Member states representatives are appointed by the relevant ministry responsible for quality assurance, certification and qualifications in vocational education and training.
- National Reference points bring together relevant national and regional bodies, social partners and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of any initiatives.
- Social partners are members who reflect the role of the world of employment and the labour market in shaping the content and quality of VET.
- The European Commission chairs the Network and works in partnership with the member states and social partners to ensure the effective implementation of the Reference Framework.
The scientific advisors and Cedefop support EQAVET and the European Commission in their work contributing in the formulation of up-to-date policy initiatives.
EQAVET in the UK
The four administrations in the UK work actively to align their vocational education quality assurance systems with the EQAVET indicators. They all have mature quality assurance systems and strategies in place which enables analysis of performance at system and provider level for all VET providers. In 2011 each of the nations examined their existing quality assurance system for VET in the light of the EQAVET recommendation and identified areas for improvement.
The UK is represented on working groups established to look at different aspects of EQAVET implementation. These groups looked at QA for work-based learning providers, (The outcome of the working group can be found here.) and at the interrelation between the EQAVET Framework and existing quality management systems/instruments. (The outcome of the working group can be found here.)
Further working groups are planned to look at the quality assurance approach in adult education in the context of continuing VET and at the use of learning outcomes to increase mobility and the labour reference of VET qualifications.
For further information go to the EQAVET website