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Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries

We work closely with other National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) across the UK, and the Republic of Ireland to ensure there is a clear understanding of qualification developments and to promote transparency of the NQFs.

Annually we update the popular leaflet, Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries, which shows the relationship of each Framework to each other and reference the qualification levels to the EQF.


The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning is an overarching qualifications framework which links different countries’ qualifications frameworks together. Acting as a translation device to make qualifications easier to understand across different countries and systems in Europe, its main aim is to help people moving from one country to another for work, or to continue their education or training. 

The SCQF Partnership was first referenced to the EQF in 2009 and that original SCQF referencing report was updated in 2018/19 through an EC funded project to reflect the changes in Scottish education. A Steering Group was set up to provide guidance and consultation. Members included:

  • College Development Network
  • Universities Scotland
  • Quality Assurance Agency Scotland
  • SQA
  • NUS
  • Sparqs
  • Scottish Union Learning
  • Employers
  • Education Scotland
  • Scottish Government
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • Scottish Training Federation
  • ECVET Expert
  • International Consultants

The report was accepted by the EQF advisory group and the updated report is available from the links on the right.

Further information on the EQF can be found at The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) Europass


European Credit transfer system for VET (ECVET)

The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) gives people greater control over their individual learning experiences and makes it more attractive to move between different countries and different learning environments.

The system aims to facilitate the validation, recognition and accumulation of work-related skills and knowledge acquired during a stay in another country or in different situations. It should ensure that these experiences contribute to vocational qualifications.

ECVET aims to create a technical framework to describe qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes, and it includes assessment, transfer, accumulation and recognition procedures.

Following the announcement that the UK will not take part in the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ programme, ECVET UK closed its services from 1 January 2021. The ECVET network still operates across Europe and, there are still useful resources for UK Beneficiaries involved in international work at the ECVET link on the right.

The European Inventory

The European Inventory is a regularly updated overview of validation practices across Europe. This inventory, compiled in cooperation with the European Commission, provides an overview of validation arrangements in European countries. In cooperation with the European Commission and Member States, CEDEFOP helps to develop validation systems by updating and hosting the inventory and further developing European guidelines on validation.

European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning | Cedefop (europa.eu)


Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. The programme is managed by the UK National Agency which is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK. They deliver the programme for the benefit of participating UK organisations, and the individuals who are able to study, train, volunteer or gain work experience abroad through the programme. The UK continues to participate fully in the Erasmus+ and ESC programmes (2014-2020) for the full duration of projects, including those where funding runs beyond the end of the transition period Home | Erasmus+ (erasmusplus.org.uk)

The UK government has created the Turing scheme which will replace the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, This scheme will support students to study and work abroad. The new scheme will be administered by the same partnership of British Council and Ecorys.

More information on the Turing Scheme can be found at this link Turing Scheme | UK's Global Programme to Study & Work Abroad | Home (turing-scheme.org.uk)



Europass helps individuals to communicate their skills and competencies effectively when applying for a job or training. 

Learn in Europe | Europass



The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education across Europe and other collaborating European countries. ECTS credits are awarded on the basis of 60 ECTS credits for one academic year. ECTS enables the transfer of credit from one institution to another, promoting greater student mobility. Therefore, if you have students who are studying part of their course in Europe, or planning to do so, their SCQF Credit Points need to be converted to ECTS, or conversely ECTS needs to be converted to SCQF Credit Points. This is done by either multiplying or dividing by two. To convert ECTS to SCQF Credit Points multiply the number of ECTS credits by two and to convert SCQF Credit Points to ECTS divide the number of SCQF Credit Points by two. The ECTS Users’ Guide, available on the European Commission website, provides guidelines for the implementation of ECTS.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) | Education and Training (europa.eu)



The European Higher Education Area (EHEA), developed through the Bologna Process, was launched in March 2010 with the Budapest-Vienna Declaration. Since the inception of the Bologna Process in 1999 the main objective is to ensure more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. Scotland has engaged fully with the Bologna process from the outset.

The Scottish Bologna Stakeholders Group which comprises representatives of interested education stakeholders meets to discuss the Scottish approach, share best practice and plan for the future. Members of this group take part in wider Bologna Working Groups and Networks.

More information on the EHEA can be found at http://www.ehea.info

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