People often change jobs, either out of choice in order to better their position or due to necessity. They bring a range of existing skills to their new occupations and their transition can be made much easier if these skills are recognised and valued. By the same token, taking on new people becomes much less of a gamble for employers if they can see at a glance what the new employee can do, benchmarked against recognised standards for that occupation. If this information covers not only skills and knowledge gained in formal education, but also those acquired informally, at work or in other areas of daily life, so much the better.
Making qualifications transparent and easily readable, even across international frontiers, is a high priority for the ETF. Linking this to migration, by mapping the skills profiles of the people who migrate and exploring the complex subject of what impact migration has on the development of these skills is a second significant goal. The ETF’s recent work on countries such as Albania, Egypt, Moldova and Tunisia has detected significant skills mismatches, with many migrants from these countries employed in jobs below their capabilities. It is hoped that providing precise, accessible information on the skill sets of migrants can help to reduce this waste of human potential.
The ETF has been helping its partner countries to develop qualifications frameworks for several years now. It is launching a project looking to develop regional qualifications for specific business sectors across four countries of the Mediterranean. Building a qualifications framework – a single unifying structure where all existing qualifications can be slotted into place – is always a long-term process but the benefits are many.