4089_en-coverThe present Cedefop publication analyses several national approaches to accreditation and draws comparisons between them. Some sectoral examples are also included.
This work builds on the common quality assurance framework (CQAF) as developed by the European Commissionʼs technical working group (TWG) on quality in VET (2003-05) and as further consolidated by the ENQA-VET network (2006-07), with the substantial technical and scientific support of Cedefop.

The Council resolution adopted in November 2002 in Copenhagen (Council of the European Union, 2003) and the Declaration of the European Ministers of Vocational Education and Training on the promotion of enhanced European cooperation in VET was a fundamental step towards commonly agreed objectives. Both policy documents provided the initial impetus for the so-called Copenhagen process, a strategy that aims to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of VET and which focuses on the development of a single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences, credit transfer in VET, and quality assurance.

Together, these priorities aim at promoting mutual trust in training provision and transparency and recognition of competences and qualifications, thereby establishing a basis for increasing mobility in the European Union. These priorities have been successively confirmed by the Maastricht (2004), the Helsinki (2006) and the Bordeaux (2008) communiqués as well as by the recently approved Council conclusions on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020).

Quality assurance can play a decisive role in modernising European VET and improving performance and attractiveness, achieving better value for money. Many European countries need to increase VET responsiveness to changing labour market demands, increasing the effectiveness of VET ʻoutcomesʼ in improving the match between education and training demand and supply. Across Europe we also need to achieve better levels of employability for the workforce and to improve access to training, especially for vulnerable labour market groups.

Study aims and approach
One of the most interesting questions on accreditation is how to bridge internal and external assessments and how to bring top-down and bottom-up approaches together. This study on accreditation in different European countries aims to understand:

  • what types of external assessment of VET providers and/or VET programmes are carried out in a number of European countries;
  • how the relationship between internal assessment of VET providers and external assessment by accreditation bodies is organised in those countries;
  • how the different accreditation contribute to quality assurance (QA). The study includes an analysis of accreditation practices from the following
  • countries:
    • Germany;
    • Ireland;
    • Italy;
    • Sweden.

Some sectoral approaches to accreditation are also included and analysed, mainly in relation to their implications for a European approach to accreditation. Reference is also made to developments in other European countries.
The final aim of the study is to identify similarities and differences between the approaches to VET quality and accreditation and to come to conclusions and a proposal for common European guidelines for VET accreditation.

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