There is no doubt that European collaboration in the area of training and education has become more and more important within the last five years:
The Bologna Process comprises the first steps of creating a European University Area where common standards of certification and acknowledgement of studies shall be applied.
The Bruges Process is an initiative of European Ministries of Training and Education to make European systems of vocational training transparent and compatible by the use of various instruments as European CV, Diploma Supplement,Europass, ECTS.
In the ICT and multimedia sector, specific initiatives as EUCIP have been started by associations, but also by big enterprises as in the case of Career Space. This has even led to European standardisation activities as the CEN/ISSS Workshop on ICT Skills and Curricula.
It can, however, not be claimed that national systems have - at least to a minor extent -become compatible to each other. This is at least true for the sub-academic level: European training is far away from enabling considerable mobility of employees on the European labour market. Also the above mentioned sector initiatives (which could be considered as activities of specific impact to professional profiles and curricula) will probably fail to achieve broader acceptance if there will not be carried out additional actions. The main reasons are:
Above mentioned approaches do not take in consideration national approaches to standardise professional profiles and according training, and especially ignore that national traditions to do so do not differ only with regard to the structure where these standards are embedded, but also with regard to focussing on specific instruments which are used to meet the needs of involved parties (as individualised assessment of entrepreneurs needs, work process orientation of training, etc.). These approaches - some of them having a much more specified profile than overall European approaches have - are currently refined and elaborated, but only in national frameworks, not taking in account developments beyond the borders (e.g. the developments in the UK and Germany).
Already developed profiles and curricula have not been piloted in an appropriate environment before having been finalised, and it is - not yet - foreseen to do this in the future. So it is not sure that the needs of involved parties are met (training institutions, enterprises, students) which will not help along broader acceptance.
Ongoing activities have not yet involved all relevant parties. So all social partners should be on board as well as representatives of small and medium sized enterprises.
For that reason, the LEONARDO project "Embedding Standards" supports European standardisation processes in the ICT and multimedia sector to create better acceptance and possibilities of anchorage of European standards in national environments.
Provided actions are:
To collect current national and European approaches identifying and describing ICT/multimedia profiling as well as training and education needs, to identify significant features of these approaches , and to use these features for setting up a grid which makes different approaches comparable.
To deliver, in terms of this grid, a synopsis of national/European approaches to rule/support ICT/multimedia professional profiling and skills development on the vocational training level, including countries where - up to now - not much effort has been to define the status of approaches in the national environment will be an important aspect of description. So, for that purpose, work of the European Network of Reference and Expertise (led by CEDEFOP), will be helpful.
To set up, on that basis, an optimum model which takes in account all features of considered approaches identified as innovative, allowing to exploit the advantages of the approaches and to avoid the disadvantages .The model should be usable as an instrument to measure currently used national methods/systems as more or less achieving this standard, and show ways how national approaches could be complemented. Social partners working together in the framework of this project should look after a solution which considers the interests of all involved parties: of entrepreneurs as well as of students and employees.
To develop methods to describe training/curricula parts of the above mentioned model in ECTS terms, linking it to higher education use (as - mainly from a student's point of view - the model should also include references to career paths inside the systems of vocational training and exceeding it.)
To carry out interviews in order to get a first impression how far the model achieves acceptance, and to modify the model on the basis of investigation results
To select a (not too big) number of already existing professional profiles (preferably in the multimedia world as these profiles are very often hybrid, but typical for professions in SMEs) to which this generic model can be easily applied and to describe them accordingly. As the "Web-Content-Specialist" described in the LEONARDO project "Web-Content-Manager" has already been designed in a similar way, this profession should be among the selected profiles.
To develop sample curricula
To pilot profiles and curricula in appropriate training environments. This does not necessarily mean that piloting is carried out in the framework of classroom courses or workplace environments. As a rule, this is rather costly and can only be expected from institutions with a specific interest to run pilot activities of this kind (which is the case with regard to some project partners). So virtual piloting is intended which means that approaches are checked on an online-basis (teleworking, e-learning). Also for that purpose the "Web-Content-Specialist" is appropriate.
To support standardisation activities by project work. Project work could be used for work in the framework of a further CEN/ISSS Workshop on ICT Skills and Curricula which deals especially with vocational training. Project work could also contribute to set up the single framework of transparency instruments (as EUROPASS, European CV), planned by European ministers of education and training (Bruges initiative).