Annex_3_Report_National_Investigations_Ways_2009_02_27_V1

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					Report on the national investigations of
experts from the automotive sector
Ways to Sustainability (WAYS)
Work package 2: Scenarios of Using the Instruments of a
Future European Learning Space




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Report on the national investigations of
experts from the automotive sector
Ways to Sustainability (WAYS)
Work package 2: Scenarios of Using the Instruments of a
Future European Learning Space

Date
26th of February, 2009

Authors
Country report Austria: 3s research laboratory, Sigrid Nindl
Country report France: CREDIJ, Martine Levreux
Country report Germany: Lux Personal & Kommunikation, Daniela Bernloher, Silke Haubenreißer
Country report Italy: Politecnico di Torino, Valentina Gatteschi, Stefania Lanzafame
Country report Slovenia: School centre Ptuj, Tanja Steyer
Country report UK – England, Northern Ireland and Wales: CCEA, Caroline Egerton
Summary & interpretation: 3s research laboratory, Sigrid Nindl




                                                         The project is funded with the support
                                                                  of the European Commission
                                                and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education.




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Contents
1 Introduction                                                               5

2 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in Austria     8
2.1 The automotive sector in Austria                                         8
2.2 Methodology                                                             12
2.3 Results                                                                 12
2.4 Conclusions                                                             18

3 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in France     19
3.1 Reminder of context elements                                            19
3.2 The automotive sector in France                                         19
3.3 Methodology: The Interviewees                                           22
3.4 Results                                                                 23

4 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in Germany    27
4.1 The automotive sector in Germany                                        27
4.2 Methods: Interviewees                                                   28
4.3 Results of national investigations in Germany                           28
4.4 Conclusions                                                             31

5 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in Italy      32
5.1 The automotive sector in Italy                                          32
5.2 Methodology: Information about people interviewed                       33
5.3 Results                                                                 33
5.4 Summary of Results in keywords                                          37
5.5 Summary and interpretation of results                                   38

6 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in Slovenia   40
6.1 The automotive sector in Slovenia                                       40
6.2 Interview methodology                                                   42
6.3 Interview results                                                       43

7 Report on the national investigations of automotive experts in UK:
England, Wales and Northern Ireland                                         44
7.1 The automotive sector in the UK                                         44
7.2 Methodology                                                             51
7.3 Research Limitations                                                    52
7.4 Results                                                                 52
7.5 Conclusions / Summary of results                                        66

8 Summary and interpretation of results                                     72
8.1 Possible use of the EQF in the automotive sector                        72
8.2 Expected impact and benefits from being able to use of the EQF in the
automotive sector                                                           73
8.3 Main challenges/conditions to using the EQF in the automotive sector    75



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9 Annex                                                                               80
9.1 Interview Guideline                                                               80
9.2 Information leaflet for interviewees: The European Qualifications Framework for
Lifelong Learning                                                                     80




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1 Introduction
The project “Ways to Sustainability” aims …

… to identify and describe scenarios that demonstrate how instruments like the European Qualifica-
  tions Framework may be used by potential end-users like employers, human resource managers,
  training providers, teachers/trainers as well as individual learners (maybe also lifelong learning
  counsellers)when questions of evaluating the knowledge, skills and qualifications of a diverse
  workforce are at stake.
… to identify and describe problems that may emerge when the abstract descriptors of the EQF
  have to be related to existing profiles and qualifications in the national and sectoral contexts
  with a view to generating a shared understanding and awareness of the conditions for the practi-
  cal application of the above-mentioned scenarios.

In a nutshell the aims of the project and its work packages can be defined as follows: to test the
application and implementation of the EQF and to identify obstacles as well as favourable condi-
tions for its implementation.

The target sector of the project “Ways to Sustainability” is the automotive sector with its subsectors
manufacturing and services. Therefore the target groups are those in the sector who have to do with
development and assessment of the required competences and will use the EQF in the future. To
identify scenarios and emerging problems, these stakeholders were interviewed by the partners in
this work package. The following target groups were interrogated:

_ training/educational institutions
_ stakeholders from the automotive manufacturing sector
_ stakeholders from the automotive services sector

It was defined that each partner country should conduct expert interviews with stakeholders from
training/educational institutions and with stakeholders from the automotive sector. Interviewees
representing training and/or education institutions have to assess competence prerequisites of learn-
ers. Stakeholders from the automotive manufacturing sector and the automotive services sector are
employers such as HR managers are e.g. confronted with certificates of foreign job seekers. There-
fore the EQF might be of use for them.

For the national investigations in work package 2 central questions that exceed the automobile in-
dustry were developed, as they were used for the evaluation of other projects as well. Different sce-
narios were created, describing typical situations in which the EQF might be of use from the per-
spective of different stakeholders. The scenarios were described as introduction of the interview and
aimed to help the interviewee to understand how the EQF might be applied from a number of dif-
ferent perspectives. The interviewer chose from three different scenarios depending on who they
were interviewing. The scenarios described an employee perspective, a training provider perspec-
tive and an employer perspective from the automotive (manufacturing or service) sector:




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Scenario 1: employee perspective
Mary has successfully completed her initial education in a VET school in the field of mechanical
engineering in country A. Mary moves to country B where she wants to continue her education at a
University. To do this she needs to acquire a University Entrance Certificate. To gain such a certifi-
cate in country B she must complete a 2 year training programme. Because both country A and B
have implemented the EQF, the University in country B accepts the qualification gained by Mary in
Country A as a University Entrance Certificate. This is because the qualification Mary has gained in
Country A is at the same EQF level (and has similar learning outcomes) to the 2 year training pro-
gramme leading to a University Entrance Certificate in Country B.

Scenario 2: training provider perspective
Training providers need to assess, if people gain access to specific training programmes in the
automotive sector, based on their further education. If John has acquired a qualification as “mecha-
tronic specialist” in country A, which qualifies him for attending a higher training programme in
country A, this does not necessarily mean, that he gets entrance to such a course in country B as
well. It is difficult for the training provider to assess, if this qualification, acquired in country A,
meets the requirements of the training programme in country B.
Because of the implementation of the EQF, both the qualification gained in country A and the train-
ing programme in country B are assigned to an EQF level. This enables the training provider to
assess, if the learning outcomes John achieved match the learning outcomes which are defined as a
necessary base for the training in country B. So the training provider is able to decide, if John is
qualified to gain access to the training or not.

Scenario 3: employer perspective – automotive (manufacturing or service) sector
John is an employer in the automotive sector and owns an automotive manufacturing company in
country A. Mary has applied for a job as design engineer in his company. Mary has successfully
completed her training as a design engineer, but in country B. Therefore normally it would be diffi-
cult for John to assess Mary’s knowledge, skills and competence.
The EQF facilitates an assessment of Mary’s qualifications: Knowledge, skills and competences are
described as learning outcomes. These learning outcomes describe what mary knows, understands
and is able to do regardless of where she achieved her qualifications. So John doesn’t have to assess
the institution, where Mary completed her training, or the length of her learning experience. Imple-
mentation of the EQF has made it possible for John to assess the learning outcomes Mary has
achieved in completing her training as a design engineer in Country B and whether or not these
learning outcomes fit the needs for a job as a design engineer in his company in country A.

Additionally a leaflet, providing a basic description of the EQF, should be provided as information
in advance of the interview.

The interview guideline consisted of key questions, following topics were treated:

_ Dealing with an applicant (for a specific training course) from a foreign country who presents
    qualifications that aren’t recognized locally
_ Methods of assessing an applicant’s suitability for a jobrole/position (a training course)




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_ Possible impact of the EQF on the interviewee’s ability to assess an applicant for a job/training
    course
_ Possible use of the EQF in the interviewee’s organization (e.g. for the whole organization, for
    the training area, for HRD, for the recruitment of people)
_ Expected benefits from being able to use of the EQF in the automotive sector
_ Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector/in the interviewee’s organization
  (anticipated risks/obstacles/resistances of the implementation of the EQF)
_ Necessary conditions in the automotive sector for the EQF to achieve its aims
_ Development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF
_ Further remarks on the EQF and its implementation

This report contains the results of the national investigations of the partners. The interviews were
conducted in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and UK (England, Northern Ireland and
Wales). As work package 2 lasts until April 2009, not all of the interviews have been conducted so
far. This is why the results of France, Germany and Slovenia have to been seen as interim, but nev-
ertheless as meaningful.

A comparative analysis of the partner’s results is done in chapter 8 “Summary and interpretation of
results” at the end of this report.




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2 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in Austria
by Sigrid Nindl, 3s research laboratory


2.1 The automotive sector in Austria

2.1.1 General characteristics

Austria lies in the middle of a rapidly growing automotive region. 10 car manufacturing facilities
are located within a radius of 300 kilometres of Vienna. About three million cars are produced on
assembly lines in Central and Eastern Europe. More than 1,000 international companies – in the
automotive sector such as Magna, Renault or Volvo – run their Eastern European operations from
their base in Austria.
Source: http://www.aba.gv.at/EN/Sectors/Automotive%20Industry/Automotive+Industry.aspx (09.02.2009)



“The automotive industry is one of Austria’s most important industrial sectors, producing 2.5 mil-
lion engines and gearboxes, 248,000 passenger cars, 69,000 motorcycles, 26,650 heavy goods vehi-
cles, 26,000 trailers and tractors annually. The export ratio is 87 percent.”
Source: www.aba.gv.at


The automotive sector in Austria, including supplier industry, numbers around 700 companies,
which generate a yearly turnover of around 20 billion Euros. At present there are more than 175,000
people (directly or indirectly) engaged in the sector. The field is dominated by small and medium-
sized companies.

Important car manufacturers with subsidiaries in Austria are e.g.:

_ BMW in Steyr
_ Fiat with 4 subsidiaries with around 900 employees
_ General Motors/Saab in Vienna
_ Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz
_ MAN Nutzfahrzeuge Österreich AG in Vienna and Steyr
_ Rosenbauer International

Furthermore there are many hundreds of (mostly medium-sized) suppliers with a high export-ratio
of their products. Important enterprises in Austria’s supplier industry (for international consumers
such as Daimler, BMW, VW or Audi) are e.g.:

_ AVL List
_ Bomdardier-Rotax in Gunskirchen
_ Eybl International AG
_ Fischer Advanced Composites Components AG in Ried



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_ Messer Austria GmbH
_ MIBA AG in Laakirchen
_ Pankl Racing Systems
_ Plansee AG
_ voestalpine motion in Linz

These companies offer a lot of technological research and development. AVL List GmbH is well-
know for its engine development. Bomdardier-Rotax developes fuel-injection systems, Magna Steyr
and Messer Austria are working on cryogenic petrol-tank systems, Plansee AG and REFORM
plants in Wels work on techniques to reduce noise in future diesel motors and vehicles. MAN,
Rosenbauer as well as the M-U-T Ges.m.b.H. in Stockerau produce a wide variety of utility vehi-
cles.1

According to the data of the last population census from 2001, the qualification structure within the
car manufacturing sector is dominated by employees with an apprenticeship as highest education,
followed by people with compulsory school education. Only 7% of employees in the car manufac-
turing sector and 5% in the car parts manufacturing sector are academics.

Qualification structure within the sector “manufacturing of motor vehicles and engines”:

_ apprenticeship: 55%
_ compulsory school: 18%
_ academics: 7%

Qualification structure within the sector “manufacturing of parts and accessoires for motor vehi-
cles”:

_ apprenticeship: 59%
_ compulsory school: 20%
_ academics: 5%

2.1.2 Car admissions in Austria

In the chart below you see the number of car admissions (automobiles) in Austria from 1989 until
2008. In the year 2008 a total of 404.185 cars (all categories) were admitted, which means a decline
of 0,7% in comparison to 2007.




1
 See: Austria Export, Winter 2006/07, No. 120, edited by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Austrian
Trade: The Best of Automotive Austria 2007.



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2.1.3 Automotive clusters in Austria

Austria’s automotive supplying industry is supported by three automotive clusters on a regional
level:

_ ACstyria Autocluster GmbH (www.acstyria.com)
_ Automotive Cluster in Upper Austria (www.automobil-cluster.at)
_ Automotive Cluster Vienna Region (www.acvr.at)

Those clusters focus on etabling co-operations between suppliers and support future developments
of the automotive sector.

The Austrian Automotive Association Service GmbH supports the automotive sector by presenting
Austrian suppliers on an international level. The website of the “austrian automotive association”
(AAA; see www.aaa.or.at) provides further information about the automotive sector in Austria.


ACstyria Autocluster GmbH

The ACstyria Autocluster supports the grouping of all the resources in the region in the automotive
added-value chain. It consists of 185 associate companies with about 44.000 employees. The organ-
ized platforms provide, among other things, ongoing information about the sector and individual co-
operation projects.




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ACstyria has implemented a qualification framework for the automotive sector: the Automotive
Academy Styria (www.automotive-academy-styria.com). It offers a wide choice of options in engi-
neering, business and science that cover the entire automotive spectrum.


Automotive Cluster in Upper Austria

The Automotive Cluster in Upper Austria provides possibilities for specific networking in Upper
Austria for the different skills and resources of its associate companies. More than 280 associate
companies with 81.000 employees achieve a total sales turnover of 16,2 billion Euro per year, of
which some 7 billion Euro is in the automotive sector.

In some 40 co-operation projects more than 220 firms have developed new products, new modules,
and new systems, as well as optimizing processes and obtaining even higher qualifications to meet
the demands of the automobile industry.

The Automotive Cluster in Upper Austria defines itself as “innovation driving force behind the do-
mestic suppliers industry, and powerful partner for vehicle manufactures and system suppliers”.


Automotive Cluster Vienna Region (ACVR)2

The Automotive Cluster Vienna Region (AVCR) was founded in November 2001 by ecoplus, the
economic development agency for Lower Austria, and the Vienna Economic Promotion Fund. The
umbrella brand name “Vienna Region” stands for the Federal states Vienna, Lower Austria, and
Burgenland.

ACVR identifies and promotes trail-blazing key technologies with high growth potential in the re-
gion. The Cluster focuses on the sectors of transport telematics, transport logistics, microtechnology
and nanotechnology, alternative vehicle concepts.

The key element in the networking activities is to increase the added-value element, to raise the
R&D portion, and to enhance the level of innovation of the associate companies.

ACVR initiates and guides the co-operation between Cluster associates and provides marketing
resources to increase familiarity of the products and services provided by the companies. One par-
ticular area of attention for Cluster activities is international co-operation with the new EU member
states of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Nearly 40% of all Austrian automotive sales
are generated here.

Approximately 140 enterprises, research and educational facilities, associations and organisations
now make up the extended ACVR network. Cross-section technologies are the particular strength of
the Vienna Region: not only the classical automobile subcontractors but also electronics and
telematics suppliers as well as various service providers, research, development and educational
facilities are ACVR partners.
2
    Source: http://www.aaa.or.at/13_ENG_HTML.php.



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In January 2009 the ACVR network consisted of 115 partners (53 from Vienna, 40 from Lower
Austria, 22 others), 59 of them producing companies, with a total number of around 46.000 em-
ployees.3


2.2 Methodology
As basis for the analysis ten stakeholders of the Austrian automotive sector were interviewed: five
of them representing the automotive manufacturing or automotive services sector, five of them rep-
resenting the training/educational sector.

The interviews were based on an interview guideline with nine pre-set questions. Before the inter-
view an information leaflet about the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) was sent to the
interviewees for preparation. As introduction part of each interview the interviewer explained the
EQF as well as the project “Ways to Sustainability” to the interviewee. Furthermore one out of
three different scenarios was described as introduction to the interview. Those scenarios aimed to
help the interviewee to understand how the EQF might be applied from a number of different per-
spectives. The three different scenarios described an employee perspective, a training provider per-
spective and an employer perspective from the automotive (manufacturing or service) sector.


2.3 Results

2.3.1 Dealing with an applicant from a foreign country who presents qualifications which
aren't recognised locally

In dealing with an applicant from a foreign country the interviewees would check whether those
qualifications are recognized or nostrificated on an official level in Austria or in Europe or not. As
an example at European level the European Organisation for Quality Standards was mentioned.

The interviewees assessed it to be less difficult to deal with an applicant from the European Union
than from other countries, which are no member states of the EU. Applicants from the European
Unions mostly would have an European Accreditation of their education. Also supplementary in-
formation on certificates is used for assessment:

“Many countries provide supplementary information on the certificates – a kind of verbal interpre-
tation, which is helpful to assess the quality of an education.”4

To get further information about what a specific education might be worth, interviewees in the
automotive sector ask colleagues from subsidiaries of the own company in the foreign country,
where the applicant comes from.


3
    See: http://www.acvr.at/index.php?id=1002 (09.02.2009).
4
    Quotes from the expert interviews are italicised.



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All in all dealing with applicants from a foreign country is not that important for the interviewees,
as they do not seem to be confronted with too many applicants from abroad:

“We don’t have many international applicants. 90% of our applicants are from Austria.”

Beyond this the answers of the interviewees according to the question how to deal with an applicant
from a foreign country who presents qualifications which aren’t recognised locally and to the ques-
tion of assessing an applicant’s suitability for a job role/position or a training course were very
similar. The application process follows the traditional way, as described in 3.3.2. After screening
the application documents, the first job interview with applicants from a foreign country is often
made by phone, before the applicant is invited to a face to face job interview.


2.3.2 Assessment of an applicant's suitability for a job role/position or a training course

Applicants usually have to go through the classical application process: This process consists first
of all in the definition of job criterias, as basis for defining and evaluation selection criterias. Appli-
cant have to send their application documents to the potential employer. Theses documents are
screened by one or two HR responsible: The application itself, curriculum vitae, work experience,
certificates, assessments of internships are assessed.

If this screening is positive, the applicant is invited to a (structured) job interview, there also might
be an assessment center. The first job interview with applicants from abroad is often conducted by
phone, before inviting them to a face to face job interview.

In the job interview it is proofed, whether the applicant has the skills and abilities, mentioned in the
application documents. Especially technical and social qualifications are of importance. Technical
skills and abilities are often tested, e.g. in form of sample or trial work. This might take place in
form of a test working day or test working hours or fulfilling an exercise. Sometimes applicants
have to manage technical tests, proofing construction knowledge (e.g. CAD). Work samples are
especially of importance on the level of skilled workers. Applicants also might be asked to give a
description of their tasks in their last job. Further methods for the assessment of an applicant’s suit-
ability for a job role are role-plays or internship.

Starting into a new job, there also is a probation period of three to five months.


2.3.3 Impact of the EQF on ability to assess an applicant for a job role/training course

The impact of the European Qualifications Framework on the ability to assess applicants for a job
role in the automotive manufacturing or automotive services sector or for a training course of a
training/educational institution is seen in providing a possibility of recognition work or professional
experience.




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The EQF is seen as a tool which allows better comparability and also differentiation of certificates
by its learning-outcome-orientation. The implementation of such an instrument would underline the
growing importance of nonformal or informal knowledge besides formal knowledge.

“The EQF could be a support to enable comparability of different kind of educations. Experiences
and skills, which are connected with a certain professional education, could be made more trans-
parent and visible.”

The EQF was assessed as a flexible and dynamic tool, which could offer more transparency in the
description of qualifications. It also could be used as seal of approval/quality. Education, especially
informal or nonformal education, gets another worth/value by this tool.

“If I have a certificate, but no work experience, this is acknowledged. If I’m 30 years old, with a lot
of work experience, but I don’t have an academic degree, I will most probably have no chance in an
application process. That’s very problematical, if people, who have really a lot of knowledge, skills
and competencies, don’t have this in form of a certificate.”



2.3.4 Uses of the EQF in own organisation

Possible uses of the European Qualifications Framework in the organisation of the interviewees
were seen in the possibility to enhance vocational training/education. One interviewee mentioned
the possibility of introducing “continuing education accounts” in enterprises, wherefore employees
could collect points.

“By using the EQF further education might get another worth. For example: I could assign credit
point, which I could collect on my personal further education account. This would upgrade my
qualification profile. If I’m attending a course now, without the EQF, this often doesn’t have any
consequences, whether for others nor for me. Further education might get more worth by such a
system.”

The EQF could also be used as tool for human resource development, as tool for target-setting for
training providers or as tool for standardisation of training criteria.

It generally might improve quality assurance of vocational education. Used as quality assurance and
vocational education instrument within enterprises, information about own vocational train-
ing/education could be added continuously to the EQF.

“I see the EQF as an important tool to define and acknowledge personnel development in a further
sense. What I mean in particular is personality development. If it is possible to describe personal
skills in a better way, they might get a better standing. I could substantiate social skills by hard
facts, so that social skills would loose their impreciseness.”




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“The EQF could also be a helpful instrument for personnel development, for our internal recruiting
or for internal job rotation.”


2.3.5 Expected benefits from using the EQF in the automotive sector

The experts identified several potential benefits from using the European Qualifications Framework
in the automotive sector (similar answers were given in 3.3.3):

In their point of view it might allow a higher mobility and permeability of the education system as
well as a better comparability of (national and international) degrees/certificates.

A big chance of this instrument is seen in the reintegration of low-skilled people to the labour mar-
ket: By using an European Qualifications Framework or a National Qualifications Framework work
or professional experience of employees could be recognized. Thereby employees with informal or
nonformal education could be upgraded on a higher level as it would be possible on the basis of
their formal education.

From the experts point of view a framework like the EQF also might reduce inefficiencies of the
traditional education system, which means overlapping learning contents. As example overlapping
contents in technical apprenticeships and master mechanic courses were mentioned.

The EQF also might enable or enforce cross-company transfer of employees (job rotation) or cross-
country transfer within companies.

It also might be used as a tool for human resource development.

“Higher permeability, that means higher mobility, between the states certainly would be an advan-
tage. On the one hand this would be an advantage for employees from abroad, on the other for own
employees who want to make work experiences abroad.”

“Advantages would be: flexibility and quickness in the ability to assess. Reliability and legitimacy
in decision-making.”

“Skills, abilities and knowledge can be made more transparent. This also could be used in the ac-
quisition of new projects: If we offer something, we could explain the qualifications of our employ-
ees by using the EQF levels.”



2.3.6 Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector

The main advantage of the EQF is at the same seen as the most challenging part: to make skills,
abilities and competences comparable.




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“The risk is that educations in the different countries aren’t that similar. A possibility to compare
educations is important, but it’s not easy to do so. […] You can’t compare A-levels in English in
Italy with A-levels in English in Austria.”

“For the recruiting process the EQF could be an important instrument. But comparability might be
difficult. If something is a level 4 in Austria, it might be a Level 6 in another country, but refer to
the same quality of education. How can I assess the worthiness of the classifications made by each
country?”

Some of the interviewees are afraid that the comparability of qualifications, enabled by the EQF,
includes the risk of reducing/lowering the description level.

Their suggestion was that country or cultural specifics should be acknowledged within the EQF. On
the other hand it should be a tool which allows to compare qualifications or certificated from differ-
ent countries. To fulfil both is seen as the most challenging part of the EQF. The quality of the EQF
also depends on the decision-makers for the classification process:

“We need such instruments. The problem is: How will standardisation and classification be done?
Which instances are decision-makers for levelling?”

Another challenge is seen in adapting the EQF continuously to the actual education situation and
offers. Therefore it has to be a flexible system, which can be adapted easily.

To work out and to be used in the future, the EQF needs a leading industry as the automotive sector
for being promoted. Especially in the automotive sector lobbying is of importance, otherwise such a
system would provoke rejection or refusal, as any kind of standardisation would do. Such lobbying
takes place via clusters, in Austria three of such automotive clusters already exist.

“The automotive sector has to be convinced by lobbying. The automotive clusters in Upper Austria,
Vienna and Styria could be a good instrument for lobbying.”

It is also seen as problematic that by implementing the EQF a two-class society could arise:

“The problem is: a two-class society might arise from introducing the EQF: those who fit into this
scheme and those, whose qualifications don’t fit into the scheme. They would fall behind then.”

Stakeholders from training/educational institutions pointed out that they already refer to existing
guidelines and norms in their work. ISO 17024 was mentioned as norm used by human resource
responsibles and certifiers. Further norms mentioned were: ISO TS 16949, a worldwide approved
certification standard, based on ISO 9001; Green Belt and Black Belt standards; and orientation at
the guidelines of the “International Council of Management Consulting Institutes” (CMCI).

“On the level of skilled workers some certifications do exist in the automotive sector, which are
international. Theses are automotive standards – ISO-Standards. These standards already are es-
tablished in the automotive sector. This is much more of importance for a potential employer than a
certificate from an education provider.”




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2.3.7 What needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims

In this key question it was asked for what needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims
a) to support a better match between the needs of the labor market (for knowledge, skills and
    competences) and education and training provision
b) to facilitate the validation of non-formal and informal learning
c) to facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and
    training systems

According to the interviewees first of all minimum standards have to be introduced for the EQF to
achieve its aims. It is also seen of great importance to define the target groups of the European
Qualifications Framework, because its language doesn’t fit for all of them. Lower qualification lev-
els would need illustrative examples for understanding abstract descriptions of the EQF.

There also needs to be a general willingness for the implementation of the EQF, but also for the
exchange of knowledge. Cooperation and collaboration of education providers is needed for defin-
ing the NQF.

To support a better match between the needs of the labour market and education and training pro-
viding it is important that clear job profiles are made. The descriptions have to be more specified –
according to the principle of skills, abilities and competencies. There also needs to be more and
better cooperation between companies and training/education providers. One interviewee sees a
necessity in establishing further education and training offers, because their would be a demand for
it.

The validation of non-formal and informal learning is seen as challenging, because it is not measur-
able so far as formal learning is. But it is seen of great importance to implement a system which
might enable this.

The international transfer of employees already takes places in the Austrian automotive sector, but
within companies. So there is need for transfer of employees from foreign countries not only within
the same company, but also from different companies. Otherwise employees would have very com-
pany-specific skills, abilities and competences, which would not enable them to work in another
company.


2.3.8 Development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF

The development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF was seen am-
bivalently. Many of the interviewees assessed partnerships or cooperations within the automotive
sector generally as problematical because of (the pressure of) competition.

“Cooperations aren’t a question of know how, but a question of competition. In my opinion this is
difficult, especially in such a crisis time as it is no. Now the pressure of competition is higher than
before.”




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One interviewee declared that there has to be an economic profit for the automotive sector, so that
there is an interest to establish new partnerships. The reachability of partners also was identified as
an important factor (direct flight connections).

Others said that collaboration would be an important factor to “enforce the European economic area
compared with the Asian or the American economic area.” Lobbying is of importance within the
automotive sector, some networks already exist.

“In my opinion co-operations are the organisation structure of the future. Therefore we have to ask
ourselves: Which qualifications do we need, which demand do we have? Then we could invest on it
and cooperate – with schools, universities, universities of applied sciences …”

“Co-operation is actively sought – from enterprises, from universities. But there has never been a
discussion of such partnerships in the context of the EQF.”



2.4 Conclusions
From the point of view of the experts, the EQF might

_ enable recognition of work/professional experience
_ enable better comparability and differentiation of certificates
_ enable higher permeability of the education system
_ enable the reintegration of low-skilled people to the labour market by recognizing their informal
  or non-formal skills and abilities
_ enable cross-company transfer of employees or cross-country transfer within companys
_ underline the growing importance of non-formal/informal knowledge
_ provide a flexible, dynamic tool
_ be used as seal of approval/quality
_ create a higher worth/value of vocational education, and therefore could enhance it
_ be of use for recruitment, for HR development processes, as target-setting tool for training pro-
  viders, as tool for quality assurance of vocational education

Main challenges in the implementation of the EQF are:

_ Comparability includes the risk of lowering the description level.
_ Neglect of country or cultural specifics of the education system
_ It has continuously to be adapted to the actual educational situation and offers.
_ It needs a leading industry like the automotive sector to be promoted.
_ It needs to be based on minimum standards.
_ It should be based on a language which fits for the target groups and is not too abstract.
_ Its use bases on a general willingness for the exchange of knowledge.




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3 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in France
by Martine Levreux, CREDIJ


3.1 Reminder of context elements

French manufacturers are confronted to the double constraint of markets:
_ They must avoid the arrival of new Asian and Indian manufacturers in Europe;
_ They relocate, particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe for strategic and economic reasons.

In addition, the automobile industry is confronted to the need to drop the prices of vehicles, which
is reinforced by the arrival of new Asian competitors.
During the 90s, the strategy implemented by most manufacturers was to bring together the conces-
sions in larger organizations, in order to make economies of scale and to reduce competition within
the same brand.


3.2 The automotive sector in France
The activities of automobile distribution and services are traditionally divided into four major mar-
ket segments:
_ Sales of new vehicles (NV);
_ Sales of used vehicles (UV);
_ Maintenance and repair;


3.2.1 NV and UV markets

5 465 6603 used vehicles have been registered in 2006, that is 2.6 times more than the registration
of new vehicles.
According to the Commercial Director of Renault France "In 2006 the French market is located in
just 2 million registrations, which is relatively small when one considers that it has been boosted by
an intense war of promotions. It is characterized by the explosion of segments and the number of
available models. The consumer does have an extraordinary choice."


The actors of NV and UV

Builder networks constitute the privileged channel of private buyers. In 2005, 55% of the circulat-
ing fleet has been bought in builder networks.




Page 19/80
The market of used cars is between the hands of private buyers. About 50% of the market is real-
ized by automobile professionals. Builders have positioned themselves on the market by profes-
sionalizing it (labeling, guarantee).
These last years, builder networks have restructured themselves: the number of agents reduced of
23% between 1998 and 2003. However, builders have encouraged the movements of concentration
of concessions in order to control their network and reduce costs by forming regional hubs of dis-
tribution. The top 100 of the distribution groups represent 47.2% of the network sales and 31.5% of
NV market.
With the new European regulations, car dealers benefit from an advantage of room to maneuver: the
distribution system offers the possibility to develop the inter-group multi-brand subject to im-
posed criteria by builders.


3.2.2 The market of maintenance-repair

In January 1st 2006, the circulating fleet of private cars came to 29 750 000 vehicles. The private
car fleet stabilizes at an average of 8.3 years of age, ¼ of the fleet is equipped with advanced tech-
nology.
The 52-million admittances in car repair shops of 2005 reflect a decrease in activity of (-5.4%)
compared to 2004. The activity in volume has reduced since 2003, in connection with a lesser de-
mand of households which suffer a decline in purchasing power. The increase of the reliability of
components also induced a reduction of repairs.


The actors of maintenance-repair market

The market of maintenance and repair offers local services; it is, as a result, very fragmented: 32
970 enterprises in 2005.
The market of maintenance and repair is structured and is divided among the several contributors
that develop different strategies:

_ networks of builders,
_ networks of freelance contributors formed by auto-centers and fast - fitters
_ MAR (Mechanic Automobile Repair).

Since 1987, the market shares of the MAR have been reduced, in favor of the auto-centers, special-
ists and dealers (19.4% in 2004).
The fleet aging gives advantages to two actors: the MAR and the auto-centre, that work on vehicles
of more than 7 years of age.
Thanks to a policy of extended services with better prices that new repair channels (auto-centers,
fast-fitters) have succeeded in their long-lasting implementation on French territory.
In order to keep their market part on recent vehicles, builders/manufacturers have extended the
warranty duration, which maintains the level of customer loyalty 90%.
The technological evolution of automobile fleet changes the deal for repair professionals. From
then on, the MAR will have to choose between freelance networks or builder networks to generate a
new business flow/current and access the quality level required by the sector.




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3.2.3 Employment in service branch of the automobile

The evolution of the employment in the branch is conditioned by the evolution of the companies of
the sector.
In 2005, the sector of automobile services had 91516 companies and 452 556 employees. Data con-
cerning the companies highlight two points:

_ reduction of Very Small Enterprises (VSE) ;
_ concentration of distribution groups.

In 2003, 66740 enterprises of less than 10 employees were recorded. Between 1993 and 2003, the
number of enterprises of less than 10 employees was reduced of 5.7%.
If we analyze the 100 first groups of distribution between 2004 and 2005, we observe a concen-
tration fact:

_ reduction of the number of main sites (-2.1%)
_ increase of the percentage of sales network (+1.9%)

Evolution of the labor force of the automobile services branch

Broadly speaking, all sectors of activity will be confronted with the tensions that will occur in the
labor market due to the decline of the French labor force. Difficulties in recruiting and retaining
staff in the field of Automotive Repair Trade may increase in 2010.
The analysis of the evolution of the employees of the branch has identified 3 types of critical popu-
lation, namely:

_ 50-year-old and older Senior executives;
_ 50-year-old and older artisans who are about to retire;
_ Qualified young workers who are leaving their activity sectors.

There is an acceleration of the aging of the population of artisans: the share of more than 50
years old rose from 31% in 1995 to 42% in 2001. Given the difficulties of the buyout of firms, the
impact on the number of enterprises and of employment in VSE is important.
The renewal of the senior executives arises urgently: more than one part in four will go into re-
tirement. This could lead to disruption of business and to tensions on the labor market. Moreover,
the sector trains or hires more and more young people, who stay less and less.

The jobs

The evolution of automotive technology leads to changes in the qualification of employees in the
sector. Professional groups such as technicians, foremen, supervisors and assistants, are progress-
ing. The population of skilled workers is stagnating. Indeed, the development of the groups contrib-
utes to the development of transverse and administrative functions.




Page 21/80
The development of the monitoring on employment has highlighted critical functions, which are in
evolution, but for which there exist recruitment difficulties: shop manager, head of spare parts sales,
site manager, and head of plate spare parts.
The monitoring of the branch analyzed the impact of new technologies in terms of reconfiguration
of profession activities*
It’s expected:

_ A reduction of activities in reception of vehicles,
_ A transformation of the activities of carriage works,
_ Development of new maintenance activities,
_ After-sales intervention refocusing on maintenance or more technological interventions depend-
    ing on the options chosen by the manufacturers.


The workforce in initial training

Traditionally, the professional branch has turned towards apprenticeship training. After a growth
of workforce in the early 90s, with the development of networks, the trend was reversed in 2003:
lower number of young trainees, particularly in apprenticeship training. Workforce decreased by
3.9% between 2001 and 2005 and to a lesser extent in 2005-2006 (0.9%). This reduction in staff is
also to be linked with the reduction of VSE.


3.3 Methodology: The Interviewees
The interviewees were training providers, universities as well as enterprises dealing with foreign
applicants.

Only one person interviewed had knowledge of EQF before being contacted for Ways to sustain-
ability project because he has been involved in Leonardo Projects.
French training providers in the mechatronic field have to assess applicants from Northern of Africa
that can represent 20% of the number of students for the bachelor level. They have a very positive
attitude, supporting the implementation of EQF and consider the benefits of developing relations
and business in the European Training Area.

In France, the committee for engineer title accredit training providers on the basis of a team of
teachers, curricula contents, employment and technical means and class rooms.
Mechatronics engineer schools are very interested in EQF but they are very close to French manu-
facturers strategy, organizing mobility programs with Japan, Korea, Turkey and … Germany. As
they are involved in ECTS implementation, they recognize partnership between their University and
other universities abroad.

French manufacturers which are multinational Groups are dealing with foreign qualifications for
internal mobility. But the level of diploma is considered less important than the vocational experi-
ence. The majority of mobility concerns managers or experts.




Page 22/80
Manufacturers are overstaffed in France and they are not trusting foreign qualifications (from north
of Africa…) for recruiting. They usually employ foreign persons at lower level; a foreign engineer
or a technician can be recruited as workers and cannot evolve inside the company; some of them go
to a French University to acquire a national qualification.

Scenario 1 doesn’t fit with the French University Curricula because we have two levels : technician
at bachelor level and engineer.

_ vocational bachelor is a third study year and the requirements are a two years university level .
_ engineer is three years study after two years university level or two years foundation courses.

So the interviewee responses of University teachers refer to scenario 2 (training provider perspec-
tive).


3.4 Results

3.4.1 Dealing with an applicant from a foreign country who presents qualifications which
aren't recognised locally

3.4.2 Assessment of an applicant's suitability for a job role/position or a training course

All interviewees have experience of dealing with foreign qualifications and applications for a job
role /training course.
For entrance to engineer curricula, or to bachelor curricula, there is a recruitment process based on
the evaluation of level of diploma, application form and also test.
The majority of interviewees try to interpret qualification and to assess the competences as well
through interviewing or testing the applicant.
They are not trusting the level mentioned on certificates.
At University, a specific department is in charge of deciding whether a foreign diploma is available
or not for attending a training program. This special department is called the transfer committee
and it validates foreign diploma.
For other training providers, a specific department of the Ministry of Education, at regional level is
in charge of the same process.
The process to interpret vocational qualification certificates or diploma is based on the review of a
written application which presents diploma or title, but also assessment of prior learning.
But, very often, as training centers do not rely on foreign diploma or certificates, they contact edu-
cational organizations abroad to check the authenticity of the document.
By experience, some recruiters of training providers know the level of foreign diploma, because
they developed partnerships with schools abroad.
In France, Training centers apply the new regulation of Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience to
assess the suitability for a training course for the applicants that do not have the required level of
diploma. The process is a demonstration of knowledge, skills and competences acquired by train-
ing, work experience and also internship and social life. The applicant fill in a form describing the
pathways and the competences gained.




Page 23/80
On the basis of the form and of an interview with the training team, the process of validation or
assessment interpret the level of scientific, technical and social competences. In addition to the di-
ploma, the applicant must make the demonstration of his knowledge through French, English and
mathematics tests. If necessary, applicants undertake practical assessment in mechanics, electronics,
computer science as well as assessment of communication skills.
The first required factor for foreign applicants is the mastery of French language. Most of the time,
recruiters make an interview with the applicant to verify this specific point.
Employers used the same procedures for local and foreign workers to assess an applicant’s suitabil-
ity for a job: an application form, certificates, interview based on the specific job profile or even
assessment of competences. They also use a three or six month probationary period with appraisal
by the manager of the applicant.
Enterprises have tried to define with training centers the key competences of an engineer; this
common grid is used for recruitment of young engineers and also for the validation of internship as
part of the learning outcomes.


3.4.3 Impact of EQF on ability to assess an applicant for a job role /training courses

All the interviewees of training providers say that EQF would help them to assess an applicant for a
training course. It would make easier to place foreign applicants at a more appropriate level of di-
ploma.
They could recruit more applicants from the European Union. But they will maintain initial assess-
ment or APL process in order to define the right training pathway.
The qualification systems in Europe will become more transparent because EQF provide a reference
point.
As a starting point, french employers or training centers are always asking for information on di-
ploma, titles or vocational qualification certificates and they rely on the French certificates. With
the implementation of the EQF, their judgement can be made with more confidence in the qualifica-
tion of foreign applicants. But they will never use EQF for short-listing applicants because, at equal
level of diploma, experience and personality are crucial factors and make the difference.


3.4.4 Uses of the EQF in own organisation

The Training centers interviewees indicated what should be done in order to implement EQF and to
train trainees from foreign countries. The answers are very closed to “ the main challenges to using
EQF in the automotive sector”.
The use of EQF is possible if applicants as well as trainers increase their level of foreign languages
or if applicants come from Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden or Norway; that
means people who have the reputation to have easiness for learning languages. It is much more
difficult for French students to apply for a foreign curricula because French students are not good at
speaking foreign languages.
Teachers and trainers mobility is very important for training the trainers. Organisation should de-
velop conferences in foreign languages.




Page 24/80
The risks and obstacles to EQF implementation where expressed in different terms:

The mastery of basic knowledge may be different in some countries; will the basis required for en-
trance be reduced?
Who will develop harmonization and how?
What will be the validity of French diploma?
Does the implementation of EQF require harmonization between different national training sys-
tems?
There is a risk of decreasing the value of French diploma.
Professional Bachelor is a comprehensive curricula open to several sectoral branches: aeronautics,
automobile and robotics. The teachers of the bachelor curricula would not like the bachelor to be
classified only in the automobile sector according to EQF. Because If the automobile sector de-
clines, trainees will find a job in other sectors.
The most difficult thing is to agree, at European level, on a common grid of competences and to
define the level of competences because work processes are different between German cultures and
mediterranean cultures. For instance, the issue of project management is the same but the compe-
tence can be different.
Each country has its own assessment process and tools and it is difficult to define a common Euro-
pean tool.
Encouraging mobility can deprive enterprises from their best salaries.


3.4.5 Expected benefits from using EQF in the automotive sector

Most interviewees say that the use of EQF could bring benefits. It can help to develop several
months or one year mobility.
For the University teachers and the apprenticeship responsible, the mobility of young students could
help the SME to recruit young salaried employees.
Mixing different public from different countries could develop a synergy between industrial ap-
proaches and help native students to have a more reflexive attitude on their own industrial organiza-
tion. Discovering new ways for solving problems develop a new way of thinking among students.
For French students open to mobility process, there will be a better promotion of their diploma.
French curricula could become more international and could attract categories of students open to
international mobility. Young bachelors could work abroad after training in France. The benefit is
twice : to develop the number of applicants and to develop employment abroad.




3.4.6 Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector

Interviewees said that they had to promote their curricula abroad if they wanted to be attractive for
foreign students. French University could have recognition abroad instead of a local recognition.
The mastery of foreign languages is a crucial issue. Funding the mobility period abroad is also re-
quired. Teachers have to be able to involve very different public with different experience and




Page 25/80
knowledge. But for the mechatronics field integrating different professions and cultures, it is al-
ready faced to integration of problems at national level.


3.4.7 What needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims

The use of EQF is possible if applicants as well as trainers increase their level of foreign languages
or if applicants come from Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden or Norway; that
means people who have the reputation to have easiness for learning languages.
Teachers and trainers mobility is very important for training the trainers. Organisation should de-
velop conferences in foreign languages.
It is necessary to create a European label for training centers and enterprises and to create a com-
mon space for discussion in order to create a training offer of European diploma for SME.


3.4.8 Development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF

Several training centers are using the same technical platform. They could develop new relations
and partnerships through the mechatronics platform.
In the context of economic crisis, building a common competence grid at European level is not ap-
propriate although tools already exist in French companies.




Page 26/80
4 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in Germany
by Daniela Bernloher & Silke Haubenreißer, Lux Personal & Kommunikation


4.1 The automotive sector in Germany
4.1.1 Facts and figures5

The automotive sector is Germany’s most important employer. The number of employees in 2007
in the automotive industry in Germany was 744,500. The number of production of cars and motors
was 383,000. The number of production of trailers and superstructures was 40,000. The number of
production of motor vehicle parts and accessories was 322,000. These are only employees in the
automotive industry. The retail organizations are not included. The retail organization of Volks-
wagen for example has about 66.000 employees. 16.000 of them are apprentices.

There was a Turnover in 2007 about 290 billion Euros. The number of production of cars and mo-
tors was 203.2 billion Euros. The number of production of trailers and superstructures was 12 bil-
lion Euros. The number of production of motor vehicle parts and accessories was 75.4 billion Eu-
ros.

The number of production of vehicles in 2007 amounts to 6.2 million vehicles in Germany plus 5
million vehicles in foreign countries.

The total stock of vehicles in 2007 was 55.5 million vehicles in particular passenger cars 46.5 mil-
lion vehicles, motorcycles 3.9 million vehicles, omnibuses 84 million vehicles and motor trucks 2.6
million vehicles. The mean age of registered cars in Germany counts 8,5 years.


4.1.2 Important brands

Important brands in the automotive sector in Germany are Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, MAN,
Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen. This manufacturers produces all sorts of cars: from small and cheap
cars to the highest class.


4.1.3 Characteristics

The automotive sector is international orientated. Another characteristic are the technological inno-
vations. In the sector of research & development the investment of 18 billion Euros is one third of
R&D expenditure of the German Economy. There are 91,000 employees in the R&D sector. It is an


5
    Sources: Federal Statistic Office: www.vda.de (association of automotive industry).



Page 27/80
important contribution for securing the future of Germany as location for industry. Germany stays
on top of the patent statistics.

Very important for the automotive sector in Germany are qualifications. New vocational profiles
were created in the last 10 years. In the commercial sector since 1998 a special profile for the auto-
mobile dealership, the Automobile Business Administrator. And on the technical hand side in 2003
were combined the car mechanic and car electrician to the new vocational profile “car mecha-
tronic”.

The automotive sector is characterized by a high level of further qualification. There were standards
of qualification defined in the technical and the commercial sector: the certified automotive service
consultant (“Geprüfter Automobil Serviceberater”) and the certified automotive salesman
(“Geprüfter Automobilverkäufer”). The certification bases on an agreement of various brands. Be-
cause of this the certification is not only accepted by the brands the new service consultants and
salesman are working for but also from a wide range of other manufacturers.


4.1.4 Recognized professions

On the technical hand side there are 20 recognized profiles and on the commercial hand side 5 pro-
files. The technological innovation leads to an ongoing further development of profiles. Profiles are
changing as e.g. car mechatronic.



4.2 Methods: Interviewees
The following people were interviewed:

_ First: Managing director of a car dealership
_ Second: Leader department organizational development at a car manufacturer
_ Third: Desk officer for vocational education and training at the motor vehicle guild
_ Fourth: Head of department service organization, regional wholesale
_ Fifth: Managing director of a training / educational institution


4.3 Results of national investigations in Germany

4.3.1 Dealing with an applicant from a foreign country who presents qualifications which
aren't recognized locally

4.3.2 Assessment of an applicant's suitability for a job role/position or a training course

The difficulty of assessment is that the applicant would be refused. Resulting to this the EQF would
increase chances of foreign applicants.




Page 28/80
The main question is: which theoretical and practical experience has an applicant and do they corre-
spond to the job profile?
The assessment of an applicant’s suitability is based on a letter of application which should include
references, certificates, practical experience and so on. There are also assessment centers and a time
of probation which means practical work. To assess somebody only by certificate is an insufficient
criterion.


4.3.3 Impact of the EQF on ability to assess an applicant for a job role/training course

By applying the EQR it is possible to evaluate the output of the applicant. On the one hand side it
means the facilitation of selection of qualified applicants and on the other hand side it could be be-
gin of the establishment of a European standardized test for all European applicants. The EQR is a
measure of orientation but it does not change anything for the selection procedure.


4.3.4 Uses of the EQF in own organization

It means first the adjustment of vocational training and further education to establish European
standards, second generate skilled workers from foreign countries, third higher permeability be-
tween levels. For this good coordination and interrelation of involved parties is indispensable.

It also can support in the human resource development because a structure can be build up.

The EQF allows for smaller companies too to internationalize. The reason for this are ranks of ref-
erences which simplify the choice of applicants on the international level.


4.3.5 Expected benefits from using the EQF in the automotive sector

One result is the expansion of product portfolio for training courses/qualifications. Another result is
the cross-linked and transnational working.


4.3.6 Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector.

The main challenge will be the practice orientation that means exact definition which skills an ap-
plicant possesses (e. g. “is able to do diagnostics with test equipment”). After the definition: The
levels of references have to be activated and it has to be developed a “feeling” for them. Because of
the fast moving of the working environment the EQR cannot be a static concept. It has to be dy-
namic and flexible.

The delineated points above are not depending on the automotive sector. They are relevant for all
industries.




Page 29/80
4.3.7 What needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims?

First of all you need a transparent and clear structure within the EQF. It is necessary to have compa-
rability of practical and theoretical qualification. You definitely need the same standards Europe-
wide. The second point is that there has to be an exchange between the labor market and the educa-
tional system, which is relevant for all industries. The automotive sector in particular the technical
department is affected by fast and dynamic development. New technologies have to be integrated in
apprenticeships; that means they have to be included into the curriculum of the vocational and edu-
cational training and further trainings. According to this it has to be defined in which way the refer-
ence levels will be affected by this. For this you need transparency and clearness. There will be high
requirements to the flexibility of the whole system.

There has to exist only one standardized interpretation of the levels. And as an important point you
should always keep in mind: Orientation towards the higher level and not towards the lower one!

For the non-formal and informal learning you need innovative methods for further qualification,
e.g. online-training via CD-Rom. The abilities, knowledge and competencies which were acquired
by non-formal and informal learning have to be evaluated in assessments. This is valid to all indus-
tries especially to the automotive industry because there are many challenges belonging to the
safety. The handling of this has to be secured in assessments.

Additionally to the professional output there is the need knowledge of language for the transfer in
between the countries.

The EQR will lead up to a change of the whole qualification activity. The activities itself will as-
similate. That means they will be benefit to synergetic effects. The pooling of the vocational and
educational institutions which operate Europe-wide is thinkable.


4.3.8 Development of new partnership in the automotive sector because of the EQF

There is a common consent about development of new partnerships. The EQF will led to more ex-
change not only at the manager level, but also at lower levels. Concluding to this there will be ini-
tialized the promotion of mutual exchange and collaboration (e.g. exchange of apprentices etc.).
The EQF can be the starting point for a discussion about the „best“ vocational system in Europe
which leads to the instauration of an Europe-wide vocational training.

Moreover the EQF simplifies. For example: A supplier in Spain works for a manufacturer in Ger-
many. The german manufacturer demands the certification of its staff from the Spanish supplier.
This demand can be fulfilled immediately by the Spanish supplier by using the EQF because of the
verifiability of their competences. Therefore the collaboration can be accelerated.




Page 30/80
4.4 Conclusions
1. The definition of the EQF has to be practice-orientated.
2. Same tests and same standards Europe-wide have to be to secure the comparability of practical
   and theoretical qualification.
3. There has to be a closer Europe-wide collaboration.
4. The EQF has to be seen as the inevitable outcome of the international labor market.
5. There will be new challenges like the discussion about a optimum model for a standardized
   European vocational education system.

The condition for realization of the EQF in the automotive industry is an understandable system
which is not too scientific and generally comprehensible.




Page 31/80
5 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in Italy
by Valentina Gatteschi & Stefania Lanzafame, Politecnico di Torino



5.1 The automotive sector in Italy

2,131 firms employing nearly 250,000 persons with turnovers of 38.3 billion Euros in 2008: these
are the figures for the Italian automotive components industry which has managed to overcome the
crisis that Fiat - Italy's major car producer - succumbed to in the early 2000s, through concentrating
once again on exports. Even if it remains the industry's biggest client, the dependence on Fiat has
decreased slightly over the last year: these days 42% of Italian automotive components firms are
completely independent from the Italian car giant.

The 2008 edition of the Italian Observatory on the Automotive Components Industry - a yearly
report published by the Turin Chamber of Commerce on 789 firms operating in all sectors of the
industry - points to a marked upswing for the industry: in 2007 revenues grew on average by 9%
compared to 2006. Growth was particularly robust for the systems sector (+11.4%) while it was
below par only for subcontractors. Yet they still managed to register an increase of 6.7% compared
to the previous year.

"The increase in turnover shows that the automotive sector is not just one of the most important
national manufacturing industries, but also that it has found the key to success on the international
markets", claims Alessandro Barberis, President of the Turin Chamber of Commerce. The propen-
sity to export is, in fact, one of the defining characteristics of this industry, whose firms sell abroad
in 72% of cases. In 2006 the trade balance for the 'motor vehicles and engines parts and accessories'
sector showed a 5.5 billion euro surplus.

The main destination for exports is Western Europe, followed by Central Europe, which in the last
year has replaced the United States as the second most favoured market for Italian automotive
products. In the last three years Italian firms have developed trade links mainly in Western Europe
(39% of cases), Eastern Europe (21%) and Asia (20%).

Italian firms in this sector, therefore, have successfully internationalised their operations towards
Asia, even though the Far East is where their fiercest competitors originate. The fact that in the last
year the trade deficits in the automotive sector with Japan, Taiwan and China have increased is tes-
timony to this.

Small firms - those whose annual turnover is less than 10 million euros - form the backbone of the
Italian automotive industry, and represent 65% of the total number of firms that operate in this sec-
tor. Such fragmentation, in theory, is an obstacle to internationalisation, as a critical mass needs to
be reached before starting to export. Yet the threshold is lowering. "If size had been an issue for the
Italian automotive industry, we would not find so many firms on the global scene. There is a group
of them that is leading the way", says Roberto Russo, one of the authors of the Observatory, which



Page 32/80
was compiled by Step, an economic consulting firm. Yet exporting is an option only for firms over
a certain level. "Sub-contractors, for example, necessarily work on a local basis. Yet the direction of
investments towards China and the rest of Asia shows that those who have the resources to do it are
actually internationalising. Anyhow, space is limited: if there were too many 'giants' targeting the
same market, they would end up squeezing each others' profits".

Lastly, 2008 also saw a significant increase in the tendency of the industry to strengthen its ties with
the research sector. "55% of the sample interviewed in the Observatory have invested at least 2% of
their turnover into R&D", claims Mr Barberis. "There is one other piece of good news - he adds.
"Relations with the academic sector finally seem to be blossoming as well: 92 firms have already
started R&D projects with Universities".



5.2 Methodology: Information about people interviewed

The Interview questionnaire have been used to gather information as to how the automotive sector
in Europe currently solve problems to do with recognition and mobility and how they EQF can help
them.

Face-to-face interviews have been conducted – 5 with training/educational institutions and 5 with
automotive industries.

Training/educational institutions and automotive industries were chosen according to their prestige
and expertise in automotive sector.

The interviewees were chosen according to their expertise:
_ in the field of professional education and training (for what concern training/educational institu-
   tions) and
_ in the field of recruitment of specialized staff of the automotive sector (for what concern auto-
   motive industries).

Information and a powerpoint presentation on the EQF were sent to the interviewees before inter-
views. Also a website address was sent to the interviewees if they wanted to access more informa-
tion on the EQF.



5.3 Results

5.3.1 Dealing with an applicant from a foreign country who presents qualifications which
aren't recognised locally

The first question of the Interview questionnaire is: “How do you deal with an applicant from a
foreign country who presents you with qualifications that you don’t recognize locally?”




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Most of the interviewees respond that they seek to evaluate effective skills of applicants (for exam-
ple using tests) taking into account correspondences between applicant national qualifications and
foreign qualifications.

These answers demonstrate the clear need of a standardized tool for the recognition of qualifica-
tions.


5.3.2 Assessment of an applicant's suitability for a job role/position or a training course

The second question of the Interview questionnaire is: “How do you assess an applicant’s suitability
for a job-role/position? Which methods do you use to assess an applicant’s knowledge, skills and
competences?”

Many interviewees expressed the need for a detailled analyses of applicant qualifications and for
the development of motivational interviews. In addition, for the admission to a training course, they
suggest that candidates should face an entrance test, while for the enrolment into a job-role, a trial
period should be planned.

These answers show that procedures for candidates evaluation is long and difficult, mainly because
of the lack of shared standardized evaluation mechanisms.


5.3.3 Impact of the EQF on ability to assess an applicant for a job role/training course

The third question of the Interview questionnaire is: “How do you think the EQF will impact on
your ability to assess an applicant for a job/training course?”

Interviewees majority responds that EQF will make the applicant assessment easier and faster and
will minimize the assessment errors.

This shows that EQF could provide a valid tool to analyze and compare the different countries
training platforms.


5.3.4 Uses of the EQF in own organisation

The fourth question of the Interview questionnaire is: “How else might you use the EQF in your
organization?”

The interviewees from training/educational institutions answered that would use EQF in their own
organization for assessment of foreign students, for development of appropriate training plans and
also for assessment of the staff education level.




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Instead, the interviewees from automotive industries answered that they would use EQF in their
own organization for the recruitment of staff, for the assessment of staff competence level and also
to make staff mobility easier in an international domain.

These answers show that EQF is seen as an essential tool for candidates evaluation who have ap-
plied for a training course or for a working place and is also seen as an excellent tool for internal
evaluation, useful to know staff skills and to encourage mobility.


5.3.5 Expected benefits from using the EQF in the automotive sector

The fifth question of the Interview questionnaire is: “What benefits might you expect from being
able to use the EQF in the automotive sector?”

According to interviewees the likely benefits would be the following:
_ Simplification of staff recruitment operations;
_ Recruitment of qualified staff, with skills and competencies appropriate to automotive sector;
_ Uniformity in staff qualifications, skills and competencies;
_ Definition of standard professional profiles in automotive sector;
_ Interchangeability at national/international level of human resources.

The answers show the benefits that could be achieved using EQF and the clear need for a tool like
EQF to standardize qualifications, skills and competencies of different professional profiles.


5.3.6 Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector

The sixth question of the Interview questionnaire is: “What are the main challenges to using the
EQF in the automotive sector/your organization?”

Interviewees majority responds that the main challenge for the use of EQF is a real community
conducting and collaboration. Conducting and collaboration are difficult because of the different
expectations that countries have towards EQF.

These answers show that problems of conducting and collaboration between parties involved in the
development and implementation of EQF are evident even to subjects which are not directly in-
volved in these activities.


5.3.7 What needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims

The seventh question of the Interview questionnaire is: “What need to be in place in the automotive
sector for the EQF to achieve its aims: - to support a better match between the needs of the labour
market and education and training provision; - to facilitate the validation of non-formal and infor-
mal learning; - to facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and edu-
cation and training systems.”



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The interviewees answered that to achieve the aims of EQF are very important the following ac-
tions:

_ support a better match between the needs of labour market and education and training provision
  _ 3 of the interviewees;
_ facilitate the validation of non formal and informal learning _ 1 of the interviewees;
_ facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and train-
  ing systems _ 4 of the interviewees;
_ other: ex. spreading of EQF _ 2 of the interviewees.

This shows that EQF is perceived mainly like a tool for the transfer and use of qualifications across
different countries and education & training systems and like a tool useful to promote a better
match between the labour market and education & training provision. Indeed, many interviewees
have pointed the possibility to train subjects based on actual labour market demand.


5.3.8 Development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF

The eighth question of the Interview questionnaire is: “Are there any new partnership that could
develop in the automotive sector because of the EQF?”

The interviewees replied as follows:
_ National or international collaborations between training providers in order to adapt qualifica-
   tions standards and training plans;
_ National or international vocational training staff exchange between training institutions;
_ National or international apprentices exchange between automotive industries;
_ National or international workers exchange between automotive industries;
_ National or international researchers exchange between research centres or automotive indus-
   tries.

According to interviewees, EQF application could lead to the creation of numerous partnerships in
automotive sector, both as regards education & training institutions, both as regards enterprises.
Furthermore, answers show a strong expectation towards EQF.


5.3.9 Further remarks on the EQF

The ninth question of the Interview questionnaire is: “Is there anything else you would like to say in
the context of the automotive sector and the implementation of the EQF?”

All interviewees are in agreement that should be promoted information measures on the EQF cul-
ture in all countries, addressed to automotive sector school and business operators.
This shows the need to spread the EQF culture in all the countries.




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5.4 Summary of Results in keywords
Question 1: Dealing with an applicant from a foreign country who presents qualifications which
aren't recognised locally
_ Evaluate effective skills of applicants using tests
_ Taking into account correspondences between applicant national qualifications and foreign
   qualifications

Question 2: Assessment of an applicant's suitability for a job role/position or a training course
Detailed analyses of applicant qualifications
_ Development of motivational interviews
_ Develop an entrance test
_ Develop a trial period

Question 3: Impact of the EQF on ability to assess an applicant for a job role/training course
Make applicant assessment easier and faster
_ Minimize evaluation errors

Question 4: Uses of the EQF in own organisation
_ for assessment of foreign students
_ for development of appropriate training plans
_ for assessment of staff education level
_ for recruitment of staff
_ for assessment of staff competence level
_ to make staff mobility easier in an international domain

Question 5: Expected benefits from using the EQF in the automotive sector
_ Simplification of staff recruitment operations
_ Recruitment of qualified staff, with skills and competencies appropriate to automotive sector
_ Uniformity in staff qualifications, skills and competencies
_ Definition of standard professional profiles in automotive sector
_ Interchangeability at national/international level of human resources

Question 6: Main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector
_ A real community conducting and collaboration

Question 7: What needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims
_ support a better match between the needs of labour market and education and training provision
_ facilitate the validation of non formal and informal learning
_ facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and train-
  ing systems
_ spreading of EQF




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Question 8: Development of new partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF
(descriptive part, including some experts' citations - anonymous)
_ National or international collaborations between training providers in order to adapt qualifica-
   tions standards and training plans
_ National or international vocational training staff exchange between training institutions
_ National or international apprentices exchange between automotive industries
_ National or international workers exchange between automotive industries
_ National or international researchers exchange between research centres or automotive indus-
   tries



5.5 Summary and interpretation of results

The interviews were conducted on a sample of Italian automotive sector experts, belonging to train-
ing institutions and automotive industries. Informations on the EQF were presented to the inter-
viewees before interviews.

The answers obtained from the interviews demonstrate the clear need of a standardized tool for the
standardization of qualifications. Indeed, standardization of qualifications would allow their recog-
nition in foreign countries and a correct evaluation (simple and fast) of skills and competences of
foreign applicants who have applied for a training course or a job-role in a foreign country.

According to interviewees, EQF could provide a valid tool for qualifications standardization and
then a valid tool to analyze and compare the different countries qualifications and training plat-
forms. Consequently, EQF implementation could promote students and workers mobility, to in-
crease human resources exchange between training institutions and automotive industries of differ-
ent countries.

Moreover, from interviews emerge that EQF application could lead to the creation of numerous
partnerships in automotive sector, both as regards education and training institutions, both as re-
gards enterprises. As follow some examples of possible national or international collaborations:
_ Collaborations between training providers in order to adapt qualifications standards and training
   plans;
_ Vocational training staff exchange between training institutions;
_ Apprentices and workers exchange between automotive industries;
_ Researchers exchange between research centres or automotive industries.

This shows a strong expectation towards EQF.

In conclusion, from interviews a number of actions emerges that, if implemented, could lead to
EQF objectives achievement. The main challenge for the use of EQF is a real community conduct-
ing and collaboration. Conducting and collaboration are difficult because of the different expecta-
tions that countries have towards EQF.




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Furthermore:
_ facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and train-
   ing systems;
_ support a better match between the needs of labour market and education and training provision;
_ spreading EQF culture and
_ facilitate the validation of non formal and informal learning;
_ are actions that, if implemented, could lead to EQF objectives achievement.
_ At least, interviewees agree that information measures on the EQF culture in all countries should
   be promoted, according automotive sector school and business operators.




Page 39/80
6 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in Slovenia
by Tanja Steyer, School centre Ptuj


6.1 The automotive sector in Slovenia
Revoz is the only car manufacturer in Slovenia. The enterprise is owned by the French Group Ren-
ault and it has held its position of the number one Slovene exporter with approx. 8% market share
for several years. It ranks at the top of Slovene companies by its revenues as well. The Revoz enter-
prise is entirely incorporated into the system of the Renault Production Department, which links all
its European enterprises manufacturing passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

REVOZ, member of the international Group Renault

Company :                                                  Revoz, vehicle manufacturing and marketing
                                                           Belokranjska c. 4, 8000 Novo mesto, Slove-
Headquarters :                                             nia
Legal structure of the company :                           joint stock company
Activity :                                                 vehicle manufacturing and marketing
Nominal capital :                                          13,199,632.000 tolars
                                                           S.A., 13-15 Quay Le Gallo, Boulogne-
Major shareholder company :                                Billancourt, France
Product :                                                  new Twingo, Renault Clio II
Workforce :                                                2 834 on December 31th, 2008


Group Renault 100 % owner of Revoz

The Group Renault has been a major stockholder of Revoz since 1991 with 54% of its capital. The
share increased to 66.68% in 2001, and on December 22, 2003, Renault bought the rest of the
shares and became 100% shareholder at the beginning of 2004. The data are taken from their web
site www.revoz.si.

As Revoz is the only car manufacturer in Slovenia, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
is not allowed to collect and/or publish any statistical information about manufacture of cars in Slo-
venia, because the information would automatically give away their business secrets.

Nevertheless, it has been very difficult to provide any information on automotive sector in Slovenia
in such a short period of time, but I have managed to come up with some statistics on the topic.




Page 40/80
                       Number of enterprises by activities (C-K), Slovenia, annually


                                                                                                         2007
DM34.10 Manufacture of motor vehicles                                                                    12
DM34.20 Manufacture of bodies for motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers                               31
DM34.30 Manufacture of parts & accessories for motor vehicles & their engines                            62
Footnote:
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.




               Enterprises by activities (C-K) and size class by turnover, Slovenia, annually


                                                           Small enter-    Medium enter-             Large enter-
                                                             prise (to    prise (from 4172,9         prise (from
                                                          4172,9) - Total     to 16691,7)             16691,7)
                                                                 2007                2007                  2007
                                           Number of
DM34 MANUFACTURE OF MO-                                   79                  14                    12
                                           enterprises
TOR VEHICLES, TRAILERS AND
SEMI-TRAILERS                              Turnover
                                                          51.674              132.203               2.327.141
                                           (1000 EUR)
Footnote:
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.




    Enterprises by activities (C-K) and size class by number of persons employed, Slovenia, annually
                                                           Micro en-     Small en-        Medium             Large
                                                          terprise (0-    terprise       enterprise        enterprise
                                                           9) - Total     (10-49)         (50-249)           (250+)
                                                                2007          2007           2007               2007
                                         Number of
                                                          57             22             17                9
DM34 MANUFACTURE OF MO-                  enterprises
TOR VEHICLES, TRAILERS AND Number of
SEMI-TRAILERS              persons em-                    140            556            1.835             7.517
                           ployed
Footnote:
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.




Page 41/80
                                 Craft enterprises (C-K), Slovenia, annually


                                                                     2007
                                                                                       Share of
                               Number of Number of               Share of                              Share of
                                                      Turnover                         persons
                               craft enter-  persons            craft enter-                           turnover
                                                     (1000 EUR)                       employed
                                  prises    employed            prises (%)                               (%)
                                                                                         (%)
DM34 MANUFACTURE
OF MOTOR VEHICLES,
                                    19             83        5.879          18,1         0,8             0,2
TRAILERS AND SEMI-
TRAILERS
Footnote:
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.



             Craft enterprises by activities (C-K) and size class by turnover, Slovenia, annually
                                                                               2007
                                                                                                   Small enter-
                                                     Small en- Small enter- Small enter-
                                                                                                   prise (from
                                                    terprise (to prise (from prise (from
                                                                                                    208,6 to
                                                        4,2)     4,2 to 20,9) 20,9 to 208,6)
                                                                                                     4172,9)
                                    Number of
DM34 MANUFACTURE OF                 craft enter-    2           4              7               6
MOTOR VEHICLES, TRAIL-              prises
ERS AND SEMI-TRAILERS               Turnover
                                                    z           z              517             5.313
                                    (1000 EUR)
Footnote:
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.



6.2 Interview methodology
Due to the problems with staff working on the project, I only had a chance to talk to some people
from automotive industry in the area. My colleague, who works as a workshop manager at Secon-
dary School of Mechanical Engineering, helped me find some willing managers of the automotive
services and companies. I managed to interview three people working in automotive industry and
the principal of our school. I chose them because they were very close and I did not have much time
to be fussy.

Most of the interviewed had little or no knowledge of the EQF before participating in this project.
However, they were willing to learn about it because they saw it as a help to deal with foreign ap-
plicants.




Page 42/80
6.3 Interview results
The interviewee from training organisation (secondary school) had some experience dealing with
foreign certificates and qualifications. But there is a difference between Slovenia and other EU
countries, because the applicants who want to enrol in Slovene schools come mostly from
neighbouring Slavic countries (Croatia, Russia…). So, there is usually little or no language barrier,
and thus interpreting the qualification certificates is quite an easy and fast process.

On the other hand there are the employers who usually face more problems. They get a lot of appli-
cants from one of the neighbouring countries (Croatia) and some ex-Yugoslavian countries (Bosnia
and Herzegovina). They do not have any problems interpreting their qualification certificates, but
there are a lot of administrative barriers as those countries are not a part of the EU. None of them
had any idea of the EQF before being interviewed. That is why classical application procedures
(application form, interview, some practical assessment) are used in training organisations as well
as in companies and services in automotive sector. Later on the employers use some other forms of
assessing the applicants, they get a probationary period of three to six months during which they
have to demonstrate some practical skills, they are closely monitored by their superiors and their
colleagues. The same assessment methods are used for foreign applicants as well as locals.

All of the interviewees replied that the EQF would have a positive impact on their ability to assess
an applicant for a job or school (training course). The EQF would help them:

_ make it easier to place the foreigners at the appropriate level
_ make qualification system more transparent
_ reduce the time and the costs of application procedure
_ pinpoint suitable applicants

Employers indicated that they could use the EQF to recognise certificates from other organisations
more easily.

Benefits of using the EQF in the automotive sector:

_ to be able to match the qualifications
_ to make recruitment of foreigners easier
_ to speed up the process of recruiting suitable people
_ to lower the costs of recruiting process

Most of the interviewees see no major challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector, the
biggest problem at the time is that they have no or very little knowledge of the EQF.

Especially the employers expect the EQF to be written as simple as possible, so everyone can use it.
It would also be an advantage if it were written in several European languages.

The interviewees could not provide me with any information on developing new partnerships.




Page 43/80
7 Report on the national investigations of automotive ex-
perts in UK: England, Wales and Northern Ireland
by Caroline Egerton, CCEA


7.1 The automotive sector in the UK

7.1.1 Sector Skills Councils in the UK

In the UK there are 25 Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), which collectively form the Alliance of Sec-
tor Skills Councils. Each SSC is an employer-led, independent organisation that covers a specific
sector across the UK.

The four key goals are:

_ to reduce skills gaps and shortages
_ improve productivity, business and public service performance
_ increase opportunities to boost the skills and productivity of everyone in the sector's workforce
_ improve learning supply including apprenticeships, higher education and National Occupational
    Standards (NOS)

SSCs provide employers with a unique forum to express the skills and productivity needs that are
pertinent to their sector. By coming together as SSCs, employers have:

_ greater dialogue with government and devolved administration departments across the UK
_ greater impact on policies affecting skills and productivity
_ increased influence with education and training partners
_ substantial public investment

Approximately 85 percent of the UK workforce is currently covered by an SSC.


7.1.2 The Automotive Sector Skills Councils (SSCs)

In the UK the automotive sector is divided into the:

_ Automotive Retail Industry; and
_ Automotive Manufacturing Industry

The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) is the SSC for the automotive retail industry and automotive
manufacturing industry is the responsibility of Semta (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engi-
neering and Manufacturing Technologies).




Page 44/80
7.1.3 The Automotive Retail Sector (for further information please see the IMI website at
www.motor.org.uk)

7.1.3.1 Types of businesses and job roles

The automotive retail sector is diverse and includes many different types of businesses and job
roles. The types of businesses include car and motorcycle dealerships, independent garages, road-
side assistance operations, car rental and leasing offices and motorsport outfits.

Many of the job roles in the sector are technical and would suit people who like to us their hands
and work with technology. Key technical roles include; service technicians, diagnostic technicians
(sometimes collectively known as car mechanics), MOT vehicle examiners and parts advisers. Sales
is another important function within the sector, where some technical knowledge is required. Key
roles in this function include sales managers and sales advisers.

There is also a wealth of non-technical, office-based roles in the sector as people are needed in fi-
nance, marketing, customer service and administration. Key non-technical roles include; marketing
managers, finance managers, general managers, customer service advisers and receptionists. So,
there really is something for everyone who wishes to work in the automotive retail sector.

7.1.3.2 Sub-sectors

The sector comprises of 12 sub-sectors employing around 600 thousand people, approximately 2%
of the working population, across 74 thousand businesses* throughout the UK.

The activities undertaken in each of the 12 subsectors are:

_ Light vehicle maintenance and repair
    Maintenance and repair of motor and light, commercial vehicles (less than 3.5 tonnes).

_ Heavy vehicle maintenance and repair
    Maintenance and repair of heavy vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes).

_ Motorcycle maintenance and repair
    Maintenance and repair of motorcycles.

_ Accident Repair
    Reinstating of vehicles to original condition following the event of an accident. Includes activi-
    ties such as panel beating, re-spraying, mechanical electrical trim replacement and auto glazing.

_ Body Building
    The design, build and fitting of bespoke body work for commercial vehicle chasses. For exam-
    ple fire engines, horse boxes and vans.




Page 45/80
_ Vehicle Sales
    Wholesale and retail sale of new and used vehicles. This includes the sale of heavy and light ve-
    hicles, commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

_ Vehicle rental and leasing
    Renting and leasing of cars, light motor vehicles.

_ Roadside assistance and recovery
    Diagnosis and repair of faults of vehicles at the roadside.

_ Fast fit operations (tyres, exhausts, batteries etc)
    Fitting of tyres, exhausts, brakes and sometimes suspension systems normally done whilst the
    customer waits.

_ Parts distribution and supply
    Retail trade of motor vehicle parts and accessories

_ Lift truck maintenance and repair
    The maintenance and repairs of fork lift trucks.

_ Motorsport maintenance and repair
    Maintenance and reapair of all types of race vehicles, including trackside support and rally sup-
    port teams.


7.1.3.3 Employment and Businesses

The automotive retail sector employs close to 600k staff which is approximately 2% of the working
population. The vast majority of the sector is concentrated in England with 85% of businesses and
86% of staff being based there. The table below shows the distribution of businesses and employees
across the four nations in actual and percentage terms.

Table 7.1: Number of Businesses and Employees in the Sector Across the UK Nations


                   Country                                Businesses#            Employment#
             1.    United Kingdom                          73,850 (100%)             593,650 (100%)
             1.1     England                                63,140 (85%)              511,630 (86%)
             1.2     Scotland                                     5,090 (7%)             40,380 (7%)
             1.3     Wales                                        3,830 (5%)             25,570 (4%)
             1.4     Northern Ireland                             1,800 (2%)             16,070 (3%)

#all figures used in this document are rounded to the nearest 10



Page 46/80
*Note that there is an overlap of business activity of approx 4,000 businesses occurring in more
than one sub-sector eg a car dealership that has maintenance and repair activity alongside sales ac-
tivity. Source TBR 2008 research report

7.1.3.4 Sub-Sectors

By far the largest sub-sectors containing most businesses and employees of the automotive retail
sector are:

1) Light vehicle maintenance and repair which represents 36% of all businesses in the sector, em-
   ploying 24% of the workforce.
2) Vehicle Sales which includes 35% of businesses employing 43% of the workforce.

Some of the sub-sectors in the Automotive Retail footprint are very small for example ‘Motorsport
Maintenance and Repair’ is a sector in its own right despite the fact it represents only 0.04% of the
sector. This is due to the specialist nature of this sub-sector and therefore the skill set required for
businesses and employees is very specialised.

 Table 7.2: Number of Businesses and Employees by Sub-Sector


        Sub-sector                                          Businesses#            Employment#

 1      Light vehicle maintenance and repair                      26,930 (36%)                 145,400 (24%)

 2      Heavy vehicle maintenance and repair                         900 (12%)                     7,830 (1%)

 3      Motorcycle, maintenance and repair                            440 (1%)                   1,020 (0.2%)

 4      Accident repair                                             5,500 (7%)                    40,040 (7%)

 5      Body building                                                 80 (0.1%)                    800 (0.1%)

 6      Vehicle sales                                             25,490 (35%)                 253,240 (43%)

 7      Vehicle rental and leasing                                  3,240 (4%)                    43,080 (8%)

 8      Roadside assistance and recovery                              510 (1%)                   3,260 (0.5%)
        Fast fit operations (tyres, exhausts, batteries
 9                                                                  2,190 (3%)                    12,230 (2%)
        etc)
 10     Parts distribution and supply                              8,500 (12%)                   86,360 (15%)

 11     Lift truck maintenance and repair                           40 (0.05%)                    170 (0.03%)

 12     Motorsport maintenance and repair                           30 (0.04%)                    220 (0.04%)

        TOTAL                                                   73,850 (100%)                 593,650 (100%)




Page 47/80
Charts 1 and 2 show the distribution of sub-sector businesses and the workforce is fairly consistent
across the nations. Of note is the higher proportion of ‘vehicle sales’ and ‘parts distribution and
supply’ businesses in Northern Ireland. Whereas vehicle sales businesses are proportionally over-
represented in NI, the workforce numbers are not. This indicates that the average number of em-
ployees is lower and therefore the average size of vehicle sales business is smaller in NI.


                   Chart 1 - Distribution of Sub-Sector Businesses in the Nations


        Motorsport Maintenance

         Lift Truck Maintenance

  Parts Distribution and Supply

                            Fast Fit

              Roadside Assistance
                                                                                                Northern Ireland
                     Vehicle Rental                                                             Wales
                      Vehicle Sales                                                             Scotland
                                                                                                England
                     Body Building

                   Accident Repair

        Motorcycle Maintenance

    Heavy Vehicle Maintenance

     Light Vehicle Maintenance

                                         0%     10%         20%         30%     40%     50%




                  Chart 2 - Distribution of Sub-Sector Workforce Across the Nations

       Motorsport Maintenance
        Lift Truck Maintenance
  Parts Distribution and Supply
                         Fast Fit
             Roadside Assistance                                                                  Northern Ireland
                   Vehicle Rental                                                                 Wales
                   Vehicle Sales                                                                  Scotland
                   Body Building                                                                  England
                 Accident Repair
       Motorcycle Maintenance
    Heavy Vehicle Maintenance
     Light Vehicle Maintenance

                                    0%        10%     20%         30%     40%     50%     60%




Page 48/80
7.1.4 The Automotive Manufacturing Sector

(For further information please see the SEMTA Sector Sector Skills Agreement for Electronics, Automotive and
Aerospace Industries – Jan. 2006 on the SEMTA website –www.semta.org.uk)

The automotive manufacturing sector covers the manufacture of motor vehicle bodies, engines,
components and accessories. It also includes the manufacture of trailers and semi-trailers.

7.1.4.1 Key facts

_ Six global groups account for over 80% of world car production.
_ Five groups dominate the world market for trucks and buses.
_ Large multinational firms dominate the components sector.
_ The global market for automotive products in 2002 was worth $620bn and UK automotive ex-
    ports accounted for around 5% of this.
_ The automotive manufacturing sector accounts for over half the transport equipment sector.
    Aerospace represents the majority of the remainder.
_ The majority of automotive employers are small, with 82% of all sites in the UK employing
    fewer than 50 people.
_ Only 6% of total UK automotive sites employ 200 people or more.
_ Most people who work in the UK’s automotive sector work for companies that supply vehicle
  manufacturers rather than manufacture vehicles. This makes the UK unique in the European
  automotive industry.
_ The UK has a 30% share of European internal combustion engine production.
_ The UK ranks second in the world for premium car production.
_ Other UK strengths in the global sector are motorsport and automotive design engineering.
7.1.4.2 Future outlook

Key growth markets include:
_ engine and powertrain
_ hybrid, electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles
_ advanced software, sensors, electronics and telematics
_ advanced structures and materials
_ design and manufacturing processes

Vehicle technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated and suppliers are under pressure to take
more responsibility for research and development.

Innovative production technology and control techniques are becoming increasingly important as a
source of competitive advantage.




Page 49/80
7.1.4.3 People and skills

Skills gaps at operator, craft and technician level are having a significant impact on businesses.
Employers with technical engineering skills gaps are suffering most from gaps in CNC machining,
assembly line/production robotics and CAD.

Leading first-tier vehicle manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are
reducing the proportion of operators and this will happen throughout the supply chain. The reasons
for this include changes in technology and working practices, with moves towards high
performance and ‘lean’ working.

Greater focus on high-value activities in the UK automotive industry means less need for low-
skilled people. Automotive employers need to make a major effort to upgrade team leaders and
craftspeople to technician capability to progress in the next decade.

Upskilling team leaders lies at the heart of competitive success. Strong leadership is vital to make
product market strategies based on lean operation, advanced supply chain management and faster
NPPDI (new product and process development and implementation) work.


7.1.5 Education and Training in the Automotive Retail Sector in the UK
(For further information please see the IMI website at www. motor.org.uk)

7.1.5.1 Apprenticeship Programmes

Apprenticeships provide work-based training to young people and adults who want to learn new
skills and gain qualifications while working. They are one of the best ways to fill the skills gap in
the UK workforce. There are now more than 255,000 young people currently training in over 150
different Apprenticeship programmes. That’s a huge increase on the 75,800 trainees who were in-
volved in training in 1997.

An apprenticeship is made up of 4 components:
_ A technical certificate which provides the underpinning theory and knowledge
_ NVQ which provides the work related experience, knowledge, skills & competences
_ Key skills which relates to levels of communication, literacy, numeracy and IT skills.
_ Employment rights and responsibilities
Apprenticeship Programmes exist for the following sectors of the retail motor industry:
_ Vehicle Fitting
_ Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
_ Vehicle Body and Paint Operations
_ Roadside Assistance and Recovery
_ Vehicle Parts Operations
_ Vehicle Sales




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7.1.5.2 Apprenticeship Programmes: The four nations

Apprenticeship programmes exist in all four countries of the United Kingdom, but each country has
slightly different requirements, which are described as follows:

England
The apprenticeship programmes are available at level two and level three and are called Appren-
ticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship respectively. An Apprenticeship and an Advanced Appren-
ticeship exists for each of the six sectors listed above. In addition, we run the Young Apprenticeship
programme

Wales
The apprenticeship programmes are available at level two and level three and are called Foundation
Modern Apprenticeship and Modern Apprenticeship respectively. A Foundation Modern Appren-
ticeship and a Modern Apprenticeship exists for each of the six sectors listed above. In addition, we
are developing an apprenticeship programme for 14 to 16 year olds. This will be similar to the
Young Apprenticeship programme running in England.

Northern Ireland
The apprenticeship programmes are available at level two and level three and are called Trainee-
ships and Modern Apprenticeship respectively. A Traineeship and a Modern Apprenticeship exists
for each of the six sectors listed above.

Scotland
The apprenticeship programme is only available at level three and is called a Modern Apprentice-
ship. A Modern Apprenticeship exists for each of the six areas listed above with the exception of
Roadside Assistance and Recovery.

7.1.5.3 Apprenticeship programmes in the automotive retail sector: Number of learners and suc-
cess rates (Please see Appendix 1)

An annual benchmark review has been carried out to identify the number of learners, and success
rates of learners for each automotive framework currently under the responsibility of IMI. Where
data is available these research reports highlight the profile of learners and the number of learners
progressing from level 2 to level 3 Apprenticeship frameworks.6


7.2 Methodology
The method used to gather information on the application and implementation of the European
Qualification Framework (EQF) within the automotive sector was face-to-face interviews.

An interview guideline with nine pre-set questions was designed by the projects partners to be used
by all partners (see Appendix 2). Partners also produced examples or scenarios on how the EQF
might be used from the perspective of different stakeholders (employee, training provider, and em-
6
    Note that in Scotland only level 3 apprenticeship frameworks are offered.




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ployer perspective) with the intention of using them, if required, as part of the interview process.
The aim of the scenarios was to help the interviewee to understand how the EQF might be applied
from a number of different perspectives. The interview guideline was also prefaced with both a
summary of the aims of the project and a summary of the EQF.

A total of ten interviews were undertaken throughout Northern Ireland – six with automotive ex-
perts from training organisations and four with employers from the automotive manufacturing and
automotive services industry. (see Appendix 3 for a full list of those interviewed). An EQF informa-
tion pack was emailed to the interviewees prior to the interview.

At the beginning of each interview the researcher described the EQF, its main features and purpose
and read the interviewee the relevant scenarios. All interviews were recorded with the permission of
interviewees.


7.3 Research Limitations
Lack of knowledge of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) within the automotive sector
has impacted on the findings of this research. Many of those interviewed within this sector strug-
gled to answer some of the questions, even with prompting. This can perhaps be attributed to the
fact that the EQF is at such an early stage of implementation in the UK and there is a lack of in-
depth understanding of the EQF and how it could/will operate.
Some of the questions were perhaps more suitable for post-implementation of the EQF when inter-
viewees would have more knowledge, understanding and experience of the EQF in practice.

A second limitation of the research is that those interviewed are not a representative sample. In total
ten interviews took place throughout Northern Ireland. Six of those interviewed were from training
organisations (five of these were college based training organisations and one was a private training
organisation). Four of those interviewed were employers in the automotive sector (two from auto-
motive services, one from automotive manufacturing and one from automotive manufacturing and
services). The small numbers participating are due to the limited timescale for undertaking the
fieldwork and the deadline for the research evaluation report.


7.4 Results
An analysis of the qualitative material gathered from the face-to-face interviews was undertaken
and the results of this analysis are set out separately for each question below. The results summarise
responses from Training Organisation (TO) interviewees and Employer interviewees separately.




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7.4.1 How do you deal with an applicant from a foreign country who presents you with qualifi-
cations that you don’t recognise locally?

7.4.1.1 Training Organisations (TOs)

Of the six interviewed two had no experience of dealing with foreign nationals, the remaining four
had little or some experience of dealing with foreign nationals.

For those who had a little or some experience of dealing with an applicant from a foreign country
(mostly Polish or Lithuanian) only one reported trying to contact the foreign educational establish-
ment for help to interpret the qualifications but this usually proved unsuccessful because of the lan-
guage barrier.

‘The only reference point I would have is to try and approach the awarding body or college. I have
tried that – rather unsuccessfully. I’ve tried phoning colleges in Poland and it is difficult to find
somebody who speaks English. It’s difficult to interpret exactly what this qualification is…..’

Another interviewee indicated that while they could match main qualifications with those in the
Republic of Ireland through the use of a grid, it was difficult to match qualifications presented by
foreign nationals because of the absence of ‘a good grid’.

The majority indicated that if presented with qualifications they would try to interpret the qualifica-
tion and where it fitted within our system, through interviewing the applicant. However this was a
lengthy one-to-one process and the success of this depended on the applicant’s grasp of the English
language. If their English was poor they were advised to take English classes at the college and re-
apply when their English had improved.

The majority indicated that even if presented with qualifications, applicants would go through some
kind of assessment process to establish prior learning and experience and where the skills gaps
were. This assessment process can be an interview where the applicant presents a portfolio of evi-
dence or job cards from places of employment as proof of competence. In some cases the applicant
will be in employment and the college will contact the employer to gather more evidence on their
skills and competencies. Applicants may also be given some practical assessments and/or initial
assessments in numeracy, literacy and IT.

Two of the TOs indicated that they would use the ATA (Automotive Technician Accreditation) to
assess any mature adult. This is a bank of tests that effectively test the skills of applicants – it is a
licence to practice at a certain level in the industry. Transport Training Services indicated that they
supplied this service to manufacturers to ensure technicians are reaching the intended standards.

7.4.1.2 Employers

Of the four employers interviewed, three had experience of recruiting foreign nationals.

One employer (automotive services) had Polish mechanics who had presented certificates from
polish institutions. The employer had used an outside translator to get the certificates translated into



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English and using the internet searched for information on the institution applicants had attended.
Then in their job interview an interpreter was used to get applicants to elaborate on their learning
and experience.

Another interviewee was the HR Manager of a large worldwide technology company (automotive
manufacturing) with 1000 employees. Of these, 130 were Eastern Europeans, predominantly Polish,
and quite a few engineers were from continental Europe. This HR manager reported using networks
like the CIPD to gather information on certificates presented by foreign nationals and highlighted
the amount of work involved in trying to interpret these certificates – ‘To be honest it’s just an aw-
ful lot of legwork…..there is no single source to go and find that information….even when you have
the information you’re initially not one hundred percent confident’. He explained further that in the
past he would have interviewed applicants that appeared to have the right level of qualifications but
when interviewed realised they weren’t suitable. This HR manager also indicated that he would use
specialist recruitment agencies like AARK for recruiting automotive engineers across Europe.
These agencies would do a lot of checking in terms of the relevance and level of the qualifications
presented. He indicated that a major issue with Eastern Europeans applying for jobs was establish-
ing their level of basic numeracy or literacy.

Another HR manager (automotive services) indicated that she did not have many foreign national
applicants but recently technical people were applying and they had come with ‘translated certifi-
cates’ showing learning areas covered. These were then matched to the UK qualified technician
qualification i.e. the NVQ level 3. Despite this process this HR manager indicated that they would
do further assessment of their performance through an interview, or if their English was not very
good, a practical assessment. A three month probationary period was also used.


7.4.2 How do you assess an applicant’s suitability for a job role/position (a training course)?

7.4.2.1 Training Organisations (TOs)

The training organisations generally had two groups of applicants applying to undertake a training
course to become a qualified automotive technician. The first group are 16 year olds straight from
school with little or no experience of the car industry. This group will undertake an apprenticeship
programme which is usually a three year programme and involves placement with an employer,
undertaking a technical certificate (practical assessments) and an NVQ at level 3 (en route they can
also achieve the NVQ at levels 1 & 2). In addition, if they have not already done so, they also need
their essential skills –numeracy at level2, literacy at level 2 and IT at level 1. Some of these
younger applicants may have some experience either through working in a garage or as part of a
Vocational Enhancement Programme (VEP) school links programme whereby they have attended
the College from school two days a week for 2 years to undertake some vocational training. This
means that this younger age group can be at different levels and through their on –the –job training
or practical working environment the trainer can judge what level they are at and match them to the
appropriate level of training and assessment.

The other group of applicants are the mature adults, usually with experience, but with few or no
qualifications. All the training organisations take this group through a process of Accreditation of




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Prior Learning (APL) to establish what level of programme to place them on. The APL process
normally involves an interview process to establish their past experience along with a three week
on-the –job initial assessment period to verify their prior learning and place them at the correct
level. This initial assessment period would also assess their numeracy, literacy and IT skills.

For those with lots of experience as a vehicle technician some of the TOs indicated that they ran a
fast-track course – one evening a week for a year.

Two of the TOs reported using the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme to assess
current competency. Some employers are critical of NVQs and often require the ATA status, in
addition to the NVQ, as a guarantee of competence/licence to practice. Some TOs also reported
using the ATA as a starting point for the fast track process to assess training needs and some used it
to assess the competence of foreign workers rather than relying on qualification certificates. Two
TOs interviewees reported providing ATA assessment services to employers to assess what level
applicants will operate at within the company.

‘They (Polish or Lithuanian or Eastern Block) would have approached local employers – who we
would be working with anyway and the employers have asked us to make an assessment- the em-
ployers may want to employ them but for their engineers insurance and their legal requirements
and public liability obligations they need to make some sort of assessment as to what level the per-
son is going to operate within the company so they would approach us. ATA is a current method of
assessment. We can run them through an ATA assessment. That’s a one day competency assess-
ment’ (TO interviewee)...

‘In fact what we’re doing is supplying that service to manufacturers to ensure technicians are
reaching their intended standards so we have technicians that are mature and that work and to
prove that their skills are current we take them through an ATA test…Anyone can present them-
selves for the test what it gains them is the licence to practice at a certain level in the industry.’ (TO
interviewee).

Again in relation to foreign nationals several TO interviewees stressed language as being a major
barrier for the assessment process. Tutors are not trained to deliver assessments in other languages
and only one TO reported employing a translator when there were several foreign applicants, others
reported being able to ‘muddle through’ on a one to one basis as they usually have some English.

7.4.2.2 Employers

Employers use similar procedures to the TOs to assess an applicant’s suitability for a job role –
application form, structured interview and some form of practical and numeracy/literacy assessment
including the ATA . One employer reported using the Saville and Howsworth numeracy testing for
some of the lower level jobs and the use of a competency framework to identify training. All re-
ported using a 3 month probationary period.

The same assessment methods are used for both foreign nationals and locals, however employers
also highlighted language as an issue –with one employer reporting the use of an interpreter to in-
terview foreign nationals.




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The HR manager of the worldwide company (Automotive manufacturing) indicated using technical
tests for a lot of roles which translated into any language.

All employers from the automotive services indicated that in addition to having their apprenticeship
training, employees will do franchise specific training (i.e. manufacturers own training for example
Vauxhall, Nissan, Ford) with the company. These employers all highlighted the fact that every
manufacturer has their own training – ‘70% of it is core customer service e.g. selling techniques
with 30% of their brand on top and using their jargon’. Although a large percentage of this training
is common (70 %), if employees transfer to work for a different company/manufacturer, their pre-
vious manufacturers training is not recognised and they have to start at the bottom again.

Generally employers indicated that qualifications are not critical for assessing an applicant’s suit-
ability for a job role. While one indicated that qualifications are used to select for interview another
indicated that:

‘There’s no requirement to have a qualification to come into the motor industry, as long as they
have the technical ability they will gain that up-to-date knowledge on their model/brand from the
manufacture training they do. There’s no requirement that they have to be properly trained….in an
ideal world applicants will have an NVQ 3, but it is not required, you might say preference is given
to, but there are a lot of experienced people out there who never did their exams and fundamentally
what we are interested in is their ability to do the job.’ (Interviewee, automotive services employer).


7.4.3 How do you think the EQF will impact on your ability to assess an applicant for a job
role/training course?

7.4.3.1 Training Organisations

Most TO interviewees indicated that the EQF would have a positive impact on their ability to assess
an applicant for a job/training course and provided the following most common reasons:
_ Provide a reliable reference point to match European qualifications systems to our system.
_ Make it easier to place foreign nationals at the appropriate level within our system and take
   away elements of doubt/perception.
_ Make qualifications systems more open and transparent.
_ Reduce time spent on initial assessment and help speed up the APL process.
_ Give more confidence in qualifications presented, how to equate them with our system and the
   level of programme to place the student at.
_ For insurance/litigation reasons employers must be confident that recruits are qualified – the
   EQF will make it easier to make this judgement with confidence.

Several TO interviewees inquired if there were plans for the EQF to have a database/website which
could be easily accessed to gain information (learning outcomes) on foreign qualifications to help
match/map qualifications.

‘Level is fine – it would give me a starting point to move on but we would need some access to the
summary of learning outcomes’ (TO interviewee).




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One TO interviewee was sceptical claiming that employers are not convinced that qualifications in
our own country (i.e. NVQs) meet their needs so how can they trust foreign qualifications to deliver
the skills and competences to meet their needs.

‘I’m afraid I’m a bit sceptical about this. We have a system at the moment that delivers skills and
competence and is assessed and is verified and employers are not entirely convinced that the end
product meets their needs. Now that’s a criticism of NVQs but it is something that needs to be ad-
dressed and its part of the reason why we have ATA…..As a training provider- I train people, I
submit their portfolios for verification by the awarding bodies and they come out qualified. But then
I hear employers occasionally saying to me- yeah but they don’t have the skills that I need. I don’t
understand how that can happen. If it can happen in NVQs it can happen in other countries. I don’t
know what the answer to it is’.
’
7.4.3.2 Employers

Apart from one employer interviewed, the others were very positive about how the EQF would im-
pact on their ability to assess an applicant for a job. The reasons given were similar to those given
by the TO interviewees but in addition employers added the EQF would:
_ Help to extend the recruitment pool Europe wide
_ Reduce recruitment costs
_ Help target the right audience for a position

‘I remember looking at it and thinking that’s just very simple… it just makes it so much easier. We
don’t like to limit our pool to just the UK and Ireland. We like to extend our recruitment as far and
wide as possible. So in terms of the European outlook it would be very beneficial to be able to say
with confidence what level you’re at…. And there’s all sorts of cost implications getting recruitment
wrong and you really don’t want t go down that road. So it’s having the information up front. Also
as I think I said to you earlier it makes sure you’re targeting the right audience for a position even
if it’s training….I’m surprised something didn’t exist previously to be honest. I remember when we
first looked for information it was very hard to find a very basic template to say that this is what
equals this- something as basic at that. It surprised me that it didn’t exist.’(HR Manager- Automo-
tive Manufacturing)

‘I think it’ll be excellent. When I read it I thought this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Cer-
tainly it would give me a lot more confidence to be able to judge an applicant’s qualifications irre-
spective of which European country they came from. And from the other side if some of our people
want to travel through Europe it means that the training they’ve already had will be recognised.’
(Employer - Automotive Services).

Another HR manager (automotive services) was however less positive about the impact the EQF
would have on their ability to assess an applicant for a job and raised the following points:

_ Qualifications are not critical in our business for recruiting
_ Despite the fact that we have an NQF, It is difficult for employers to make sense of our own
    qualifications and where they sit in relation to each other




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_ It will not impact on us - employers aren’t asking for information on certificates – they rely on
    what is reported in the application form
_ We have a low staff turnover and are not recruiting people
_ We develop staff through manufacturers training which is not recognised as nationally accred-
    ited qualifications

‘I don’t really know (how the EQF will impact on ability to assess an applicant) because qualifica-
tions aren’t really critical in our business for recruiting at this point…At the lower levels, GCSEs
have got so complicated now in terms of working out whether a C is a top grade in all the could
have achieved or has somebody not done very well, from my perspective you have people claiming
they have A levels and GCSE and because I’m so far away from it I don’t know where AS Levels etc
stand beside that…Fundamentally you have to be examining certificates – employers aren’t asking
for that information so unless we start asking for that information, it’s not going to help us. Qualifi-
cations aren’t important at this minute in time. Fundamentally we continue to rely on the applica-
tion form and what they report in the application form….. I’m a critical sales manager…and I
couldn’t care what qualifications they have because we rely on our verbal reasoning tests…..and
that tends to tell us that someone has a reasonable level of numeracy and literacy and then the im-
portant thing for us is job knowledge and skill not qualifications and really for the majority of our
jobs that is where we are at this minute in time…I don’t think EQF would really have an impact.’
(HR Manager – Automotive Services).


7.4.4 How else might you use the EQF in your organisation?

7.4.4.1 Training Organisations (TOs)

Generally TO interviewees struggled with this question but offered the following suggestions as to
how they might use the EQF in their organisation:

_ To market courses, especially the new ones being introduced at the higher levels in motor vehi-
  cle
_ To place students on the correct pathway/route and the correct level (help identify correct ca-
  reer path)
_ Recruitment of staff – for purposes of short-listing applicants for interview and where the indus-
  try has a shortage of people

‘Currently we do have some German technical staff and we have an Indian technician on the staff
at the minute…it was difficult for us to know whether to short list them or not based on qualifica-
tions because we didn’t understand their qualifications so basically we short listed them in case we
were turning down someone with quite a high level of qualification….we didn’t understand the
qualification…we didn’t want to discriminate against them based on not knowing. So we short
listed them on the bases of not knowing. And now we have 3 members of staff- as I’ve said 2 from
Germany 1 from India- and it’s worked very well. If we had the EQF and that happened in the fu-
ture it is certainly something we could use to shortlist applicants.’ (TO interviewee)




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‘I could envisage a situation where the industry is short of people- it isn’t right now but I could
envisage situations where the industry is short of people. We’re talking about automotive here to-
day but we also deal with transport and lorry drivers and bus drivers and people like that and there
has very recently been a large shortage of lorry drivers and there we have had applicants coming in
from different countries and an EQF would be valuable as an initial assessment of whether these
people are capable of being employed. And that would apply if we had the same thing happening-
it’s not true of the situation at the moment where we’ve got more redundancies than shortages right
now. I can see it being used for that. But again I would only use it as an indicator of whether they
were eligible’ (TO interviewee).

7.4.4.2 Employers

Employers offered the following suggestions as to how they might use the EQF in their organisa-
tion:
_ The EQF could offer an opportunity for manufacturers courses (e.g. DAF, Ford, Audi training
    courses) to be recognised more widely – several interviewees indicated that manufacturers won’t
    recognise each others training and about 70% of this training is similar.
_ The EQF could be used to structure training so people could work through levels to achieve
    higher.
_ In recruiting/advertising for people throughout Europe it would be an advantage to specify the
    EQF level and attract people from different countries.
_ It would help people decide whether or not they were eligible to apply for a job and give them a
    better idea as to what level the job is pitched at.
_ The EQF could be used to identify training needs for those not delivering outputs within the
    company.
_ Help to provide more relevant training for those on placements from other countries.
_ As a tool to increase placement opportunities to give employees a broader perspective.

7.4.5 What benefits might you expect from being able to use the EQF in the automotive sector?

7.4.5.1 Training Organisations

This question appeared to overlap quite a lot with questions 3 and 4 – the responses given were
therefore very similar. All the TO interviewees indicated that use of the EQF in their sector could
bring benefits, however one TO interviewee stressed that the benefits of using the EQF in the auto-
motive sector would only be realised and understood when it was operating.

The most common benefits quoted included:
_ Speed up the process of recruiting people onto the programme that suits their prior knowledge
   and experience
_ Provide a reference point to match qualifications more easily
_ Make the APL process less laborious
_ Encourage foreign nationals to come to Northern Ireland - we can learn from them and their
   skills, practices and techniques
_ Reduce training needs analysis, the burden on employers and discrimination



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_ The level of a qualification and learning outcomes approach (knowledge, skills and compe-
    tences) will promote Credit Accumulation and Transfer
_ Provide a good grounding for student exchange as the detail of qualifications would be more
    easily matched through the detail of the learning outcomes
_ Remove risks and assumptions when recruiting
_ Allow people to be slotted into the correct level
_ Help employers to undertake the short listing/recruitment process – employers contact TOs to
  interpret qualifications – they often have difficulty interpreting the UK and Republic of Ireland
  qualifications never mind those from Europe
_ The EQF will help those recruiting become more familiar with qualifications from other Euro-
  pean countries – ‘It’s nice if they come with qualifications and you can verify them and say I
  know what these are’ (TO interviewee)
_ Widens the field – those trained can look for employment beyond the UK – ‘I think it’s a great
  selling point for the industry if we can point to the fact that it lets you move out….. So you can
  get on your bike and go to Germany if that’s what you fancy or Spain or Italy’. (TO interviewee)
_ Opens opportunities to train people from other jurisdictions
_ Useful for recruitment where there is a shortage of people to do certain jobs
7.4.5.2 Employers

One employer indicated that he was not sure about the benefits of using the EQF in the automotive
sector in particular, but could see broad benefits. Most concluded that the EQF would be of benefit
in years to come.

The benefits of using the EQF stated by employers were similar to those stated previously in ques-
tions 3 and 4 and by TO interviewees but the main benefit quoted by employers were that it would
make recruitment of foreign nationals easier.

‘It’s such a practical tool I was just surprised it didn’t exist…..it’s absolutely something that is
practical and useful for our business. It’ll save a lot of work’ (HR Manager – automotive manufac-
turing).

Other commonly quoted benefits for employers included:
_ Safeguard for employers – mechanism you can use to check what someone can do
_ More confidence in what is being presented to you
_ Reduce costs and time in recruitment, assessment and training
_ Develop staff through possible increased placement opportunities
_ Useful for recruitment when the industry is short of people and have to look to foreign nationals
_ Help employers to target people from European countries and give employers more confidence
   in recruiting these people through being able to match qualifications more easily
_ Access to a wider pool of potential employees because you can more easily translate qualifica-
   tions from different countries

‘…Previously we struggled to get quality engineers- its even the people going into college to study
engineering the numbers are not terribly good in the UK and the Republic as well. They’re going
down in the United States- they’re going down in the traditional markets like Germany. The fact is




Page 60/80
that you’ve got more companies fighting for a smaller pool of people…… From an engineering
point of view I think it would be very beneficial- because it is one of the areas where we very
quickly need to expand our horizons as to where we’re trying to source our staff from. And that’s
not just staff based in those countries its staff based here in Antrim as well….. I think that (the
EQF) would benefit any organisation that operates on more than a national level.’
(HR Manager – automotive manufacturing)


7.4.6 What are the main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector / your organisation?

7.4.6.1 Training Organisations

The main challenges to using the EQF suggested by TO interviewees included:

The Language Barrier

This was constantly referred to as a major issue in recruitment and assessment of applicants. The
main issues referred to included: interpreting qualifications written in a different language and the
time and cost associated with this; the need for interpreters at the different recruitment stages; and
applicants being equally qualified and experienced but not selected because they can’t speak the
language fluently. One interviewee indicated that people in the UK tend to go to English speaking
countries like Australia where there is no language barrier and something was required to help
translate qualifications for those countries beyond Europe i.e a need for something wider than
Europe.

‘Its not something that needs to stop at European Borders’ (TO interviewee)

Communicating and Promoting the EQF

Most interviewees (TOs and employers) had very little knowledge of the EQF and some were not
aware of it at all. They stressed that people need to be made aware of the EQF and educated as to
how it will operate and how it can be used. In particular, interviewees argued that getting employers
to buy into the EQF would be a major challenge and the benefits of the EQF needed to be commu-
nicated to employers.

One interviewee suggested there was no reason for the EQF (which aimed to promote the mobility
of labour) within the automotive sector as the industry was oversubscribed with young people who
want to join it and does not have demographic problems where all motor mechanics are over 50.
Some sectors do however have these problems.

It was argued that there would be resistance from the industry if the EQF was seen as something
‘regulatory’. Employers already have the impression there is too much regulation and may see this
‘as another thing they have to do’. It was also argued that using the EQF could be particularly chal-
lenging for small employers who do not have the resources to investigate foreign qualifications and
undertake lengthy APL/assessment processes. Several interviewees also indicated the need for a
central EQF website/database available for anyone to access especially employers who constantly




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approach training providers for recruitment and assessment purposes. Interviewees stressed that it
would be necessary to train recruitment and admissions staff to understand and apply the EQF.

Trust and Quality Assurance Issues

This was a recurring issue with interviewees voicing concerns about: the authenticity of qualifica-
tions; trust that qualifications and training achieved by foreign nationals is of a similar standard and
rigor to UK qualifications; whether or not qualifications actually delivered the level of competence
required by employers; the consistency/interpretation of levels across the different countries and
trusting the levels applied to foreign qualifications.
One employer explained that National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs – our main occupa-
tional/work-based national qualifications) are based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) and
although employers are saying that the standards behind the qualifications are what they need they
are not convinced that those coming through the training system are meeting those standards. There
is concern that if this is happening with the NVQ system in the United Kingdom it could also be the
case with foreign qualifications.

‘As a training provider- I train people I submit their portfolios for verification by the awarding
bodies and they come out qualified. But then I hear employers occasionally saying to me- yeah but
they don’t have the skills that I need. I don’t understand how that can happen. If it can happen in
NVQs it can happen in other countries. I don’t know what the answer to it is…. But what worries
me is that that criticism applies not only to me but it must apply to my internal verification system,
to my external verification system and to every awarding body in the country. Employers have a
worry- if that whole system is supposed to deliver the quality they expect- there could well be some-
thing wrong. And if there could be something wrong with the NVQ system in the United Kingdom it
could well be wrong anywhere else.’ (TO interviewee)

The same TO interviewee went on to say:

‘The discrepancy between qualifications and actual practical skills can be very large. We can have
people on paper who look extremely capable but when you ask them to do tasks which you would be
expecting them to teach they’re not capable of doing it’.

Automotive Sector Dominated by Manufacturers Qualifications

Several TO interviewees indicated that the automotive sector was dominated by manufacturers who
have their own company qualifications e.g. Ford Technician Certificate. Although these are recog-
nised Europe wide they have no recognition outside the particular company (e.g. Mazda and Ford
don’t recognise each others certificates) despite the fact that about 75% of the content is common to
all these training courses. They argued that these manufacturers’ qualifications would have added
value if they were recognised more widely and questioned the role of the EQF in this situation.




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The pace of technological change within the automotive sector

Several TO interviewees stressed that a challenge to using the EQF in the automotive sector was the
pace of technological change and the impact this had both for qualifications dating very fast and
technical staff in the industry constantly requiring training.

‘In our industry qualifications are fine but they date very fast- the experience that somebody has
that isn’t current isn’t useful to us. I’m just talking about the technological changes on cars and
trucks. So somebody may be very highly qualified but not qualified with the current trucks.’ (TO
interviewee)

‘We still have quite a heavy adult training programme. Our technology is advancing that fast in the
automotive sector that it’s an ongoing process. Any technical staff in the industry constantly need
training at the moment.’ (TO interviewee)

7.4.6.2 Employers

Employers responses to the main challenges to using the EQF were similar to those of the TO inter-
viewees.

Credibility and Standards

In the main Employers were mostly concerned about trusting the credibility and standard of foreign
qualifications and for those achieving qualifications -how competent are they? The following points
highlight the different issues employers raised in relation to trust in the quality of foreign qualifica-
tions:
_ Trust and confidence in how the qualifications levels from the different countries match up and
    those qualifications deemed to be at a similar level are of a similar standard.
_ Trust that countries are pitching their qualifications at the right level and that countries have
    robust quality assurance systems for assessing and awarding qualifications.

‘We wouldn’t have a great deal of knowledge about the old eastern block countries in terms of their
degrees. There is an assumption- probably wrong- it is wrong- that they wouldn’t be of the same
quality.’ (HR Manager interviewee)

_ Raising the credibility and value of qualifications is a major issue for qualifications. One em-
    ployer indicated that only 30% of managers value qualifications. For employers it’s a question
    of competence.

 ‘How competent are the people who are coming out with qualifications?’
‘The important thing for us is job knowledge and skill not qualifications’
(HR manager- automotive services)




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Promotion and Communication

Employers also saw the promotion and communication of the EQF as a challenge. They were con-
cerned with getting people to use and accept the EQF. Some implied that people would not take it
seriously and continue to use the methods they have always used – people are hesitant to change.
Some also indicated that there was a risk that some European countries would only ‘pay a certain
element of lip service’ to the implementation of the EQF.

Language Barrier

Employers were also concerned that the language barrier would prove a challenge for EQF imple-
mentation as ‘Northern Irish people don’t tend to be very linguistic so they tend to go to English
speaking countries. We lose people to Canada or Australia. We don’t have too many of our people
who speak French or Polish’ (Employer – Automotive services)

Authenticity of qualifications

One employer was concerned about the risk of fraudulent qualifications and qualification certifi-
cates being bought or generated from the internet. There would still be a requirement to do the
checks to be sure the qualification certificate is genuine.

Manufacturer’s qualifications

Some employers as well as TOs (see above) saw the wider recognition of manufacturers qualifica-
tions as an issue and like the TO interviewees questioned the role of the EQF in addressing this
issue.


7.4.7 What needs to be in place in the automotive sector for the EQF to achieve its aims?

7.4.7.1 Training Organisations

This question appeared to overlap quite a bit with the previous question and there were similar re-
sponses. The most common responses to what needs to be in place for the EQF to achieve its aims
were as follows:
_ Marketing and communication of the EQF so that people realise what it is and how it can be
   used. Several interviewees stated that employers are key – need their buy-in and full understand-
   ing of the EQF and its benefits.
_ Language training - if the EQF is to encourage more foreign national students it would be an
   advantage if college staff could speak other European languages, otherwise there is a need for
   interpreters. There is a need for language training for both college staff (European languages)
   and English for foreign nationals with poor English.
_ Other European countries would have to use the EQF and have APL practice in place so that
   learners/workers can expect their qualifications and prior experience to be recognised in any
   European country.




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_ The need for a central point of access (database or website) which contains easily accessible
    information on the European qualifications systems and how they relate to the UK qualifications
    system. The information should include details of both present and previous qualifications.

In addition to the above TO interviewees also indicated that the following was necessary for the
EQF to achieve its aims:
_ Must have government/legislative seal of approval and clearly seen to be regulated and imple-
    mented by an authoritative body.
_ There needs to be trust in the referencing process and the levels of foreign qualifications.
_ In order to use the EQF and be able to interpret qualifications it was suggested that there was a
    need for consistency in terminology.
_ Again the issue of manufacturers dominating the sector was raised and the need to get manufac-
    turers to buy into the EQF as they have a significant influence over the training and qualifica-
    tions of the sector.

7.4.7.2 Employers

On the whole employers responses to ‘what needs to be in place in the automotive sector for the
EQF to achieve it’s aim’ were quite poor and many of the points raised were similar to those put
forward by the TO interviewees.

For the EQF to achieve its aims employers indicated that the following needed to be in place:
_ More involvement of employers in setting the standards and determining the knowledge, skills
   and competency requirements for a qualified mechanic.
_ Manufacturers need to be involved so that their specific qualifications e.g. DAF training courses
   can be linked to the EQF.
_ Need to raise awareness of the EQF with recruitment and senior level staff. Also need for a local
   ambassador to promote the EQF.
_ A single and easily accessible EQF website.
_ The EQF will need time to achieve its aims.

7.4.8 Are there any new partnerships that could develop in the automotive sector because of the
EQF?

7.4.8.1 Training Organisations

Again interviewees struggled with responding to this question perhaps because of a lack of in-depth
understanding of the EQF and how it could operate. However the following responses were offered:
_ Training organisations currently work closely with some employers in relation to apprenticeship
   training, recruitment (as indicated before employers often rely on TOs to do initial assessment
   for a job role or help to interview applicants) and meeting the needs of industry. With the im-
   plementation of the EQF it may be necessary to work with more employers both in Northern Ire-
   land and across Europe.
_ Partnerships and staff exchange trips with other training facilities in Europe to undertake joint
   work on training courses, match elements of practice and learn from practice in other countries.




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_ Employer based seminars throughout Europe to learn how they approach training their trainees.
_ It was suggested that more flexibility in assessment would be necessary which would require
  TOs to work more closely with awarding bodies.
_ It was also suggested that our Sector Skills Councils (responsible for developing National Occu-
  pational Standards in partnership with employers and approving sector qualifications) would
  need to work with equivalent standard setting bodies across Europe.
_ New partnerships with education and training bodies, employers and companies as a result of
  increased opportunities for work experience and placements for both students and the labour
  force.

7.4.8.2 Employers

_ Increased opportunities for exchange programmes with different training providers and colleges
    in different countries.
_ More opportunities for discussion on for example the recognition and transferability of qualifi-
    cations, EU dealer standards through European wide inter dealer associations.
_ Working more closely with colleges to tailor programmes to specific needs of employ-
    ers/employees.
_ More joint business with recruitment agencies to increase the pool of applicants across Europe.
_ New partnerships with other companies through increased placements ‘to shift people around
  the business to give them a broader perspective’.
_ Increase opportunities for automotive forums to discuss for example European legislation about
  automotives and cross-sectoral issues, for example, the need for mechatronics when in Northern
  Ireland people tend to go down a mechanical or electrical route.
_ One employer indicated that as an automotive supplier and technology company they do joint
  business with other companies and work closely with the local colleges and University where
  they have an input into course development. These relationships could be extended with the
  wider European perspective.



7.5 Conclusions / Summary of results

7.5.1 Interviewee Responses

The majority of those interviewed had little or no knowledge of the EQF before being contacted to
participate in this project. However because of their experience with dealing with foreign applicants
they were all supportive of the implementation of the EQF and could see it as a practical tool with
benefits for their organisation.

Many of those interviewed struggled with some of the questions, especially questions 4, 7 and 8.
This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that the EQF is at such an early stage of implementation in
the UK and there is a lack of in-depth understanding of the EQF and how it could/will operate.
Some of the questions were perhaps more suitable for post-implementation of the EQF when inter-
viewees would have more knowledge, understanding and experience of the EQF in practice.




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After conducting some interviews it became obvious that there was quite a lot of overlap between
some of the questions in the interview guideline, especially questions 3, 4 and 5, and questions 6
and 7. This overlap is reflected in the responses received.


7.5.2 Dealing with foreign qualifications and assessing suitability for a job role / training
course

Most interviewees had some experience of dealing with foreign qualifications and applications for a
job role/training course. The majority of TO interviewees who had been presented with foreign
qualifications reported trying to interpret them through interviewing the applicant. Their past ex-
periences of trying to interpret qualifications by contacting educational organisations in foreign
countries had been unsuccessful mostly due to the language barrier.

The interview process to interpret qualification certificates was also a lengthy process and success
of this depended on foreign nationals’ grasp of English. Generally interpreters were not used for the
small number of foreign applicants.

Both TO and employer interviewees indicated that in the automotive sector the qualifications pre-
sented were not the critical factor for successful recruitment (they were sometimes used as a screen-
ing tool for interview). The critical factor is the demonstration of their skills and competences
through some kind of assessment/accreditation of prior learning (APL) process. In addition the
Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme is often used to assess mature adults. This is a
bank of tests that effectively test the skills of applicants and is often required by employers, in addi-
tion to the NVQ 3, as a guarantee of competence.

Despite employers often emphasising that qualifications are not the critical factor for successful
recruitment, they reported doing quite a lot of research to try and interpret qualification certificates
presented by foreign nationals, using translators and different networks.

In terms of assessing an applicants suitability for a job role or training course the TOs had a flexible
assessment process for establishing the appropriate level of training programme for both young
school leavers and mature adults (including foreign nationals). As well as an interview process ap-
plicants undertook practical assessments as well as assessment in numeracy, literacy and IT. In ad-
dition some TOs used the ATA scheme as described above.

Employers used similar procedures to TOs to assess an applicant’s suitability for a job – application
form, structured interview and some form of practical and numeracy/literacy assessment including
the ATA. All reported using a 3 month probationary period. The same assessment methods are used
for both foreign nationals and locals, employers also highlighted the language barrier as an issue.


7.5.3 Impact of EQF on assessing applicants for a job/training course

Most interviewees indicated that the EQF would have a positive impact on their ability to assess an
applicant for a job/training course and that the EQF would:




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_ Provide a reliable reference point to match European qualifications systems to our system
_ Make it easier to place foreign nationals at the appropriate level within our system and take
  away elements of doubt/perception
_ Make qualifications systems more open and transparent
_ Reduce time spent on initial assessment and help speed up the APL process
_ Give more confidence in qualifications presented, how to equate them with our system and the
  level of programme to place the student at. (For insurance/litigation reasons employers must be
  confident that recruits are qualified – with the implementation of the EQF this judgement can be
  made with more confidence)
_ Help to extend the recruitment pool Europe wide
_ Reduce recruitment costs
_ Help target the right audience for a position

Two interviewees (one employer & one TO) however were less positive about the impact the EQF
would have on their ability to assess an applicant for a job and gave the following reasons:
_ Qualifications are not critical in our business for recruiting
_ Qualifications (both UK and foreign) do not necessarily deliver the level of competence required
  by employers
_ Despite the fact that we have an NQF, It is difficult for employers to make sense of our own
  qualifications and where they sit in relation to each other
_ Employers aren’t asking for information on certificates – they rely on what is reported in the
  application form
_ Have a low staff turnover and are not recruiting people
_ Develop staff through manufacturers’ training which is not recognised as nationally accredited
  qualifications

The second of these latter points was an issue picked up by several interviewees throughout – a lack
of confidence in the UK qualifications (i.e. the NVQ 3) to deliver competence. Respondents were
concerned that if this can happen with UK qualifications it could also be the case with foreign quali-
fications.


7.5.4 Uses of the EQF within organisations

Generally TO interviewees struggled more with this question than employers. They indicated that
they might use the EQF in their organisation to market courses, place students on the correct path-
way and for short-listing applicants for interview especially where the industry had a shortage of
people.

Employers indicated that they might use the EQF as an opportunity for manufacturers’ courses to be
recognised more widely; a tool to structure training and identify training needs so people can work
through levels to achieve higher; in recruiting/advertising for people throughout Europe; as a tool to
help people decide whether or not they were eligible to apply for a job; as a tool to help to provide
more relevant training for those on placements from other countries; and as a tool to increase
placement opportunities to give employees a broader perspective.




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7.5.5 Benefits of using the EQF in the automotive sector

This question appeared to overlap quite a lot with questions 3 and 4, the responses given were
therefore very similar. Most interviewees indicated that the use of the EQF in their sector could
bring benefits. One Interviewee stressed that the benefits of using the EQF in the automotive sector
would only be realised and understood when it was operating. Another was not sure about the bene-
fits of using the EQF in the automotive sector in particular, but could see broad benefits.

The most common benefits quoted included:
_ Provide a reference point to match qualifications more easily
_ Make recruitment of foreign nationals easier and speed up the process of recruiting people onto
   the programme that suits their prior knowledge and experience
_ Reduce costs and time in recruitment, assessment and training
_ Remove risks and assumptions when recruiting
_ Make the APL process less laborious
_ Encourage foreign nationals to come to Northern Ireland - we can learn from them and their
   skills, practices and techniques
_ Reduce training needs analysis, the burden on employers and discrimination
_ Will promote Credit Accumulation and Transfer (through adoption of learning outcomes ap-
   proach as well as level reference)
_ Provide a good grounding for student exchange as the detail of qualifications would be more
   easily matched through the detail of the learning outcomes
_ Allow people to be slotted into the correct level
_ Encourage employers to undertake the short listing/recruitment process as they often contact
   TOs to interpret qualifications and assess candidates
_ Help those recruiting become more familiar with qualifications from other European countries
_ Widen the field – those trained can look for employment beyond the UK
_ Opens opportunities to train people from other jurisdictions
_ Useful for recruitment where there is a shortage of people to do certain jobs
_ Develop staff through possible increased placement opportunities
_ Help employers to target a wider pool of potential employees from European countries and give
   employers more confidence in recruiting these people through being able to match qualifications
   more easily


7.5.6 The main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector

TO and employer interviewees reported similar challenges to using the EQF in their sector and
these are as follows:
_ The Language Barrier was constantly referred to as a major issue in recruitment and assessment
   of applicants. The main issues referred to included: interpreting qualifications written in a dif-
   ferent language and the time and cost associated with this; the need for interpreters at the differ-
   ent recruitment stages; and applicants being equally qualified and experienced but not selected
   because they can’t speak the language fluently. Several interviewees indicated that people in the
   UK tend to go to English speaking countries like Australia where there is no language barrier
   and something wider than Europe was required.




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_ Interviewees saw the promotion and communication of the EQF as a major challenge. Most in-
  terviewees had very little knowledge of the EQF and some were not aware of it at all. They
  stressed that people need to be made aware of the EQF and educated as to how it will operate
  and how it can be used. In particular, interviewees argued that getting employers to buy into the
  EQF would be a major challenge and the benefits of the EQF needed to be communicated to
  employers. Interviewees also stressed that it would be necessary to train recruitment and admis-
  sions staff to understand and apply the EQF.
_ It was also argued that using the EQF could be particularly challenging for small employers who
  do not have the resources to investigate foreign qualifications and undertake lengthy
  APL/assessment processes.
_ One interviewee suggested there was no reason for the EQF (which aimed to promote the mobil-
  ity of labour) within the automotive sector as the industry was oversubscribed with young peo-
  ple who want to join and it does not have particular demographic problems.
_ It was argued that there would be resistance from the industry if the EQF was seen as something
  ‘regulatory’.
_ Several interviewees also indicated the need for a central EQF website/database available for
  anyone to access, especially employers.
_ Trust and Quality Assurance were recurring issues with interviewees voicing concerns about:
  the authenticity of qualifications; trust that qualifications and training achieved by foreign na-
  tionals is of a similar standard and rigor to UK qualifications; the consistency/interpretation of
  levels across the different countries and trusting the levels applied to foreign qualifications.
_ As indicated previously several interviewees raised the issue of whether or not qualifications
  (NVQs) actually delivered the level of competence required by employers. Interviewees were
  concerned that if this can happen with UK qualifications it could also be the case with foreign
  qualifications. Employers were particularly concerned about trusting the credibility and standard
  of foreign qualifications and for those achieving qualifications - how competent are they?
_ Many interviewees saw the wider recognition of manufacturers’ qualifications as an issue and
  questioned the role of the EQF in addressing this issue.
_ Several interviewees stressed that a challenge to using the EQF in the automotive sector was the
  pace of technological change and the impact this had both for qualifications dating very fast and
  technical staff in the industry constantly requiring training.
_ One employer was concerned about the risk of fraudulent qualifications and qualification certifi-
  cates being bought or generated from the internet. There would still be a requirement to do the
  checks to be sure the qualification certificate was genuine.


7.5.7 What needs to be in place in the automotive sector for the EQF to achieve its aims

This question appeared to overlap quite a bit with the previous question and there were similar re-
sponses including:
_ Marketing and communication of the EQF - it was stressed that employers’ buy-in and full un-
   derstanding of the EQF and its benefits are key.
_ Language training - if the EQF is to encourage more foreign national students it would be an
   advantage if college staff could speak other European languages, otherwise there is a need for
   interpreters. There is a need for language training for both college staff (European languages)
   and English for foreign nationals with poor English.




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_ The need for a central point of access (database or website) which contains easily accessible
  information on the European qualifications systems and how they relate to the UK qualifications
  system. The information should include details of both present and previous qualifications.
_ Other European countries would have to use the EQF and have APL practice in place so that
  learners/workers can expect their qualifications and prior experience to be recognised in any
  European country.
_ Must have government/legislative seal of approval and clearly seen to be regulated and imple-
  mented by an authoritative body.
_ There needs to be trust in the referencing process and the levels of qualifications.
_ In order to use the EQF and be able to interpret qualifications it was suggested that there was a
  need for consistency in terminology.
_ Again the issue of manufacturers dominating the sector was raised and the need to get manufac-
  turers to buy into the EQF as they have a significant influence over the training and qualifica-
  tions of the sector.


7.5.8 New partnerships in the automotive sector because of the EQF

Again interviewees, especially TO interviewees, struggled with responding to this question perhaps
because of a lack of in-depth understanding of the EQF and how it could operate. However both
indicated more partnerships with:
_ Employers, both in Northern Ireland and across Europe, in relation to: apprenticeship training;
   placements; recruitment; and meeting the needs of industry.
_ Other training facilities in Europe in relation to: staff exchange trips; undertaking joint work on
   training courses; matching elements of practice; and learning from practice in other countries
   and how they approach training their trainees.
_ Education and training bodies, employers and companies as a result of increased opportunities
   for work experience and placements for both students and the labour force.
_ Awarding bodies to ensure more flexibility in assessment.
_ Sector Skills Councils (responsible for developing National Occupational Standards in partner-
   ship with employers and approving sector qualifications) and equivalent standard setting bodies
   across Europe.

Employers also indicated more opportunities for:
_ Discussion on the recognition and transferability of qualifications, EU dealer standards through
  European wide inter dealer associations and Europe wide employer seminars.
_ Working more closely with colleges to tailor programmes to employer/employee specific needs.
_ Joint business with recruitment agencies to increase the pool of applicants across Europe.
_ Automotive forums to discuss, for example, European legislation about automotives and cross-
  sectoral issues such as the need for mechatronics when in Northern Ireland people tend to go
  down a mechanical or electrical route.

Working with the local colleges and Universities on course development and extending these rela-
tionships Europe wide.




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8 Summary and interpretation of results
One of the main aims of the project “Ways to Sustainability” is to identify obstacles as well as fa-
vourable conditions for its implementation. Therefore the following summary and comparison of
results focuses on the following key questions:

_ Possible use of the EQF in the automotive sector
_ Expected impact and benefits from being able to use of the EQF in the automotive sector
_ Main challenges/conditions to using the EQF in the automotive sector

First an overview of the results to these key questions will be given for each country (see 8.1, 8.2
and 8.3), followed by an overall summary and interpretation (see 8.4).


8.1 Possible use of the EQF in the automotive sector
Austria
_ used for recruitment
_ used for HR development processes
_ used as seal of approval/quality
_ used as target-setting tool for training providers
_ used as tool for quality assurance of vocational education

France
_ The EQF would help to assess an applicant for a training course
_ The EQF makes it easier to place foreign applicants at a more appropriate level of diploma
_ The EQF helps recruiting more applicants from the European Union
_ The EQF enables better judgement of worth of foreign diploma, titles or vocational qualification
   certificates can be made with more confidence in the qualification of foreign applicants

Germany
_ used for adjustment of vocational training and further education to establish European standards
_ used to generate skilled workers from foreign countries
_ higher permeability between levels
_ can support in the human resource development because a structure can be build up

Italy
_ used for assessment of foreign students
_ used for development of appropriate training plans
_ used for assessment of staff education level
_ used for recruitment of staff
_ used for assessment of staff competence level
_ The EQF allows for smaller companies too to internationalize. The reason foas an essential tool
   for candidates evaluation who have applied for a training course or for a working place




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Slovenia
_ The EQF makes it easier to place the foreigners at the appropriate level
_ The EQF makes qualification system more transparent
_ The EQF reduces the time and the costs of application procedure
_ The EQF pinpoints suitable applicants

UK
_ used to market courses
_ used to place students on the correct pathway
_ used for short-listing applicants for interview especially where the industry had a shortage of
  people
_ used as an opportunity for manufacturers’ courses to be recognised more widely
_ used as a tool to structure training and identify training needs so people can work through levels
  to achieve higher
_ used in recruiting/advertising for people throughout Europe
_ used as a tool to help people decide whether or not they were eligible to apply for a job


8.2 Expected impact and benefits from being able to use of the EQF in the
automotive sector
Austria
_ The EQF might enable recognition of work/professional experience
_ The EQF might enable better comparability and differentiation of certificates
_ The EQF might enable higher permeability of the education system
_ The EQF might enable the reintegration of low-skilled people to the labour market by recogniz-
  ing their informal or non-formal skills and abilities
_ The EQF might enable cross-company transfer of employees or cross-country transfer within
  companies
_ The EQF might underline the growing importance of non-formal/informal knowledge
_ The EQF might provide a flexible, dynamic tool
_ The EQF might create a higher worth/value of vocational education, and therefore could en-
  hance it

France
_ The qualification systems in Europe will become more transparent because the EQF provides a
   reference point.
_ The EQF might help to develop several months or one year mobility.
_ For the University teachers and the apprenticeship responsible, the mobility of young students
   could help the SME to recruit young salaried employees.
_ Mixing different public from different countries could develop a synergy between industrial
   approaches and help native students to have a more reflexive attitude on their own industrial or-
   ganization.
_ The EQF might help to discover new ways for solving problems develop a new way of thinking
   among students.
_ The EQF might develop the number of applicants and develop employment abroad.


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Germany
_ facilitation of selection of qualified applicants
_ could be begin of the establishment of a European standardized test for all European applicants
_ EQF as measure of orientation, which does not change anything for the selection procedure
_ expansion of product portfolio for training courses/qualifications
_ supports cross-linked and transnational working

Italy
_ supports a better match between the needs of labour market and education and training provision
_ facilitates the validation of non formal and informal learning
_ facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and
   training systems
_ minimizes evaluation errors
_ makes staff mobility easier in an international domain
_ Simplification of staff recruitment operations
_ Recruitment of qualified staff, with skills and competencies appropriate to automotive sector
_ Uniformity in staff qualifications, skills and competencies
_ Definition of standard professional profiles in automotive sector
_ Interchangeability at national/international level of human resources
_ might support collaborations between training providers in order to adapt qualifications stan-
   dards and training plans
_ supports vocational training staff exchange between training institutions
_ supports apprentices and workers exchange between automotive industries
_ supports researchers’ exchange between research centres or automotive industries.

Slovenia
_ to be able to match the qualifications
_ to make recruitment of foreigners easier
_ to speed up the process of recruiting suitable people
_ to lower the costs of recruiting process

UK
_ provides a reliable reference point to match European qualifications systems to our system
_ makes qualifications systems more open and transparent
_ gives more confidence in qualifications presented, how to equate them with our system and the
  level of programme to place the student at. (For insurance/litigation reasons employers must be
  confident that recruits are qualified – with the implementation of the EQF this judgement can be
  made with more confidence)
_ helps to extend the recruitment pool Europe wide
_ reduces recruitment costs
_ helps target the right audience for a position
_ makes recruitment of foreign nationals easier and speed up the process of recruiting people onto
  the programme that suits their prior knowledge and experience
_ reduces costs and time in recruitment, assessment and training
_ removes risks and assumptions when recruiting
_ makes the APL process less laborious



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_ encourages foreign nationals to come to Northern Ireland - we can learn from them and their
    skills, practices and techniques
_ reduces training needs analysis, the burden on employers and discrimination
_ will promote Credit Accumulation and Transfer (through adoption of learning outcomes ap-
  proach as well as level reference)
_ provides a good grounding for student exchange as the detail of qualifications would be more
  easily matched through the detail of the learning outcomes
_ allows people to be slotted into the correct level
_ encourages employers to undertake the short listing/recruitment process as they often contact
  TOs to interpret qualifications and assess candidates
_ helps those recruiting become more familiar with qualifications from other European countries
_ widens the field – those trained can look for employment beyond the UK
_ opens opportunities to train people from other jurisdictions
_ is useful for recruitment where there is a shortage of people to do certain jobs
_ develops staff through possible increased placement opportunities
_ helps employers to target a wider pool of potential employees from European countries and give
  employers more confidence in recruiting these people through being able to match qualifications
  more easily


8.3 Main challenges/conditions to using the EQF in the automotive sector
Austria
_ Comparability includes the risk of lowering the description level
_ Neglect of country or cultural specifics of the education system
_ It has continuously to be adapted to the actual educational situation and offers
_ It needs a leading industry like the automotive sector to be promoted
_ It needs to be based on minimum standards
_ It should be based on a language which fits for the target groups and is not too abstract
_ Its use bases on a general willingness for the exchange of knowledge

France
_ The mastery of foreign languages is a crucial issue.
_ Funding the mobility period abroad is also required.
_ Teachers have to be able to involve very different public with different experience and knowl-
   edge. But for the mechatronics field integrating different professions and cultures, it is already
   faced to integration of problems at national level.
_ The use of EQF is possible if applicants as well as trainers increase their level of foreign lan-
   guage skills or if applicants come from Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden or
   Norway; that means people who have the reputation to have easiness for learning languages. It is
   much more difficult for French students to apply for a foreign curricula because French students
   are not good at speaking foreign languages.
_ The mastery of basic knowledge may be different in some countries; will the basis required for
   entrance be reduced?
_ Who will develop harmonization and how?
_ What will be the validity of French diploma?



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_ Does the implementation of EQF require harmonization between different national training sys-
    tems?
_ There is a risk of decreasing the value of French diploma.
_ Professional Bachelor is a comprehensive curricula open to several sectoral branches: aeronau-
  tics, automobile and robotics. The teachers of the bachelor curricula would not like the bachelor
  to be classified only in the automobile sector according to EQF. Because if the automobile sec-
  tor declines, trainees will find a job in other sectors.
_ The most difficult thing is to agree, at European level, on a common grid of competences and to
  define the level of competences because work processes are different between German cultures
  and Mediterranean cultures. For instance, the issue of project management is the same but the
  competence can be different.
_ Each country has its own assessment process and tools and it is difficult to define a common
  European tool.
_ Encouraging mobility can deprive enterprises from their best salaries.

Germany
_ The main challenge will be the practice orientation that means exact definition which skills an
  applicant possesses (e. g. “is able to do diagnostics with test equipment”).
_ The levels of references have to be activated and it has to be developed a “feeling” for them.
_ Because of the fast moving of the working environment the EQF cannot be a static concept. It
  has to be dynamic and flexible.
_ The delineated points above are not depending on the automotive sector. They are relevant for
  all industries.

Italy
_ The main challenge for the use of the EQF is a real community conducting and collaboration.
_ Conducting and collaboration are difficult because of the different expectations that countries
   have towards the EQF.
_ spreading of the EQF
_ Real community conducting and collaboration as necessary condition, which is difficult because
   of the different expectations that countries have towards the EQF

Slovenia
_ No or very little knowledge of the EQF
_ Especially the employers expect the EQF to be written as simple as possible, so everyone can
   use it. It would also be an advantage if it were written in several European languages.

UK
_ The Language Barrier was constantly referred to as a major issue in recruitment and assessment
  of applicants. People in the UK might tend to go to English speaking countries like Australia
  where there is no language barrier and something wider than Europe was required.
_ Interviewees saw the promotion and communication of the EQF as a major challenge. People
  need to be made aware of the EQF and educated as to how it will operate and how it can be
  used. Getting employers to buy into the EQF would be a major challenge and the benefits of the
  EQF needed to be communicated to employers. It would be necessary to train recruitment and
  admissions staff to understand and apply the EQF.




Page 76/80
_ The EQF could be particularly challenging for small employers who do not have the resources
    to investigate foreign qualifications and undertake lengthy APL/assessment processes.
_ One interviewee suggested there was no reason for the EQF (which aimed to promote the mobil-
  ity of labour) within the automotive sector as the industry was oversubscribed with young peo-
  ple who want to join and it does not have particular demographic problems.
_ Resistance from the industry if the EQF was seen as something ‘regulatory’
_ Indication of the need for a central EQF website/database available for anyone to access, espe-
  cially employers
_ Trust and Quality Assurance were recurring issues with interviewees voicing concerns about:
  the authenticity of qualifications; trust that qualifications and training achieved by foreign na-
  tionals is of a similar standard and rigor to UK qualifications; the consistency/interpretation of
  levels across the different countries and trusting the levels applied to foreign qualifications.
_ issue of whether or not qualifications (NVQs) actually delivered the level of competence re-
  quired by employers. Interviewees were concerned that if this can happen with UK qualifica-
  tions it could also be the case with foreign qualifications.
_ Concern about trusting the credibility and standard of foreign qualifications and for those
  achieving qualifications - how competent are they?
_ Wider recognition of manufacturers’ qualifications is seen as an issue, the role of the EQF in
  addressing this issue is questioned.
_ Pace of technological change: impact for qualifications dating very fast and technical staff in the
  industry constantly requiring training
_ Concern about risk of fraudulent qualifications and qualification certificates being bought or
  generated from the internet. There would still be a requirement to do the checks to be sure the
  qualification certificate was genuine.


8.4 Conclusions
From the point of view of the training providers/institutions the EQF is seen of possible use for the
assessment of foreign students and to place them at appropriate course/education levels as well as
for the recruitment and assessment of education staff. It also seen as an instrument to develop and
market courses. The EQF also may be used as target-setting and quality assurance tool for training
providers.

From the point of view of employers in the automotive sector the EQF is seen as a helpful instru-
ment for the recruitment and assessment of (foreign or national) applicants. It is also seen as an
instrument for HR development (e.g. for the assessment of staffs’ education/competence level).
Furthermore it enables and increases permeability, transparency and comparability of qualifications
as well as it enables mobility of people.

Besides this, main impacts and benefits of the EQF are seen in the recognition of work or profes-
sional experience, in the reintegration of low-skilled people to the labour market, higher mobility of
applicants for training courses or jobs, in the reduction of costs, time and risks in recruitment, as-
sessment and training, in the possibility to target and place people correctly, in the matching of
qualifications, but also in the expansion of the product portfolio of training courses.




Page 77/80
Next to the benefits and impacts of the EQF there are also some challenges or conditions, which
need to be in place for the EQF to work:

_ The EQF should be an understandable system which is not too scientific and generally compre-
  hensible.
_ The definition of the EQF has to be practice-oriented.
_ Same tests and same standards Europe-wide have to be to secure the comparability of practical
  and theoretical qualification. On the same hand this comparability should not include the risk of
  lowering the description level or decrease the value of educations.
_ There has to be a closer Europe-wide collaboration and communication, also to manage the dif-
  ferent expectations which the countries have towards the EQF. At the present there is only little
  knowledge of the EQF. It has to be promoted and communicated how the EQF will operate and
  how it can be used. Leading industries have to function as promoters to reduce resistance from
  the industry against such a form of “regulation”.
_ There needs to be clear communication about responsibilities and quality assurance in generat-
  ing descriptions and classifications within the EQF.
_ The language barrier for the recruitment and assessment of applicants is a major issue.
_ There needs to be a possibility to acknowledge cultural or country specifics in the education
  system.
_ Concern about trusting the credibility and the standards of foreign qualifications is another im-
  portant issue to be dealt with.
_ The EQF needs to be a flexible and dynamic system, which easily can be adapted to new educa-
  tion offers as well as to rapidly moving working environments and their demands.

In France and in the UK already an NQF does exist. In the UK, where already an NQF exists, fol-
lowing points were stated which need to be in place for the EQF to work:

_ Marketing and communication of the EQF – employers’ buy-in and full understanding of the
  EQF and its benefits are key
_ Language training - if the EQF is to encourage more foreign national students it would be an
  advantage if college staff could speak other European languages, otherwise there is a need for
  interpreters. There is a need for language training for both college staff (European languages)
  and English for foreign nationals with poor English.
_ The need for a central point of access (database or website) which contains easily accessible
  information on the European qualifications systems and how they relate to the UK qualifications
  system. The information should include details of both present and previous qualifications.
_ Other European countries would have to use the EQF and have APL practice in place so that
  learners/workers can expect their qualifications and prior experience to be recognised in any
  European country.
_ Must have government/legislative seal of approval and clearly seen to be regulated and imple-
  mented by an authoritative body.
_ There needs to be trust in the referencing process and the levels of qualifications.
_ In order to use the EQF and be able to interpret qualifications it was suggested that there was a
  need for consistency in terminology.




Page 78/80
_ Again the issue of manufacturers dominating the sector was raised and the need to get manufac-
    turers to buy into the EQF as they have a significant influence over the training and qualifica-
    tions of the sector.

In France the language barrier was pointed out as main challenge for the EQF to achieve its aims.
So it was suggested to create a European label for training providers as well as enterprises, and to
create a common space for discussion to build up a training offer of European diploma for SME.




Page 79/80
9 Annex

9.1 Interview Guideline

9.2 Information leaflet for interviewees: The European Qualifications
Framework for Lifelong Learning




Page 80/80
Interview guideline

Name of interviewer:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Date/duration of the interview:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Type of survey:
o face-to-face interview
o focus group


Kind of stakeholder:
o training/educational institution
o automotive manufacturing
o automotive services


Name of interviewee/tasks/role and position in organisation/why relevant as interview partner?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Phone number/e-mail:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Name of organisation/enterprise/compartment:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Address of organisation/enterprise/compartment:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Notes:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………




Page 1/5
What’s the project about?
The project “ways to sustainability” aims to identify obstacles and favourable conditions to
introducing the European Qualification Framework (EQF) within a sector, in this case the
automotive sector. The project is supported by the European Commission under the Lifelong
Learning Programme and by funds held by the project partners

At the core of the EQF are eight reference levels based upon the achievement of learning outcomes.
These learning outcomes describe what a learner knows, understands and is able to do regardless of
where the learning was achieved. The EQF reference levels therefore shift the focus away from the
traditional approach, which emphasises learning inputs (length of a learning experience, type of
institution) to learning outcomes. It is a common European reference framework which links
countries’ qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more
readable. It has two principal aims: to promote citizens' mobility between countries and to facilitate
their lifelong learning. The EQF was formally adopted by the European Council on 14 February
2008, following its adoption in October 2007 by the European Parliament.

More information can be found at:
http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc44_en.htm




Page 2/5
Scenarios
The scenarios below show examples of how the EQF is intended to be used from the perspective of
different stakeholders. The intention is, to use the following scenarios, if required, as part of the
interview process. They aim to help the interviewee to understand how the EQF might be applied
from a number of different perspectives. The interviewer can choose from these scenarios
depending on who they are interviewing. Additionally a leaflet, providing a basic description of the
EQF, should be provided as information in advance of the interview.

Scenario 1: employee perspective
Mary has successfully completed her initial education in a VET school in the field of mechanical
engineering in country A. Mary moves to country B where she wants to continue her education at a
University. To do this she needs to acquire a University Entrance Certificate. To gain such a
certificate in country B she must complete a 2 year training programme. Because both country A
and B have implemented the EQF, the University in country B accepts the qualification gained by
Mary in Country A as a University Entrance Certificate. This is because the qualification Mary has
gained in Country A is at the same EQF level (and has similar learning outcomes) to the 2 year
training programme leading to a University Entrance Certificate in Country B.

Scenario 2: training provider perspective
Training providers need to assess, if people gain access to specific training programmes in the
automotive sector, based on their further education. If John has acquired a qualification as
“mechatronic specialist” in country A, which qualifies him for attending a higher training
programme in country A, this does not necessarily mean, that he gets entrance to such a course in
country B as well. It is difficult for the training provider to assess, if this qualification, acquired in
country A, meets the requirements of the training programme in country B.
Because of the implementation of the EQF, both the qualification gained in country A and the
training programme in country B are assigned to an EQF level. This enables the training provider to
assess, if the learning outcomes John achieved match the learning outcomes which are defined as a
necessary base for the training in country B. So the training provider is able to decide, if John is
qualified to gain access to the training or not.

Scenario 3: employer perspective – automotive (manufacturing or service) sector
John is an employer in the automotive sector and owns an automotive manufacturing company in
country A. Mary has applied for a job as design engineer in his company. Mary has successfully
completed her training as a design engineer, but in country B. Therefore normally it would be
difficult for John to assess Mary’s knowledge, skills and competence.
The EQF facilitates an assessment of Mary’s qualifications: Knowledge, skills and competences are
described as learning outcomes. These learning outcomes describe what mary knows, understands
and is able to do regardless of where she achieved her qualifications. So John doesn’t have to assess
the institution, where Mary completed her training, or the length of her learning experience.
Implementation of the EQF has made it possible for John to assess the learning outcomes Mary has
achieved in completing her training as a design engineer in Country B and whether or not these
learning outcomes fit the needs for a job as a design engineer in his company in country A.




Page 3/5
Questions
1. [After describing the relevant scenario:]
   How do you deal with an applicant (for a specific training course) from a foreign country who
   presents you with qualifications that you don’t recognize locally?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


2. How do you assess an applicant’s suitability for a jobrole/position (a training course)?
   Which methods do you use to assess an applicant’s knowledge, skills and competences?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


3. How do you think the EQF will impact on your ability to assess an applicant for a job/training
   course?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


4. How else might you use the EQF in your organization (e.g. for the whole organization, for the
   training area, for HRD, for the recruitment of people)?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


5. What benefits might you expect from being able to use the EQF in the automotive sector?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………




Page 4/5
6. What are the main challenges to using the EQF in the automotive sector/your organization?
   (What are the anticipated risks/obstacles/resistances of the implementation of the EQF?)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


7. What needs to be in place in the automotive sector for the EQF to achieve its aims:
   - to support a better match between the needs of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and
   competences) and education and training provision
   - to facilitate the validation of non-formal and informal learning
   - to facilitate the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and
   training systems
   (Important to this question: The interviewer will have to prompt and give examples here to elicit
   an informed response!)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


8. Are there any new partnerships that could develop in the automotive sector because of the EQF?
   If so, what might they be? If not, could you explain why?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


9. Is there anything else you would like to say in the context of the automotive sector and the
   implementation of the EQF?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………




Page 5/5
                               European
                               Qualifications
                               Framework




                         The european QualificaTions framework
                         for lifelong learning




http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture
The european QualificaTions framework for lifelong learning
DescripTors Defining levels in The european QualificaTions framework (eQf)



                                        KNOW L E D G E                             SKILLS                                     CO M P E T E NCE
Each of the 8 levels is defined by
                                        In the context of EQF, knowledge           In the context of EQF, skills are de-      In the context of EQF, competence is
a set of descriptors indicating the
                                        is described as theoretical and/or         scribed as cognitive (involving the        described in terms of responsibility
learning outcomes relevant to
                                        factual.                                   use of logical, intuitive and creative     and autonomy.
qualifications at that level in any
                                                                                   thinking) and practical (involving
system of qualifications.
                                                                                   manual dexterity and the use of
                                                                                   methods, materials, tools and in-
                                                                                   struments).
            The learning outcomes     >	 basic general knowledge                 >	 basic skills required to carry out      >	 work or study under direct supervi-
            relevant to Level 1 are                                                simple tasks                               sion in a structured context
  LEVEL 1




            The learning outcomes     >	 basic factual knowledge of a field of   >	 basic cognitive and practical skills    >	 work or study under supervision
            relevant to Level 2 are     work or study                              required to use relevant information       with some autonomy
  LEVEL 2




                                                                                   in order to carry out tasks and to
                                                                                   solve routine problems using simple
                                                                                   rules and tools



            The learning outcomes     >	 knowledge of facts, principles, pro-    >	 a range of cognitive and practical      >	 take responsibility for completion of
            relevant to Level 3 are     cesses and general concepts, in a          skills required to accomplish tasks        tasks in work or study
  LEVEL 3




                                        field of work or study                     and solve problems by selecting          >	 adapt own behaviour to circum-
                                                                                   and applying basic methods, tools,         stances in solving problems
                                                                                   materials and information



            The learning outcomes     >	 factual and theoretical knowledge       >	 a range of cognitive and practical      >	 exercise self-management within
            relevant to Level 4 are     in broad contexts within a field of        skills required to generate solutions       the guidelines of work or study con-
                                        work or study                              to specific problems in a field of          texts that are usually predictable,
  LEVEL 4




                                                                                   work or study                               but are subject to change
                                                                                                                            >	 supervise the routine work of
                                                                                                                               others, taking some responsibility
                                                                                                                               for the evaluation and improvement
                                                                                                                               of work or study activities
                The learning outcomes rel-   >	 comprehensive, specialised, factual                   >	 a comprehensive range of cognitive                    >	 exercise management and supervi-
                evant to Level 5 are             and theoretical knowledge within                       and practical skills required to de-                      sion in contexts of work or study
                                                 a field of work or study and an                        velop creative solutions to abstract                      activities where there is unpredict-
  LEVEL 5*
                                                 awareness of the boundaries of that                    problems                                                  able change
                                                 knowledge                                                                                                     >	 review and develop performance of
                                                                                                                                                                  self and others




                The learning outcomes rel-   >	 advanced knowledge of a field of                      >	 advanced skills, demonstrating                        >	 manage complex technical or
                evant to Level 6 are             work or study, involving a critical                    mastery and innovation, required to                       professional activities or projects,
                                                 understanding of theories and prin-                    solve complex and unpredictable                           taking responsibility for decision-
  LEVEL 6**




                                                 ciples                                                 problems in a specialised field of                        making in unpredictable work or
                                                                                                        work or study                                             study contexts
                                                                                                                                                               >	 take responsibility for managing
                                                                                                                                                                  professional development of indi-
                                                                                                                                                                  viduals and groups



                The learning outcomes rel-   >	 highly specialised knowledge, some                    >	 specialised problem-solving skills                    >	 manage and transform work or
                evant to Level 7 are            of which is at the forefront of know-                   required in research and/or in-                           study contexts that are complex,
                                                ledge in a field of work or study, as                   novation in order to develop new                          unpredictable and require new
  LEVEL 7***




                                                the basis for original thinking                         knowledge and procedures and to                           strategic approaches
                                                and/or research                                         integrate knowledge from different                     >	 take responsibility for contribut-
                                             >	 critical awareness of knowledge                         fields                                                    ing to professional knowledge and
                                                issues in a field and at the interface                                                                            practice and/or for reviewing the
                                                between different fields                                                                                          strategic performance of teams



                The learning outcomes rel-   >	 knowledge at the most advanced                        >	 the most advanced and specialised                     >	 demonstrate substantial authority,
                evant to Level 8 are             frontier of a field of work or study                   skills and techniques, including syn-                    innovation, autonomy, scholarly
                                                 and at the interface between fields                    thesis and evaluation, required to                       and professional integrity and sus-
  LEVEL 8****




                                                                                                        solve critical problems in research                      tained commitment to the develop-
                                                                                                        and/or innovation and to extend                          ment of new ideas or processes at
                                                                                                        and redefine existing knowledge or                       the forefront of work or study con-
                                                                                                        professional practice                                    texts including research




Compatibility with the Framework for         The Framework for Qualifications of the European          **   The descriptor for the first cycle in the Frame-     responds to the learning outcomes for EQF level 7.

Qualifications of the European Higher        Higher Education Area provides descriptors for cy-        work for Qualifications of the European Higher            **** The descriptor for the third cycle in the Frame-

Education Area                               cles. Each cycle descriptor offers a generic statement    Education Area agreed by the ministers responsible        work for Qualifications of the European Higher Edu-
                                             of typical expectations of achievements and abili-        for higher education at their meeting in Bergen in        cation Area agreed by the ministers responsible for
                                             ties associated with qualifications that represent the    May 2005 in the framework of the Bologna process          higher education at their meeting in Bergen in May
                                             end of that cycle.                                        corresponds to the learning outcomes for EQF level 6.     2005 in the framework of the Bologna process cor-
                                             *    The descriptor for the higher education short        *** The descriptor for the second cycle in the Frame-     responds to the learning outcomes for EQF level 8.
                                             cycle (within or linked to the first cycle), developed    work for Qualifications of the European Higher Edu-
                                             by the Joint Quality Initiative as part of the Bologna    cation Area agreed by the ministers responsible for
                                             process, corresponds to the learning outcomes for         higher education at their meeting in Bergen in May
                                             EQF level 5.                                              2005 in the framework of the Bologna process cor-
                                                                                                                                                                   NC-30-08-272-EN-D
The european QualificaTions framework for lifelong learning

What is the EQF and what are its benefits?            •	 supports	a	better	match	between	the	needs	            tions framework for Higher Education developed
The EQF is a common European reference sys-              of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and       under the Bologna Process. Specifically, the
tem which will link different countries’ national        competences) and education and training pro-          EQF descriptors at levels 5-8 refer to the higher
qualifications systems and frameworks together.          vision                                                education descriptors agreed under the Bologna
In practice, it will function as a translation de-    •	 facilitates	the	validation	of	non-formal	and	         Process. However, the formulation of the EQF
vice making qualifications more readable. This           informal learning                                     level descriptors differs from the Bologna level
will help learners and workers wishing to move        •	 facilitates	the	transfer	and	use	of	qualifications	   descriptors developed specifically for higher
between countries or change jobs or move be-             across different countries and education and          education needs because, as a lifelong learning
tween educational institutions at home.                  training systems.                                     framework the EQF also encompasses vocational
                                                      It also recognises that Europe’s education sys-          education and training (VET) and work contexts,
Who is the EQF for?                                   tems are so diverse that comparisons based on            including at the highest levels.
The primary users of the EQF will be bodies in        inputs, say length of study, are impracticable.
charge of national and/or sectoral qualification                                                               More information is available at:
systems and frameworks. Once they have related        Does the EQF award qualifications?                       ec.europa.eu/eqf
their respective systems to the EQF, the EQF will     No, the EQF describes levels of qualifications in
help individuals, employers and education and         terms of learning outcomes. The awarding of
training providers compare individual qualifica-      qualifications will remain a matter for national
tions from different countries and education and      qualifications bodies.
training systems.
                                                      What do countries have to do? What are
What levels and what types of education               the deadlines for implementation?
does the EQF cover?                                   It’s a voluntary framework, so there are no formal
As an instrument for the promotion of lifelong        legal obligations on the countries. 2010 is the
learning, the EQF encompasses general and             recommended target date for countries to relate
adult education, vocational education and train-      their qualifications systems to the EQF, 2012 for
ing as well as higher education. The eight levels     them to ensure that individual qualification cer-
cover the entire span of qualifications from those    tificates bear a reference to the appropriate EQF
achieved at the end of compulsory education to        level.
those awarded at the highest level of academic
and professional or vocational education and          What is the relationship with “Europass”?
training. Each level should in principle be attain-
able by way of a variety of education and career      Europass introduced a portfolio of documents to be
paths.                                                used by individuals to describe their qualifications
                                                      and competences. Europass does not, however,
Why does the EQF use learning out-                    compare levels of qualifications. In the future, all
comes?                                                relevant Europass documents, in particular the
The EQF uses 8 reference levels based on learning     Europass diploma supplement and the Europass
outcomes (defined in terms of knowledge, skills       certificate supplement, should contain a clear refer-       http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture
and competences). The EQF shifts the focus from       ence to the appropriate EQF level.
input (lengths of a learning experience, type of
institution) to what a person holding a particular    What is the relationship with the Bologna
                                                                                                                        European
qualification actually knows and is able to do.       process in higher education?                                      Qualifications
Shifting the focus to learning outcomes               The EQF is fully compatible with the qualifica-                   Framework

				
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