TALQ Transparency in Arts Levels and Qualification: a research based on ESCO

The TALQ project was carried out between mid-2016 and December 2017. TALQ - Transparency in Arts Levels and Qualification, is a project supported under Erasmus Plus programme Key Action 3: Support for Policy Reform, Support to European Policy Tools.

The TALQ project researched the possibilities to develop a Europe wide qualification within the existing legal framework, the existing transparency tools and the existing education systems. Starting from the ESCO tool, TALQ took into account a concrete case in order to identify possible paths as well as gaps and limitations in the system.

Concretely, TALQ proposed and developed a research activity to map national qualifications and certificates to ESCO-based international profiles. This allowed to establish a first basis to identify and test possible procedures, approaches and quality criteria shared and applicable at European level. In addition, the project was developed according to European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

ESCO links skills, competences, qualifications and occupations. In the context of the project the three occupations lighting technician, lighting operator, lighting designer were used as a basis to test the potential for a European qualification.

A key principle is transparency. If a qualification needs to be accepted by different countries, it must be clear what it exactly means, also in order to reach a mutual understanding. To be able to write an understandable qualification, a common language is needed too. This underlines the role of ESCO as it is a framework to which all countries can relate, provided it is up-to-date and in line with the sector’s realities. Two other principles used to establish a European qualification are trust and freedom. Trust means that the person holding the qualification masters the competences described in the qualification. The third principle means that the EU qualification leaves enough freedom to adapt to the different education systems and traditions and that the content is flexible enough to adapt to local needs and labour traditions.

In other words, the ESCO profiles form the basis and minimum requirement for the learning outcomes described in the European Qualification. The TALQ project took the information available in ESCO further, by endorsing a sectoral level in order to customize competences to specific sectoral profiles. In doing so it kept the original competences intact and transversal, but provided enough detail to make an accurate comparison ensuring transparency, better clarifying competences knowledge and suggesting feasible assessment strategies to establish a European Qualification.

The concrete solution of TALQ presented in the report concerns the proposal to split education programs into a package of essential competences ideally forming the 70% of the qualification and providing the possibility for the education or assessment providers to choose 30 % variable competences to complete the profile.

ESCO forms an ideal basis for sectors in which people regularly work in different countries and who need to be able to demonstrate the relevant skills, competences and qualifications to execute their job and task.