April 26, 2017



What is ECVET?

The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training, often referred to as ECVET, is a technical framework for the transfer, recognition and (where appropriate) accumulation of individuals’ learning outcomes with a view to achieving a qualification. Guided by a European-level Recommendation, ECVET relies on the description of qualifications in units of learning outcomes, on transfer, recognition and accumulation processes and on a series of complementary documents such as a Memorandum of Understanding and Learning Agreement.

ECVET is intended to facilitate the recognition of learning outcomes in accordance with national legislation, in the framework of mobility, for the purpose of achieving a qualification.

ECVET aims to support the mobility of European citizens, facilitating lifelong learning – achieved in formal, non-formal and informal settings – and providing greater transparency in relation to individual learning experiences, making it more attractive to move between different countries and different learning environments.

At a systems level, ECVET aims towards greater compatibility between the different vocational education and training (VET) systems in place across Europe, and their qualifications.

From a geographical mobility perspective, ECVET aims at facilitating the validation, recognition and accumulation of knowledge and skills acquired during a stay in another country, with a view to ensuring that such achievements can contribute to the achievement of vocational qualifications.

Aim of ECVET

The aim of the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training is to:

  • make it easier for people to get validation and recognition of work-related skills and knowledge acquired in different systems and countries – so that they can count towards vocational qualifications
  • make it more attractive to move between different countries and learning environments
  • increase the compatibility between the different vocational education and training (VET) systems in place across Europe, and the qualifications they offer
  • increase the employability of VET graduates and the confidence of employers that each VET qualification requires specific skills and knowledge.

Why use ECVET?

ECVET brings a range of benefits to all those involved in geographical mobility and lifelong learning.

Benefits of ECVET for Geographical Mobility

While mobility in vocational education and training (VET) is already happening, the EU’s political ambition is to significantly increase the number and duration of exchanges. Developing and enhancing geographical mo­bility implies putting in place a range of support mechanisms and activities for learners including, for example, language learning, financial support . The visibility and recognition of learning achieved abroad is equally crucial for enhancing VET mobility.

  • ECVET was designed as one of a series of European instruments (others include Europass and the European Qualifications Framework) each targeting improvement in learning recognition and transparency.
  • ECVET provides a framework for the assessment, validation and recognition of learning outcomes, alongside a series of common tools and instruments able to support quality in mobility.
  • ECVET promotes the integration of mobility into existing learning pathways.
  • ECVET supports the valorisation of key competences (such as foreign language skills or intercultural competence) alongside those that are more technically – or vocationally – oriented.
  • ECVET contributes to the development of a common language for use by different VET stakeholders and promotes mutual trust within the wider VET community.
Benefits of ECVET for Lifelong Learning

In the context of economic restructuring, where certain sectors are declining whilst others have difficulties in recruiting adequately qualified staff, there is a need for a flexible workforce. Individuals are ex­pected to have both the aptitude as well as the opportunity to enable continued learning and the development of new knowledge, skills and competence. Lifelong learning and the recognition of leanring and skills aims at facilitating the transition between different jobs, com­panies or sectors, as well as the transition from unemployment or inactivity into employment. It is seen as a means of improving the match between labour market demand and supply and for supporting social inclusion.

  • ECVET is a tool that can assist lifelong learning by improving the transfer, recognition and accumulation of that which has been learned in the past, irrespective of the learning environment. It can facilitate the development of individualised and flexible lifelong learning paths enabling individual learners to gain knowledge, skills and competence, and ultimately a qualification.
  • ECVET supports a range of learners and learning scenarios including:Learners wishing to upgrade or extend their qualifications through part-time study.
    • Learners wishing to study for additional qualifications that complement or build on those already held.
    • Learners seeking qualifications for career progression.
    • Learners returning to education or training.



How does ECVET work?

ECVET relies on a series of common goals, principles and technical components that centre on the recognition of learning outcomes and achievements for European citizens undertaking vocational education and training, irrespective of the learning context, location or delivery method.

ECVET works hand in hand with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to provide greater transparency in European qualifications, promoting the mobility of workers and learners, and facilitating lifelong learning.

ECVET brings together a wide range of actors, at local, national and European levels, with a view to encouraging its wider implementation and use, particularly in learning mobility.

ECVET Toolkit

Discover the ECVET Toolkit here 


Sources: European Commission / ECVET Toolkit