The skills the employers need

The fitness and outdoor sectors do not sit in isolation in Europe – they part of a global sector that is dynamic and forward looking. Where once the delivery of qualifications was the exclusive territory of national vocational education and training systems, there are examples for internationally-based sectors which change not only skills needs, but also how workers can access and achieve them.

The Sector

Active Leisure is a combination of fitness and outdoor-based activities that are generally unstructured and non-competitive. They promote active, healthy lifestyles through activities, events and exercise. They are commonly provided under the direction of qualified animators or instructors so that the activities are tailored to match the abilities of the participants and meet their needs in an enjoyable and safe way.

The Project

The general objective of the call EACEA 48/2015 was to test possible procedures, mechanisms and quality criteria at European level that could be applied when:

  • relating international qualifications or international sectoral qualifications systems or frameworks to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and for awarding international qualifications that are related to the EQF;
  • relating potential European core profiles of qualifications to the EQF and for awarding qualifications forthcoming from them;
  • with the aim of creating ground for trust in the levels and procedures to support recognition of qualifications forthcoming from European core profiles of qualifications and to improve the de-facto and formal recognition of international qualifications.

These objectives have been fully met with the Relevance of International Sectorial Qualification Framework to the EQF project (SIQAF). From 08/2016 – 07/2018 a task force – composed of experts from EuropeActive, the European Confederation of Outdoor Employers (EC-OE) and external experts – looked to reform initiatives for policy innovation in the area of recognising international qualifications and frameworks in the context of the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) and the EQF. The principle of the project is to relate an international sectoral qualifications system or framework to the EQF and describing quality assurance principles, mechanisms and possible quality criteria for this and for awarding qualifications forthcoming from it.


Based on their extensive consultations with experts and national coordination points (NCPs) for the NQF, peer-discussions and -reviews, the task force identified 7 key elements for industries to consider when developing and levelling their sectoral qualifications to NQFs/EQF:

  1. Sector Identification;
  2. Sector Skills Alliance & Sector Qualification framework;
  3. Awarding Organisation;
  4. National Partner Cooperation;
  5. NCP/ NQF;
  6. VET/ HEI providers and
  7. Learners‘ achievements

The findings are summarised in the SIQAF flyer (pdf) which is accompanied by a 120-page report (pathway report). The result is not only proposing a single procedure for sectoral and international qualifications to relate to NQFs and EQFs but demonstrates a holistic approach for employer-led education and training development.

Project Details