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INTERPRETING OUR EUROPEAN HERITAGE : ECVET for transparency and recognition of learning outcomes and qualification in European Tourism Sector

Tourism is a key sector of EU economy: more than 10% of GDP and 12% of labour force.Lisbon Treaty acknowledges importance of tourism outlining a specific EU competence, and following its 2010 communication on tourism, Commission has developed a rolling implementation plan to be implemented with national/regional/local public and private key actors. In the perspective of Tourism Skills and Competences Framework envisaged by Commission, interventions are needed for supporting training, to improve professional skills of tourism workers, namely for adaptation to new technologies and customer expectations, and to encourage mobility, also applying EQF, Europass, ECVET.VET systems for tourism professions show a large range of profiles and figures, often not clearly defined in terms of learning outcomes and also frequently regulated, in terms of access to training/qualification opportunities, limiting mobility among territorial VET systems, within a VET system, outside formal learning. This is also the situation for tourism professionals operating in “heritage interpretation” (EU cultural and natural heritage is a focus of 2010 communication on tourism), which is a key tool to develop qualified tourism projects and products involving EU cultural and natural heritage, for actors like tourism guides, incoming tour operators, site managers, museum managers, visitor managers and many other professionals.Thus, project partners (VET providers, enterprises and non profit associations operating in the field of tourism, and also public institutions with legislative competence on tourism and VET at national and regional level), agree that an intervention to put in transparency and recognise learning outcomes characterising the “heritage interpreter" professions, applying and implementing the European tools and frameworks EQF and ECVET, will have a very significant impact.Major activities at this aim are focused on MoU ECVET contents (definition of professional field in terms of learning outcomes, mapping it onto EQF via national qualifications frameworks, designing qualification in transferable units of learning outcomes with allocation of credit points) and on its enforcement (Learning Agreements, Credits Awarding, Transfer Validation and Accumulation, through related VET programmes with flexible devices for validation, transfer and recognition of learning outcomes achieved in formal, informal and non formal contexts), as well as on mainstreaming and multiplication of these results.It's expected that activities will enhance mobility of tourism professionals, contributing to the emergence of generally accepted qualifications and training standards.Impact on target groups is significant, during the project (at least 120 professionals involved across EU, of which 30 in Spain and 15 in each other participating country), and also after, through valorisation activities on public and private sectoral decision-makers and end-users, also at EU level.

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