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Testing a European Competency Framework for VET in Collections Management

Natural history collections are used by a wide variety of disciplines, including global climate change, biodiversity conservation, agriculture, forensics and drug development companies. They are a resource for the understanding of global biodiversity and education. These collections must be easily accessible both today and well into the future to facilitate research. The requirements to manage collections are almost identical, but there is a widely varying application of best practice in their care, conservation and management across Europe. This project is addressing these issues by applying the competency framework principle use d in business sectors to the European museum community. It has translated and modified the framework developed by the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) and has created a set of universal competencies to be applied across the EU to help organisations to a) identify the competencies required for particular roles; b) identify individuals’ levels of competence and; c) identify the vocational and educational training (VET) needed to address missing /weak competencies. Four of the largest natural history museums (NHMs) in Europe have tested the framework transfer and helped to facilitate the broader transfer of the competencies. NHMs in four additional EU states assisted in the transnational transfer. One partner has developed a VET curriculum linking cometencies to available learning opportunities. Other internationally recognised non-museum partners have investigated and reported on how the framework and curriculum could relate to ECVET and the European Qualification Framework. Two partners and an external evaluator were responsible for evaluating the project and maximising its effectiveness. This ToI has delivered: (1) a set of multi-language competencies that can be tailored to suit museums of varying size, focus, culture and governance; (2) a learning survey and report identifying existing training and potential gaps; (3) a web-accessible set of multi-language competencies and targeted training to assist organisations in applying them in their own work place; (4) a curriculum to enable institutions to establish clear roadmaps for the development of VET for their staff. The main impact will be the raising and making consistent the competence of collections management staff across Europe through targeted VET, ensuring the long term accessibility of Europe's scientific and cultural heritage.
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