1.3 - EQAVET system: an EU-approved framework for quality management


EQAVET (European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET) is a framework for quality management in VET institutions comprising four common quality criteria and ten quality indicators.

This set of quality criteria and indicators, first introduced in 2009 by the European Union, is intended as a ‘toolbox’ that you can apply in your VET institution to further develop your approach to quality management while preserving the system already in place.

Why is this important for you as QM?

  • To foster a cohesive quality culture at national and European level by taking into account quality criteria that are the result of extensive research and negotiations among experts from across the European Union;
  • To increase transparency and mobility: the EQAVET recommendation creates a common reference tool that enhances exchange and trust, and thereby mobility of workers and learners;
  • To valorise permeability in a lifelong learning perspective by facilitating the recognition of prior learning, supporting more flexible learning pathways and contributing to overcoming the gap between labour market needs and labour force qualifications;
  • To make VET more attractive by ensuring mutual recognition, thereby fostering international, national and sectoral mobility and enriching the training provision.

How should I implement the action?

  • While the EQAVET recommendation is addressed specifically to Member States, the direct beneficiaries of the EQAVET framework are individual VET providers. EQAVET criteria and indicators are applicable to both initial vocational training (IVET) and continuous vocational training (CVET).
  • The aim of the recommendation is not to introduce new quality standards, but to support existing systems by providing a ‘toolbox’ from which users may choose those descriptors and indicators that they consider most relevant to the requirements of their particular quality management system. As highlighted by the EQAVET recommendation, criteria and indicators should not be used as benchmarks nor as a way to draw comparisons between the quality and efficiency of different national systems.
  • The EQAVET official website provides detailed guidelines on how to implement the EQAVET recommendation at VET-provider level along two distinct pathways:
    • How to build your own EQAVET-based quality management system
      • Building your system
      • Monitoring your system
      • Building blocks
      • Additional material
    • How to align your existing system to the EQAVET framework
      • Beginning the alignment process
      • Assessing the current situation
      • Setting out an alignment roadmap
    • Developing an alignment action plan
  • The EQAVET recommendation encourages all Member States to establish a quality management National Reference Point (NRP). The NRP, being aware of the particular structures and requirements of each Member State, should function as a link between national bodies and stakeholders and the wider EQAVET framework. Over 90% of EU countries have established a National Reference Point. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your NRP in case you need further information or assistance in the implementation of the EQAVET framework in your VET institution.

How should I know if I have made an impact thus increasing the quality of the VET provision and to which extent? :

  • If you are building your own EQAVET-based quality management system: the EQAVET network recommends the use of the four stages of the quality cycle (or PDCA cycle) to further improve and develop VET systems. As far as the monitoring of a system is concerned, the two stages that will require more attention will be evaluation (Check phase) and review (Act phase):
    • Evaluation
    • Reporting
  • If you are aligning your quality management system to the EQAVET framework: the EQAVET network provides mapping tables that help identify common elements as well as gaps between the EQAVET framework and two of the most common QM systems: the ISO 9001 Standard and the EFQM Excellence Model. 

Links & Further Reading

EQAVET official website (https://www.eqavet.eu/):

  • EQAVET overview and methodology
  • EQAVET Recommendation (2009)
  • Building your QM approach (for VET providers)
  • How to align an existing QM approach to EQAVET
  • How to devise an EQAVET-compatible QM framework for work-based learning
  • Case studies: how other countries are implementing the EQAVET framework
  • List of all registered National Reference Points for VET
Unit 1
Time - Preparatory phase:
High: (> 1 week)
Time - Regular tasks:
Medium: (every week)
Time - Length of commitment:
High: (> 1 month)
HR - Number of staff members:
Medium: (up to 50%)
HR - Commitment by staff members:
High: (> 1 month)
Economic investment:
Medium: (investment is an option)
ICT skills:
Suggested Cards: before reading the current one:
Suggested Cards: after reading the current one: