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Linking learning outcomes of qualifications with ESCO skills

In response to the evolving demands of the labor market, the European Commission initiated a pilot project aimed at bridging the gap between between education and employment while exploring the potential of Machine Learning technologies to connect learning outcomes with the ESCO skills framework. From its start in 2019 to its latest phase in 2022-2023, this project showcases the power of automation and human collaboration to foster transparency in education, training, and employment pathways across diverse EU languages and qualifications levels.



  • 1 First pilot project 
  • 2 Second pilot project 
  • 3 Third pilot project 
  • 4 Future Prospects


1 First pilot project 

Following the conclusion of the Qualifications Pillar Study, the European Commission conducted a pilot project in 2019 to test how Machine Learning technologies could support the automated linking of learning outcomes of qualifications with ESCO skills. The pilot was carried out in different EU languages to showcase the potential of ESCO in bridging the labour market and the world of education and training.

Five Member States participated in the project (Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovenia), and tested an approach combining automation and human intervention on qualifications from different EQF (European Qualifications Framework) levels and covering both higher education and VET (Vocational Education and Training).

For the purpose of the project, the Commission developed an IT tool based on Natural Language Processing that provides automatic suggestions of ESCO skills against the learning outcomes of selected qualifications, in different EU languages.

Read more here.


2 Second pilot project 

A second phase of the pilot project took place in 2020 with the participation of 9 EU Member States (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the Netherlands), the European Training Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank. In total, participants worked on 241 qualifications from different EQF levels covering both higher education and VET, in 9 European languages. 

Read more here.


3 Third pilot project 

In this latest phase, the project aimed to refine and expand the capabilities of the automated linking tool. It involved an examination of 1038 qualifications, spanning various European Qualifications Framework (EQF) levels and EU languages. In the third phase of the pilot project, a total of 20 Member States and organisations participated: 7 EU Member States (Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden), 7 Training providers (Riga Stradins University, Hellenic American Union, University of Deusto, Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna, University of Lusofona, Polytechnic of Milan, TU Dresden), 4 Private companies (Employchain, Hurrah, Nxus, Monster), one Third-country organization (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and one EU agency (European Training Foundation).
Key objectives of this phase included gathering verified data on the connections between qualifications' learning outcomes and ESCO skills, enhancing the underlying technology supporting automated linking, and assessing the tool's performance in diverse EU languages.

Read more here.


4 Future Prospects

As the project continues to develop, the European Commission envisions a future where the ESCO Skills Taxonomy becomes an even more powerful tool for fostering transparency in education and training. Therefore, the Commission is actively working to create an open version of the linking tool, available to all ESCO stakeholders. This open tool will allow users to link qualifications to ESCO skills efficiently and without the need for user authentication.
The path of linking the learning outcomes of qualifications with ESCO skills is a transformative endeavor with far-reaching implications. It embodies a vision of a more transparent, skills-driven future where education and careers align, enabling individuals to reach their full potential in a dynamic and ever-changing job market.