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Qualifications pillar

The qualifications pillar is one of the three pillars of ESCO.


  • 1 Qualifications included in the qualifications pillar
  • 2 Metadata of qualifications in Europass
  • 3 Relationship with the skills pillar of ESCO
  • 4 Relationship with the occupation pillar of ESCO


Qualifications included in the qualifications pillar

Information on qualifications at European level is now displayed in Europass, and comes from databases of national qualifications reflecting the National Qualifications Frameworks that are owned and managed by the EU Member States. Europass offers the most up to date and rich repository of high quality data on qualifications, national qualification frameworks and learning opportunities in Europe, helping learners to find a course in another country and employers to grasp the value of a qualification from a different EU Member State

Metadata of qualifications in Europass

The qualifications pillar supports the understanding of the individual qualifications needed by employers, public and private employment services, learners, workers, jobseekers, education and training providers and other actors. This information should be as complete and transparent as possible to meet the information needs of these stakeholders. Therefore, only qualifications data which includes the following core information are displayed in Europass, based on Annex VI of the EQF Recommendation:

Information on other fields can also be provided, such as credit points, internal quality assurance process, link to qualification supplement, entry requirements, etc.

Member States and other stakeholders wishing to publish information on their qualifications in ESCO need to structure their data according to the qualifications metadata schema developed for this purpose and upload it in the qualifications dataset register (QDR).

Relationship with the skills pillar of ESCO

A labour market terminology that can help understanding which occupations and skills are related to a particular qualification allows learners, job seekers and employers to best use this information: ESCO fills this need by providing an updated, evidence – based and multilingual skills and occupation vocabulary

Since the publication of ESCO v1.0, organisations providing data on qualifications can link learning outcomes of qualifications with ESCO terminology. To this end, they identify knowledgeskill and competence concepts in the skills pillar of ESCO that are relevant in the context of the learning outcome description of a qualification. In 2019 and in 2020, the European Commission conducted a pilot project with the Member States in order to test automated linking of learning outcomes of qualifications with ESCO skills in different languages and developed a dedicated IT tool to support national authorities in this exercise. The project demonstrated the value of using the ESCO skills thesaurus to provide transparency of qualifications and better quality of data on individual learning outcomes. A second phase of the pilot took place in the second half of 2020.

Relationship with the occupation pillar of ESCO

Relationships between qualifications and the occupations pillar of ESCO are only displayed, if they already exist at the national level. Member States are not developing such data for ESCO. The relationship can indicate e.g. if a qualification is a requirement in order to perform an occupation in the specific Member State.