Module 2 - Assessing the current situation
VET Quality Assurance (QA) approaches, practices and management may be as close to excellence as possible but, in reality, there is usually some room for improvement or scaling, on the matter of ongoing cooperation to promote VET excellence at European level .
Scale is achieved when “ The […] policy has an impact on the majority of the defined population and there are measurable improvements or outcomes that can be documented.” [In] Public Agenda (2011), Scaling Community Colleges Interventions. Cutting Edge Series. No.2. New York: Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count. New York. Available here.
Assessing the feasibility of aligning a national/regional/local quality assurance approach with EQAVET should begin with convening an implementation team, considering the need for and the inclusion of external stakeholders in the team and an understanding of your current QA approach. This should be followed by a statement of where you would like to be, i.e. your QA approach aligned with EQAVET at national/regional or VET provider level. In order to assess the degree of change you may need/wish to consider, ask yourself how EQAVET fits with your mission, values, quality assurance /improvement culture and management culture. The core issue is that you will need to adapt your current QA approach in order to implement EQAVET successfully.
However, before undertaking any action to align your current QA approach with EQAVET, it would be useful to a) assess potential strengths and opportunities as well as weaknesses and threats (SWOT analysis) (Task 1) and b) explore the alignment issues by using a “fit and gap” analysis of the fit between your approach and the EQAVET Framework (Task 2).
OUTLINING PHASE 2: OBJECTIVES, TASKS, OUTPUTS
Phase 2 of the process of aligning national/regional or VET provider QA approaches with the EQAVET Framework is outlined here. The left-hand column of the template contains general information and the right-hand columns are for you to fill with information you consider relevant to your context either at national/regional or VET provider level.
Download Table - Outline of PHASE 2
Tasks 1 and 2 offer specific guidance tools.
TASK 1 - USING A SWOT MATRIX
A SWOT session should encourage an open and informative discussion among stakeholders that will enrich the collective perception of what is at stake.
The SWOT analysis is based on the insight that we constantly recall the past and insist on anticipating the future. A SWOT may be a useful way of brainstorming the changes that will result from aligning your QA approach with EQAVET. Make sure that the reason for the “alignment exercise” are clear to all the relevant stakeholders and then build a SWOT matrix (see example below). It should be filled in in the following order: strengths (aims achieved, successes), weaknesses (failures, difficulties, bottlenecks), opportunities (trends, wishes) and threats (obstacles, resistance, unfavourable conditions).
TASK 2 - USING A “FIT & GAP” ANALYSIS
Assessing the feasibility of aligning a national/regional or local quality assurance approach with the EQAVET Framework should begin with an understanding of where you are, i.e. your current QA approach and where you want to be, i.e. aligned at national/regional/local level with EQAVET. In order to ascertain the degree of change you may need or wish to consider, ask yourself how EQAVET would fit with your mission, values, quality assurance /improvement culture and management culture. The core issue is that you will need to adapt your current QA approach in order to implement EQAVET successfully.
To facilitate a further exploration of your alignment landscape, a “Fit & Gap” analysis is suggested. The objective is to discover the matches (fits) and mismatches (gaps) between your approach and EQAVET and to identify what you may need to do to “bridge the gap" and make your alignment exercise a success. To carry out this analysis you may choose one of the following suggestions or even use a mix of all three:
- One of the ways of comparing your current QA/QI approach to the EQAVET Framework is to use the material that was prepared by the EQAVET Network (see EQAVET Building Blocks at system and at provider levels).
- If you are using an approach based on either the EFQM Excellence Model or the ISO 9001 Standard, you may wish to use the mapping tables developed by the EQAVET Network (available here: for systems and providers). View the Overview before focusing on the mapping tables.
- The two suggestions above are ways of exploring the existing matches/mismatches/gaps between your QA/QI approach and the EQAVET Framework. However, if your QA/QI approach is not based either on the EFQM Excellence Model or the ISO 9001 Standard, your alignment may need to be individualised to suit your unique setting and situation. In order to chart your own way, consider designing a mapping table such as the one illustrated here.