The Eco-Qualify Initiative
Dissemination and implementation of a quality assurance system for further education in organic retail trade in Europe.
The Institute equalita continued his activities for quality assurance in organic food retailing with the project Eco-Qualify II. The objective of this Innovation Transfer Project was to expand the qualification standards, developed in the former project Eco-Qualify, to a comprehensive European quality assurance system for the further education in organic foods trade and to transfer it into the participating partner countries Austria , Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Germany. The project was carried out in the framework of the program "Lifelong Learning - Leonardo da Vinci" of the European Union and was approved as one of 30 projects from 86 proposals for promotions.
In January 2011 Eco-Qualify II is selected from all ‘Lifelong Learning Projects’ that focused on quality assurance in vocational education & training (VET) and adult education (AE) carried out in the years 2003 - 2009 as good practice project by experts of the European thematic network QALLL (“Quality Assurance in LifeLong Learning with a Focus on Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education”).
The vocational training and further education of managers and employees in the organic food retail market is characterized by a multitude of offers and actions on different levels and from different organisation, for which there are currently no quality assurance measures or systems.
The objective of this Innovation Transfer Project was to upgrade the qualification standards developed in the Leonardo da Vinci project "Eco-Qualify I” to a comprehensive European quality assurance system for the further education in organic foods trade and to transfer it to the participating partner countries of Austria, Italy, Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Germany. This is to ensure that the further education measures in the various states of the European Union will be carried out at the same high level of quality. A comprehensive system of quality assurance and certification with internationally comparable criteria as an obligatory and controllable framework shall be installed.
Target groups and users are providers of qualification and training, professional associations, businesses, entrepreneurs and employees and other stakeholders in the vocational training of this branch.
Results and products are a European and national quality assurance systems for further education in the organic food retailing with certification guidelines and accreditation regulations, license agreement on the award of certificates and prototypes of a quality manual. Training institutions and stakeholders of professional education in the participating countries learn to know the quality assurance system and to implement it in their daily training and education practice.
Dissemination activities will start with information events at the international organic trade fair BioFach, in the year 2008 for introducing the project, in the year 2009 for presenting the first results. At the end of the project an international conference at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in June 2009 is planned. The university will organize an international exchange of scientists and practitioners from business and vocational training with forums, workshops and working groups on key issues and aspects of quality assurance in further education.
Further dissemination activities will be prepared and implemented after the transfer phase by the participating national associations and organisations, e.g. PR and public relations, information measures to possible participants, direct addressing to provider of educational activities, other stakeholders in vocational education, multipliers, etc..
The valorisation of the quality assurance system will be lead by the European Association Organic Retailer Association (ORA) and the national associations. ORA will supervise the design and control of the system and promote the adaptation into national systems. The implementation at the national level is the task of the national associations and organisations, which represent the business, or the authorized organs.
The partner organisations are Associazione Terre dell'Adriatico (IT), Ökomarkt consumer and agricultural consultancy e.V. (DE), ŽIVÝ VENKOV o.s. (CZ), Business Coaching Partners Lt. (AT), SPES-Akademie (AT), Groenhorst-College (NL), the European Organic Retailers Association ORA (AT) and as responsible organisation Institute equalita (DE). They all have a long experience of European cooperation because of numerous projects to be included in the various EU programs and other cooperative relationships have carried, and were z.T. Already on the project "Eco-Qualify."