Institute equalita has developed web-based training and European qualification standards for the further training in organic food trade in the years 2002 to 2005 in the context of the project “Eco Qualify” in the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European union.
The European qualification standards
The qualification standards have been formulated by 14 partner organisations from 8 European countries. The partners concerned operate in various areas of the trade in organic food. Qualification standards have been developed for the operative level and for company management. Basic competences have also been formulated, as have the essential skills and knowledge in the areas of products, companies and the market. The proposed qualification standards provide a basis for transparent systems of evaluation and certification. They will contribute towards the mutual adaptation of various national educational measures within professional education.
Uniform qualification standards provide a basis for comparable or generally valid evaluation and certification systems. They contribute towards the mutual adaptation of professional education in the market segment organic foods. The certificates awarded in accordance with these qualification standards will be comparable throughout Europe. The professional standard of employees in special organic food stores can be supported and assessed with the help of qualification standards. Owners as well as employees of organic food shops can acquire certificates in several areas. This ensures a uniform standard for the individual staff and shops involved.
A survey on the qualification standards you will find in our download section below this article.
The e-Learning course
Furthermore in the frame of the project a transnational e-Learning course system for the organic food retail trade was developed. Using the Eco-Qualify E-learning system, the owners and employees of organic food shops can learn at their workplace or at home. Eco-Qualify offer an information, educational, communication and help centre. The user has the possibility to be regularly informed and get deeply involved in everyday issues of an organic food shop. In a virtual classroom the staff can cooperate with their colleagues from other shops and solve problems together.
The participants can make contacts with consultants and tutors. Learning units, which include theoretical texts, tasks, exercises have been developed for the following topics. For the management level: SWOT Analyses of an enterprise, development of the organic food assortment, inventory and price calculations, basics of marketing. For the operational level: basics of organic agriculture, basics of organic food processing, goods knowledge – organic oil and cheese.
During a nine month testing phase the e-learning course was checked in respectively ten enterprises of organic food retail in Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. This course at the moment is in the process of overworking for the implementation in practice and will be available afterwards for the further education in organic food retail.
Organic Retailer Association (ORA)
Organic Retailers Association - ORA - is a representative of European special organic retail trade and was founded in the frame of the Leonardo project Eco-Qualify to enable application of qualification standards. ORA creates a transnational network so as to implement the qualification standards for vocational education in organic food trade within a certification system working at a European level.
ORA, the „Organic Retailer Association“ were established in 2004 in Vienna. ORA's aim is to further develop quality and security of trade. For ORA as the international professional association of organic trade, this aim includes "gradual development of a system of standards related to product range, services, presentation, purchase, qualifications, education and social aspects".
- Institut equalita, Germany (responsible body)
- Association for Organic Food Retail BNN / Germany
- Organic Association Pro-Bio, Czech Republic
- Wholesaler Pro Natura / Poland
- Association for Organic Food Retail VNÖ / Austria
- Wholesaler AL Naturkost / Austria
- Organic Association Ekotrend / Slovakia
- Wholesaler Ökozervisz / Hungary
- Agrarian Technicum Kazdanga / Latvia
- Education Institution "Die Raupe" / Belgium
- Ökomarkt Hamburg e.V. / Germany
- University for Applied Science Hamburg / Germany
- Europe University Viadrina / Germany
- Berufsfortbildungswerk Thüringen/ Germany