Logo EU-Geschäftsstelle
EU Agency, Regional Authority Government of Cologne


Logo CCI Gabrovo
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Gabrovo, Bulgaria

Logo Burgårdens Utbildningscentrum
Burgårdens Utbildningscentrum
Gothenburg, Sweden

Logo HECI St. Etienne
Saint Louis - Sainte Barbe
St. Etienne, France

Logo The Manchester College
The Manchester College
Manchester, United Kingdom

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TRIFT – Transfer of Innovation into the Area of Foreign Trade

Within the 27 states of the European Union, there are 27 different ways to become qualified in the field of foreign trade on different levels: In Germany, the vocational training is embedded in a dual system whereas in Great Britain it is included in a system of further education for qualified merchants.
These differences are historically grown and shall not be unified. However, the system makes it difficult for trainees to spend time abroad during their vocational training since it does not become obvious what can be learned abroad and how this relates to the vocational training in the home country. Applicants in this field encounter similar problems: applying for a job in a European country which is not their home country is fairly difficult since some of the competences obtained cannot be related to the requirements of the target country. It lacks transparency and comparability within Europe.

This is where TRIFT (a Leonardo-da-Vinci-Transfer of Innovation-Project) adds. On the methodical basis of VQTS (Vocational Qualifications Transfer System), partners develop a competence matrix for the field of foreign trade which allows comparability and transparency of competence profiles of diffe­rent courses of education as well as those of single persons.
Core work tasks or competence areas will be elaborated which characterize and structure the work in the professional field of foreign trade. Usually a professional field consists of 5-25 different core work tasks or competence areas.
To each of these core work tasks/competence areas there will be assigned competence development steps. These competence development steps depict the development of competences in a certain competence area, usually from simple to more complex – they are based on each other.
Competence areas and assigned competence development steps together form a competence matrix for a certain field of work, in this case the professional field of foreign trade. Ideally, the competence matrix compasses the entire area of education from secondary to tertiary education.
Within the competence matrix, competence profiles can be developed by putting together different competences within different competence areas and on different competence development steps. Competence profiles may contain competence requirements of entire initial vocational training and further education but also competences of specific employees or requirements for employers. As the competence matrix will be developed with European partners for the professional field of foreign trade and thus just a single competence matrix will exist, these can be well understood in different countries. Transparency and comprehensibility will be increased and thereby mobility-chances of European citizen.
The competence matrix developed by the partner countries provides the advantage that so far uninvolved countries are able to use it with little effort.

The practicability of the competence matrix for the professional field of foreign trade will be tested in internships abroad in the second part of the project. It is also part of the project to develop suitable test- and assessment-procedures for the international internships in order to determine required skills and competences so that they can be approved in the home country. Moreover, certification of the internship abroad, the allocation of credit points according to the ECVET-process and the classification into the qualification frame of the partner countries are issues in the project.

This part of the project shall make the competence matrix usable for the European vocation training system: Not everyone is supposed to learn the exact same content, but everyone should have the chance to complete parts of his or her vocational training in an EU partner country. Moreover, the competences and skills acquired should be approved as part of the vocational training in the home country. Basis for this is the transparency and comparability in the competence matrix.
The acquirement and acceptance of these competences can for example be documented via the mobility certificate europass. In this respect it is helpful that the EU-agency of the regional government of Cologne is partner in a further Leonardo da Vinci transfer of innovation-project dealing with the question of mobility certification with europass: the project ECMO (ECVET meets europass mobility).


EU-Agency, Regional Authority Government of Cologne, Cologne, Germany


Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gabrovo, Bulgaria
Burgårdens Utbildningscentrum, Gothenburg, Sweden
Saint Louis - Sainte Barbe, St. Etienne, France
The Manchester College, Manchester, United Kingdom

Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

In collaboration with
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Participating colleges
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