ESCO – the European OFO

The EU has launched ESCO V1.

This is the first full version of the European classification of Skills, Competences, Occupations and Qualifications (ESCO).

It identifies and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the EU labour market and related education and training. It systematically shows the relationships between the different aspects.

This what we (Dept. of Labour Task Team) envisaged the OFO could become when we started developing it in 2005/6. We were ahead of the curve then. We were sharply criticised at the time for trying to create an alternative NQF (i.e. an alternative to the NSBs and learning fields).

The EU tool shows what  rigorous development can achieve. ESCO is  based on ISCO ’88, as was the OFO from version 2010 onwards. It seems to have been developed at unit group level (4 digits) rather than at occupational level (6 digits). So each group contains quite lengthy lists of related occupations and specialisations

What seems to be really well done is how the skills, competencies, knowledge etc have been cross- referenced across occupations and how it deals with transversal skills.

For those who are interested in skills development this is an immense source of information. The should speed up the development of occupational qualifications –  Qualification Development Facilitators and working groups can use this as one of the starting points.