FAQ: Applying the e-CF
Who are the e-CF target groups? What is the value of the framework?
The European e-Competence Framework was designed for use by any person or organization dealing with ICT skills and competence planning, creation and/ or development. It was initially developed by the European ICT business community; it also addresses the needs of ICT educational institutions and other European stakeholders and has a proven track record outside of Europe.
The use of the e-CF can be of value for many reasons;
- The framework is the shared and up-to-date result of a number of high-level experts engaged with competence and Human Resources development compliant with today's ICT business needs. It takes into account the varying perspectives from different European countries. The e-CF provides a representative definition of ICT competence as required in the work place and across country borders.
- It provides a common language competence definition and allows connection from one concept or product to another. For example, it can connect competence needs and qualification supply, a company's recruiting demand and an individual ICT Professional's CV specification, different (job or competence) frameworks from different companies, across regions, countries, and continents.
I would like to introduce the e-CF into my organization, and I need technical support. Who can help me?
The e-CF has been created on a technical level by a number of highly competent experts from across Europe with deep know-how in the field. A systematically established network of e-CF advising experts and consultants does not, as yet, exist. However, if a specific e-CF service is required, use of the e-CF contact sheet will initiate efforts to provide appropriate expertise.
Furthermore, a series of case studies will be published early next year, illustrating specific practical examples of e-CF use. One of these is most likely to address your perspective.
Who is using the e-CF today?
Four years after introduction, feedback from all over Europe and abroad confirms that the e-CF has started to play a vital role in ICT in Europe and that it will do so even more in the future.
A growing number of companies, trade unions, qualification & certification providers, researchers, ministries and policy makers etc. from France, Germany, Italy, Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Canada, Malta, Belgium, Russia and at EU level are routinely using the e-CF as an HR planning and development tool. Feedback and application intentions have been expressed from abroad. Some of the current users were involved in the above mentioned e-CF development and updating process, other users adopted the e-CF as an established product for use in their specific environment.
Complementarily, the European e-Competence Framework is a reference base of a number of EU project initiatives inside and outside of the CEN context; e.g. the CEN ICT Skills Workshop Projects e-CF into SME's, European ICT Professional Profiles, e-Certification in Europe, Digital Profiles for the Mediterranean area, and a number of strategic studies around e-Skills and ICT Professionalism in a long-term launched by the European Commission.
May I adapt the e-CF to my organisation features and needs? If so, may I still say that my organisationís e-competence approach is in line with Europe?
The e-CF is a flexible tool, not intended to become a straight jacket nor demanding strict compliance. It has been developed to support industry, education and all interested stakeholders and if they are able to use the e-CF more effectively by making changes to fit their needs then this is a positive outcome. It is not necessary to inform any organization about internally applied adaptions of the e-CF, however it may be useful to other e-CF users if feedback is provided on the e-CF website http://www.ecompetences.eu/ so that they may benefit from this additional experience.
Stating that an organizations approach is compliant with the e-CF in these circumstances should be qualified with a short comment that ‘some modifications to the e-CF have been employed to address organizational needs'. It is encouraged that any changes are sympathetic to the origins and structure of the e-CF.
Is the e-CF only useful for Vocational Educational and Training (VET)? If it also covers Higher Education, how is it represented and how does the e-CF relate to diplomas?
No, the e-CF is not only for VET. The e-CF covers - in principle - all ICT qualifications, training, competence and human resources development including Higher Education programs.
However, the e-CF is not a qualification framework it is a competence framework, which describes different competences at different proficiency levels from a workplace perspective. Competence in the e-CF is a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieving observable results. There is no direct relationship between e-CF competences and diplomas. Nevertheless, the e-CF can be used for reference when communicating what specific diplomas, certificates and qualifications are aiming to address. In this context the e-CF dimension 4 providing examples of knowledge and skills is especially useful.
For detailed information: User Guidelines for the application of the e-CF 2.0, chapter 2
Is the e-CF suitable for SMEs and micro enterprises?
The e-CF was developed with support from multinational enterprises however it has been tested in SME environments.
In some cases the e-CF works well for SMEs, in other cases less so. However, SMEs often use the e-CF in new and innovative ways which supports the future development of the framework. Feedback received from the application of the e-CF by SMEs and micros provides a foundation for framework updates that will inform e-CF updates and benefit all future users.
The final report of ‘Implementing eCompence Framework into ICT SMEs' project has been published mid-November 2011 as CWA 16367. Further SME specific application guidance is planned for publication in Spring 2013.
Can I use e-CF to measure and assess competences?
Yes this is one of the application possibilities of the framework. Several assessment tools have been developed up to now, for different purposes, using the e-CF as a basic reference. Development of assessment tools does not incur a license fee. The challenge here is to translate the competences into a set of assessment indicators widely accepted at European level.
Concerning e-CF based assessment, is there a common set of assessment indicators?
Not as yet. However, if a common language for ICT competence assessment is established this should also include agreement on assessment indicators that could be used by applications developed to support competence identification. The competence descriptions are written in terms of "observable results" and therefore they just need to be made explicit and shared.
If no assessment criteria exist, may I set indicators for assessment and will it be accepted by an official e-CF institution?
Assessment criteria can be established, but until shared officially, they cannot be recognized at the European level. However, such criteria could be agreed within partnerships and recognized at least by the reference network.
Does the existence of the e-CF mean that other (national) frameworks are redundant?
Absolutely not, from the outset the e-CF was developed as a European ‘umbrella structure' that enabled other regional or national ICT frameworks to readily map to it. Used in this way the e-CF can provide a translation between different ICT frameworks. However, the e-CF is also frequently used as a valuable stand-alone tool for new users who wish to relate directly to a European framework.
I am using version 1 of the e-CF how do I cope with the new versions?
There is high consciousness of the need for continuity when creating new versions of the e-CF. Competences are more generic than skills alone and within the context of the fast moving field of ICT technology; the knowledge content may require amendment to reflect latest developments. There is therefore a need for regular (2-3 year) updates. Updates consist of maintenance activities, such as word changes to clarify meanings or incorporate additional examples, borne out of experience, that are incorporated with minimum impact to adopters of earlier e-CF versions.
Where significant new framework content is required, it is added to the existing framework, for instance as a new competence. The principle adopted here is to keep deletions from the framework to the relevant minimum, even if some material may become redundant. In this way version updates, containing only new material, become more manageable as users are not forced into using the latest version but can opt to do so as required. All changes made from version 1.0 to version 2.0 can be found in the e-CF v 2.0 Annex
I would like to use the on-line profiling tool but I see it is only available in English. Will this change in the near future?
A re-launch of the tool incorporating the e-CF and European ICT Professional Profiles in at least English, German, French and Italian is planned for December 2012. If you are interested in adding another language to the tool, this will be possible. Please contact the e-CF project manager.
I disagree with a specific item in the e-CF how do I influence a change?
The feedback collection phase for technical e-CF updating work towards a version 3.0 to be published in December 2012 will take place from September 2012 to February 2013. You are encouraged to contribute. Please use the e-CF feedback from for providing your specific suggestions.