skills education


SMEs in Europe: key competencies for enhanced employability

There are 21.6 million SMEs accounting the 99.8% of all European enterprises, employing 88,8million people with an added value of more than 3,5 trillion euro.

The final conference took place in Rome on the 15th October. where the following issues were discussed. 

It is highly important for SMEs to reaffirm the quality of the products, the recognition of the human factor, the consolidation of skills, through continuing training resources and effective recovery of the technological limitations.

Related to the human factor, it is necessary to support both the systemic and practical implementation of the lifelong learning instruments such as ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training), EQF (European Qualifications Framework) and EQAVET (European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training).

The SME-QUAL project started in 2012 and its aim was to improve the quality of trans-sectoral training systems for SMEs by incorporating European lifelong learning instruments regarding credit transfer and mobility for learning.

The main benefit produced by the project is the European Handbook and the network of stakeholders that are ready to use it for supporting quality of VET for SMEs across Europe and thus for boosting SMEs competitiveness.


  • Analyse the existing experiences and good practices in designing trans-sectoral qualifications for the SMEs, in units of learning outcomes and with the attribution of ECVET points, in three partner countries (BE, IT, PL) 
  • Develop the ‘European Handbook for the Learning Outcomes based Qualifications for SMEs’, which will include operational methods and guidelines for defining trans-sectoral learning outcomes based qualifications for the SMEs. 
  • Test the ‘European Handbook for the Learning Outcomes based Qualifications for SMEs’ on a qualification prototype: HR planning and recruitment expert 
  • Define and test quality standards for the ECVET implementation within trans-sectoral SMEs qualifications of the ECVET application. 


  • Effebi Association - Finance and Banking Organisation and HR Development Association (IT) (project coordinator) 
  • Scienter CID  (research, consulting and services organisation) (ES) 
  • EAPM – European Association of People Management 
  • CONFAPI – Confederazione della piccolo et media industria private (confederation of SMEs in the private sector) (IT) 
  • PAIZ Consulting (PL) 
  • IFB - Instituto de Formação Bancária (The Portuguese Bank Training Institute) (P) 
  • Eurocadres - Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff