Summary

The WAVE project has created a database of current occupational competencies and skills across the European aquaculture industry. The Master List of WAVE competencies is based on existing practices in aquaculture across Europe, which allows comparisons to be made between countries, techniques and methods.

The WAVE Master List, after being translated into the 10 important languages for European aquaculture, was taken to farms throughout the length and breadth of Europe (10 countries surveyed) in order to verify its comprehensiveness and authenticity.

By means of specially designed questionnaires directed towards different parts of the workforce, the WAVE partners have been able to examine the needs of workers, managers and employers and uncover gaps and/or omissions in the Master List. These painstaking procedures were carried out as part of the project's "bottom-up' approach. The data thus generated are now being used to develop a tool or protocol for measuring and recognising experience in the workforce, which can provide a benchmark for work performance.

The WAVE Master Competency List is in the process of evaluation by various stakeholders including industry associations and education providers. It is anticipated that it will soon be agreed and accepted by education providers and the industry working together with a full range of different types of farms throughout Europe.

  • The competencies provide statements on skills and knowledge required to work in a variety of fish farming environments.
  • They recognise regional/state variations in work practices and variations across the species being farmed.
  • They cover the key activities undertaken within the occupation under all the circumstances the job holder is likely to encounter.
  • They define the competencies in the form of statements of performance and knowledge required to verify competence.

A necessary preliminary task was a survey of the scope and content of vocational training in aquaculture within each partner country. The project has also created the present WAVE website, one feature of which is an interactive database (restricted access) which constitutes a major tool in its data collection. The preliminary Work Experience Validation Protocol is now being circulated to industry leaders, vocational training organisations and accreditation bodies to ensure its acceptability at all levels and its possible incorporation into national qualifications frameworks at the appropriate level (possibly the revised EUROPASS).

One of the project's aims is to explore the acceptability of the WAVE protocol as a validation procedure useful for assessing recognised VET skills and competencies, as well as its potential role in assessing a range of non-formal and informal prior learning experiences.