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European Nature System: An ECVET process to put in transparency and recognise across Europe the learning outcomes and the qualifications of the professional figures in the nature-based tourism sector

The tourism represents one of the most important economic sectors in Italy and Europe, with a very significant occupational relevance. Within the tourism sector and activities, a growing importance is more and more acquired by the segment of the nature-based tourism and, more widely, of the rural tourism.The nature-based tourism and the tourism in the European rural areas, in order to satisfy the demand of services and products related to this kind of tourist fruition, offers concrete and expanding job opportunities to a large number of people, in a very large and quite diversified range of activities and qualifications across the European countries and regions (hiking guides, speleological guides, horse trials guides, environmental awareness educators, etc.), often not clearly defined in terms of learning outcomes but also frequently regulated, in terms of access to the training and qualification opportunities, in a way that in fact is limiting mobility beyond the VET systems “borders” (borders of national/regional VET systems, barriers to the mobility within a particular VET system; obstacles to mobility outside the formal education).Thus, the project partners (VET providers, enterprises and non profit associations operating in the field of nature-based tourism and also the Umbria region, having legislative competence on tourism and on VET at regional level), have agreed that an intervention to put in transparency and recognise the learning outcomes characterising the nature-based tourism professions, applying and implementing the European tools and frameworks EQF and ECVET, had a very significant impact.The major activities at this aim was focused on the MoU ECVET contents (definition of the professional field in terms of learning outcomes, mapping it onto the EQF via national qualifications frameworks and systems, designing qualifications in transferable units of learning outcomes with allocation of credit points), and on its enforcement (Learning Agreements, Credits Awarding, Transfer Validation and Accumulation, through related VET programmes with flexible devices for validation, transfer and recognition of learning outcomes achieved in formal, informal and non formal contexts), as well as on the mainstreaming and multiplication of these results.It's expected that these activities will enhance the mobility of nature-based tourism professionals, contributing to the emergence of generally accepted qualifications and training standards.The foreseeable impact of the project on the target groups is significant, during the project (at least 100 nature-based tourism professionals across Europe, of which 40 in Italy and 20 in each of the other participating country) and also after the project is finished, through valorisation activities targeted on public and sectoral decision-makers an on end-users, at local, regional, national, and European level.



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