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Dec 2012: "Transport meets Education" successfully in Bonn (DE)

(English text, Deutscher text)

On December 13 and 14 the European ProfDRV-project held its final conference „Transport meets Education“ at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut in Bonn. Two years of project work are heading for their finals. Eleven partners from eight countries, from Hungary to Canada, have examined the effects of Directive 2003/59 EC and likewise made suggestions on how to improve professional driver qualification, in order to meet the requirements of this challenging profession.

Perfectly qualified drivers are the key to more safety on European roads. At the same time, they are a main factor to ensure the success of today’s transport industry. Directive 2003/59/EC aims at fulfilling these tasks. The aim of the final conference of project ProfDRV was, to put a row of open questions concerning professional driver qualification to discussion all over Europe. About 70 guests, among them transport companies, training providers, policy makers and competent bodies had the chance, to exchange with foreign colleagues directly at the conference and receive brand new information about the status quo in Europe.

One of the outcomes of the project is that directive 2003/59/EC does not bring a common minimal level of qualification for professional drivers in Europe. Instead, the chosen approach creates a colourful portfolio of different qualification levels. Thus, one demand of the project is, to make the implementation of the directive comparable across borders by using the learning outcomes approach according to the currently Europe-wide implemented European Qualifications Framework. The project partners suggest to review the directive based on the learning outcomes approach. That means among others to define in annex one of the directive, how a driver should be able to perform after training, instead of concentrating on input-factors like the content or the duration of the trainings.

At the same time, the projects results show that there are significant deficits in quality, concerning initial and periodic training, as far as the actual progress in knowledge, skills and competences of the (future) drivers is concerned through training. This results from missing awareness and consideration of the human factor in the directives implementation – quantity instead of quality. The project partners conclude that an embedding of directive 2003/59/EC into the different national vocational education and training systems and therefore the improvement of the quality is essential, in order to make professional driver qualification improve safety on European roads and cope with the shortage of qualified drivers. The project partners propose a dialog between transport and education for this purpose.

The conference was already the starting point of this dialogue: Mrs. Ulrike Buhrke responsible for the implementation of the professional driver directive at the German Ministry of Transport, and Peter Thiele responsible for basic policy issues at the German Ministry of Education and Research talked about current questions and showed their proposals for the near future. The following speeches of the project partners and experts showed, how different the situations are in Europe. Bureaucracy, a bottleneck in training, low quality and abuse are present all over Europe, as examples showed. Almost everywhere in Europe, there is a shortage of drivers which is not totally caused by economic factors. At the final conference session, the future of professional drivers was focalised. After all, all stakeholders have the same goal: to make the job of a professional driver more attractive and ensure safety on European roads.