Big boost as ECOL receives EQF approval

ESTA’s European Crane Operators Licence project received another big boost this week with the news that ECOL has been approved by the European Qualifications Framework.

Earlier this year, ESTA applied to have the ECOL operator certificate registered and recognised by the Dutch NLQF qualifications framework. Through the NLQF it would be aligned with the EQF across Europe.

This week the NLQF agency confirmed that the EQF Assessment Committee has approved the EQF qualification of the ECOL standard for the level of EQF 3.

This means that ECOL is now an officially recognised European training standard for mobile crane operators and ECOL will have the right to add the EQF logo to its certificates.

ESTA Director and ECOL Chairman Ton Klijn said: “This is very good news indeed and a marvellous early Christmas present for all ECOL supporters. Official EQF backing is further evidence of the professionalism and high standards underpinning this project.”

Sarens – the Belgium-based international heavy lift and transportation company – is the latest organisation to complete the process of becoming an approved European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) training centre and is expected to start its first ECOL courses shortly.

The company’s training centre in Wolvertem, Belgium, received its ECOL Certificate at the end of last year following final approval from Lloyds Register, the body tasked with overseeing standards.

Ton Klijn, ESTA Director and Chair of the ECOL Supervisory Board, said: “The ECOL Supervisory Board congratulates Sarens and we wish them many successful ECOL training sessions and certified operators in the future.”

Sarens is the fourth ECOL training centre to be approved after Mammoet in the Netherlands, EUC Lillebælt in Denmark and Liebherr in Germany.

Three more companies have so far announced their intention to set up ECOL training centres – Aertssen and Michielsens in Belgium and Manitowoc in Germany. In addition, the German Genosk organisation is taking steps to qualify their IHK apprentice training scheme under ECOL.

In a further development, the online examination system for ESTA’s ECOL project is now up and running in three languages – English, Dutch and Danish – and work is underway on German and Spanish versions.

Talks are also ongoing about signing Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) between ECOL and relevant organisations in Spain, Germany and the UK. So far two MRAs have been agreed, with TCVT from the Netherlands and BCACS from British Columbia, Canada.

To date, ECOL has carried out 19 examination sessions in four different languages. A total of 38 operators have been certified. They were examined in three different countries.