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ECOL signs mutual recognition with British Columbia – agreement means licences are interchangeable

July 15, 2020:

Crane operators holding a European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) will be able to work in British Columbia, Canada – and vice versa – without undertaking additional training following the conclusion of a ground-breaking agreement last week.

ESTA’s ECOL scheme has signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety (BCACS). The move followed a meeting of the ECOL Expert Committee in May. The meeting – held electronically due to COVID-19 – agreed to an alignment of standards between ECOL and the BCACS. The two sides then signed a formal MRA, a process that was completed on July 8.

The agreement means that an ECOL licence and a BCACS licence will be interchangeable and operators holding them will be able to work in both territories.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “This shows the growing international interest in ECOL. Agreements like this will enhance crane operator training on a worldwide level. ECOL can improve both safety and employment flexibility, allowing good operators to work wherever they are needed – something that will be a significant plus, especially for the big international operating companies.”

ECOL supporters hope that the BCACS agreement will eventually lead to similar deals being struck with the rest of Canada.

“This is truly a landmark agreement which demonstrates our mutual commitment to the highest professional crane operator safety standards,” said Fraser Cocks, Executive Director of BCACS.

“Through our partnership we have made a world-class quality crane operator certification system and this work is only the beginning. We look forward to deepening our ties with ECOL while bringing the benefits of this MRA to the rest of Canada.”

The BCACS agreement is the second MRA that ECOL has agreed, and the first outside Europe. ECOL’s first MRA was signed with the Netherlands late last year, and the organization hopes to have further MRAs in place in the near future.

ECOL’s first MRA was signed with the Netherlands late last year, and the organization hopes to have a further MRAs in place in the near future.

Support grows for ECOL in Germany

April 30, 2020: Crane & Logistics Partner has been certified as the first German-based examination institute for ESTA’s new European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL).
The company, based in the town of Rheine in north-west Germany, passed the ECOL audit carried out at the end of March by Lloyd’s Register, the body tasked with overseeing standards.
Company founder Marcus Wübbelmann, a former crane and logistics expert for GE Energy, said that he and his colleagues were “super proud” at the news.

“The team has done a tremendous job to prepare the infrastructure and processes to be able to pass the audit.”

He added: “I believe that ECOL will both improve safety and lead to a stronger and more efficient industry. Better education is vital especially when one considers the increasing level of complexity of both projects and equipment.”
Immediately following certification – and before the lockdown – the first three examinations in the German language were performed by C&LP at Liebherr’s training facility.

Liebherr receives final ECOL approval

April 1, 2020. Liebherr has completed the process of becoming an approved European Crane Operators Licence training centre and has already carried out its first three German language ECOL examinations in Ehingen at the Liebherr Schulungszentrum.

The company received its ECOL Certificate last month following final approval from Lloyds Register, the body tasked with overseeing standards. The current certificate is valid until March 2023.Liebherr has long been a strong supporter of ESTA’s ECOL project and agreed to align its training systems with ECOL’s approach last year.

As a result, any operator that passes the aligned Liebherr training examinations will also be eligible to receive an ECOL licence – provided the operator registers with ECOL and the organisation’s SkillRecord system that logs his or her experience.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “On behalf of the ECOL Supervisory Board, we congratulate Liebherr on this result and we wish them and the Liebherr Schulungszentrum many successful ECOL training sessions and certified operators in the future.”

New EU directive shows urgent need for ECOL

February 10, 2020. Support for ESTA’s new European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) could be given added impetus by a new directive from the European Union.

The directive – EU2018/958 – says that “national rules organising access to regulated professions” should not be used to deny work to qualified professionals from other EU member states.

It comes into force on July 30 this year and includes crane operators within its scope. As a result, any crane operator with a licence recognised by their national authority will be able to work anywhere in the EU.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said that ESTA supported the policy of free movement, but the directive raises issues for the crane industry and its clients due to the huge variance in operator training standards between different countries within the European Union..

“In many countries the training is of an excellent standard. But, to be blunt, in others you can get an official operators licence with very little training at all. We knew that this directive was in the pipeline, and was one of the reasons why ESTA started to develop ECOL.”

Big boost as ECOL receives EQF approval

December 6, 2019. 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.”