Issue No. 41 Summer
(August 2013)


ENS News

Word from the Secretary General

ENYGF 2013

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Welcome address to the
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Activities of the Romanian Nuclear Energy Association

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Ensuring Safety, Security and Safeguards in Nuclear Power: Opportunities and challenges of a coordinated approach

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L-3 MAPPS to Introduce MAAP5 Severe Accident Simulation on Ling Ao Phase II Simulator

ENS World News

Report: Top Down Nuclear Workforce Demand Extrapolation available from EHRO-N website

12th IAEA/FORATOM Workshop to focus on excellence in a changing environment

GENTLE promotes nuclear education, training and research

The ECVET-oriented Nuclear Job Taxonomy: a European cooperative project

WIN-Germany Award 2013

4th IGD-TP Exchange Forum

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NESTet 2013

NESTet 2013
17 - 21 November 2013 in Madrid, Spain

PIME 2014

PIME 2014
16 - 19 February 2014 in Ljubljana, Slovenia

RRFM 2014

RRFM 2014
30 March - 3 April 2014 in Ljubljana, Slovenia

ENC 2014

ENC 2014
11 - 15 May 2014 in Marseille, France






The ECVET-oriented "Nuclear Job Taxonomy": a European cooperative project

Alicia Lacal Molina
César Chenel Ramos

The European Human Resources Observatory – Nuclear (EHRO-N), through ts operating agent, the Institute for Energy and Transport (IET) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission (EC), initiated in 2011 the preparation of a so-called “nuclear job taxonomy.” This answered a request from DG RTD and DG EAC to promote the implementation of the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)1 in the nuclear sector.


The nuclear job taxonomy aims to create an inventory of the job positions typically present in a nuclear power plant (NPP) - encompassing its three life-cycle phases -  with a detailed account of the requirements needed to perform each of those jobs. Adopting  an approach in keeping with  ECVET principles, those requirements are expressed solely in terms of competence.

A catalogue of competences built up during the development of the taxonomy has reached a statge where it can be considered to be an additional separate outcome of the project.

Once completed, the taxonomy shall offer a number of potential benefits, key among which will be the creation of a reference document for the description of qualifications in terms of learning outcomes (L.O.).

As a reference document for the description of qualification of L.O, the taxonomy can guarantee the harmonization of ECVET's implementation in the nuclear field, favouring the increase of international mobility, saving costs and effort and tackling the actual human resources defficiency in this field.

The ECVET Workshops

Lacking the necessary in-house workforce and know-how and also driven by the need to provide a trans-European dimension to the project,  the IET launched, starting in October 2011, a series of technical workshops targeting experts in the area of nuclear human resources, training and education. A part of these meetings has been devoted to the dissemination of the ECVET initiative and the specifications relevant for the task.  As awareness grew, the focus gradually shifted towards technical work that consisted of the preparation of job lists and job profiles. At the same time, the design concept of the taxonomy has been revised and progressively fine-tuned.

As the project has gained visibility, its impact has grown, a fact reflected in the increasing participation in the workshops.

Figure 1: number of participants in the ECVET Workshops

Figure 1: number of participants in the ECVET Workshops

It is worth mentioning the high rate of continuity: around two thirds of the contributors to each of the first three meetings attended the following one. This gives a positive indication of the registered interest in the project, which has generated a small but committed community of participants.

In adition to the total figures, the diversity of the contributors' country and type of organisation were  necessary conditions for ensuring an adequacte outcome on an EU-wide level.  As shown in the figures below, this diversity has been reasonably well achieved.


Figure 2: Participations per type of organisation                  Figure 3: Participations per country

The outcomes

After several revisions, the work methodology for the preparation of the job profiles has been fixed as a three-step workflow, consisting of draft preparation, individual review and group review for every profile. Although the job lists are subject to continuous revision, when you consider that there are 155 positions at the moment, this means 465 tasks in total, of which around fifty per cent has been completed. Around one in nine positions has at least received  a first draft

Simultaneously to the preparation of the profiles, the concept has been discussed and revised in every workshop, leading to successive modifications of the profile template. The present model aims at providing a very concise formulation of the job requirements, which are individually marked with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)2 descriptors.  Being competence-focused  the reference to associated academic levels has recently been removed. According to the conclusions of the last workshop a more systematic terminology and categorisation shall be implemented to define the job titles.
On the other hand, the Competence Catalogue contains near 650 entries. The IET is seeking an expert partner to carry out the necessary reviewing, structuring, and enlargement.

Challenges for the future

The finalisation of the job profiles still requires an important investment of resources. The remaining tasks to be carried out are to a large extent reliant on group reviews, which are significantly time-consuming.

Regarding the sectors involved in the project, so far the presence of the scientific and educational sectors prevails: universities, training providers and research centres. It would be desirable to increase the presence of the industrial sector in the process, particularly NPP operators that will be the final users of the human resources trained under the ECVET system. Moreover, the project has been partly hindered by inadequate input relating to NPP design and construction activities, which caused the slow progress  of the new build phase.

Also a widening in the scope of the taxonomy could be undertaken sometime in the near future to incorporate nuclear activities related to fission generation  that are outside the NPP, such as regulatory bodies and research.

Finally, after the completion of the taxonomy it will be necessary to submit the results for consensus among all stakeholders that are part of the nuclear field including: nuclear authorities (TSO's), educational institutions (universities and VET providers) and industry (particularly NPP operators).

The resolution of these potential challenges could benefit the implementation of ECVET in the nuclear field and thereby help bridge the human resources gap that currently persists in Europe's nuclear industry.



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