Supporting the professional and personal development of adults is a key “profession” in the knowledge society. However broad and differentiated it may be according to the context, target learners, aims and organisational principles, trainers of adults are sufficiently different -and recognise themselves as such- from the teachers and trainers of young people.

The professional identity of Adults Trainers is a very valuable asset to implement a policy of Lifelong Learning in Europe, as is stated in the policies document and research reports (ETUC, UNICe, CEEP “Framework of actions for the life long learning development of competence and qualification”, 2002, Euridyce “ National action to implement Life long Learning in Europe, 2001, Structure of education, vocational training and adult education system in Europe, 2007, Niace Final report for Study on Adult Education Providers, 2006 Adult education trends and issues in Europe, 2006, The Helsinki Comuniqué, 2006).

Several Member States have recognised the specificity of Adults Trainers and have established -mostly by initiative of professional associations- qualification frameworks and professional certificates. However, mobility of trainers, and recognition of trainers’ qualifications is constrained by the lack of a common -and consensus based- authentically European qualification and competence framework.

While the European Qualification Framework is proposed as a “translator” among national qualifications, adults trainers, who have a key role to utilize, explain and evaluate such a device, have no common reference scheme to define their qualification and competency profile. This is an obstacle to mobility and recognition not only at trans-national level within Europe but also at the trans-sectoral level within the same country (e.g. from corporate training to the continuing training department of a University, or from adult education centres to re-conversion of over-45 unemployed workers).

In addition to this, the use of ICT in work and learning is creating new challenges and new opportunities to adult learners and their trainers, that require a serious review of existing qualifications, when they exist at national level. Finally it must not be forgotten than most EU countries have no qualification framework of trainers. The decision to start the development of a competence framework in the Financial Services Sector comes from the large experience that it has in terms of vocational training and certification processes.

The FSS (banking, insurance, investment) is a € 55 trillion capitalised industry, with more than € 17 trillion in the EU. The sector is critical to the well being of Europe’s economy, generating considerable foreign income and ensuring efficient use of resources. The national FSS reflect their very different histories in their national institutional set-ups, legislation and regulatory frameworks, cultures and education/VET systems.

On that sense, the FSS has detected the need to invest resources on human capital by teaching, training, coaching, and mentoring their employees. It goes without saying that the competence system prototype developed in QUADULTRAINERS will be designed to be immediately transferable in other learning sectors and “territories” throughout Europe.