28 percent of the European working force considers tapping into foreign labour markets. In the light of the current shortage of skilled workers, this group of professionally mobile and well educated employers needs to be addressed properly.
However, despite the rising need of skilled workers from foreign countries and despite the willingness of many Europeans to actually work in a different country, many barriers are in place impeding job changes within the EU. To overcome these barriers in the long run, the EU commission filed a bill at the end of the year 2011 to modernise the recognition of professional qualifications Directive 2005/36/EG. Through transparent, quick, and reliable mechanisms of recognizing professional qualifications, professional mobility is supposed to be enhanced and the collaboration between member states on the realization of a single EU market is supposed to be strengthened.
At the heart of the proposal is the introduction of a European professional card. This professional card, which will be issued by the native country, will attest professional qualifications and the right to pursue a profession EU-wide. According to the commission, the introduction of the professional card will also lower processing times and costs for the recognition of professional qualifications. Moving professionals such as four million engineers will benefit from these developments. At this time, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers deliberate on the EU commission’s bill to modernize the professional qualifications Directive.
In 2010, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) took initiative and invited representatives of the German Federal Chamber of Engineers and of all other Engineering Associations to jointly work on the realization of a European Professional Card for engineers.
The Association of German Engineers (VDI), together with the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI), succeeded with its pioneering work: As the first European professional group, engineers can use a voluntary professional card: the engineerING card. All 32 FEANI member associations are convinced by the advantages of this card. In Germany and in the Netherlands, the engineerING card was introduced already, and many more are intensively working on its introduction.
The engineerING card serves as a proof of professional qualifications, thus facilitating application processes, not only in Germany but in the entire European Union.
Every German engineering professional that holds an engineering degree from an officially recognised German tertiary institution can apply for the engineerING card. An expert committee looks into certificates and, if desired, relevant professional experience, as well as further educational trainings and then decides whether these qualifications can be recognized. All results are compiled in a central database. All information is provided on an excerpt from the register of a cardholder and is available to the card owner at all times on the respective website. Card owners can prove all their engineering qualifications with the excerpt from the register in applications. Likewise, businesses benefit from the increased transparency and comparability amongst candidates for a vacant position.