ATSO Vocational Testing and Certification Centre on Formal Recognition of Qualifications Project

Implemented by Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry between March 2011 and June 2013 in partnership with Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Alanya, Bodrum, Fethiye, Manavgat, Professional Hotel Managers Association and All Gastronomy Managers Association with a budget of € 227.000 the project aimed to establish a proper assessment, evaluation and certification system of informal, non-formal and formal learning compatible with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) in the food and beverage services.

As a result of the project the ATSO Vocational Test and Certification Centre (ATSOMESEM) has become the authorised certification body, accredited by the Vocational Qualifications Authority of Turkey in the designated vocational groups. The project has set up the required local structures for preparing national qualifications, preparing test questions and assessment of tests.

The EU funds have also been used for establishing the hardware and software of the Vocational Test and Certification Centre and for promoting the new mechanism and its benefits.

The project has made available national occupational standards for service personnel, service manager, bar personnel against which assessment and certification activities are carried out. Certified qualification means better jobs, wages and working conditions. The vocational qualifications system not only allows for enhancing lifelong learning but also facilitates mobility of labour in EU member states. Turkey's system is referenced to the European Qualifications Framework.

The project has addressed an important gap in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions in food and beverages sector (hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment centres). Between March 2014 and June 2017, 251 people have attended vocational qualifications certification tests and 147 candidates passed the test and received their first vocational qualifications certificate in the tourism food and beverages Sector.

Currently the Vocational Testing Centre is providing certification in five occupations in the tourism sector. Two more occupations will be added in July 2017 in the field of "coffee barista" and "chef" as a first time in Turkey.