Sectoral Qualifications Framework: Telecommunications

TelecommunicationsEfficient, state-of-the-art, generally accessible telecommunication systems are required for purposes of all social and economic development. Professional staff determine the quality of all telecommunication systems and services. The Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Telecommunications (SQF Tele) is to assist in the process of creating modern, transparent, and comparable forms of education, validation, and qualifications certification in the telecommunications sector.

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“Telecommunications remains one of the fastest-developing social and economic sectors. The vibrancy of speed and scope of changes impacting the technological infrastructure and consumer services alike compels companies to seek employees with ever newer and more complex qualifications. More and more frequently, specialists with extensive technological knowledge and, more importantly, with specific practical skills are sought for,“ explains Piotr Zychowicz, president of the Association of Telecommunication Builders (Stowarzyszenie Budowniczych Telekomunikacji, SBT), the organisation responsible for drafting the Sectoral Qualifications Framework. “The framework is but the beginning – it is only a layout, a way in which qualifications can be potentially described”, the expert adds. Companies find it vital for the Integrated Qualifications System and the Integrated Qualifications Register to be up and running.

“When designing the Framework, we outlined two telecommunication-related areas; the infrastructure, and the (end-user) services and appliances,” declares Adam Siewicz, the project’s programme manager. The former concerns the process of designing and developing telecommunication facilities, including processes of product application, as well as grid, installation, and system assembly and testing, and telecommunication facilities maintenance and management. The latter comprises sales, services provision and management, as well as the production, assembly, installation, start-up, testing, maintenance, and servicing of (end user) telecommunication appliances.

“These are extensive fields, as they include the design of fixed and mobile telecommunication networks, including internet access services (e.g. Browse (text, media), Download file, Transactions, Screaming media, VoIP, Gaming), from design and development through to telecommunication network and service delivery and end user appliance purchases (such as a traditional telephone unit, a mobile phone, a computer, a tablet, an iPad, etc.) by private individuals,” Adam Siewicz – Project Manager, Member of SBT - explains.

SQF Tele is a sectoral extension of a Polish Qualifications Framework. Four sectoral framework levels have been outlined for the infrastructure: Three through Seven, with three (Three through Six) defined for end user appliances.

SQF Tele level characteristics are descriptions of learning effects (by knowledge, skills, and social competencies) typical for the telecommunication sector.

In their sector-dedicated brochure, ”The Sectoral Qualifications Framework Project for the Telecommunications Sector in Poland – SQF Tele”, the SBT lists sample professional qualifications included in the SQF Tele project:

  • SQF Level 3 qualification:
    – Telecommunication Network Assembly and Repair Certificate – (sample position) installations specialist
    – End User Appliance Servicing and Repair Management Certificate – (sample position) technician

  • SQF Level 4 qualification:
    – Telecommunication Network Development Supervision Certificate – (sample position) installations specialist/foreman/shop stewardt
    – Customer Services Certificate – (sample position) salesperson/consultant

  • SQF Level 5 qualification:
    – Technical Documentation Handling and Supervision Certificate – (sample position) independent specialistt
    – Sales and Logistics Management Certificate – (sample position) sales representative

  • SQF Level 6 qualification:
    – Telecommunications Development Project Management and Supervision Certificate – (sample position) project engineert
    – Corporate Services and Sales Management Certificate – (sample position) sales manager

  • SQF Level 7 qualification:
    – Telecommunications Investment Project Management and Supervision Telecommunications Development Certificate – (sample position) contract manager

“The SQF Tele structure is hierarchical; this means that each subsequent (higher) level involves a respective increase in requirements (more in-depth knowledge, a more extensive array of skills, more propensity to assume more complex and responsible professional positions) indispensable for specific occupations. Such structure allows a future design of a SQF Tele qualifications map, to the purpose of assigning the already-existent and newly formed qualifications to respective levels, and of notifying them to the Integrated Qualifications Register at the end of the day,” Adam Siewicz explains.

The Framework targets individuals representing the telecommunications sector, i.e. representatives of educational and learning institutions, administrative agencies, non-governmental organisations (associations, chambers), telecommunication operators, service, production, and contractor companies, as well as certifying, validating, and training institutions and entities drafting educational and training curricula.

SQF Tele authors hope that the Framework will in the future allow a match between staff educational and training curricula and labour market needs in the telecommunications field.“A standardised tool, the Framework will enable quality assessment for non-formal education, including that offered by private commercial companies,” Adam Siewicz adds. A professional certificates system and certificates reflecting levels outline by SQF Tele will make it easier for businesses to access transparent information on skills and competencies represented by applicant candidates. Furthermore, the expert emphasises that Framework application will assist training companies in confirming the guaranteed quality of their competencies – while individuals aspiring to new competencies and qualifications will be provided with easier access to SQF Tele-contained relevant information.

In designing the sectoral framework, the Association of Telecommunication Builders co-operated with a variety of experts, scientists, companies, and institutions. These included i.a. ELMAT sp. z o.o.; the Lewiatan Confederation; Netia SA; the Warsaw University of Technology; the Łódź University
of Technology – institution of higher learning; Polkomtel sp. z o.o.; Technitel Polska S.A. (Technitel Group); Teraport Telekom sp. z o.o.; the Office of Electronic Communications; and URS sp. z o.o.


The fundamental purpose of drafting the Sectoral Qualifications Framework for Telecommunications is that of providing the telecommunications sector with a standardised tool, enabling the sector to:
  1. Draft a qualifications map for the telecommunications sector,
  2. Draft training and validation programmes,
  3. Define detailed requirements for the certification process,
  4. Identify competencies of job applicants,
  5. Make appropriate career-development decisions (from the viewpoint of employees and/or other individuals interested in a telecommunications-related career),
  6. Develop professional mobility for sectoral staff.

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