EQA – Strong in the cooperative network

There is an increasing need for harmonized and coordinated training programs in the fields of quality, safety and crisis management in private and public institutions all over Europe. However, there has been a lack of coordinated training programs, training courses and seminar series to ensure education tailored to the specific needs of the agri-food sector. The Education and Qualification Alliance (EQA) closes this gap with its specific tasks. EQA closely collaborates with DGQ (German Society for Quality) and the EOQ (European Organization for Quality). With its international orientation, EQA is the contact partner for every question on integrated management systems in global value chains of the agri-food industry.

Investments into education that lead to new occupational fields and skills are today part of life-long learning. They are important for specialists and executive managers as well as for those responsible for feed and food security. EQA addresses everybody who carries out tasks in consumer, animal and environmental protection in enterprises and public institutions. The education and training concept of EQA supports this requirement.

The essential requirement for the success of EQA is voluntary work. Fulfilling its mission is based upon this aspect. The range of voluntary activities is broad: It starts with specialist committees and leads from advisory councils, representatives and standardization committees to the supervisory and executive board. Also, the chair(wo)man of the board carries out voluntary work. All of them share the idea that the commitment to the European cooperative pays off without remuneration. They want to make a difference, promote the cooperative actively through helping to shape it, promote topics and expand their network.

The certification committee also consists of volunteers. Together with the supervisory board it supports the EQA office in Bonn in its work. The advisory board ensures independency and acts as program-committee for the EQA accreditation and EQA certification. The functioning via open content communities is a unique feature to EQA. This framework enables an easier cooperation of experts and scientists and a decentralized coordination of initiatives. In comparison to a central management this allows a more active and smooth cooperation. In the end, this leads to practical results faster which they can then use to their own advantage. This way, all volunteers get back some of their commitment.