Safe and interoperable rail traffic on the European rail network depends on competent staff to fulfil operational tasks in a safe and reliable manner.
The Agency, on the work field of ‘Vocational Competences’, supports the European Commission to develop a common frame of minimum requirements and procedures in regard to vocational education, competence assessment and staff certification.
Activities focus mainly on Directive 2007/59/EC which establishes a Community certification scheme for train drivers including the issuance of European train driver licences. The task of train driving plays important role to further enforce interoperable rail transport across Europe as well as to contribute to the safety of rail operation. Since 2011 the European licence is issued. The Member States need to ensure that all drivers in Europe will hold a licence from October 2018 on.
Based on the Agency recommendations the European Commission adopted a number of documents improving or supplementing the certification scheme meanwhile. These documents refer to harmonised formats for the train driving licence and the complementary certificate, to basic parameters for licence and certificate registers and to the recognition of examiner and training centres for train driver applicants.
In 2013 the Agency made an evaluation of the complete licencing system based on experiences, authorities and railway sector gathered during the first years of application. In follow up to this evaluation and on request of the Commission, the Agency developed a report on precise suggestions concerning provisions to be amended, updated, removed or added in order to improve the certification scheme. The report was submitted beginning 2016 as ‘technical advice’ to the Commission. The Commission performed in addition a legal and political evaluation in 2016 and announced decisions on the next steps for 2017.
In cooperation with the Directorate General for ‘Internal Market’ the Agency achieved in 2014 the adoption of a pilot use of IMI (Internal-Market-Information-System) for the purpose of information exchange between authorities concerning certain licence register elements. This allows NSAs to fulfil easily the requirements the Directive sets on sharing certain register information.
Requirements on staff assigned to other operational job tasks such as ‘other train crew member’ or ‘train preparation’ are part of TSI Operation and Traffic Management, applicable for cross border operation. In 2017 staff related requirements established by national rules will be subject of an in depth analysis as part of the Agency program on ‘cleaning up of national rules’. Target of this program is to analyse and evaluate all national rules that are currently applied on the railway market in regard to their compatibility to the European legal frame and principles.