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What does CECRA mean?

This is CECRA

The availability of competency development programmes for advisors and consultants in rural areas varies between and within countries. Those that are available often focus on knowledge rather than skills development. Under the umbrella of the IALB (International Academy for Rural Extension), standards were compiled over a four-year project phase (2009 – 2012) for a qualification and competence development program for consultants in rural areas, concluding with the CECRA (= Certificate for European Consultants in Rural Areas) Certificate. CECRA combines a seminar series consisting of various modules with familiarization with rural advisory work in other regions and structures, and offers cross-border networking opportunities for the Certificate holder. The competency development program can be concluded with a basic certificate “CECRA Basics” and/or after fulfilment of all requirements with “CECRA Certificate”.

Focus and Target Groups

Because this training program is geared to developing methodological, social and personal advisory skills, it is suitable for all advisors working in rural areas, regardless of their advisory priorities. Hence, in addition to its focus on advisors for agricultural and household extension services, the CECRA competence development program is relevant for additional actors in the rural area, such as e.g. regional managers or leader-managers.

The Benefit of CECRA for Advisors in the Rural Areas of Europe

For Certificate holders:

  • You acquire methodological, communicative, social and personal development knowledge and skills corresponding to the requirements of your position in the rural advisory sector.
  • You gain experience with a strong practical orientation through participant-centred seminar work, and with extensive documentation of and reflection on advisory, educational and project work.
  • You learn how to independently plan, execute, document, reflect on and evaluate individual and group advisory processes, educational events, and projects.
  • You reflect on your professional activity in various advisory roles as well as on your personal profile, and continue to evolve in both.
  • You get to know like-minded colleagues as well as different advisory and educational bodies in other countries, and forge links with a functional cross-border network.
  • You earn a certificate providing cross-border confirmation of the relevant advisory skills according to IALB standards.

For employers:

  • Advanced personal and methodological skills of the advisor enhances the efficacy/effectiveness of rural extension.
  • Employers have staff with broader horizons due to expereince exchange and a broad European network.
  • Employers are able inter alia to provide evidence to clients supervisory authorities or funders that they are using qualified staff.
  • An internationally impartial certificate issued by a public authority makes a stronger impression on the client.
  • Additional skills have the potential to reduce stress for consultants.
  • Qualification standards suports a positive image for the advisory organization.

For educational institutions:

  • The cooperation of the participating educational institutions enables complementary course provision and standardisation of the modules.
  • The strengths and specializations of different institutions can be leveraged.
  • The cross-border, networked qualification of advisors leads to a comprehensive course provision that far exceeds the capabilities of a single training provider.


All training and advisory-service providers may obtain accreditation for the provision of advisory services in accordance with IALB standards. The requirements, costs and steps of the accreditation process you can find here.

Rural Advisory Networks


International Academy for Rural Extension


South Eastern Europe Advisory Service Network


European Forum for Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services


Global Forum for Rual Advisory Services

In our guidelines you can find more information about CECRA.