People qualifying at any educational institute should be able to show the same level of competences. It is therefore that a common development of curricula covering the professional qualification as an IWT crew member on operational level (OL) as well as on management level (ML) will result in qualified crew having comparable level of knowledge, skills and attitude fit for services in the EU IWT sector. The CESNI standards contain a description of these professional competences based on a common understanding and harmonised system for the qualification of IWT personnel. The standards describe core competences both on OL and ML. The concept of these standards also allows an easier integration of career changers coming from other related transport sectors such as the shipping industry.

The competences are divided in the following subjects: