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European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning - 2016 update

(Synthesis report)


There is a strong consensus on the benefits of making more visible those skills and competences that people have gained through life and work experience. Individuals should be able to demonstrate what they have learned in all walks of life, so that this is valued and used in their career and for further education and training prospects.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning can make a major contribution to the EU’s ambition of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as set by the Europe 2020 strategy. It can make a significant difference in better matching skills and labour demand, promoting transferability of skills between companies and sectors and supporting mobility across the European labour market. It can also contribute to fighting social exclusion by providing a way for early school leavers, the unemployed and others at risk, particularly low-skilled adults, to improve their employability.

The European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning is a fundamental support to implementing the 2012 Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. The recommendation asks Member States to establish validation arrangements by 2018, allowing individuals to identify, document, assess and certify their skills to obtain a qualification (or parts of it). The inventory is closely linked to the European guidelines on validation which provide policy and practical advice to Member States and stakeholders on implementing validation.

The 2016 update of the inventory provides a unique record of how validation is being used at national, regional and local levels in Europe. It examines the current situation and developments for 33 European countries since the 2014 update, illustrated by good practice examples; there are also thematic analyses of key issues relating to the design and implementation of validation initiatives. It is the end result of a two-year process and is based on the work of a large network of national experts, extensive review of documents, and interviews with key stakeholders.

These reports aim to encourage more dialogue between the different stakeholders in developing and implementing validation in Europe. Our key objective is to support Member States so that more learners and workers acquire and make visible new skills to support their career and further learning, so enhancing their quality of life.

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ISBN: 978-92-896-2419-0
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Studies and Reports
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