Last month, I participated also in a workshop, called validation of informal skills and competence that took place In PracodawcyPR, Employers of Poland, Warsaw, too. Everybody knows that today’s learning opportunities are limitless, borderless and Instantaneous. Individuals learn and acquire new skills and competences not only in the traditional setting of the classroom (formal learning) but more and more outside it. Important learning takes place at work, through participation in civil society organisations or in the virtual space provided by the internet and mobile devices.
Increasingly often, companies offer their workers training opportunities to upgrade their skills through organised, but non-formal learning. Informal learning is also becoming increasingly important in a global and interconnected world where technology allows individuals to learn in a plethora of different ways through for example open educational resources and at a distance. In such context, education and qualification systems need to give an opportunity to all citizens to make visible what they have learnt outside school and to use it for their career or further learning. This can be achieved by a process of validation of learning outcomes acquired through non-formal and informal learning; in this process an authorised body confirms that an individual has acquired learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and competences) measured against a relevant standard. Its impact can be significant in the labour market functioning:
Validation mechanisms allow for more transparency on the skills available in the workforce and,
Facilitate a better match between skills and labour demand,
Promote better transferability of skills between companies and sectors and,
Facilitate mobility on the European labour market.
Across the EU, common target groups for validation include for instance:
• Young people, including those leaving the educational system without a formal qualification;
• Workers with experience but no associated formal qualifications (often in specific sectors where formal qualifications are required according to legislation);
• Experienced and older workers;
• The unemployed and those at risk of losing their jobs (for which the acquisition of a qualification can reduce the time taken to make a job-to-job transition);
• Migrants whose skills are not always fully recognised, regardless of the way they were acquired.
On my point of view we must tackle urgently the following challenges:
–Information and guidance on the benefits of, and opportunities for validation, as well as on the relevant procedures, must be available to individuals and organisations;
–Promote the involvement in the development and implementation of the validation to non formal and informal learning of all relevant stakeholders, such as employers, trade unions, chambers of industry, commerce and skilled crafts, national entities involved in the process of recognition of professional qualifications, employment services, youth organisations, youth workers, education and training providers, and civil society organisations.
-Sustainability and financing issues.
-The need for a cultural shift.
Of course, there are most challenges but I would emphasize on these mentioned above.