The following collection of projects and initiatives gives an overview of respective acrivities in five European countries. Please feel invited to browse the collection and get inspired:

Best Practice from Slovakia

  1. Declaration on the Recognition of Contribution (Slovakia)

    The organization IUVENTA has already conducted many trainings for young people in gaining competencies through non-formal education, but they perceived it as very important that the public, the potential employers and also the institutions in formal education understand the importance of non-formal education, which also can be gained through volunteering or through trainings. That is why they created a “Declaration on the Recognition of Contribution of Non-formal Education in the youth work” in 2013. It is a tool that promotes non formal education and links all of those who realize that non-formal education is to play an important role in the education of the young generation. It was a significant milestone, when important partners were attracted to promote non-formal education in the youth work. Read more

  2. Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (Slovakia)

    Duke of Edinburgh learning programme (DofE) is a programme led on high schools, where the students plan, organize and realize their personal development in 4 areas: talent, sport, volunteering and adventurous expedition. After successfully completing the learning program and the set goals, the participants receive a certificate validating the gained competences. This certificate is applicable in the admission procedure for some of the world’s universities, particularly those from English-speaking countries. Successfully managing the program can also attract a future employer, given that the certificate itself is a proof of the young person’s honest work to develop his/her own competencies. Read more

  3. V-competences (Slovakia)

    D-zručnosti (V-competences) is a tool for validating and certifying the competences gained through volunteering. It is used nation-wide and certified at one place – Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica. The volunteer fills in an online form, which suggests the possible competences that can be gained through volunteering. Then the local coordinator of volunteers approves this information and he/she submits the form to the University. There is a committee that approves and issues the certificates 4 times a year. Read more

  4. EUPA NEXT (Slovakia)

    EUPA NEXT focuses on the validation of non-formal and informal learning and its connection with formal education through the use of a formal accreditation system (ISO). It aims to develop a methodology for certification of non-formal and informal learning of non-regulated professions and at the same time to develop an EU certificate for administration personnel. One of the objectives of this study is a practical guide for validation of formal, non-formal and informal learning for unregulated professions. Read more

  5. KomPrax (Slovakia)

    The Project KomPrax (Practical Competencies) is a set of learning programs for young people, where they can acquire new skills and competencies. After successfully completing the training, each participant is listed in a database of volunteers, where there is recorded the level of competencies that he/she reached in the training.  Participants will be able to decide to whom they will make this information available and to whom they will present the acquired competences. Thus, it is a simple tool for the employers and educational institutions, where they can check the level of acquired competencies. >>read more<<

  6. Reference for Volunteers (Slovakia)

    Eight NGOs from Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Malta and Bulgaria, all working with volunteers, formed the Grundtvig Learning Partnership “References for volunteers”. The partners have developed a European format as a basis for a professional reference letter for volunteers in NGOs. The key product of this partnership was a European Guideline for NGOs working with volunteers on how to identify and document the skills, know-how and expertise of their volunteers in a manner which is understood, recognised and valued by local, national and European employers. The Guideline is available for a free download from this website. Read more

Best Practice from Germany

7. Study: „From Competences to Job Chances“ (Germany)

In Germany – as in other European countries – discussions are taking place about how vocationally relevant practical knowledge can be better identified and certified. Up until now, it has been mainly formal training courses which have opened up opportunities in the education system and on the labour market. By contrast, competences acquired informally in work or leisure time or in further education without receiving a formal qualification have carried less significance, despite often being more beneficial to one’s vocational competence than formally certified knowledge. This study (“Recognition of non-formal and informal learning in Germany”) is an outcome of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s “Continuing Education for All” project. The project aims to provide an education system that is also accessible to people with low formal qualifications. Read more

8. Validation procedures for recognition – formal and informally acquired competencies in Germany- A manual for consultants (Germany)

The manual is a guide for consultants who are trained in the application of a certain validation procedures and who help aspirants to acquire non – formal and informal knowledge by means of the validation tool in order to gain the recognition of continuing vocational training. At the same time, it is also suitable as an accompanying material in the training of consultants in the validation process. It complements and supports the curriculum of counseling and is part of the training concept. The manual is a work result of an innovation transfer project, which has adapted and tested a validation system for recognizing non-formal and informally acquired competencies. A system developed by the Swiss Association for Continuing Education (SVEB) has been successfully applied to the validation of non-formal and informally acquired occupational competences on the conditions and requirements of the German  education system. The manual is an outcome of the project “ConCert (“Development and preparatory measures for the implementation of a Validation system for advice and recognition of  formal and informally acquired competences”). Read more

9. Recognition of non-formal and informal skills  (Germany)

This report to the Board of the BIBB has been prepared to assist the players in vocational training in the discussion about the inclusion of the results of non-formal and informal learning in the German Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (DQR). To this end, essential ideas, concepts and terms relating to the recognition of non-formal and informal learning are briefly presented. The main objective of the report is  to provide an understanding and a conceptual clarification on the recognition of non-formal and informal learning, reflecting the state of international and national discussion, recommendations and procedures. Additional objectives: to provide a documentation of examples from neighboring countries, to provide suggestions for further discussion in Germany, to stimulate innovation, and to take a critical look at the steps of further work. Read more

10. Recognition of informally acquired professional skills – Toolkit (Germany)

This toolkit would like to help (potential) workers find employment. The award of qualifications is a form of social recognition because it makes competences visible and gives them validity, which ultimately is the goal of this approach. It may be that the non-formal or informally acquired competences do not immediately lead to a qualification. This can, for example, be the case if, in an evaluation of the competences, it is found that there are still gaps which have to be closed. The main  objective of the recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes is, however, to give the persons concerned an official qualification / certificate. Read more

11. EffectVPL – Effectiveness of VPL Policies and Programmes for Labour Market Inclusion and Mobility – Individual and Employer Perspectives (Germany)

The Erasmus+ project “Effectiveness of VPL Policies and Programmes for Labour Market Inclusion and Mobility – Individual and Employer Perspectives (EffectVPL) seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of validation programmes in terms of how the recognition of prior learning benefits the individual. The focus thereby will be placed on if and how validation procedures and programmes support individuals’ labour market inclusion, employability and further learning pathways. Through introducing biographical perspectives into the validation process and identifying the role of employers for validation and recognition of prior learning (VPL), the project seeks to enhance the effectiveness of VPL practice in Denmark, Germany, Poland and Turkey. In addition, the project will review the advancement of VPL policies and programmes over the project period. The results of the review, empirical investigations and several company case studies will be channelled into the on-going VPL policy dialogue and also be reflected in a jointly developed training module to support VPL practitioners. Read more

12. Destination eValidation (Germany)

The aim of this project ERASMUS+ funded project (2014 – 2015) was visualization, documentation and     recognition of acquired competences in the field of volunteering and developing an online tool for validation of volunteering competences.The Destination eValidation (DesTeVa) project wanted to find a way to recognise and validate volunteers’ informal learning and experiences in a way that they could be used to help a volunteer find employment, either as an unemployed person or as an economic migrant to a new country. The validation tool has been completed and is already used for validating volunteering skills. Read more

13. ValidVol – Validation of Volunteers (Germany)

ValidVol (Validation of Volunteers) had been launched 2014 – 2015 to recognise and accredit learning and skills development of individuals working in the voluntary sector. The project was funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme under the Grundtvig sub-programme and involved five European partner countries: Italy (UniTS), Spain (Agora), Greece (KMOP), Austria (BFI) and the United Kingdom (NWRC). It contributed to the creation of systems, models and schemes which validate and clearly identify the key competences gained from their experience as volunteers.  The target group of ValidVol consisted of senior volunteers aged over 50 who are involved in voluntary services and wish to reinforce their employability, because they are either retired, under employed or unemployed. The project looked into the significant experiences of non-formal and informal learning through volunteering across Europe, and motivated senior volunteers to be involved in further adult learning activities, which were expected to facilitate or improve their employability. The ultimate goal of the ValidVol project was to develop a system to validate the key competences acquired during senior volunteering. Read more

14. “Validation of informal learning in voluntary work” – vOlue (Germany)

The objective of this Grundtvig_Learning partnership in the “Lifelong Learning” program of the EU (duration: 01.08.2009 – 31.07.2011) was to exchange views and validation possibilities of informal learning at European level and to place volunteer engagement as a setting for non-formal learning processes. Objectives: (1) increased awareness of non-formal learning in voluntary settings, (2) critical analysis of existing methods and strategies that identify learning effects in voluntary activities, make them visible and useful in the sense of professional orientation, (3) structuring and quality development during the validation and recognition of learning effects in voluntary work. Read more

15. GRETA – Fundamentals for the development of a cross-carrier recognition procedure for the competences of teachers in adult education/further education (Germany)

Course leaders, lecturers, trainers – in short teachers – make a significant contribution to the quality and success of continuing education programmes. However, what it means to be able to “teach” in adult education does not yet exist in general standards. In addition, there is still too little recognition of professional teaching. The research and development project GRETA aims to create the basis for a cross-carrier recognition procedure for the competence of teachers in adult and further education. This is a major step towards professionalization in this educational sector. Read more

Best Practice from Austria

16. Certification for individuals at public accredited bodies (Austria)

The certification bodies for personnel, accredited by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth, are able to recognize and certify informal learning. Many of the certifications are in the field of joining technology: welding, soldering, bonding. But also in the areas of occupational health and safety, quality, project management, environmental or educational management persons can be certified. Read more

17. Continuous Education Academy (Austria)

The Austrian Academy of Continuous Education is a partnership institution for adult education in Austria, which verifies and certifies the competences of adult educators according to defined standards. wba issues “Certified adult educator” (wba certificate)and  “Graduated adult educator” (wba diploma). Read more

18. Competency Balance (Austria)

KOMPAZ is oriented towards the quality standard of the company CH-Q (the Swiss Qualification Program for the Career) and is a conceptual framework for the certification of persons on four levels. Read more

19. RIVER – Recognition of intergenerational volunteering (Austria)

Senior volunteering plays a key role in our society and demands exposure and recognition! Yet reliable and convincing methodologies for the assessment and validation of the impact and outcomes of senior volunteering are missing. By developing a tailor-made competence assessment system the project RIVER aims at making learning outcomes of senior volunteering visible and thus add to senior volunteers’ motivation and sense of achievement. Read more

Best Practice from Slovenia

20. Learning diary (Slovenia)

The method of teaching was developed by Andragogic centre in Slovenia as a new tool for identifying and evaluating an individual’s knowledge, skills and competences. Learning Diary can be defined as a document containing t. i. notes on individual learning activities. It is a tool for the formative evaluation of competences and helps a candidate to get a realistic picture of skills and is/her current “learning situation”. Read more

21. Personal profile based on reflective reports (Slovenia)

Structure and content of the ‘personal profile’ is similar to the ‘portfolio’. Important difference between portfolio and personal file is that a personal profile contains candidate’s statement of qualifications, which is based on the candidate’s personal reflection on its learning activities and learning achievements. Personal profile can be therefore defined as a device for the summative evaluation of the competencies and means a document that records the individual learning outcomes in terms of their recognition, either for professional purposes or for education and training. Personal profile are prepared by candidates in cooperation with a counsellor, who provides professional support. Read more

22. Tool for self-assessment of competencies: biographical method (Slovenia)

It is a systematic and chronological display of an individual educational path. The educational biography collects and analyses the different ways of acquiring knowledge and competence development in different life circumstances. This method has a special value in the detection of hidden knowledge and it is suggested to be used in the initial phase of the evaluation process – diagnosis or CV preparation. It could be drawn in the form of a structured essay, guided interview or preferably a combination of both. Use of biographical method is particularly suitable in situations where individuals find themselves in a completely new and unpredictable situation, such as new job, transition from public to private sector and many others. Read more

23. Questionnaire for the evaluation of key competence “ learning to learn” (Slovenia)

This is a questionnaire for the identification and evaluation of the key competence “learning to learn”.  It is a self-assessment questionnaire for adults, which help identify and evaluate different types and levels of competences in the field of “learning to learn”. The aim is to enable adults to become more self-aware of how they need to learn to be to be successful in their professional and private lives. Read more

24. Electronic portfolio (Slovenia)

Electronic portfolio (EP) is a web application, which was developed at Andragogic centre in Slovenia for identification and recognition of non-formal learning. Portfolio is designed in a way, that candidates can be presented entirely with all applications and learning activities achieved in the working and private life. It may consist of various documents: of those, which are about individual qualification prepared by others (e.g.: teachers, counsellors, employers), reflections about learning activities, especially learning achievements and candidate’s products, projects or other forms of copyrighted work. Electronic portfolio allows creativity and the presentation of individuality. Read more

25. Model of validation and recognition of non-formal knowledge in the field of adult education (Slovenia)

Slovenian model of validation and recognition was developrd under the ACS project “Literacy and the identification and validation of non-formal learning”, which was funded by the European Social Fund and the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Literacy from 2011 to 2014. It included 4 stages:

  • admission of candidates (information, motivation, identification purpose)
  • identification, documentation, evaluation, checking (using different tool)
  • validation (certificate constructed portfolios, etc.).
  • recognition (certification in nationally defined systems).

The model is based on the comparative analysis of similar models in European countries (France, Netherlands, Norway) and includes two additional services: continually informing and counselling at all levels, which has proved to be especially useful with the less educated adults. Read more

26. My Experience (Slovenia)

Moje izkušnje/My Experience« is a tool for validation and recognition of working experience, gained by student work for students and secondary school pupils. The certificate »Moje izkušnje/My Experience« includes past experiences and competences in order to support young people in increasing their employability. On the other hand, »Moje izkušnje/My Experience« gives employers an easy and credible review of all working experiences of a pupil/student during the studies. Youth can access the “Moje izkušnje” electronically as a digital portfolio and export the certificate to PDF file or print it out. Read more

27. NEFIKS (Slovenia)

Nefiks is recognized as one of the most relevant recording systems of informal knowledge in Slovenia. It follows the trend at EU level (Europass, Youthpass) and national rules for recognition of informal knowledge. It is also well known abroad: e.g. Flemish Oskar system for the recognition of non-formal knowledge is based on the results of NEFIKS. The system is updated continuously according to the latest theories and the needs of the labour market. Read more

28. Rules on Procedure and Criteria for the Recognition of Informally Acquired Knowledge and Skills (Slovenia)

This practice represents 11 of 24 articles of “Rules on Procedure and Criteria for the Recognition of Informally Acquired Knowledge and Skills”, which was adopted by the Senate of the University of Ljubljana on 29th May 2007. It provides a detailed overview of the validation process that faculties (members of University in Ljubljana) use for the recognition of  competences, which students gained in non-formal education trainings and projects. Read more

29. Youthpass (Slovenia)

Youthpass is a recognition tool for non-formal and informal learning. It is a tripartite certificates and can be issued in several languages. It is available for projects funded by Erasmus+: Youth in Action (2014-2020) and Youth in Action (2007-2013) programmes. It is a part of the European Commission’s strategy to foster the recognition of non-formal learning. Youthpass supports the reflection upon the individual non-formal learning process and outcomes and also aims at supporting the employability of young people and of youth workers by raising their awareness of and helping to describe their competences, and by documenting their acquisition of key competences on a certificate. Read more

Best Practice from Czech Republic

30. Key to Life (Czech Republic)

This set of self-evaluation tools guides through the process of detecting competencies that people have gained through activities with children and young people (whether in the position of active participants or employees of an organization), but also how to develop and how to “translate” the gained competencies into the language of potential employers. Read more

31. IM-PROVE application (Czech Republic)

This international project “Upgrade Yourself” was aimed to create an on-line app on the basis of a learning journal offering volunteers the opportunity to track their own personal growth and translate their experiences in terms of soft skills. The on-line app IM-PROVE scores the competences of the individual volunteers. It helps the volunteers to self-reflect the competences they developed during various volunteering activities (workcamps, youth exchanges, trainings, national projects, EVS, internships…) in various roles (participants of the project, leaders, managers, trainers, facilitators…). The volunteers record their volunteer experience, then their experience is transformed into competences and the volunteers can create a plan for their personal development. Read more

Best Practice from Italy

32. Certification of competences: what meaning and what path in volunteering? (Italy)

This is an article published by Alessia Zanotti, Doctoral Schools in Human Capital Formation and Labour Relations ADAPT, University of Bergamo, which summarizes the difficulties and chances of certifying competences acquired in volunteering. Read more in the first article of this document

33. Recognition and validation of competences acquired through volunteering (Italy)

As part of the document “Recognition and validation of competences acquired through volunteering: good practice in Italy”, chapter 15 5.1 provides descriptions of some best practices for recognition and validation of competencies in the Italian volunteering field and in the informal and non-formal learning. Read more in the second article of this document

34. EVVIVA –  Experiences and the Value of Voluntary Work: Valorisation of Learning Outcomes (Italy)

Ciessevi, the Voluntary Services’ Centre in Milan, has started a research – initiative called “EVVIVA –  Experiences and the Value of Voluntary work: valorisation of Learning outcomes”. The aim is to explore within the different associations in Milan and its province  (Italy) practices and tools for the valorisation of learning strategies within a voluntary context  and promote among associations different tools to detect and document the competences that volunteers have acquired. Following the link dedicated to these issues, you can find further information on this topic, European regulations and more useful links. Read more in the third article of this document

35. Voluntary work for a curricula (Italy)

This articles summarizes, why associations should invest time, energies and resources to recognize their own volunteers’ competences. Read more in the fourth article of this document

36. Experiences of non formal and informal learning validation (Italy)

This article summarizes specific indications about competences and their enhancement, recognition and certification. Read more in the fifth article of this document

37. VA.LI.CO Validation of the Booklet of Competences (Italy)

This article informs about useful support mechansisms and tools  in the design and implementation of validation practices of expertise from experiences. Read more in the sixth article of this document

38. Guidelines for a Methodology for the collection and validation of competences (Italy)

These guidelines offer steps for a useful evaluation tool for coordinators of services. Read more in the seventh article of this document

39. Guidelines for the validation of experience competences (Italy)

The Guidelines are a methodological effort to integrate and lead to “common factors” both the indications provided by the European Commission and Cedefop, as well as the numerous experiences of validation of experience acquired in Italy, sharing the same language and the same methodological approach. Read more in the eigth article of this document