Over 200 participants in Cedefop’s conference on how to make learning visible, on 28 and 29 November in Thessaloniki, agreed that validation of non-formal and informal learning is important for Europe’s future.

Cedefop Director James Calleja stressed that ‘validation fights exclusion and makes employability possible.’

He noted: ‘We need to take small but consistent steps towards 2018 to put the 2012 Council Recommendation into practice. Validation has added value when political and legal support is forthcoming and when the most vulnerable in society can benefit from this tool.’

Learning value

In her opening speech, Cedefop Deputy Director Mara Brugia said that ‘the value of learning, or rather its outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills and competences, ranks high on Europe’s policy agenda today.’

She added: ‘It is outside school that many people have acquired the most important skills for their jobs. This is certainly the case with the 50+ generation. Formally, many of these people are low qualified but have gained important skills and competences in the course of their lives.’

So, validation is ‘really about making all learning visible to encourage people to continue, help them get a job and/or raise their self-esteem.’

Ms Brugia underlined that, in its long-standing work on validation, Cedefop has always advocated a comprehensive approach: ‘And our work has provided the evidence that EU Member States investing the most in strengthening their policies on validating skills, recognising qualifications and career guidance, have more inclusive and efficient labour markets.’