Managing European Diversity in lifelong learning (VPL2) EU/Leonardo project NL/05/C/F/TH-81802
VPL-country report 2007
Ruud Duvekot, Kees Schuur, Erik van Beek & Laura van Veen
The Dutch partners: HAN, EC-VPL, EEP, ECommovation & HvA HAN
HAN University (or âHogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegenâ) is a University of Applied Sciences with over 20,000 students and approx. 2,000 staff. HAN University ranks among the top 10 professional universities in the Netherlands. HAN University is situated in Arnhem and Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands. Application of knowledge: we offer programmes at a professional level which means that having gained a degree or diploma from one of our faculties makes it is easy to find a job in industry or government. Professional programmes in the Netherlands put great emphasis on the practical application of knowledge and skills in working situations. Development: âtrainingâ is however not the only thing we do. We also want to contribute to the social and cultural development of our students. We therefore have many contacts with institutes at home and abroad with whom we organize: Joint programmes Exchange programmes Placements Master programmes
HAN University Mr. J.Th.J.J. Vogels & Mr. Ruud Klarus Heyendaalseweg 141 6525 AJ; NIJMEGEN The Netherlands T: +31-24-353 00 14 E: email@example.com W: www.han.nl
The Dutch foundation European Centre for Valuation Prior Learning (foundation EC-VPL) has evolved into a European knowledge centre with expertise and special know-how in education, profit and nonprofit sectors concerning the Valuation and Validation of Competences or Prior Learning. The foundation initiates, co-ordinates and stimulates activities concerning accreditation of achieved competencies; established a Dutch network for EVC (= VPL in dutch) and a European knowledge centre EC-VPL. The daily office executes and organises research, compiles existing information, maintains the web site www.vpl4.eu, disseminates results and manages the European Network Valuation Prior Learning. EC-VPL has a close relationship with a number of institutions such as VET-institutes and schools, social partners, universities and knowledge organisations in thematic projects concerning the development of informal- and non-formal valuation and validation of competences. More specifically there is a cooperation with the Dutch Foundation Empowerment Centre EVC and the Foundation CHQ-NL/B. Besides the experiences in the field of certification and recognition EC-VPL also has experiences with rural development, educational ICT application and development, web based training and information, etc.
EC-VPL Mr. Ruud Duvekot, mr. Kees Schuur, mr. Jos Paulusse & mr. Joop Ezendam Jagersweg 23 5262 TM VUGHT The Netherlands T: +31-73 6572 565 M: +31-(0)6 51 98 08 51 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.vpl4.eu
European Educative Projects Ltd (EEP), established in 2003 and based on a long-lasting experience within Europe. EEP co-operates with national and European Educational institutes, especially in the sector of vocational education in different disciplines, on secondary and university levels. The
experience of EEP helps educational institutes to prepare, to submit and to execute their educational proposal in the frame of national and European calls for proposal from different origins. Employed originally from 1994 at Stoas in the section of Project Development, EEP initiates, develops and coordinates educational innovations by itself. The co-operation with partners and within networks in The Netherlands and in Europe assure that projects are being carried out careful and the results will be spread to a great number of interested organisations within Europe.
EEP Mr. Jos Paulusse Jagersweg 23 5262 TM VUGHT The Netherlands T: +31-73 6572 565 M: +31-(0)6 51 98 08 51 E: email@example.com W: www.eepbv.nl
ECommovation BV (www.ecommovation.nl) focuses on a holistic approach of lifelong, formal, nonformal and informal learning, developing entrepreneurial individual and groups in an ever-changing social, economical and technological society. At national and international level ECommovation contributes in the development and implementation of projects (e.g. ESF-Equal Scouting your Competences), developed and gives training in VPL and contribute to discussions about VPL. ECommovation
Mr. Kees Schuur Johan Kievietstraat 18 6708 SP Wageningen The Netherlands T: +31-317-41 76 18 M: +31-51 44 51 53 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.ecommovation.nl
Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA)
The Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) is one of the leading vocational universities in the Netherlands with more than 30.000 students and 1.800 professionals. The HvA works closely together with the University of Amsterdam. The Hogeschool van Amsterdam offers Dutch Bachelor programmes in Business Studies, Communication, Education, Fashion, Health, ICT, Law, Social Work and Technology. In English, we offer Bachelor programmes in the field of Business, Education, Fashion and Health. Furthermore, we have Exchange programmes and two Master programmes. The policy of the HvA aims at innovation of the creation of knowledge. Bringing Valuation and Validation of Prior Learning into the practice of the learning programmes is one of the goals at present. The installation in 2006 of a centralised VPL-centre and a professorship in the field of "Valuing learning â VPL" illustrates this goal. The VPL-centre developes and organises VPL-procedures; the professorship researches and analyses bussinesscases and supports the development of âlearningmade-to-measureâ.
Hogeschool van Amsterdam HvA EVC Centrum Ruud (R.C.) Duvekot Weesperzijde 190 1097 DZ Amsterdam T. 0031-020-5952428 M. 0031-6-51992300 www.evc.hva.nl email@example.com
The underlying principle of lifelong learning is that initial education is no longer enough for a lifetime social-economic career. It is more important to develop your competencies (skills, knowledge, attitude & ambitions) throughout life by realising that `your glass is already half full', and by understanding that everyone always learns in every possible learning environment: formal (school) and non-formal or informal environments (workplace, at home/private life, volunteering). The Leonardo-project âManaging European diversity in lifelong learning (VPL2)â aimed at strengthening the use of valuation of non-formal and informal learning for both summative and formative purposes in a qualitative and quantitative sense: more use of the valuation of prior learning by individuals and organisations, supported by a more demand-led and customer-oriented learning system. Valuation of Prior Learning (VPL) means: 1. Valuation shows the real human potential of personal competencies; 2. VPL is the process of (a) assessing and validating personal competences within the socialeconomic context and (b) offering a personal development-strategy; 3. VPL focuses on the individual perspective and makes the (public and private) system customerdriven for the sake of personal development; 4. Organisations benefit from VPL through individualsâ development. More than 200 case studies were analysed in 11 European countries representing the main European learning cultures: Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The analysis of these case-studies showed that the goal of making more or better use of the VPL-systematics could be served by working both top-down as well as bottom-up. The bottom-up approach made the specific needs for lifelong learning on the labour market in different sectors visible and gave insight in the individual process of becoming aware, describing, self-evaluation and empowerment. The âtop-downâ data showed the various services national and sectoral learning systems are already offering to or designing for the potential users, i.e. the modern, lifelong learning workers. Both approaches were used simultaneously on three sectoral levels (profit, non-profit and voluntary sector) and in the six different European learning cultures. Evidence showed that top-down and bottom-up met each other halfway, empowering individuals and organisations to serve their summative and formative purposes by defining and creating zones of mutual trust for the use of validation-principles on a sectoral level in the variety of European learning cultures. Furthermore, analysis of the case studies showed the opportunities for designing individual learning-routes to qualification, certification and career-steps that could be generated by individuals themselves on the basis of their non-formal & informal learning, using portfolios and other available `valuation-services'. In this way, practice showed the potential in the European knowledge-society for: - citizens to get more control of their careers, - organisations (profit, non-profit, volunteer, communities and citizenship) to develop better articulation for their need for competencies and - the learning-system ( VET, HE, etc) to become more customer-oriented and demand-led. The VPL-evidence shows the diversity in lifelong learning across Europe indicating where the common features prevail and where one learning culture can learn from another. The main result of the project is the creation of role models in the workplace. In this way we aim at showing that lifelong learning is possible in any context, country and culture, and that there are always shared elements that make it possible to make a manageable tool for lifelong learning out of the valuation-principles. In this national report evidence is given on the development of VPL in the Netherlands: - the general introduction on VPL shows the diversity in Europeâs learning cultures, its main features and the challenges we face in the development and implementation of VPL in Europe, - in the national review a description is given of the national context in which VPL is developing, - the national in-case analysis presents the main information on the Dutch case-studies, - the best case is highlighted: Scouting Gelderland. It is nominated for the European VPL-award 2007, - finally, the report of the national VPL-seminar on June 13, 2007 highlights the debate in the Netherlands between the main stakeholders on development and implementation of VPL.
VPL is about empowerment, employability and lifelong learning
A general introduction to VPL in Europeâs learning cultures
[from: Duvekot, âŠ et al. (eds.) Managing European Diversity in lifelong learning, 2007]
In the current knowledge society, interest is slowly but surely shifting from âhardâ production factors such as machines and instruments to âsoftâ factors, human capital and the âknowledge societyâ. (Brinkley & Lee, 2004) Of primary interest are human learning potential, capacity and flexibility, i.e. the individual employability-potential. It makes no difference whether one is working, learning or seeking work. Employability is about getting or keeping the opportunity to perform, to contribute to society, by having a paid job, being a valued volunteer or contributing in other ways to society; in short, employability is about getting or keeping a job. Learning is at the heart of being employable as an individual, while working encompasses all kinds of activity, from paid work to voluntary work and active citizenship. In this way learning is also strongly linked to employability, or the many ways to empower people in order to be a socially and economically active member of society. In order to be empowered and employable you have to define all your competencies such as knowledge, ambition, skills and attitude. A competence is actually to know how to act in a certain way. Whether someone is competent becomes clear from his or her actions. The modern knowledge society has a major interest in capitalising on this, whether through formal learning pathways in the school system during certain periods in life or through non-formal and informal pathways in other periods. The knowledge society, with its increasing speed of change, needs besides the validation of the competencies, a process of valuation and a market place that supports the changing needs in the flexible market, contexts, and the social-psychological changes of the human beings. Therefore, lifelong learning is about making use of personal competencies. Everyone should be aware that people are always learning everywhere, and above all, not always in a conscious or self-chosen learning situation. The degree in which individuals and the knowledge society consciously build on this is still strongly underexposed and under-utilised. In the knowledge society, the focus is or should be on the individual learning process. A complicating factor in dealing with this focus is that the formal procedures of teaching, training and assessment describe only a very limited part of the individual learning potential or competencies. Competencies acquired in informal and non-formal situations are also essential for optimal performance on the labour market or in social functions. This complexity of individual learning and the opportunities it offers for the knowledge society were recognised in Europe in 1995 in the White Paper of the European Commission: Towards the Learning Society (1995). While learning within the formal systems for education and training is a distinguishing factor of a modern society, learning that takes place outside this sphere is much more difficult to identify and value. The proposals of the White Paper used âLifelong Learningâ as a central organising concept. These proposals provided the base for âValuing Learningâ which became one of the Key Messages of the Communication on Lifelong Learning. (European Commission 2001) Since this Communication, the invisibility of all sorts of learning processes has been problematised. This problem was related to all levels of the individual (different employability-potential, knowledge and application levels) and society (all levels: international, national, regional, local, sectoral and organisation). With that, the focus in Lifelong Learning policy slowly shifted from the traditional approach of âlearning in the classroomâ to the wish to utilise âother learning environmentsâ such as work environment, independent learning, remote learning, implicit learning and leisure activities. This actually meant making use of non-formal and informal learning. This started up the general process of identification, assessment, valuation and accreditation of all formal, non-formal and informal learning. But still the valuing itself is pulled into the formal accreditation system, mainly directed to the formal job descriptions, instead of becoming an individual means to personal ends focusing on oneâs careeropportunities. Lately, for instance in the European Common Principles on the Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning (2004), we see a shift to the valuation of competencies developed in all possible learning environments. We refer to this as the process of Valuation of Prior Learning. â
Valuing learningâ is in a way dealing with half-filled glasses instead of the traditional half-empty ones! Other terms used to describe the process are Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning, Recognition of Prior Learning or (in French) Validation des Acquis de lâExpĂ©rience. âValuing learningâ has two main paths, a summative and a formative one. The summative approach aims at an overview of competencies, recognition and valuation. Its goal is certification, where individuals seek this goal. When âvaluing learningâ goes one step further and includes practical learning and/or personal competence-development, we call this the formative approach of âvaluing learningâ. This approach is pro-active and aims at development by designing a personal learning, career and development path. âValuing learningâ is a practical strategy that demonstrates and develops employability-potential for many purposes, that bridges individual learning processes and any kind of their social-economic utilisation of individual competencies. In the development of lifelong learning, the link between formal and non-formal learning is surely one of the most difficult. In many countries, the formal education systems have become more flexible in recognising non-formal learning. However, most individuals still lack access to a life-long and life-wide learning continuum. The crux therefore is to discuss the way lifelong learning is inevitably moving towards a process steered by the individuals. This âindividual elementâ is surely a revolutionary breakthrough, overlooking more than 500 years of vocational training where the learner had little influence over formal learning, while social partners and authorities historically controlled vocational training. The goal of this book is to show the diversity in lifelong learning across Europe indicating where the common features prevail and where one learning culture can learn from another. The road to more self-steered lifelong learning is visible in many different ways across Europe. So, in order to be able to manage lifelong learning it is important to show that lifelong learning is possible in any context, country and culture; and that there are always shared elements that make it possible to make a manageable tool for lifelong learning out of the valuation-principles. And thatâs just what this book and the project âManaging European diversity in lifelong learningâ are about. Europeâs Learning cultures Each country has its own culture, identity, history and practices on education and training and also has its own approach and system for education and training. We describe this specific approach as the learning culture in a certain country. Since the learning cultures â and therefore, also the policy on âvaluing learningâ, which is based on this learning culture â can vary widely within Europe, the systems for âvaluing learningâ also vary. Many countries have been involved with âvaluing learningâ in one way or another, and it is interesting to study the various approaches in more detail. The concept and process of âvaluing learningâ provides a perspective with which to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each countryâs systems and frameworks. This facilitates mutual knowledge exchange in which all countries can have an interest. It can be called bench learning (KarlĂ¶f 2001) since the active learning of each otherâs strong points takes place based on benchmarking. A cluster model was used in Making Learning Visible (Bjornavold 2000) to describe the various learning cultures. Mutual learning takes place through geographic proximity and institutional similarities of the countries within each cluster. This has led to the observation that, overall, âvaluing learningâ approaches within each cluster often resemble one another. In The Unfinished story of âVPL in Europe (Duvekot et al 2005) this model was adjusted in order to reflect the current situation in Europe. For example, Switzerland was added to the dual system. Furthermore, the French, Belgian and Dutch systems were added as three separate learning cultures, all three of them characterised by different types of top-down steering on implementing VPL. In the Leonardo-project Managing European diversity in lifelong learning this cluster-approach has been updated and used to analyse the variety of VPL-usage in Europe. The cluster model at present focuses on seven learning cultures. In the course of this project these learning cultures might be described in an even greater variety in order to catch (and respect) Europeâs diversity for the sake of embedding VPL on the levels of the learning individual, organisation and system.
Figure 1: Europeâs main learning cultures
System The dual system The Mediterranean approach The North European model The Atlantic model The French System The Low Countries model The East European model Characteristics Learning while working; social pacts; VET-levels Regional; flexible and implicit Government-driven; regional; VET-levels Demand-steered, portfoliobased vocational training Top-down; legislation; incl. higher education Supply-driven; shared responsibilities; bottom-up implementation Top-down; in transition due to entering EU Countries Germany, Austria, Switzerland Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland France, Belgium The Netherlands
Bulgaria, Rumania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia
The Leonardo-project worked along this European pattern, asking many questions, such as: - What are the features and essential system elements of learning in this cluster? - Does the cluster primarily focus on academic education or on vocational education? - How is adult education organised and are concepts such as âlife-long learningâ translated into practice? - What status does a completed vocational training course or an academic education provide? - Is the policy focused more on individual development, on strengthening sectors or on consolidating the educational concept? The description of these elements leads us to the nature and content of âvaluing learningâ approaches that are developed within various clusters or are still largely in development. Between and within the clusters there is a lot of variation on the âvaluing learningâ need, realisation and methods. Together these learning cultures present us a view on the transition that is taking from the present knowledge society towards the learning society. In the next paragraph, we will indicate the critical success factors and learning issues derived from these two projects for the âtransition-debateâ. The project âManaging European diversity in lifelong learning (VPL2)â The project aimed at strengthening the use of valuation of non-formal and informal learning for both summative and formative purposes in a qualitative and quantitative sense: more use of the validation of non-formal and informal learning by individuals and organisations, supported by a more demanddriven and customer-oriented learning system. More than 200 case studies were analysed in 11 EUmember states (Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK). The analysis showed that this goal was served by working both topdown as well as bottom-up. The bottom-up approach made visible the specific needs for lifelong learning on the labour market in different sectors. The âtop-downâ data showed the various services national and sectoral learning systems are already offering to or designing for the potential users, i.e. the modern, lifelong learning workers. Both approaches were used simultaneously on three sectoral levels (profit, non-profit and voluntary sector) and in the six different European learning cultures. The partners worked on the analysis of case studies in the main European learning cultures by: - gathering, analysing & comparing the practices, - identifying critical success factors, - knowledge exchange on weaknesses and strengths, - formulating a general approach to implement validation-principles in any learning culture, - showing specific forms of implementation through role models, - disseminating the results within all learning cultures.
By working in this way (two approaches, three key-sectors and seven European learning cultures) the project enforced the empowerment of individuals and organisations in Europeâs knowledge-society as well as making the learning system itself more demand-driven and customer-oriented. In a sense, evidence showed that top-down and bottom-up met each other halfway, empowering individuals and organisations to serve their summative and formative purposes by defining and creating zones of mutual trust for the use of validation-principles on a sectoral level in the variety of European learning cultures. Furthermore, analysis of the case studies showed the opportunities for designing individual learning-routes to qualification, certification and career-steps that could be generated by individuals themselves on the basis of their non-formal & informal learning, using portfolios and other available `valuation-services'. In this way, practice showed the potential in the European knowledge-society for: - citizens to get a better grip on their careers, - organisations (profit, non-profit, volunteer, communities and citizenship) to develop better articulation for their need for competencies and - the learning-system ( VET, HE, etc) to become more customer-oriented and demand-driven. In this way, the empirical data from the case studies contribute to closing the gap between VET and the labour market with respect to different European cultures. Each case study consists of the description of the validation-process between individuals and organisations and the support that the learning system is giving (or not). In effect, the case studies stress the fact that RPL isnât good enough â it doesnât go far enough. We need to focus on VPL. The benefits to the individual citizen as well as those for the national labour market can be enhanced through the Valuation of Prior Learning (VPL). VPL can be explained in the following statements: Valuation shows the real human potential on the basis of the analysis and valuation of personal competencies. Valuation of Prior Learning is the process of assessing and validating personal competencies within a specific socio-economic context and offering a personal development strategy. VPL focuses on the individual perspective and makes the (public and private) system customer-driven for the sake of personal development. Organisations benefit from VPL since individuals develop within their context. The VPL process in general consists of five phases: âą commitment and awareness of the value of oneâs competencies âą recognition of personal competencies âą valuation and/or validation of these competencies âą (advice on the) development of oneâs competencies âą structurally embedding this competence-based development process into a personal or organisation steered and owned policy. The VPL-evidence in this project shows the diversity in lifelong learning across Europe indicating where the common features prevail and where one learning culture could learn from another. The main result of the project is the creation of role models in the workplace; showing that lifelong learning is possible in any context, country and culture; and that there are always shared elements that make it possible to make out of the validation-principles a manageable tool for lifelong learning. Transition towards the Learning Society The general message from this Leonardo-project is that âvaluing learningâ is a strong concept giving true evidence of the transition thatâs going on from the present knowledge society towards the (near) future learning society. Society changes from a knowledge-economy into a learning society where the need for a good balance between the powers of learning individuals, organisations and knowledge infrastructure will be recreated and the learner gets a real say in lifelong learning. The change is reflected on three levels: economically (employability), socially (empowerment) and educationally ( real lifelong learning). A fourth level on which the change is having its impact, can also be distinguished, the civil society. âValuing learningâ as a learning strategy therefore reflects the change towards a learning society in which the individual learner takes more responsibility for his/her own lifelong learning process. It also means that the individual learner changes the existing âbalance of powerâ in learning processes themselves because he/she will be guiding lifelong learning with his/her own portfolio. In this portfolio, the learning outcomes that he/she has achieved are documented together with the relevant evidence. These portfolios will create a new balance within learning as a process and contribute a positive change in the individualâs social identity.
The goals of âvaluing learningâ for the main stakeholders are as follows: - the individual: stimulating self-investment in learning, showing learning outcomes, - the organisation: facilitating employeesâ self-investment and articulation of competencies, - society: matching learning to needs; steering learning outcomes. The emphasis on learning outcomes is in line with the development of common structures of education and training across Europe and is associated with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and the European Qualification Framework (EQF). Thus, valuing learning will contribute to the removal of barriers to the mobility of labour. At national level, learning outcomes are a central part of the modernisation of qualification systems and frameworks in order to stimulate economic development and promote social cohesion (European Council 2006). The conditions for creating the learning society in which these benefits can come to fruition are: - A transparent, output-oriented knowledge infrastructure; - Creating mutual trust by focusing on the available quality-system based on the judgement of existing assessment processes used by colleges and universities; - A transparently structured education sector that allows a flexible flow of participants from one layer of sector to another, both intra- as well as inter-sectoral; - Universal, transparent and interchangeable procedures and reports on the competencies that have been valued; - Close relations between educational institutions and their surroundings (enterprises, government institutions, institutions in the field of (re) integration of unemployed into the labour market); - Creating possibilities for developing and executing individual tailor made learning paths; - Facilities for financing flexible tailor made individual learning routes, such as an individual learning account; - Clear communication to citizens about the technical and financial arrangements for education and âvaluing learningâ. - Development of an individual right for portfolio-assessment and career-advice. In the figures below, the present and the expected balance of power between these three levels are reflected. Authorities and social partners are facilitating this balance by laws and regulations that take away problems for creating flexible and dynamic learning processes of the learning society. Society is moving towards a way to deal with lifelong learning by creating a dominant relationship between learner and organisation and a second relationship being the dependency of both âplayersâ on the services rendered by the knowledge infrastructure. Figure 1: Valuing Learning in the knowledge economy (at present)
Facilitators: authorities and social partners
Black arrows point out the dominant relationships in both learning areas. Above you can see the imbalance between the main actors in lifelong learning and the focus on summative goals. Below you see in figure 2 that âempowermentâ as the last transition brings balance in the learning-field. The focus can shift now to the formative goals of learning.
Figure 2: Valuing Learning in the learning society (situation in the near future)
Facilitators: authorities and social partners
Commitment as a key to future implementation Taking all the lessons into consideration, a successful system for âvaluing learningâ able to open up the traditional learning system will at least have to comply with three conditions. Assessment standards should aim at âcivil effectâ for the sake of formative goals; the quality assurance of the assessment procedure has to be efficient, clear and transparent, and, finally, access has to be easy for individuals: - An assessment standard aiming at âcivil effectâ. Assessment standards must meet the requirements of validity, acceptance, feasibility and functionality. Standards must be the âpropertyâ of employer and employee. Correspondence with existing national qualification structures for vocational training should be sought. This offers the best possible assurance of the civil effects of qualifications acquired through prior learning assessment procedures, ranging from admissions to and exemptions from particular training courses, to further steps in the career development path. This will help education systems to open up and to respond quickly to required changes. For example, the design of standards for assessment is increasingly competence-driven. The standards are linked both to the competence requirements of professional practice and to the content of the supply of education and training. Cross-sector competencies important to employability can also be defined. The capacity to define these assessment standards will also encourage the development of course-independent tests and examinations. The existing tests are rarely course-independent. Finally, the development of a recognition procedure for assessors creates confidence in the value of the accreditation procedure. An important condition to create such an open situation is that the standards are made more industry-driven. The labour market should preferably decide for itself which competencies are required for accreditation as a practitioner in a particular profession. This relates not only to knowledge but also to skills and attitudes. In this case, the accreditation must be integrated into the corporate strategy. Only by focusing on formative goals does this usage of civil effect act as a means and not an end in itself and can be a powerful tool in turning learning into a lifelong learningfacilitator of oneâs employability and empowerment. - Quality assurances of the assessment procedures. In most countries, the government is directly or indirectly responsible for assuring the quality of the assessment standard. The quality of the standard can be controlled by establishing procedures for standard development and by using a programme of requirements for the design of standards (or qualification structures). The key quality criteria are validity, acceptance, functionality, transparency and comparability of structures. The quality of prior learning assessment affects various parties with an interest in the assessment results. The government must supervise or regulate the quality (validity, reliability and fairness) of the assessment results. It can delegate these responsibilities to third parties, but remains answerable for quality supervision. The design of the quality assurance system could include an auditing of the assessment centresâ internal quality assurance systems (as in the case of ISO certification), together with a system of random investigations of the validity and reliability of assessment results, conducted by independent research institutes. Criteria for the quality of assessment results can be drawn from the general requirements for assessment: validity and
reliability. Naturally, both concepts must be operationalised specifically for prior learning assessment procedures. Accessibility of procedures. Prior learning assessment procedures must be accessible to individuals and companies. Accessibility is determined by the recognition and acceptance of the accreditation. It is also determined by the accessibility of the organisations that implement the assessment procedures and their affordability. Access to competence recognition systems is determined by the features of the system itself and by the availability of financial resources. Decentralised supply of assessments increases the accessibility of the system. âDecentralisedâ refers to the regional distribution of prior learning assessment and implementation of the procedures at the employeeâs place of work or training course. Another condition for accessibility is that the system is workable and efficient for users. Timeconsuming and bureaucratic procedures are disastrous to accessibility. The funding of prior learning assessment procedures is a fundamental condition for the use of the system. A decentralised and workable system that nevertheless costs the users too much will reduce access to the procedures.
To conclude, when these three conditions are met, commitment to transition will develop fully. There will be plenty of space to build strong commitment for new ways of learning, both within circles of government, education sector and social partners. Commitment after all is the most essential precondition for making use of prior learning assessment and thereby changing the âlookâ of the formal learning system. Commitment means that all parties involved will take up their own responsibility. For the education sector, this will not be very easy since learning is traditionally more supply-oriented than demand-oriented. Competence-based learning and prior learning assessment will however make learning more a matter of fun again, since learning will be made more to measure. The motivation of the learners will therefore be much higher. For teachers and schools, this will then also be very stimulating and inspiring. In this sense one could state that learning will not only be a matter of employability but also of enjoyability! References Bjornavold J, (2000) Making Learning Visible, Cedefop, Thessaloniki. Brinkley I and Lee N (2006). The knowledge economy in Europe: A report prepared for the 2007 EU Spring Council, London, The Work Foundation. Note: this study makes no mention of the role of Education and Training as specified by the EU Education Council in 2001 Council of the European Union (2004), Conclusions of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on Common European Principles for the identification and validation of non-formal and informal learning, Brussels, 9600/04 EDUC 118 SOC 253. Duvekot, R.C., Schuur, C.C.M. and Paulusse, J. (eds.) (2005) The unfinished story of VPL: Valuation and validation of prior learning in Europeâs learning cultures, Vught, Foundation EC-VPL. European Commission (1995) White Paper on Education and Training -Teaching and Learning, Towards the Learning Society, Brussels, COM (95) 590. European Commission (2001), Communication from the Commission: Making the European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality, Brussels. Annex II: Glossary. European Council (2006 Joint Interim report of the Council and the Commission on progress under the Education and Training 2010 Work Programme, Luxembourg, Official Journal, C 79/01. KarlĂ¶f, B. et al (2001), Benchlearning: Good Examples as a Lever for Development, London, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
National review VPL 2007
The Netherlands, an introduction
The Netherlands have more than 16 million inhabitants, with an average population density of 479 persons per kmÂČ. Approximately 8 million people were employed in different kind of sectors in 2004. The Netherlands have a relatively low unemployment rate of 6,5 % in 2004 (CBS, see factsheet of the Netherlands). In economical difficult times it is often the lower educated people and the university qualified people who get unemployed. People who got vocational or higher vocational education have a lower unemployment rate. Retail and professional services cover together the biggest part of the Dutch employment (See figure 1.1).
Figure 1.1 the employment for the main sectors
Source: Heijerman, Kenniscentrum EVC (2005)
Human resource status The Netherlands face numerous challenges in the transition from the industrial economy to the knowledge society. The main challenges are: â Ageing of the workforce. Within five to ten years traditional recruitment wonât be able to fill in the gap of the pensioned people. This has big consequences involving organisations and the costs of, for example, pensions, health care and care for the elderly. â The number of unskilled people is rising. It is now almost 20 % out of +/- 8 million workers. â The need for upskilling the workforce. The shortage (qualitatively) of higher (vocational) educated people is rising rapidly. An example is in metal sector, where the percentage of higher vocational educated workers is 25 %. In 2010 this percentage should be 40 %. Formal education People in the Netherlands have compulsory education from five years till they are at least sixteen years old. Most of the children start the nursery school when they are four years old. Approximately 3,5 million pupils, students and adults are following formal education on different kind of levels. The diagram shows the simplistic structure of formal education (Figure 1.2). Vocational education consists of the job-accompanying learning path (BBL) and the job education learning path (BOL). Within the BBL practical work is most important (minimal 60% of the time) and within the BOL this is between 20 and 60%. BOL can be done fulltime (VT) or part-time (DT) â less than 850 hours educational programme - be done. In the year 2003/2004, a total of 278,780 persons followed senior secondary vocational education, of which 161,810 BBL and 316,970 BOL. The absolute number of participants following adult education was 162,480. More pupils follow Preparatory Vocational Education (60 %) than General Secondary Education (40%).
Vocational education has four sectors (economy, Figure 1.2 The Dutch educational system technical, service & health and agricultural sector) and Source: Dutch Ministry of Education (2006) four qualification levels: assistant in training (level 1), basis-vocational education (level 2), professional education (level 3) and middle management / specialists (level 4). Higher Vocational Education is level 5. In the upcoming years the government wants to stimulate people to get into higher education (HBO or WO). More than 50 % should follow higher education in 5 till 10 years. Definitions and debates in in the Netherlands: EVC, VPL, employability , etc. The Dutch term for recognition of non-formal and informal learning is EVC, Erkenning Verworven Competenties; literally translated this means accreditation of acquired competences. The Dutch term âEVCâ can best be compared with the term VPL, Valuation of Prior Learning. It also covers English terms like APL or RPL and the French VAE. The general idea is that everyone learns, everywhere and all the time: at school, on the job, through independent study or hobbies, for recreation and at home. VPL demonstrates the scope and quality of the competencies of an individual (regardless of where or how those competencies were acquired) and gives insight into the individualâs development. VPL focuses on the learning individual, and as such, with its broad vision of learning and knowledge development, it is a promising tool for the knowledge society. VPL means a more meaningful way of learning, both for individuals and society as a whole. Employability is something individuals want to have and something organizations look for in individuals, and both are aware of the diversity on the labour market. VPL helps people to effectively deal with individual differences in learning background and learning style, and can be used to serve a variety of ends, from recruitment & selection to creating training/in-service programmes to integrating
BAO BBL BOL HAVO HBO MBO PRO SBAO SO VMBO VO VSO VWO WO
Mainstream primary education Block or day release in vocational education Full-time vocational training General secondary education Higher professional education Vocational education Practical training Special primary education Special education Pre-vocational secondary education Secondary education Secondary special education Pre-university education University education
with work and knowledge or competency maintenance to disability prevention or outplacement. In short, VPL can be used to provide solutions for a wide range of issues in personnel policy, training, mediation, etc. Returns lie in the area of job and career training and appreciation and valuation of the quality of people. VPL is, as it were, the bridge to a lifetime of learning. Note that VPL itself should be seen primarily as a tool, to be used alongside a vision of personal development, and not an end in itself.1 VPL can be described in a nutshell as the methodology for identifying, valuing and validating what an individual has learned, both in formal learning environments, such as school, and non-formal/informal learning environments, such as home or the workplace. There are two forms of VPL. The summative approach to VPL concentrates on a list of competencies, on validation and valuation. This is also referred to as the âretrospectiveâ approach to VPL. Its goal is to âcash inâ on the validated competencies in the form of certification/sub-certification or attaining a diploma. The form of VPL that is also used to stimulate the actual learning or knowledge development is known as the formative approach to VPL. This broader approach is prospective, instead of retrospective, and focused on personal and career development. A VPL -procedure consists of a maximum of five phases: 1. preparatory phase focusing on engagement and consciousness of the value of competencies; 2. identification of competencies; 3. validation and valuation of competencies; 4. advising on further development of competencies; 5. systematic incorporation of competency-based development process in a personal or organizationdriven method. Together, these five phases make up the integral VPL process, which utilizes both the summative and formative approaches. Steps 1, 2 and 3 can also be carried out independently; in that case, VPL is limited to strictly summative objectives.2 A further point of discussion is the definition of competencies. A 2002 study by the Education Council 3makes clear that competencies are a cluster of skills, knowledge, attitudes, characteristics, ambitions and insights. In many cases, one competency is a prerequisite for another. Also, competencies always develop in a certain context. That specific context is of critical relevance as competencies change over time. In other words, competencies are continually in development. This is why it has been said that: âa competency is knowing how to act in a certain way. Whether a person is competent is made clear by the action.â.4 The utilization of VPL is based on the principle of valuing learning. Professional training is all about the person, with the individualâs learning process taking centre stage. Important issues in this area, independently of societal circumstances, are: how to utilize and support individual learning processes how to identify and measure individual competencies how to make observations explicit and document them how to validate and valuate this information and make it transparent
One complicating factor is that formal education and assessment procedures are geared towards only a limited cross-section of the individual learning capacity. Until recently, competencies gained in nonformal or informal settings were ignored, while those competencies can be essential for optimal performance of certain tasks. This complexity, and the opportunities here for the knowledge society, were identified as early as 1995 in a European Commission white paper.5 The goal of the white paper was to utilize the VPL system to tap into non-formal and informal learning experiences, the perspective essentially being that the knowledge infrastructure must support learning individuals in structuring their (lifelong) learning process. An individualized approach (custom work) must be offered to first valuate what the individual has already learned. Only then can a personal learning plan be drawn up. Form and content of the custom work required depend on the personal learning style and the answers to the
1 2 3 4 5 Duvekot, R.C. & R. Klarus (2002). Een visie op EVC. Handboek Effectief Opleiden 29/185. Doetinchem: Elsevier Human Resources. Duvekot, R.C. & J. Brouwer (red.) (2004). Het brede perspectief van EVC. Utrecht: Lemma. Onderwijsraad (2002). Competenties: van complicaties tot compromis. Den Haag: Onderwijsraad. Lyotard, J.F. (1988). Het postmoderne weten. Kampen: Kok Agora; Klarus, R. (1998). Competenties erkennen. âsHertogenbosch: Cinop. White Paper on Education and Training â Teaching and Learning â Towards the Learning Society (1995). Brussel: European Commission COM(95)590.
following questions: what do I already know, what can I already do, what knowledge and skills do I need right now and what knowledge and skills will I need later? The evaluation methodology required is based on organizations and knowledge infrastructure valuing the learning that people obtain in a programme-independent and continuous process. But the converse, that is, the valuation of this learning by the individual, is also a requirement. The notion that everyone is actually continuously involved in a learning process, or âlifelong learning,â and that all we have to do is to reveal that learning, is the connection between the perspectives of the individual, organization and knowledge infrastructure on valuing learning. The crux of the matter is to assume the benefits from the learning already achieved, and to base the desired benefits on these (learning output). This type of approach goes against the current input orientation of learning programmes based on predetermined frameworks for form and content of education, and which leave little to no room for personal contribution. For the individual, valuing learning means that describing and documenting learning experiences on a flexible labour market creates, or improves, clarity concerning career opportunities. Organizations must be able to state the competencies they need in a given position. Next, the educational or professional training programme or school environment must formulate a curriculum that precisely addresses the needs of that organization, so that the employees, with their already acquired competencies as a starting point, can get individualized attention (custom work) to their further development. Here, avoiding unnecessary education or training is a prime factor; of course, the main thing is not where, when and how one learns, but much more that one is learning. The next important factor in valuing learning is that each individual can choose the learning style that best suits him/her. Finally, it is important that they are valuated based on their longer-term implicit or explicit learning track-independent development. A crucial factor is, therefore, that the knowledge infrastructure is able to support them with individualized solutions (custom work). Efficiently linking the personal output with the desired output of, say, an educational standard, is the central focus. Suppose, for example, that someone's portfolio claims management experience at the HBO level, with, as evidence, years of experience managing the local football club; specific duties and results, including professional products such as annual plans and reports, are clearly described and included. Next, the assessment looks for, and finds, confirmation of the value of these learning experiences, and the candidate is given advised on a programme of "individualised learning," linked to a view to career opportunities at the desired management level. Here we see two dynamics within the valuing learning process: 1. the subject learns to value his or her own learning; and 2. organizations and knowledge infrastructure learn to value and support it. Both forms of valuing learning break through the existing wall between summative and formative assessment, and deal with the difference between "assessment of learning" and "assessment for learning".6 And, as a result, empowerment, employability and lifelong learning strategies meet, ideally through valuing learning. The glass is half full 7already indicated that VPL features four actors: the individual, the organization, the knowledge infrastructure (professional education and training) and the macro-level (governmental authorities and social partners). While VPL primarily relates to the tools for the required professional training, the VPL era shows the way in which these actors work together to organize this professional training and the key focus areas to be selected. The interaction between actors happens based on the identification, valuation, validation and activation/re-activation of an individual's employability. This has actually been the case since as far back as the Middle Ages, although in that period and the periods that followed there was little if anything by way of an articulated VPL system. This is the reason that I identify three "pre-VPL" eras in the period up to the nineteen-eighties, and two VPL eras from the nineteen-eighties on. All these eras are important, because collectively they show the actual long-term development of professional education, what Braudel calls the medium-long term development in history.8 If we were to limit ourselves to the past twenty years to obtain a view to where we need to go with VPL, we would miss a number of important considerations. To be absolutely clear: at present we are in the first VPL era. Depending on the historical period, the specified actors are always active or dominant to varying degrees, the interaction is focused on learning professional skills and the focus is on objectives with a summative and/or formative tint. As such, the march of time has revealed a development process that both explains the current perspectives on the relationships between actors and provides insight into impending developments within this era. Each successive era can be seen as an explanatory model for the rise and development of VPL. Determinate for the typology of the VPL era are the mutual
6 7 8 Dochy, F & G. Nickmans (2005). Competentiegericht opleiden en toetsen. Utrecht: Lemma. Werkgroep EVC (2000). De Fles is Half Vol ! Den Haag: Ministerie van Economische Zaken. Braudel, F. (1975). The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. Londen: Fontana/Collins.
relationships between the actors as expressed in the authority relationships. These relationships relate to the roles of the actors in determining the content and structure of the professional training. Additionally, the intentions, ranging from pure initial professional training to lifelong learning strategies, are also determinate elements. In any given era, we may see a shift of emphasis between summative and formative aspects. Finally, target group and their mobility (none, intra-sector or inter-sector) are relevant. The ideal balance between the actors in the VPL era is a situation in which: 1. the individual realizes that he/she will be engaging in lifelong learning no matter what, and documents these learning experiences; 2. organizations know what they need and can express it, and can make clear their changing needs for competencies; 3. the knowledge infrastructure supports individual and organization through custom work; 4. at the macro-level, the legislative and regulatory situation creates conditions beneficial to VPL. Research on âthe Dutch history of learningâ9 from the Middle Ages on into the present reveals that the fundamental differences between past and present (and future) are that the objective of the learning process has continued to develop from a focus on initial training to a lifelong learning strategy (or preparations for a lifelong learning strategy). The target group has been expanded from young, starting employees to anyone who wants to be or has to become employable. Additionally, individual and organization collaborate on the details of the process. Employee mobility is no longer limited to a single workplace but is increasingly seen as an inter-sector phenomenon. Finally, the focus has slowly shifted from a summative to a formative approach to professional training, and valuing learning offers an opening to make the transition from input-based to output-based learning strategies; a logical step, considering the changing objective of professional training and the opportunities for inter-sector mobility History of VPL in the Netherlands During the early 1990s, the Dutch government felt that regular education should be made more accessible for adults. This led to the establishment of the Commission on the âRecognition of Informally Acquired Skillsâ (EVK) in 1993. The Commission published its report âRecognizing Informal Skillsâ in March 199410. This marked the launch of EVK: the recognition of informally acquired skills, and emphasized the need to increase accessibility to education traditionally based on formal qualifications or the award of certificates. The Cabinet responded positively to the report. It accepted that EVK could make a useful contribution to the functioning of the labour and training markets, especially for individuals. The implementation of the scheme had to tie in with existing structures and the stakeholders had to pay the costs of implementing. The Cabinet agreed to provide a set of instruments to assist EVK, including the necessary development funding. The various stakeholders now actively got down to work. Schools, national professional education institutions, employment agencies, educational advisory bureaus, companies and other players began to work on the elaboration of EVK, either alone or in partnership. After a brief lull, the government kicked things back into gear in 1998 with the national action programme Een leven lang leren = Dutch for âlifelong learningâ): âThe workplace needs to be used more as a place of learning. The experiences gained must be made visible as independently acquired competencies. The cabinet wishes to promote this by setting up a system by which knowledge acquired elsewhere (that is, outside of the educational system) can be tested and accredited."11 This was an important step towards expanding on the EVK concept to the valuation of learning experiences acquired outside of the formal educational system. These experiences gained in the workplace would be revealed, and then tested and accredited; with this, the K became a C (competenties, or competencies) and since then, the system has been referred to as erkenning van verworven competencies (EVC in Dutch, or VPL ("valuation of prior learningâ) in English).
Duvekot, R.C. (2006). Rozen voor het oprapen. Public Lecture November, 15, 2006. Amsterdam: Hogeschool van Amsterdam 10 Kwaliteiten Erkennen (1994). Rapport van de Commissie Erkenning Verworven Kwalificaties. Maastricht: Rijksuniversiteit Limburg. 11 Actieprogramma (1998). Nationaal Actieprogramma Een Leven Lang Leren. Zoetermeer: Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen.
The social partners also made an important contribution to this shift towards competency-based professional training, by differentiating between a number of employability segments within which VPL could be functional: - for job-seekers and employed persons without a basic qualification, VPL could remove the hurdle to that basic level by accrediting what these persons already had in terms of competencies or those they had acquired by other means; - for job-seekers and employed persons with a basic qualification, VPL could provide directed reinforcement or retention of the desired qualifications and career opportunities.12 In the meantime, the 1995 Adult and Vocational Education Act had fulfilled an important requirement for more openness and flexibility in professional training.13 Adult education and professional education were brought together in ROCs (Regionale Opleidingencentra, or Regional Training Centres) with a single standard, the national qualification structure. In this situation, learning and working would go together under the term âenjoyability,â14 or all opportunities to invest in yourself in relation to the organization within which you function. The time had come for the implementation of all those wonderful plans. Into the 21st century: The Glass is Half Full With the publication of De Fles is Half Vol! (âThe glass is half full!â) in 2000, a first step towards lifelong learning using VPL was taken15. A national VPL working group formulated a broad vision on VPL and the implementation process. VPL had to bridge the gap between the education supply and the demand on the labour market side. The challenge was to connect these two worlds via the learner, on the one hand by converting learning experiences into certificates or diplomas, and on the other by allowing for the development of competencies in a career context. To support this application of VPL and to learn from the existing practice, the government established the Knowledge Centre APL (Kenniscentrum EVC) in 2001. The Knowledge Centreâs goal is to, on the basis of collecting practical examples, promote the use of VPL in the labour market and to take VPL to a higher qualitative level. It became clear that there were many situations in which VPL could be used, but did not automatically lead to the desired effects. Factors and circumstances that could have a negative impact include more restrictive legislation or regulations, fear of change, system failures, general conservatism or a too short-sighted view of the return on investment. On the other hand, the positive effects of VPL were seen mainly at the sector level. Thanks to VPL, in sectors such as the care sector and education sector, recruitment and selection of personnel is increasingly happening among target groups without the formal requirements. VPL is also functional in areas such as retention of personnel and attrition and disability prevention. Employees in the construction sector are being offered new career opportunities based on competency recognition and comparison with adjacent sectors. The next step is to promote mobility and upgrading of personnel. In particular, providing sitting personnel with ârefresher coursesâ can be structured efficiently around a good picture of existing competencies. Outflow and outplacement of personnel also benefit. The military, for example, has a high proportion of employees with fixed-term appointments. To be more successful at replacing these employees on the labour market, VPL can offer both development and qualification. Likewise, in mergers and reorganizations, VPL offers development and qualifications to find the right place for personnel, whether internally or externally. The financial return of VPL is seen not so much in the costs of education and training, but in the lowering of costs of delay. In VPL projects in companies such as Rockwool, Corus and Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods, considerable savings were achieved, ranging from EUR 3000 to EUR 16,000 per employee, due to lower costs of delay.16 The analysis of this data from the field17 showed that depending on the intended effect or return (certification or career-making) and the frame of reference used (nationally applicable MBO standard
12 STAR (1998). Een leven lang lerend werken. Den Haag: Stichting van de Arbeid. 13 WEB (1996). Wet Educatie en Beroepsvorming, de wet in hoofdlijnen. Zoetermeer: Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen. 14 The term âenjoyability" was introduced by Professor D.J. Wolfson during the Euroskills Symposium in Groningen, the Netherlands (28 October 1998). 15 Werkgroep EVC (2000). De Fles is Half Vol ! Den Haag: Ministerie van Economische Zaken. 16 EVC-magazine 2 (2005). Prettige cijfers voor het topmanagement. Utrecht: Kenniscentrum EVC. 17 Duvekot, R.C., C.C.M. Schuur & J. Paulusse (eds.) (2005) The unfinished story of VPL. Valuation and validation of prior learning in Europeâs learning cultures. Vught: Foundation EC-VPL.
or standards of universities of applied science, sectors or companies), there are four working forms of VPL. Two emphasise the summative aspects, particularly at the MBO level: 1. VPL as a bridge between education and labour market, focused on cooperation between the professional and adult education sector on the one hand and the branches and sectors in the labour market on the other; 2. VPL as structurer of innovation processes in education and labour mediation, focused on acquisition of starting qualifications for people with low education or no education. Two other working forms are based on formative aspects: 3. VPL as jump start for individual career. Employability at individual or organizational level is key; 4. VPL as instrument for human resource management at organizational level, with driver being the professionalization of personnel at the workplace. The most significant problem areas for optimal use of VPL in these working forms are: How to obtain the civil effect of the results of competency assessment? How to guarantee the accessibility of VPL? - How to ensure the quality of assessment procedures? To answer these questions, a great deal of attention was given to the further analysis of the use of VPL, in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Quantitatively, there is no exact figure available for the number of VPL procedures conducted in the Netherlands. For 2002, the national APL monitor still indicated a minimum of 6000 procedures in some 500 organizations. In addition, it is confirmed that many organizations studied the potential of VPL in their own organizations.18 In nearly 40% of these VPL procedures, the goal was granting someone a nationally accredited diploma. In some 30% of the procedures, concrete follow-up steps had already been taken, focusing on the learning and the development of individuals. The rest were oriented towards promotion options, personnel selection or a rearrangement of duties. Almost all of the initiatives took place within one professional column. Since then, the number of VPL procedures has been steadily rising. In 2005, along with running VPL initiatives, 6500 declarations of intent were signed for new VPL procedures at the MBO level This number is expected to go up fast as the VPL ambitions of the universities of applied sciences become reality.19 As just one example, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam has set a target figure of a minimum of 3000 VPL procedures for the period of 2006-2008.20 Starting 2007, more reliable figures on the nature and number of VPL procedures will be available. As from then, the WVA 21 will allow a write-off scheme for the costs of VPL for employers and employees. Registration of the procedures conducted will make the use of VPL quantifiable. At this moment, however, it is primarily the criterion âhaving access to a VPL procedure offered within one of the four working forms" that is providing a good insight into the level at which VPL is taking off. A number of examples show how large these groups can be and how different in objective and context. VPL-Total Qualitatively, the debate on devolping and implementing VPL focuses more and more on the VPL process as a whole, or on "VPL-Total". In this view VPL consists of five phases: the preparatory phase, focused on engagement and awareness of the value of a person's competencies; recognition of personal competencies; accreditation and valuation of these competencies; development of personal competencies (and advising on that development); and, finally, systematic incorporation of this development process in policy driven by the individual or the organization. Phase 1: preparation This phase comprises two steps: creating awareness and setting objectives for VPL within the organizational context and at the individual level. These are the critical success factors for the use of VPL, because if an organization or an individual does not see it necessary to think about the personal goals and the need to invest in the personnel (in the case of the organization) or one's self (in the case
18 19 20 21
HĂ¶vels, B. & C. Romijn (2003). EVC-monitor 2001-2002. Houten: Kenniscentrum EVC. Jaarverslag Projectdirectie Leren & Werene 2005. Den Haag. Plan 3000 (2006). EVC-totaal bij de HvA. Amsterdam: HvA EVC-centrum. Wet Vermindering Afdracht loonbelasting en premie voor volksverzekeringen (Salaries Tax and National Insurance Contributions (Reduced Remittances) Act).
of the individual), the VPL process will run aground immediately. Generally speaking, this phase will take as much time as the other four combined! Phase 2: identification The identification or listing of competencies is done using a portfolio, sometimes referred to as the "learning biography." Along with an account of work experience and diplomas, the portfolio is supplemented with other documentary material: testimonials from employers, documents or photos that incontrovertibly demonstrate the presence of certain competencies, professional products, and the like. In some cases, the documentary material may be focused on the profession or the function for which the VPL procedure has been developed. In others, it may be an "open" portfolio. Documentary material may be focused on valuation in some cases and personal profiling in others. The participant will compile the portfolio personally, with or without help. This phase consists of a preparatory step and a retrospective step. The preparation relates to the indication of the current competency needs, either in the organization or with the individual. The retrospection is a look back at the individual learning experiences and documenting them. Phase 3: accreditation and valuation After phase 2, the content of the portfolio is evaluated or assessed. With employees, this usually happens via observation on the job or by means of a criteria-based interview. The assessors compare the competencies of an individual against the standard (or yardstick) used in the procedure. This method evaluates the qualities of the participant. The precise details of the assessment process itself are not important; only the results count. This step results in recommendations on the potential accreditation at the organization, sector or national level, depending on the yardstick used, in the form of certificates, diplomas or a valuation in the form of recommendations on career potential. The recommendations are based on the output or the learning returns to be accredited as contributed by the individual in the assessment. This output is the starting point for the recommendations on utilizing the returns, and any follow-up steps. This phase requires three steps: - establishment of the standard. This may, in theory, be any standard that meets the needs of organization or individual, such as a national or sector-based professional standard, to name two examples. These standards are focused on certification. Formative or organizational questions focused on being able to determine the placement potential of people in certain positions in the organization can be linked to these standards. Apart from on the desired standard and any formative questions, a choice can be made on the way in which the assessment will happen; - the assessment of the portfolio and the advising on accreditation and valuation of the portfolio in accordance with the set standard and intended goals; - the accreditation of the documented learning within the given standard, leading to accreditation (certification) and/or valuation (generating career steps or advice). After this phase, the retrospective part of the VPL process is complete. The following phases are focused on the prospective function of VPL. Phase 4: development This phase is focused on the conversion of the advising received into an action plan. Based on the accredited competencies, and in the event that any competencies are lacking, a personal development plan is created. This plan comprises the learning activities required for the desired diploma qualification and which are offered via custom work. Additionally, the action plan states the steps required to initiate the potential career steps via arrangements on job rotation, promotion, mentoring, etc. Custom work in learning means the performance of learning assignments independently of the desired form, time and environment, and learning independently or with supervision within a bandwidth of 0 to 100%. This development phase comprises two steps: First, a personal development plan (POP) is created and coordinated with the objectives of the organization. Usually, the coordination will be determined by making the POP an official part of the broader organization plan. Secondly, a start is made on compliance with the arrangements made from the POP. In this last step, the potential of custom work from the knowledge infrastructure side is tapped for support.
Phase 5: implementation The last phase of the VPL process is focused on the systematic implementation of VLP in the education and personnel policy of an organization and maintaining the portfolio by the individual. Accordingly, an organization must be capable of systematically using VPL for its own, possibly changing, goals. The individual is aware of the use and necessity of maintaining a portfolio with a view to potential new developments. This phase comprises only one step: the conversion of the organization's personnel policy into a lifelong learning policy based on competencies, in which VPL and custom learning are cornerstones, via POP. See appendix 1 for an overview of these 5 phases in more detail. Looking at the VPL-process as a total process one can see that the portfolio is the recurring theme. From the establishment of the need for investment in "human capital" up to and including the anchoring of a VPL-based approach built on valuing learning, the portfolio is there. The objective in relation to the context is established for each phase in succession; the portfolio is filled with learning experiences related to the objective; the portfolio as such is evaluated and recommendations are made; via custom work, the portfolio is augmented, and finally, the portfolio is taken as a starting point for new learning issues from a VPL-embedded situation. The entire VPL process, then, begins and ends with the portfolio; at the same time, each one is the start of a new VPL process. This is known as the "portfolio loop." Looking even closer at the VPL-process, we see that in each phase, concrete services from the knowledge infrastructure are available to support employability and empowerment issues. These services range from portfolio guidance and providing trainings to assessment and recommendations at the workspace. Filling in potential learning tracks is oriented towards offering custom work in terms of desired content, form and environment. In addition, the following matters must be arranged: the quality assurance for the VPL procedure; the accrediting of assessors, the development of the "portfolio loop" and the development of self-assessment instruments with which the candidate can determine for himself or herself whether a certain, desired level is available and the training that fits with the personal profile. All this, of course, must be available online. This has left some of the key questions surrounding quality assurance, access and effect not yet entirely dealt with: - Assessment is primarily summative in nature. There is still too little being drawn from valuing learning to achieve more than a broad indication of career opportunities. - Assessment is usually carried out by two assessors, one internal and one external, who jointly arrive at correct recommendations; but this still does not answer the question of how the quality of VPL in the general sense can be guaranteed. The quality is now fully dependent on the assessors themselves. The candidate has no view of how those assessors have been trained or prepared for the assessment. And often, the options for second opinion or a complaint system are unclear. - At the moment, accessibility is primarily open to organizations. The individual has little access to cost coverage, contribution to determining the goal of the VPL procedure or the opportunity to refer to the content of the yardstick, because competency descriptions are written in fairly inaccessible language. - The pursuit of a certificate or diploma makes for a weak connection between the competency needs of an organization and the content of the certificates/diplomas to be earned. Organization and diploma-issuing institution usually do not speak the same competency language. The result is inefficient advising on the custom work that is needed and that is feasible. - Finally, and this goes for all key questions, the lack of âmassâ utilization of VPL, that is, the lack of quantitative use, prevents urgency in solving these problem areas quickly. The implementation issues relate to form and content of lifetime learning. The individual is not yet used to documenting learning experiences in a structured way. People only evaluate where they stand when their jobs are threatened. This can sometimes lead to projects in which people can use VPL to help them move from job to job. As one example, Nedcar is attempting to use this method to place some 2500 people in jobs elsewhere, in cooperation with governments, the CWI, the UWV and Kenteq (NRC, 12 August 2006). But there are other examples of preventive investment in one's portfolio in anticipation of potential changes in the labour market. The career
approach in the construction sector is one such example. And other companies, such as Heinz, Corus, Rockwool and Bakker Wilting, as well as sectors such as the fruit & vegetable sector and the furniture industry, and volunteer organisations such as Scouting and sports clubs, are all introducing their people to portfolio-making. It has yet to become a generally accepted approach in personnel policy or HRM, however. Similarly, making real custom work is also uncharted territory with many uncertainties: - How to deal with inter-sector accreditation of generic competencies; in particular, employers' apprehension about investing in the quality of their people via VPL, only to see those people poached by the competition, or investing in a potential wage explosion, is holding back broad acceptance. - How to give recommendations that, in addition to summative objectives, also focuses on formative goals surrounding career issues such as recruitment or moveability of personnel. These issues are generally independent of certification questions. - How to deal with the shortage of time and money on the labour market to actually put together custom work. Employers are still not fully aware of the need to invest in their people. Employers have not yet mastered the art of finding creative solutions to squeeze the most out of the scarce available resources and time. - Many professional education programmes are not capable of providing custom work because they do not have the "critical mass"; that is, not enough pupils/students to reach an affordable teacher/student ratio and to be able to gear the custom work to workplace-specific learning assignments ("action learning"), professional tutorships on the work floor or distance learning in work time and leisure time. - How to reverse the decline in the number of part-time students in HBO (higher professional education). In the past five years, the number of part-time students has declined each year while the total number of students has increased. Part-time studies are the potential base for custom work, because of the target group of people with work and life experience. Demographically, this target group has to become the driving force behind getting the number of HBO knowledge workers up to the right level and keeping it there. - How to avoid a distinction arising between diplomas obtained in the standard manner and those obtained via VPL (faster). Flanders has opted for two different types of diplomas, but this dichotomy is seen as undesired in the Netherlands. Making any distinction violates the principle of valuing learning, the very point of which is that all learning experiences are considered equal. How to create a lifelong learning culture based on an underlying principle of keeping up competencies on an ongoing basis and valuing learning. The most significant problem area is the individualâs access to the knowledge infrastructure. Potential solutions lie with the government, which can shift the mission of professional education towards squaring with lifelong vocational training and support. The social partners can strengthen their contribution via promoting inter-sector competency comparisons and valuation with the object of creating âhealthyâ mobility of employees. Financially, VPL can be supported by means of structural tax schemes for individual and organization, and via arrangements at the collective labour agreement-level on the utilization of training funds. Independently of these implementation issues, there are a number of other fundamental issues at work in the transition to the 2nd VPL era, and for some of them we can find good examples by looking abroad. For instance, nationwide coverage of VPL advising is a desired goal. As soon as anyone, at any given place, can be advised on MBO or HBO exemptions, and can pursue a follow-up programme anywhere in the country, then lifelong learning has achieved the first key issue of VPL: summative utilization. In France, they are already there. But in the Netherlands, the transfer of VPL advising between organizations that can offer custom work still suffers from unnecessary time wastage, or worse still, in some cases leads to the entire procedure being performed all over again. For this reason, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam recently began organizing nationwide coverage of issued VPL advising with a number of other universities of applied science. Another accessibility aspect is working with portfolio-driven learning tracks starting in primary or secondary education, so as to teach a portfolio-driven learning culture early on. The individual can take this portfolio and continue to update it throughout his or her entire career. Norway goes one step further, granting the citizen the right to a portfolio valuation. Twice per year, the individual can submit his or her portfolio to a regional portfolio databank and get answers on the accreditation that can be obtained at the regional or national level, and also receives development counselling22. It is then up to
22 Nilsen-Mohn, in: Duvekot, R.C., C.C.M. Schuur & J. Paulusse (eds.) (2005) The unfinished story of VPL. Valuation and validation of prior learning in Europeâs learning cultures. Vught: Foundation EC-VPL
the citizen to take on the challenges offered (accreditation and development), individually or in consultation with an employer. Here, a layered approach to "recognizing" a person's competencies is important; that is, the individual can take an interest test that produces the output of an education and sector indication for certain career steps, and then performs a broad self-assessment offering insight into the options within educational level and job groups. Quality assurance is in effect about organising confidence. In this context, it was suggested even in De Fles is Half Vol that a professional register or association for assessors be set up, including standard setting for assessors and their training. This suggestion is worth exploring, for the lifelong learning of the assessors themselves. Another option is certification of the trainer of the assessors, so as to make known that the assessors trained there meet expectations of reliability, independence and transparency. For that matter, summative VPL can be left to existing examination committees, as it is in France; the advantage here is that valuing learning is directly embedded in the existing assessment system without requiring the setup of a new "quality assurance bureaucracy." In the area of civil effect, extending a body of rulings on exemptions within one educational programme to cross-programme and cross-sector domains is important. The French example is a striking one. A national advisory committee has already been working for some years on a project incorporating every summative effect offered into an electronic database, with the goal of being able to show a VPL candidate the yardstick to which a VPL report can be connected with and, where possible, capitalized on. This both expands the scope of potential formative steps towards career-making, and makes it more individual-driven.23 Examples of VPL today The construction sector offers a good example of a broad VPL function geared for both summative and formative effects. Since July 2006, the Construction Industry Collective Labour Agreement has provided a career track for employers and employees. The participants are some 130,000 construction site personnel and 65,000 office positions. In the Construction & Infra career track, these employees are informed of their career opportunities within the sector. The most important goal is getting the right employee into the right place, and in so doing, to keep ambitious employees in the sector, prevent attrition due to disability and promote reintegration. Each track is individual, custom work, and requires effort on the part of all parties involved. A collective determination is made of what focus on other work is required, what tests are called for and what education/training is the most appropriate. A consensus is also obtained on the arrangements on the time commitment and financing of the process.24 The Ministry of Defence's ESF-project Ver-kennen van Competenties 25 is intended to reach integral, systematic and cross-sector use of VPL procedures, including quality assurance, in a work environment. This system can be used by a variety of actors: 1. the individual can update and supplement his/her own competency portfolio; 2. the employer has a list of competencies in the organization that can be deployed in various departments; 3. external organizations can search to fill vacancies; 4. the career counsellor can use it to organise the personal development track. The innovative character lies in the competency-based approach to level the playing field in the valuation of various learning tracks, mainly those between military and civilian learning experiences, the systematic use of EVK and VPL and the cross-sector approach. The target group consists of some 15,000 people leaving or continuing in the military and some 5000 new recruits. A final example of the size of target groups for which VPL is within reach is the group executive members of ABVA/KABO/FNV. This group of trade union volunteers is some 13,000 members strong. Alongside their regular work, they volunteer in a range of competency profiles for the trade union, in positions such as trade union consultant, career counsellor, participation council member, trade union school instructor, and the like. These volunteer positions are set out in competency profiles that can be derived into MBO/HBO diplomas. The derivation process can be readily evaluated with a VPL procedure. The degree to which a VPL recommendation then leads to a certification or a career track is a matter to be worked out between the individual and the organization for which that individual works.26
23 Charraud, in: Duvekot, R.C., C.C.M. Schuur & J. Paulusse (eds.) (2005) The unfinished story of VPL. Valuation and validation of prior learning in Europeâs learning cultures. Vught: Foundation EC-VPL 24 Loopbaantraject Bouw (2006). Het loopbaantraject bouw en infra. Kansen bieden, mogelijkheden benutten! Brochure van de sector. 25 Ver-kennen van competenties (2005). ESF-Equal NL-2004/EQE/0035. Den Haag: Ministerie van Defensie. 26 Burgt, K. van der (2005) OriĂ«ntatie op EVC voor vakbondsvrijwilligers (concept). Zoetermeer: AbvaKabo FNV.
These three examples show that large groups can use VPL facilities for a range of purposes. The problem is less with the knowledge infrastructure or organizations, and more with the individual's unfamiliarity with VPL. This means that at present, of the three transitions collectively representing the transition to the second VPL era, it is primarily the transition to individual empowerment that is lagging behind the other two transition areas, the focus on employability and the lifelong learning strategies. Additionally, the examples show that the reason for this does not by definition lie in the authority relationships. The individual is given adequate leeway to arrange a personal track with the individual learning biography, even if that lies outside the individual's own professional column. In the recommendations on âthe new learningâ27, the Socio-Economic Council confirms the need for a more open role on a more equal footing for the individual. It calls for a reinforcement of the position and responsibility of the individual on the post-initial education market as an important solution track for giving lifelong learning a more structural position in the knowledge infrastructure. This way, the individual creates a new balance, as animator of lifelong learning between the actors in the VPL era knowledge economy. Actual utilization of the opportunities is the central focus. It underscores the development of authoritative relationships on a more equal footing between the actors, including initiatives for career training across different professional columns. For the time being, individual empowerment is limited to policy premises on paper. Involved parties The government and social partners play a steering role for VPL on national level (the Dutch âpoldermodelâ or consensus-model). The government has not a strict legislation about VPL, but tries to create conditions to stimulate the use of VPL. The social partners are responsible for VPL on sectoral level. Together they coordinate actions for the national employability-agenda. The government has set up a Project Unit Learning & Working, whose role is to strengthen the integration of learning and working. All parties have their own responsibilities in initiating and implementing VPL-policy in their own discipline. The responsibility of the formal accreditation is by the Minister of Education delegated to the educational institutes. But also the branch organisations have their own accreditation systems per branch, of which some of them are well recognised by the sector because of their practical impact. But each organisation / individual can issue a certificate according to their own standards. Many volunteer organisations, for example, have their own certificate / ward system, not connected to the formal accreditation system. VPL-procedures are more often embedded into Collective Labour Agreements (CAO) in different kinds of sectors. These are set up by the social partners. The goal is to have employees work on employability, so their position becomes stronger on the labour market. Further on employer organisations are in favour for VPL. Certification leads to an indication and better understanding of the qualifications of employees. The agreements about VPL are often financed by Training Funds (O&O fondsen) Both employees and employers pay a small amount of their incomes to these sector funds, which have originally been set up to support educational initiatives for employees28. Quality Code EVC In November 2006 a covenant based on the âEuropean Common Principles for Recognition and Validation of Non-formal and Informal Competenciesâ29 was signed by various parties who are involved in developing and executing VPL-procedures. These national actors, among with VPL providers, employers and accreditation bodies, have joined hands to develop a quality code for VPL. The covenant is a contributing factor to three objectives linked to the introduction of VPL: 1. Increasing the accessibility of VPL. Clarifying what VPL is and how VPL must be offered. 2. Providing transparency. Allowing better comparison of different VPL procedures. 3. Guaranteeing civil effect. The covenant resulted from a broad consultation process among all stakeholders, concedes five main arrangements that the parties agreed upon:
27 SER (2002). Het nieuwe leren. Advies over een leven lang leren in de kenniseconomie. Den Haag: Sociaal-Economische Raad. 28 HĂ¶vels, B. and Romijn, C., Implementatie van EVC: Rendement, toegankelijkheid en knelpunten, deelrapportage bij de EVC monitor 2001-2002. Kenniscentrum EVC. 29 European Commission (2004), Common European Principles on the Identification and Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning. Brussel: European Commission.
â â â â â
The use of the code is voluntary, but the signing parties are dedicating themselves to promote the use of the Quality code for VPL. Making its use mandatory would detract from the motivation to work with the VPL-code. Everyone who starts with an VPL-procedure agreed on the reasons for doing so. VPL is not a standard process but an individualized series of arrangements customized on the goal and use of VPL. Custom work is the standard. Every VPL-procedure ends with a VPL-report. This report states that the individual had documentation of the competencies he possesses. This makes VPL something independent of the educational provider. Accredited VPL providers are listed in a VPL database. This database contains information about all the VPL-procedures that are useful for potential VPL candidates. The competencies of the people supervising these procedures and performing the assessment are documented. Only professionals can be supervisors and assessors.
See also the appendix on the Quality Code Financing VPL VPL is financed in different ways by different stakeholders. The Dutch social partners see the benefits of VPL. They requested the development of the Quality code for VPL. From 1 january 2007, the Dutch government extended a tax facility to VPL purchasers. In order to qualify for this tax scheme, the VPL purchaser must be able to submit an invoice from an accredited VPL procedure. The employer or employee receives âŹ300 back on tax. A lot of VPL providers became interested in becoming accredited by the Quality code, because of the tax facility. Since the introduction of the Quality code for VPL, 2000 procedures asked for a accreditation of their VPL procedures. The expectations are that this number will reach 6000 at the end of 2007. At the moment there is no clear overview of the costs for a VPL-procedures. Estimated is that a VPL procedure for level 3 and 4 (Vocational education) costs between âŹ800 and âŹ1300. For higher vocational education this is between âŹ1000 and âŹ1500. The interdepartmental project unit for Learning & Working The interdepartmental project unit for Learning & Working is a joint project of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment with the involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Food Quality, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration and the Ministry of Finance. The task of the interdepartmental project unit is to take concrete steps forward in lifelong learning. The Project Unit Learning & Working will not carry out the project itself, but stimulate and facilitate employers, employees, citizens, trade and industry, education providers, local governments and regions to realize these steps in practice. They want to make a start on this with all the parties involved, but at the end of the day, it is up to the relevant parties to implement the project. The interdepartmental project unit for Learning & Working was set up with the following objectives: â The creation of a regional infrastructure for career counselling and career management and the associated testing of all competencies acquired (VPL procedures) plus educational advice tailored to the test results. An easily accessible and independent desk will direct the participants to the local infrastructure for training and education in the region. â One objective included in the Action Plan for Lifelong Learning is for the government to ensure that a total of 50,000 such VPL procedures have been carried out by 2010. The interdepartmental project unit for Learning & Working has resolved to realize 7,500 of these procedures in 2005 and some 12,500 in 2006. In order to build an infrastructure for VPL procedures, the interdepartmental project unit launched the following actions: â Establishing contacts with regional partners (trade and industry, Regional Training Centres, Agricultural Training Centres, Centres for Work and Income, higher vocational education institutions, universities) in four regions with regard to setting up an infrastructure for VPL, including career counselling and services on educational opportunities. Based on the experiences gained in these four regions, similar initiatives will be launched in other regions; â Providing a start-up subsidy to these four pilot projects based on a joint business plan for the parties in the region. At the moment a total of 34 regional initiatives are carried out to stimulate VPL. The goal of the Project Unit Learning & Working is to realize a functioning learning-working desk that provides employed persons
and jobseekers with low-threshold access to advice on careers, competencies and training opportunities. The term learning-working desk refers to an accessible point of contact where all citizens can obtain information, an overview and tailor-made advice on training, career counselling and assistance. If such a desk functions well, it supports people in undertaking activities when they start learning again. VPL statistics Most of the VPL procedures in the Netherlands are on Vocational educational level (level 3 and 4). They represent 72% of all available VPL procedures. For Higher education this is 9%, but expected is a growth on this level because the government stimulates institutes for higher education to develop more procedures. VPL can be supplied by different types of organisations: â Agricultural Vocational Education â Examination bodies â Institutes for Higher Vocational Education â Knowledgecentres â Commercial VPL suppliers â Institutes for Vocational Education
Figure 1.3: Percentage of VPL procedures per level
Most VPL procedures are delivered by. institutes for vocational education. They often work together with Knowledge centres. These knowledge centres are responsible for setting up the competence based qualification profiles for the levels 1 to 4.
Figure 1.4: Different types of VPL providers
Final word We still have a long way to go before valuing learning becomes the basis of a programmeindependent, reciprocal and indicative assessment system.Valuing learning can be an important contributing factor to activating lifelong learning. The developments surrounding vocational training and linking it to the VPL system offer a solid basis to build on. Clearly, personal development takes center stage. This benefits not only the individual, but the organization in which the individual is active, and so, indirectly, society as a whole as well. The role of assessment within valuing learning is, therefore, no longer limited to a final exam, but in fact becomes a jumping-off point for new development and growth. This development can lead to horizontal, vertical, inter-sector and intrasector mobility. The output of VPL is primarily career-oriented, relying on the education or training functions fulfilled by the knowledge infrastructure. And this is just what the utilization of competencies in an increasingly dynamic labour market needs. Valuing learning therefore increases the role that the individual plays in building lifelong learning. It reveals the benefits in terms of profit (status, financial rewards), efficiency (time, custom work) and enjoyability (learning is fun). The programme-independent nature of assessment reinforces these effects of valuing learning, coming back full circle and heralding the dawn of the second VPL era. Considering the pace at which VPL has moved in the space of ten years and contributed to the development of professional training, the transition in the social, economic and educational areas can be expected very soon. And the challenges are waiting to be answered by VPL and its many stakeholders. The following three sectoral overviews will provide more context for this.
Sector review: Health and Social Care30
Introduction â overview of the sector In the health and social care sector, vocational skills are acquired in tertiary education and in informal and non-formal learning. The larger part is learned in tertiary education, depending on the educational level. In lower levels people learn more in practice. Informal and non-formal learning is very important in finding and binding personnel. The informal experiences in social and health care are one of the reasons individuals choose for a job and training in this sector. Officially the Ministry of Education grants formal qualifications, mostly after study and exams. This is done by Regional Training Centres and Schools for Higher Professional Education. Also VPL plays a substantial role. Existing recognition models The main actors in the health and social care are employer organisations and trade unions. VPLprocedures enclosed in the collective labour agreement (CAO) of the welfare sector and academic hospitals. Vocational education, intermediaries and businesses work together to set up different kinds of qualification structures, competence profiles and VPL-procedures. Within vocational education, courses can be taken at five different qualification levels: assistant worker (level 1), basic vocational training (level 2), professional training (level 3), middle management or specialist training (level 4) and Higher Professional Education (level 5). An educational route in health and social care is built on different sub qualifications. For each qualification a certificate is available. After passing all exams and skills tests, these different certificates can be converted into a diploma. This recognition model is defined on a national level. Demand of competences In 2003, the total number of employees in the Dutch health and social care was 1,079,000. Expected is that this number will grow to 1,614,000 in 2020. This means an increase of approximately 535,000 individuals in this short period, not even including the replacement demand and individuals who stop working because they have reached the retirement age. The total number of Dutch active employees remains limited. In 2003, the Netherlands counted about 8,286,383 active employees which is expected to grow with 66,380 employees to 8,352,763. In the future, the availability of qualified employees will be a serious problem31 . This is caused by an increasing number of people getting in the age group of 65+. Needs for competences For all staff within the health and social care, qualifications are necessary. A formal qualification makes a great difference on the labour market. The collective labour agreement is built on formal qualifications. The qualification system is determined by different stakeholders, including the work field, which results in attention for the needs of SMEs and enterprises. The existing certification system is relevant to the needs of employees and individuals returning on the job market. This is because diplomas are obligatory for obtaining and practising a job. Relevant, because applicable. The demand of qualified personnel increases and meanwhile the number of new employees entering remains constant. For health and social care three groups could contribute to a solution. Firstly, the empowerment of individuals who have worked in the sector in the past. Secondly, the upscaling of working individuals, which creates space for lower qualified persons. And last, the individuals who have experience in health or social care, but no formal education in this area. These three groups could partly form the solution for increasing the availability of qualified employees. They should, however, all be trained before they can be available. Here is a great opportunity for VPL. Role of VPL in obligatory and optional certification There have been about 6000 persons within 500 organisations, who went through a VPL procedure until 2002. In the health and social care about 1000 persons are known to have undergone a VPLprocedure. The estimate for yearly numbers in the health and social care, who have undergone a VPL-procedure, is about 1000 persons and is rising every year. Different stakeholders use VPL in a formative manner. A distinction is made between objectives for the employee and for the employer32. The role VPL plays for the employee is becoming qualified for a future job or for a different position. VPL is used to make education more efficient, because of the
30 Beek, van H. and Schuur K. (2005) WP3 Report Eurovalidation. EC-VPL: Vught. 31 Rekum, C. van (2005). OVDB: Bunnik 32 Sectorfondsen Zorg en Welzijn, 2004
ECTS exemptions educational institutes offer. Efficient training is also an objective for the employer, because less time is spent by their personnel in training. For the employer VPL can be used in three different ways. VPL is used for empowering new employees who have experience and training in the health and social care sector, but who left this sector in the past. These people have a great deal to offer, but often do not have proper qualifications. VPL can be used to stimulate these individuals for a job in the social and health care by making it more accessible. VPL offers possibilities for managing competences and increasing employability, mainly for their working personnel. From the individualâs point of view this is career accompaniment. The third way VPL can be used is in the recruitment and selection policy for new employees. Ways an individual could use VPL in optional certification is getting more insight in their value for the company and their career possibilities. The objectives, both for obligatory and optional certification, could be categorized in the two main streams of VPL: VPL within the framework of professional qualification and VPL as a form of competence management.
Sector review: Voluntary sector
Introduction â overview of the sector In the Netherlands, four million people do voluntary work for approximately five hours a week. For the last twenty years, the percentage of voluntary workers remained constant, namely about 3,4 million people. Yet there can be seen a decrease in the last few years. Also the attitude is changing. People donât have a steady job in the voluntary sector, but will do voluntary work on a freelance basis. The willingness to do voluntary work is high in the Netherlands (Cahier, 1999). Together with Sweden and Norway, the Netherlands counts the highest percentage of volunteers in Europe. 57,5% of the volunteers is female and 42,5% man. The Dutch voluntary sector is sizeable, with health care, education and social care as biggest sub sectors. On three levels, local, regional and national, different local authorities, supporting organisations and volunteer organisations play a role in the infrastructure. New volunteers have different motives for entering voluntary work, mostly a unique combination of motives: â Idealism: commitment with fellow man (40%), social motives (11%) â Practical: hobby (19%), keeping busy (17%), need for companionship (17%), Career (1,1%) Existing recognition models For voluntary work, NIZW and CIVIQ developed a competence catalogue. This catalogue describes general functions within voluntary work. On the basis of fifteen different types of volunteer organisations, IVIO researched common marks and general competences that are used by voluntary workers. This recognition model is defined at national level. For example, Scouting Gelderland has developed competence profiles for leaders and group leaders. The problem with these recognition models is the quality control. At the moment it is possible to print your own certificate when downloaded from the internet. Future employers want to be assured the what the certificate says is true. This aspect needs some kind of quality control. Since the Quality code for VPL it is possible to assure a certain quality. The possibilities that the Quality code for VPL bring are examined by the Voluntary sector. Demand for competences No official qualifications exist for voluntary work. In interviews with both NIZW (sectoral research institute, incl. work on general competence profiles) and Scouting Gelderland (organisation specific competence profiles) the emphasis was on using the recognition model without obligations. The demand of competences and quality control of volunteers is one of the reasons to start using competence profiles within the volunteer organisations. There has been carried out research about the wish of volunteers in getting their prior learning recognised. Between 10 and 20 percent of the volunteers want their competences to be recognised. Role of VPL in obligatory and optional certification There are approximately between the five and fifteen procedures in the voluntary sector. In each procedure 10-50 persons undergo a VPL-procedure a year. The figure shows which role VPL plays within voluntary work. The figure gives insight in the twofold way VPL works in the volunteer organisation. Because of the recognition, voluntary work is used and valuated within formal education. In this way voluntary work plays a role in obligatory certification. On the other side, groups that want to be recognised by the OVDB are more aware of their internal policy in coaching and guiding volunteers.
Professionalizing the voluntary sector
Quality improvement for volunteers Quality improvement for volunteer organisations
VPL in Voluntary work
Insufficient number new volunteers
Career possibilities for volunteers, both intern and extern
Increase number of new volunteers in the voluntary sector
Figure 2.1 VPL in Voluntary Work (Van Dam & Frietman, 2003)
VPL plays a role in internal competence management, quality improvement and as a tool for volunteers to express their competences. In voluntary work, learning experiences often remain implicit in that HRM instruments are seldomly used. Using VPL can change that. Within voluntary work, VPL is a bottom-up approach in which volunteers express the need for feedback on their work and want to work more effectively and efficiently. This benefits the organisation. Various good practices describe that by more awareness of competences within the organisation, volunteers can be brought better into action. 75% of the volunteer organisations want to keep the expertise on a high level. They offer training, group and individual coaching and organise thematical meetings. About two thirds of the volunteers participate in educational activities of their volunteer organisation. From the other third, however, a quarter is interested in taking training. Particularly in voluntary work in social care volunteers use their prior learning to find paid work.
Sector review: metal sector
The metal sector exists of two main groups which each have their own collective labour agreements: Metalektro (mostly big companies) and Metal and Technical Organisations (mostly SMEs in metal processing). The collective labour agreements are one of the biggest in the Netherlands. It is a divers sector from basic industry till complex endproducts in which ten of thousands business operate with about half a million of employees, which is about 40% of the entire industry. In the last couple of years there has been a regression on both volume of the market as well as systematic decrease in employment. In the upcoming years organisations in this sector have to cope with a lot of international concurrence on the labour market. Organisations have to characterize by delivering high quality against low prices to hold the head above the water. Ageing is also a big issue for this sector; the outflow is bigger than the intake. In the next couple of years a lot of people will make use of an early pension arrangement. This is not stimulated by the government. Existing recognition models Vocational profiles have been set up by the social partners. These are taken as entry points in different educational institutes to formulate qualification structures, but are also used to draw competence profiles for VPL-procedures. In certain branches of the sector, competence profiles have already been drawn. Demand for competences Organisations in the metal sector were asked what the most important competences were in this sector. Professional skills were still named as most important, followed by problem-solving capacity and leadership. Yet there can be seen a movement towards other skills like attitude on the working place, dealing with other cultures and increasing mobility to be available for more functions in the metal sector. Employees are mostly enrolled in courses on the technical aspects, safety issues, IT skills and communication skills. Even in economical difficult times, it is hard to find employees for specific functions. The main arguments are: a) not enough applicants that have sufficient or the desired competences; b) not enough applicants that have sufficient work experience; and c) too little availability of secondary and vocational educated individuals. Need for competences The metalektro group sees that the role of an employee is changing and understands the necessity of VPL. An employee has to become a multi-skilled worker. Most of the upskilling still happens outside formal education, because formal education is not fully equipped to give response on the demand of businesses in this sector. But developments in more made-to-measure education are taking place. In the last years a lot of organisations innovate on the process instead on the product. Organisations expect to work with other techniques in the upcoming five years. Organisations also invest more in their HRM-policy. More often organisations use career development âor career planning (23%) or function circulation (48%) to optimal utilize the knowledge of the staff and to stimulate competence development. The investments in development of competences will not only be through formal courses and practices but also through informal learning: âlearning-by-doingâ or âcoachingâ play an important role to obtain the right competences. There are a lot of developments to strengthen the qualification structures and competence profiles going on. Secondary Vocational Education (ROCâs) and Higher Vocational Education are involved in different VPL-procedures, just as educational funds, knowledge centres on employment en developments in the sector and consultancy agencies. Different cooperation structures are formed with the different procedures. Role of VPL in obligatory and optional certification 10% of Organisations in the metalektro branch already works with VPL. 25 % of the organisations in this branch believe that VPL will become a spearhead in the future HRM-policy. In the metal sector VPL-procedures are mostly used for upskilling staff. VPL is enclosed in the collective labour
agreements (CAO) in this sector. VPL-procedures are also used to employ people and eventually to be a part of the HRM-policy for the development of sitting employees. More often organisations try to get a good view of which competences they have in their organisation. To stimulate development and use of competences a quarter of the metalektro sector makes use of a form of competence-based management. Besides this the recognition of competences becomes more important. Most of the organisations see VPL as a spearhead for future HRM-policy. VPL procedures are mostly focussed on low-skilled, on different functions from fitters to engineers. New VPL-procedures are also being developed, e.g. a VPL-procedure is being developed for the mechatronica sector. At most big companies VPL has become a structural HRM policy to up skill their staff, like Philips, Corus and DAF. SMEs are less occupied with HRM and therefore less interested in VPL even though they need it the most. The educational sector therefore has to provide more demand steered education to reach these companies.
Factsheet of the Netherlands
Name of country Form of government Head of state Kingdom of the Netherlands Constitutional monarchy Queen Beatrix
Area Capital 41,092 kmÂČ (0.96 x DK) Amsterdam 16.3 million residents (2007) 1.02% (20012005) Dutch, Frisian 42% No religious persuasion 30% Roman Catholic
Population Population growth Language Religion
Economic indicators 2005
GDP GDP per capita Actual growth GDP Consumer price inflation Currency 449 billion euro EUR 28.000 1,7% in 2004 1.7% in 2005 Euro
Contribution to GDA 2004
Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fisheries Industry Mining Building/civil engineering Consumer product repairs, commercial and hotel/catering Transport, storage and communication Public utilities Care/other services Financial/professional services Government
Contribution to GDA 2% 13% 2% 5% 13% 7% 1% 12% 24% 11%
Appendix 1: VPL-Total in 5 phases and 10 steps
VPL phase I. Preparation VPL step + demand 1. awareness what is the need for investing in human capital or in yourself? 2. determine learning objectives what learning objectives are relevant for individual and/or organization? 3. determination of organizational or personal profile how do you determine the need for competencies of an individual or within the organization? 4. retrospection how to describe and document acquired competencies 5. standard setting what is the desired assessment standard? 6. valuation how to valuate the assessment? 7. accreditation how to accredit? V. Development 8. prospection How to put personal development plan (POP) into action 9. working on POPs custom-made development/learning 10. structural implementation evaluation of pilot; how VPL can be systematically incorporated into the organization policy or a personal approach? Action individual/organization formulation of the mission of the organization inventory of personal problem areas VPL pilot decision establish ambitions and learning objectives strength/weakness analysis individual/organization draft job profiles emulate profiles determine portfolio model Contribution from knowledge infrastructure VPL information materials workplace visit employability scan advising on approach model for strength/weakness analysis
format for job or competency profiles portfolio model
completion of portfolio by candidates portfolio counselling establish standard self-assessment overview of career opportunities portfolio assessment internal assessors
portfolio counselling training
III. Accreditation & valuation
advising tools/online tools general career advice training of assessors assessment, incl. drafting advising on certification and/or career opportunities counselling to certifying institution follow-up advice offer for custom work
cashing in on certification opportunities building on career opportunity advice in POP arrangements on custom work POP into action
delivery of custom work
evaluation of VPL pilot embed VPL in HRM, including financing promulgate (new) organizational policy individual administers portfolio
accreditation of assessors (internal/external) VPL quality control procedure
Appendix: the VPL Quality Code
Source: Kenniscentrum EVC (2006)
Casestudies concerning: The Netherlands
Brought by: Foundation EC-VPL, Hogeschool van Amsterdam & HAN University
1. Issue to be resolved, incl. aims for organisation and individual levels
Typ 1B. The aims pursued by the individuals g. h. i. j. k. Need for certification or qualification for insertion or promotion Need for exemption of a part of a curriculum Need of recognition to be recruited (esp. in a regulated activity) Need of personal and social recognition in a specific environment Other, âŠ.
Typ 1A. The aims of systems and organisations
a. b. c. d. e. f. g.
Improvement of oneâs qualification Development of employability of specific target group Recruitment procedure Legibility of qualification for specific target group (e.g. women, job seekers) Guidance Development of competences Other, âŠ..
Instruction: with the number also indicate the sector: p = profit; N = non-profit; V = voluntary work
Aim of organisation
Aim of individual
The need for more skilled and motivated workers, up to level higher education
Economic aims: Special focus on higher education levels; formative focus, using summative opportunities Social and economic aims: - social empowerment - more guestparents
Summative benefits: need for certification; also recognition; 1st step towards co-makership of LLL
Social and economic aims: empowering yourself getting a job
Organising empowerment of targetgroup with low self-esteem in order to raise the number of guestparents in a growing market for childcare while parents work
Extra effect: reintegration.
3v Economic aims: need for qualifications f employability (keeping a job) self-steered learning of personnel F status of qualification A Social and economic aims: (economic) implicit recruitment G social esteem of organisation c social esteem of volunteers F
Valuation of Scouting voluntary work as a learning environment
A Social & summative benefits
Philips Medical systems
Because of changes in the production process (from mechanic to electronic) there is a need for broadening the skills of the personnel.
Standard VPL-procedure for all working in the social / pedagogic sector (level 2 â 4)
For the organisation: - time and money saving / tailormade for each client. - For the following route, candidates (yet mostly employers) have to pay college money (450 euro). Motivated employees
Increase of quality for the given care in the organization Offer timesaving individual training routes Increasing the number of students for education. Inventory of educational needs of enterprises C F Higher certification
personal development; proud (self-esteem); certification; higher motivation
Opella wants to offer a, as well as possible, collective financed basic care.
The need of both volunteers and paid workers triggers this project.
To start training at a higher level, on basis of informal and non-formal acquired competence. f To get qualification for jobs. Diplomas
Adapting to the modern needs for flexible personnel-policies and trainingprogrammes
Professionalising the organisation
To stimulate and to support cultural historical organisations to develop training for their members to present their cultural-historical inheritance.
Individuals of organisations will get training and support to establish training for their members. Individuals can join training to become a city guide presenting the cultural-historical inheritance.
Professionalising the organisation
To study, to research and to present the cultural history of the city âsHertogenbosch.
g Within this organisation there are a great number of working groups and the members in these working groups study and research the history of their subject (monuments, buildings, language, history, persons, etc.). Formal recognition of acquired competences at Higher Educational level. (Already working at that level, without fomal diploma) Formal recognition Learning is fun C Making it possible for volunteers to recognise and valuate their competences and reward this with a certificate or diploma. (note: the certificate has no civil effect) J g g
11 p (b, a)
Collective Labour agreement (CLA): participation of employees in VPL
increasing participation of employees in education as well as increasing the quality of education for the metal sector.
12 p Increase motivation By providing these tools a new segment of volunteers can be approached and stimulated to do voluntary work. Also the internal human resource management and development could be qualitatively improved. C D f C G
In reorganisation people without qualification got job a higher level
NIZW, Civig, IVIO
The voluntary sector has a shortage of volunteers willing to participate
The need to stay tuned with the knowledge-economy
Chance to improve self-esteem More employability
Professionalising the organisation by national recognition for in-company training, incl. recriutment and binding of new volunteers The Open University needs to attract more students and wants to become more easily accessible.
The Open University faces a decrease of the number of students ĂĄnd it needs to work on a more project-funded basis in its funding by the government. Drop-out rate is very high. Quality is served with VPL as an intake-tool (anyone can apply for a module or programme!) Get insight in competences youth; Filling in portfolio To attract the lifelong learner.
By getting exemptions the motivation to finish a programme is strengthened
Apart from that the drop-out rate is very high.
Make drop-outs aware of their competences as support for their reintegration in education
After much misrecognition, bringing back the positive awares of their competences and their use in education and work A Being able to enter higher education on the
The vision that the lifelong
van Amsterdam B C D E F G Raising awareness that oneâs glass is half-filled To get advice on oneâs career without having to go through unnecccesary learning J Being able to offer VPL in combination with learning-made-to measure as a new learning line. To open up new financial sorces with this new target group, focusing on employability, empowerment, upskilling and careerguidance
learner is the future learner; therefore it is now the time to invest in VPL as a means to give access to higher education to this targetgroup.
To innovate the programmes (bachelors & professional masters) and make them customer-oriented and demand-driven.
basis of any achieved learning outcome.
2. stimulus from context and level of implementation used for VPL
2B. socio-economic context stimulating the individual in the VPL-action g. h. i. j. k. l. q. r. s. enterprise context permitting VPL pedagogical context institutional context psychological elements access to financial subsidies for VPL other, âŠ.. m. n. o. p. 2C. level of implementation at national level at sectoral level local or institution level NGOâs/organisation able to accompany people in the system Qualified counsellors able to guide in VPL Enterprise level (job descriptions) Other, âŠ.
Typ 2A. socio-political context for VPL
a. b. c. d. e. f.
legislation culture institutional elements psychological elements finance other, âŠ.
B Internal training unit is aware of the cost-reduction of using VPL in internal learning paths G
National levels of higher vocational education
The existence of a functioning system of competence management matched with the rise of VPL in VET A, d I j I VPL raised the awareness that nonformal learning has a strong economic effect
Public reintegration policy and legislation changed the nature of the work of the organisation B, d
National levels of secondary vocational education
Since 1998 Scouting stresses the learning outcomes of their volunteers in order to make sure that Scouting is a rich learning environment and a sustainable organisation.
Scouting needs to value its volunteers in order to stay an attractive employer
National levels of secondary vocational education Internal learning profiles
In 2003 a link was made with the goals of the Kenniscentrum EVC. c The need to adapt to changes in the production process g National levels of secondary vocational education Internal career paths M r
Phiips Medical Systems
VPL offers a change to invest in people in an effective way, especially in the regional network with vocational eductation
5 VPL as part of learning at vocational training centre Cooperation between Opella and the Regional Training Institute A12 Only within Opella L O h Regional level / sectoral
Standard VPL procedure in the region C
Mainly because of the vision of Opella as organisation. Also the ageing population is a problem for social care. C, e Much of the competences needed in sports are learned outside formal education. G Netherlands Olympic Committee * Netherlands Sport Confederation. National umbrella organisation for sports in the Netherlands
NOC*NSF developed a framework to express specific educational needs to educational institutes. They received subsidy of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. a Increase of employability of individuals by advice of the right training g H+j
Legislation of workers / jobseekers
Companies and individuals present their needs and apply VPL
Culture (protection and maintenance inheritance) a
B Improve cultural interest and increase local economic development of tourism
Local organisations are targeted Individual entrepreneurship
Kring Vrienden Formal recognition at the elevel they are alreay working at Qualified people in organisation Increased learning C Voluntary work is by definition nonformal and informal learning. Informal relates to the work experience and non-formal to the courses volunteers follow within their voluntary organisation. G Both Civiq as NIZW are national bodies who represent the voluntary sector M K Metal branche, level 5 n
Improve quality of employees
Level 2 and 3
NIZW, Civig, IVIO
CIVIQ and NIZW investigated whether VPL in voluntary work is desirable. The results showed that VPL in voluntary work is both desirable as feasible.
14 K Internal learning profiles R
Legislation enforces the need for more professionalism The Regional authority offered a subsidy. C G E High drop-out rate calls for a better intake-procedure. With open access as for OU this is only possible on voluntary basis. So, with VPL the chance of shorter learningprogrammes is stronger; so the effect is a kind of selfassessment before entering just wildly the OU is still built up. Getting recognised again j National level (bachelor/master) M
A Internal training available; by recognition it becomes an added value to the organisation G National levels of secondary vocational education
OU needs to have a better rate on graduates
OU needs to get part of its finance on innovative projects
Many drop-outs without startqualification: societal problem B C F Shared vision in the management that VPL is here to stay and that customer-oriented learning is necessary. To prevent demographic disorder the new targetgroup has to be attracted. Subsidies to set up VPL are available G H I K
Recognised by VET, responsible for the AKA-raining programma National levels of higher vocational education Embedding VPL also in HRM & function profiles
Hogeschool van Amsterdam
(higher vocational education)
Changes in the learning culture are becoming apparant in higher education: tailor-made courses are needed for employability and empowerment
Integral approach is used implementation in HRM and HE at the same time
3. VPL-reference-level: summative and/or formative; actors involved
3b. VPL procedure and methods I = Identification of competencies A = Assesment of competencies V = Validation of competencies P = portfolio T = tests and examination In = interview O = observation C = can choose more than 1 X = other, âŠ a. b. c. d. e. f. teachers Qualified workers Psychological professionals Companies hierarchy National bodies Other 3c. Actors involved in VPL-procedure
3a. Nature of VPL
a. b. c. d. e.
Linked to certification, diplomas, titles, âŠ. Linked to training programmes Linked to a working (sectoral) reference Creation of a new system of reference Linked to quality assurance systems
A B C - validation - learning made-to measure - assessment - portfolio A VPL-procedure based on: I P T In
Nature of VPL
Procedure and methods
Management: active Employees: passive Education system: active (commercial) agents: active, but becoming redundant
Linked to public national certification
Linked to training programmes (learning made to measure)
Linked to working reference
Integral approach: new system of reference C
Management: active Targetgroup: active Education system: passive Local authority: initial active
Transparancy of competencies linked to economic (reintegration), social (active citizenship) and public national certification, i.e. a new system of reference
A match is made between the need of GOR and the supply of competencies of the targetgroup
Linked to working reference A B
Management: active (1st) The VPL-procedure of the school is used to make a match between the scoutingfunctionprofiles and the Volunteers: active (2 )
Linked to the working floor of Scouting, aiming at creating a new system of reference:
linked to certification
national standard Agents: facilitating, speeding up the process (Kenniscentrum EVC)
A B C In A A V P In VET Branch Knowledge Sector b A B E preset conditions quick-scan points out opportunities to gain exemptions set up a portfolio. meeting to inform candidates about procedure & sign application form. use a portfolio to collect evidence for the competences they already have. portfolio is assessed and candidates are valuated for their proven competences. T P Education: in charge of VPL Personnel: voluntary participation V Management: is responsible D e The school (ROC Eindhoven) is in charge of the VPL-procedure. It is linked to the national standard
Education system: active (3rd) E
linked to internal and external training
linked to working reference
Philips Med. Syst.
The work-base learning is the start of VPL + training programme.
VPL offers learning made-tomeasure
Linked to certification by VET and consequently their training programme
The VPL procedure is closely linked with the following training
V P, In, T
A T In
A B E
Practice speculator, route speculator, Expert and Assessor A B
The VPL procedure within Opella is used for certification and development purposes
Informal learning is measured with a competence scan. After the training, the participants do some skill tests
ROCa12 (Regional training centre), OVDB (Knowledge centre for learning in practice).
The VPL methods have to recognise the skills and competences one already has and contribute to custom made education. a
Linked to training, training advice and certification
I+P+In Providing an individual advice for
Psychological professionals and teachers
education b I+A+V+T I (A,V. T) Teachers and Qualied workers A+ b
Linked to training programmes
10 v a (O,I) Intake, Informing, building portfolio, assessment, report of result, educational advice P HRM-manager: guide Five polytechniques: VPL & accreditation
Certification recognised by five Polytechnics
HobĂ©on & DIJK21 for quality control a - Collecting evidence for competences (keeping a portfolio) - Meetings between the employee and counsellor.(assessment instrument, practice test) - Following education to acquire the missing competencies. C P, T, In - Information about the procedure I, A, V HRM manager Vocational Training centre Branche Knowledge Centre 1
Certification at level 2 & 3
NIZW, Civig, IVIO
I P, O
Volunteers get more insight in their skills and competences, as well as self esteem
The procedure is based on self assessment and help from somebody within the voluntary organization
A VPL-procedure based on: - portfolio - assessment - validation - learning made-to measure
One person within the voluntary organization has two roles: Guider and assessor.
I P T In
14 B C
Linked to public national certification
A B E
Linked to training programmes (learning made to measure)
teachers Qualified workers National bodies
Linked to working reference
Integral approach: new system of reference
15 B Portfolio Portfolio-assessment Advice with motivation Personal study plan B X In T Software centre Advice on chances for exemptions P Exam committees D E
Linked to Bachalor/Master diplomas
External training of assessors
Exemptions in programmes
Bottom-up, awareness raising, identification of competences
CH-Q procedure P In CH-Q trainer Mentor school VPL-centre Assessors P T In
Hogeschool van Amsterdam
Linked to public national certification
VPL-procedure based: 1. introductory interview 2. portfolio-build-up with selfassessment models 3. assessment-interview 4. advice (valuation) 5. acceptance (validation) 6. personal development plan X
A B Exam committee Teachers Social partners Professorship VPL F D E
Linked to training programmes (learning made to measure) C D E
Linked to working reference
Integral approach: new system of reference, incl. quality-control programme for accepting nonformal learning outcomes
4. Impact of VPL
Two kinds of impact are asked for: 1) For the individual: VPL as a change agent in the action (pilot, âŠ) itself 2) For the organisation: VPL as innovation coming out of the action (indirect and expected)
1. (concrete ) outcome of the action for the individual(s) in the organisation
2. outcome of VPL on organisational level
VPL helped company to (re)take its responsibilities concerning demandarticulation and investment in human capital VPL helps HE adapting to the demandarticulation of a company VPL helps HE to design âlearning made to measureâ VPL helps to raise awareness of low esteem targetgroup members VPL offers benefits to reintegration-goals of public system VPL opens the doors of VET for targetgroups VPL turns into a positive recruitment factor VPL can be used as empowermentstrategy for both organsition and volunteers VPL can share the power of control of lifelong learning between learner, learning organisationa and knowledge-infrastructure VPL helped company to (re)take its responsibilities concerning demandarticulation and investment in human capital VPL helps VET adapting to the demandarticulation of a company VPL helps VET to design âlearning made to measureâ Standard VPL procedure at regional level, initiated by the VET
VPL helps to adapt the company to lifelong learning and upskillingneed of the workforce
VPL binds people to the company
VPL lowers costs for HRM
VPL helps organisation to fill in social and economic mission
VPL helps organisation to âmarketâ its mission
VPL connects practical goals with individual empowerment
VPL raises social esteem of Scouting
VPL strengthens recruitment and HRM
VPL offers a learning environment
Philips Med. Syst.
VPL helps to adapt the company to lifelong learning and upskillingneed of the workforce
VPL binds people to the company
VPL lowers costs for HRM
To recognize their qualities so they can follow a shortened path and get certificated
More professional attitude. More motivated, because they learn in their own pace. A diploma. More flexibility within and outside the organisation.
Professional approach with a view on the future. Better image of the organisation. More widely trained and flexible employees. The organisation will be well prepared for the ageing population. Structured and better arranged education. Educational institutes are more willingly to listen to the sports federations. involved bodies value COP as a good initiative, costs are relatively low, COP stimulates employers to make use of VPL. Knowledge of professional skills available within the organisation Expanding the economic activities and continuation of training members of the organisation
Tailor made education wherein Prior Learning is valuated.
Increased motivation of individuals; individual VPL procedures, individuals got better qualified.
Recognition of the individual competences and contribution to career development.
The individual increases its employability or might start its own business (free lance base)
Recognition of the individual competences
Knowledge of professional skills available within the organisation Improve and intensifying study and research of local history Improve of quality of management of the volunteer organisation
- Recognition of prior learning and strengthening of their position on the labour market - Increased motivation for life long learning -
The development of VPL instruments by Higher Educational Institutes Companies better informed about possibilities of VPL
- Increased of intern and extern employability Increased quality level Better image More expertise within voluntary organizations about assessment and recognition. Also better tools to help their volunteers to valuate the informal learning that takes place within the organization. The organsiation has been asked to present their VPL-approach in othe organisations. The example is followed and is also more accepted in national bodies (VET). Professional attitude of the volunteers is very effectivily strengthened
Increased self-esteem, self-respect
NIZW, Civig, IVIO
More self esteem and insight in ones competences.
Employees and volunteers are more aware of the tasks they perform.
More self-esteem for the people is an effective way to attract and recruit new volunteers, to be able to upskill the sitting personnel and even help volunteers start a professional career elsewhere
without much costs and energy.
prospective students got exemptions on the basis of VPL; pilot was with 23 students.
First pilot has led to improvements of the âhere-to-stayâ-system of VPL From 2007 Sept. the OU will have a VPL-procedure for all of its educational programmes. Better insight in competences students All areas in life recognised / understandable
more respect for each other,
aware and understand competences Drive to innovate the learning culture because there is a growing demand for it. Partnerships between organisations (branches, companies, non-profit, voluntary and job-agencies) and the Hogeschool are developing because they both invest in the targetgroup thropugh HRM and HE. Development of output-oriented and portfolio-based lifelong learning is speeding up.
Motivated students with clear perspectives on the labour market, recruited by their employers so that a demand-driven pressure is built up to speed up the innovation of the supply of tailor-made bachelors (and later, masters)
Concrete numbers of students whose return on investment in learning is directly visible: less absence of leave. In this way an integral approach is possible between HRM and HE
The learner gets a grip of his/her own learning programme because the possibilities for real tailor made learning are growing due to the rising number of âVPL-studentsâ.
The targetgroup consists mainly of working people; job-seekers and higher educated refugees as targetgroups are also starting to make us eof the VPL-services offered by the HvA VPL-centre.
5. Recommendations per casus
Recommendations from the case on SWOT for VPL in general
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Recommendations for the case
Model for big company-policy, incorporating VPL into HRM, using services recently developed in vocational education. Education system crosses the border to intersectoral learning made to measure (= precondition for lifelong learning) Lifelong learning strategy needs to be strengthened by giving comakership; e.g. company offers assistance in filling and updating of portfolio Company should fill in their own competence-register Using the financial profit-scheme as a model for other practices
strengthening the role of vocational education as a change agent stimulating intersectoral lifelong learning in HRM by connecting it to a longer term-lifelong learning strategy stimulating learning made to measure by matching a company register of competencies to the national standard(s) valorising good practices as role models need to invest in output-oriented teacher training, i.e. focusing on all learning experiences focus on models for financial profit-scheme Give co-makership to the employees and give them assistance in filling in and updating their portfolio VPL as a change agent in reintegration policy Development of financial benefit scheme (social funding vs. self employability)
role model for combining social and economic benefits for taget group policy reintegration policy can be used as a positive change agent return on investment (less social funding and more employability) should be calculated in order to be able to work structurally with public funding
10. rolemodel for voluntary work as a rich learning environment, also for âaction learningâ-strategies
10. show the benefits of the actors in the learning triangle : individual, organisation and schools 11. beware of the threat of becoming a too much formalised voluntary organisation, or: donât get incorporated in the system but rely on the empowerment of your volunteers as a strategy. Philips shows that a company should be aware of: embedding VPL in HRM means investing in VPL-knowledge financial profit schemes as catalysator the power of rolemodelling in the company but also to smeâs that deliver to Philips the power of being part of regional learning network with schools.
11. a âmobileâ portfolio is developed: adopted by organisation and school
12. CH-Q can be used as a standard for training of personell and volunteers to get accustomed to VPL-ish working/learning.
Philips Med. Syst.
+ Model for big company-policy, incorporating VPL into HRM, using services recently developed in vocational education. + Philips acts as a promoter of VPL for other companies - Company should be able to fill in their own competence-register and have more knowledge of the VPL-procedure in order to embed VPL in HRM. - Using a financial profit-scheme as could help the more effective use of VPL
To offer after the VPL-procedure a tailor-made BBL-training with competences they donât have yet. (summative result.)
Strengths of VPL in the casestudy: The procedure is developed by the MO group, the field of action and the OVDB. Because of this, a large basis and acceptance arose in organisations and the welfare sector There is a constant quality control by means of an evaluation under the candidates that followed a VPL-procedure and a shortened BBL-route. It is not neccesary to follow the shortened BBL-route after the VPL-procedure. They donât make use of a cross-belt sale. However many VPL-candidates will follow the BBL-route at the MOgroup, because of the good connection between those two. Weaknesses of VPL in the casestudy: The VPL-procedure is only used to get certificates (for summative purposes) and thereby not focusing on further development and career opportunities. The initiator sells these VPL-procedures, they are depended on other organisations. Guiding is more time-consuming and by this more expensive. Opportunities of VPL in the casestudy: Because they are still growing, the procedure could go to other educational loads in the sector. A lot of expertise in VPL-procedures; Good cooperation in the region; Better and more explicit image of the regional training centre, that offers tailormade routes what fits in the way of thinking in the current era. Threats of VPL in the casestudy: Liable to starting problems, because they are one of the pioneers who started up VPL in this specific sector. When a system is getting bigger, it is not always possible to stay flexible and hand out a measured-made path. The MOgroup switches to competence-based education. Because of this, new problems could arise.
Because they are the first within the Care sector to start developing VPL, Opella could not learn from others. They also had to develop all there material themselves. Also they work with a small, fixed team, which is not good for the continuation of VPL.
VPL serves many goals and objectives. The organisation uses VPL to link different developments with each other. Also they could take a strong position towards the regional training institute and make explicit what their educational needs were. There are a lot of benefits for being the first one to develop VPL, but by being the first, you have to develop a lot of materials yourself. The influence of VPL on the educational system: More flexible, tailor made education possible by using VPL. Very practical and clear story: everybody understands the objectives and the project. Keep using clear, simple words for what you do. Use of digital campus: contains the portfolio, which can be activated during the total career of sportsmen and women. S: COP is a good initiative, stimulates development of instruments and methods on institute level,
Attention for poaching: buying expert employees. Extra work pressure within sports federations and organisations Position: because NOC*NSF is the first organisation within Europe that started this big project, they cannot learn from others or borrow materials. Depended on government subsidy
S: W: it is a summative approach (diplomas) and to few on development of
personal competences O: to involve also small and medium sized enterprises T: the big enterprises make now use of COP probably of the economic profit!. COP seems to work for only a few educational institutes.
W: to few linking with educational institutes. O: to increase the focus on SMEâs; a national standard for a VPL assessment report, increase of awareness for VPL; stimulate institutes to create more tailor-made programs T: growth can create bureaucracy; target is more the company than the individual S: improve or preservation of the quality of guides W: great differences in legislation between countries O: increase of guides presenting the local inheritance as paid or volunteer guides T: uncontrolled presentation of inheritance and uncontrolled influence on local tourism. S: The average age is above 45 years and the activities (study and research) of the many groups keeps members active. W: The overall management requires strong governors O: Volunteer organisations have many opportunities for protection and maintenance of the historic and cultural inheritance. The interest of (retires, older) persons is great. T: Organisations can become very huge and difficult to manage. Training of managers in volunteer organisation is likely.
City Guides concerns validation of training in different European countries which is not easy to manage because of the national regulations.
Within the organisation there is an overview of interests and specialities (competences) of the volunteers which can be applied to form new working groups. Professional management of all the activities within the organisation is necessary
Write together competence profiles for the higher levels in companies
Pay strong attention to communication and frequency of communication between suppliers and consumers of the VPL procedure for succeeding. This communication involves all facets of VPL: emphasise with the company situation, clear communication about the procedure and progress, clarity of the required information of candidates and the way in which results were formulated.
Strengths of VPL in the casestudy: increases cooperation between companies and educational institutes strong informational function to both companies and educational institutes use of specialised supporting organisations (HobĂ©on and DIJK12) increases the response and willingness to cooperate The financial costs of the VPL procedure are the same as in VPL procedures in other sectors VPL not as aim, but as mean VPL as good instrument within HRM and HRD policy of companies - The instruments are made public. They can be used for free as idea or concept. High availability of the instruments Weaknesses of VPL in the casestudy: both demand as supply side of VPL on level 5 is not yet crystallised in the pilot, high criteria for the acceptance of candidates were used. More summative than formative VPL, the full value of VPL is not clear for companies Much effort was necessary for candidates to proof their competence Opportunities of VPL in the casestudy:
Received diploma or reduction of study time Increased employablity, internal,/ external Increase self-esteem and self-respect
VPL forms a trigger for both companies and education to use competence based methods to develop and educate candidates (employees and students) Extension of the VPL procedure to other working areas offers new possibilities. Many companies have interest to use VPL for candidates in the area of management functions and the interface of technology and commerce. Positioning VPL within a marketing approach as strategic tool for employee and labour market policy For the future the aim is more quantity than quality increase. The quality of the procedure is high, but has potential for other professions (and sectors) Connection between VPL for level 4 and VPL for level 5 Threats of VPL in the casestudy: number of potential candidates for VPL for Higher Education (Level 5) is lower than for Vocational Education (Level 3 and 4). This is due to the smaller number of functions on this level within companies. Companies do not fully understand the profit VPL has for their employee, labour market, HRM and HRD policy. This can lead to a lower interest in the procedure. Strengths of VPL in the casestudy: Quality improvement possible through the reorganisations. Information through a third party Guidance from the management Insight in the possible diplomas Using expertise from the ROC A well equipped operational field Top-down approach A strong, idealistic vision behind the procedure Weaknesses of VPL in the casestudy: Only recognition by means of certifications and diplomas. VPL was not recognized. The VPL-procedure was obliged. By this, there was a great deal of resistance in the beginning. Employees saw the VPL-procedure not as the glass that already was half-filled, bur half-empty. Many people had low self-esteem and were afraid to fail in front of colleagues. They did not start with a pilot, to see where or what the sticking points were. Savant did not have good instruments to measure VPL and to get VPL recognized. Opportunities of VPL in the casestudy:
Expertise on the account of low-educated employees. Developing instruments so that more evidence can be submitted to recognize competencies. More structured and more complete reports about the interviews regarding the functioning of employees. Pursuing acceptance and transparency is of high importance and helps the continuous existence of the VPL-procedure Threats of VPL in the casestudy: By using a top-down approach, there was more resistance among the employees. Lack of money to continue the VPL-procedure. This route ended in august 2004. 127 candidates did not have the chance to become educated and obtain their diploma. The ROC was unablet to offer a tailor-made learning route. Be aware of the quality control on the VPL results. Work in an early stage together with respected partners outside the sector to enlarge the benefit for the target group.
NIZW, Civig, IVIO
More focus on the quality system underlying the VPL procedure. It is too much a solo action of the three stakeholders, by which the end report has not any value outside voluntary work. The accessibility of the procedure is a plus, because within voluntary work the threat of making something too formal is big. -
model for other voluntary organisations also strengthens own organisation quality improvement of work volunteers more embedded in the goals of the organisation organisation is ready for individual-steered lifelong learning
make clear how to embedd VPL structurally into the organisationâs policy. Make better use of the innovation enhanced on VET Need for structural financing of lifelong learners by authorities and social partners becomes very apparent. Portfolio is clearly the carrier of the process Academic culture is still against (or afraid of) VPL; fear of losing control and quality More investement needed in quality and quantity of assessors Programmes need to be refferred to as learning outcomes
VPL enhances the motivation of students (no unneccesary learning with restriction to only parts of the programme) VPL needs to be filled in more into all education programmes VPL needs more commitment form teachers Learning made to measure is still difficult
Work in small groups (6 â 8 persons)
Strengths: Personal Individual is central Bottom up all areas of life Over a longer period of time
Longer period of time
Respect and positivism
Weaknesses Opportunities: Threats: - maintaining quality level at trainers level standard blue print for bottom-up VPL approach connection with formal level 2 still to much language (for level 1)
Actually independent of level, background, sector, etc.
17 n -
students have easier access to bachelor programmes
VPL is getting accepted in bachelor-programmes Learning Outcomes have to be leading in designing lifelong learning Cost-effectiveness of VPL-procedure is problematic for the organisation; it needs the status of a new learning route for the targetgroup of âlifelong learnersâ National acceptance of VPL-advice needs attention; in progress. National assessor-training/updating/certification-programme also in progress Raising awareness in university-policy for lifelong learningdevelopment is necessary; innovation of existing programmes is needed in order to stay tuned to the learning society.
more motivation to move on after bachelor-degree into lifelong learning
quality of the procedure is secure; assessors are independent
VPL is structurally embedded in bachelorprogrammes (only part-time programmes!)
Cost-effectiveness is good for the client; for the organisation still problematic
Learning-made-to-measure needs more time to develop as the 2nd step after a VPL-procedure
National acceptance of VPL-advice is in progress
The Netherlands, nomination for the âbest caseâ VPL2
Case study: Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland Country: Netherlands VPL2-partner: EC VPL
Relation between aims and outcomes
Many Scouting Volunteers (leaders, team leaders and group leaders) experience difficulties in achieving acknowledgement by the school system and employers for the experience they acquire during their volunteer work. Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland therefore wanted to recognise competences acquired by their volunteers in order to acknowledge their efforts. There was a desire within the organisation to properly establish and document the skills expected from (team) leaders and group leaders, taking into account the needs of their team members. This documentation can be used to make clear what an individual volunteer has learnt to educational institutes and future employers. In order to acquire this recognition, Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland developed a briefcase for their scouting groups, which contains: - competence profiles together with national bodies - a competence game to talk about competences learned within a group in an enjoyable way - a portfolio map âScout it outâ to describe competencies acquired during voluntary work to use in job interviews and formal education - a guide for group and team leaders to structure reflection (STAR-methodology). This guide is used for the reflection of volunteers and beginners Besides the briefcase, Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland developed two trainings: - A training âLearn to know your scouting competencesâ in which (team)leaders learn to explain and appoint their competences - A training âlearn to guide beginners from the Regional Training Instituteâ for group leaders. This gave the scouting groups in the province Gelderland the formal status of learning companies.
Applicability of the case study
A very practical and enjoyable way to work with volunteers on the subjects âcompetencesâ and ârecognitionâ. The case study is very applicable to other situations, because the steps taken can be easily transferred to other voluntary sectors. The use of national bodies in every stage of the project, made the outcome of value. By doing this, the scouting groups are formally a place to learn for Regional Training Institutes. This recognition of scouting by the school system gives a basis for further recognition on individual level. Also working on the more âsoftâ side, namely games and trainings to name your own competencies could be easily translated to other countries.
Innovative character of the applied process
Three main points of the innovative character are: - Developing tools together with formal bodies is the only way to gain trust from education
Joining the different tools in a briefcase is a very accessible way to reach a lot of volunteers and voluntary organisations Having a strong focus on the âfunâ side of recognition and competences strengthens the enjoyability
Focus on individuals
The outcomes are at the end all focussed on the individual within scouting, to help him or her with naming their competences. In that sense, Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland focussed on the first two fases, namely: âraising awarenessâ by giving training and sending briefcases with information about competences and recognition methods - ârecognitionâ by involving education and national bodies in the development of the competence profiles and getting the status of formal learning area The formal validation of competences of the individual was not the primary focus of scouting.
Quality of the case
A high quality case, which shows a lot of energy and innovativeness. Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland started with project which stimulates development of VPL in voluntary work and shows the main points to consider when helping volunteers in raising awareness and naming their competences. VPL is not something with a clear end: it is a continues project. Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland shows us by this case that with a bottom-up approach and clear focus on your target group you start some movement with no end. That is the key thought in VPL: that is why I want to nominate this case as âBest Caseâ!
Case Study: NL, voluntary sector, Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland
1.0 1.1 1.2
Netherlands, voluntary sector Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland 2004-2005 Activities concerning The VPL-procedure which Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland has initiated are: setting up profiles, providing training, developing portfolios and becoming acknowledged as a âlearning organisationâ. The VPLprocedures are mostly for formative purposes: focusing on the need for competences within the organisation. Targetgroups are (1, internal) people who are inside scouting and (2, external) VET-students who can follow a training period in Scouting to get the required competences for summative reasons. VPL briefcase, branch specific competence profiles for scouting leaders, portfolio based model For the initiator: The Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland has embedde VPl as a HRM-tool into thier personal- and training ploicy. Above all there is an increase in know-how about setting up VPL in voluntary work. As a result, they are asked to offer training and workshops to inform other organisations. This creates esteem and extra income. For the targetgroup: There are many short term benefits for individuals who have done competence-based assessments while they are volunteering for Scouting Gelderland. For example, volunteers who have had their prior learning validated can be exempted from following certain formal training courses on VET-levels 14. (formal training is required, in particular in relation to working with children, dealing with disabilities). This is timesaving and thus more efficient. It was also pointed out that having their skills validated had substantially increased the personal confidence of volunteers. For the organisation: The establishment of scouting groups as âlearning firmsâ has given these groups a higher profile and greater recognition by educational institutions. When educational institutes make use of Scouting as a âlearning firmâ and recognise competences learned at scouting, learning made to measure for practicing leaders and team leaders is better possible. By offering VPLprocedures, Scouting gets an image, whereby there is an opportunity for more recruitment of new members. On sectoral or national level: The general profile of Scouting in the Netherlands has been
Country, sector & initiating organisation Date of the case study Description of the case study
Introduction/markers/keywords Value of the process and outcomes: profit (money, esteem, careerstep, etc) efficiency (timesaving, leaning made to measure) enjoyability (investment in learning is fun)
[Fill in for initiator and specify if possible also the value for others involved]
raised, with wider recognition of the efforts made, and skills and knowledge of volunteers. The scouting case has been a good practice example for other voluntary organisations. The VPL concept developed is used within the general competence profiles by NIZW, IVIO and CIVIQ.
The expected outcome, award, qualification or other effect to which validation of informal/non-formal learning is integrated
Scouting Gelderland started with the development of a VPL procedure as an answer to the need to get volunteers experienced in how to write their competences down in their curriculum vitae. The scouting jargon complicates communication with future employers and educational institutes. The support centre for Scouting Gelderland does not offer certificates or diplomas, but tools which support the volunteers to express their scouting experience in more general terms. In this way, non formal and informal learning counts in the application procedure. This is a benefit for the employer and the volunteer. Besides that, the recognition of Scouting groups as learning firms has made them a part of formal education. In this sense part of the diploma is based on scouting experience. Two outcomes are described in 1.5: Curriculum Vitae (and recommendation letter from the group leader) The status depends on the valuation of future employers. The VPL procedure helps to put the experience down in words. This is much clearer to employers. Part of the Diploma for the studies in e.g. Social Care, education. These diplomas are nationally recognised.
Status of the award (e.g. certification, institutional or professional recognition)
2. Context and aims
Initiator or organisation in charge
Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland is one of the regional offices for the support of Scouting and Guiding in the Netherlands, based in the province of Gelderland. They support scouting groups by offering information, training and tools which they can use to ease and better their practice. Overall, 30 000 volunteers work for the Scouting in the Netherlands. The target group consists of leaders, team leaders and group leaders. A leader at Scouting is a member of a team. Every age category of a Scouting group has an own team, who are responsible for organizing activities and to guide members of that particular team. There are diverse tasks to be divided between leaders in a team, for example finance, take care of materials and contact to parents. Yet the team leader has the end responsibility. The group leader is a member of the management of a scouting group. The management monitors the daily routine in a group. Together with all the leaders of the Scouting group the policy of a group is prescribed and matters are geared to one another. The group coach has the responsibility to monitor the quality of the (team) leader(s) and the program of a certain group.
Target group: - group description (e.g. workers, teachers/trainers, unemployed, etc.); qualitative & quantitative - paid or unpaid work
Leader: responsible for the children Team leader: responsible for leaders Group leader: responsible for leaders and team leaders See appendix 1 for an organisation overview.
Aims for the organisation Aims for the target group
Adequate recognition for the experiences and expertise gained during voluntary work (scouting work). Many Scouting Volunteers experience difficulties in achieving acknowledgement for the experience they acquire during their volunteer work. Scouting Gelderland therefore wanted to recognise competences acquired by their volunteers in order to acknowledge their efforts. There was a desire within the organisation to properly establish and document the skills expected from group leaders, taking into account the needs of their team members. This documentation can be used to make clear what an individual volunteer has learnt to educational institutes and future employers. In 1998, the Scouting organisation in Gelderland decided to address the issue that their many volunteers were not given adequate recognition for the experience and expertise they gained while volunteering. Scouting Gelderland approached CITO (the Institute responsible for setting up exam procedures in professional/vocational education) to establish how to use âeducational terminologyâ in the setting up of the competence profile. The aim was to achieve a degree of objectivity when describing skills in order to escape âscouting jargonâ and ensure the transferability of competency profiles to other organisations and sectors. Funding for this cooperation was provided by the Knowledge centre for the Acknowledgement of acquired competences (Kenniscentrum EVC). Each year they subsidise programs after a selection procedure. Scouting Gelderland delivers competence documentation to CITO who in cooperation with volunteers through response groups translate the language into educational terminology. Scouting Gelderlands work with CITO has been funded by the Kenniscentrum EVC, the Dutch Knowledge Centre on the Valuation of Prior Learning. In 1998, the Scouting organisation in Gelderland decided to address the issue that their many volunteers were not given adequate recognition for the experience and expertise they gained while volunteering. Consequently, Scouting Gelderland worked together with SVM (Stichting Vrijwilligers Management), a national organisation for the support of volunteer work, to identify appropriate validation mechanisms. Due to a lack of time and resources, the project developed relatively slowly until 2003 when the project received funding from the province of Gelderland to develop a set of validation instruments. The aim was to develop instruments which could be easily transferred to other volunteer organisations and recognized in other sectors. At the same time the Civiq (Instituut vrijwillige inzet, which used to be SVM) received a subsidy from the Ministry of Health and Sports to set up a parallel project examining general competency profiles
What is the problem that has/had to be solved?
What is the opportunity that opened up to solve the problem?
Where and how did VPL become an option? Who initiated VPL?
together with NIZW (Innovation partner in care en welfare). The two organisations now regularly have contact with Scouting Gelderland through feedback meetings, workshops and other meetings.
Why is non-formal and informal learning accepted?
The OVDB (Knowledge Centre for learning in practise in health, welfare, sports and service and professional education institute) recognises scouting groups involved. Because of this recognition the experiences and expertise gained during the informal and non-formal scouting work are accepted by Regional Training Institutes. Besides that, the more formal way of assessing the competence learned within scouting and the grow in status caused by the collaboration with CITO and Knowledge centre EVC plays an important role within this acceptance. Finance Province of Gelderland, Content expertise Civiq (used to be SVM), Knowledge Centre EVC, CITO (educational), CINOP Political OVDB (educational), European Youth Programme, Institutions for vocational education, Other volunteer organisations like the Red Cross, LAVA and Spectrum
Which other parties or stakeholders are involved?
Which laws & legal texts (e.g. collective agreements) are involved?
No laws of legal texts can be linked with this case. In the Netherlands, there is a substantial amount of best practice in the area of the validation of informal and non-formal learning, but no âcommon practiceâ. The validation of informal learning is being more rapidly developed for people with high skills (university entry systems) and with very low skills (disadvantaged groups) and less developed for individuals with middle range skill levels. It was suggested that this policy area could benefit from greater support from the Dutch government, particularly as it was felt that the Netherlands had fallen behind in comparison to other European countries with respect to government initiatives in the field of validation of informal and non-formal learning. The project was managed by Scouting Gelderland, with various theme groups being set up for the daily management of activities, supervised by the staff of Scouting Gelderland. Volunteers are also highly involved in the design and implementation of the activities. The monitoring committee consists of members of the Civiq, Knowledge Centre, Province of Gelderland, Colleague volunteer organisations, and two people from the education sector (OVDB).
Any special agreements or measures involved (on national, sectoral, organisational levels)?
3. Processes and procedures
Describe the elements of learning that will be valuated? (example: knowledge, skills, ambitions, attitude, generic & specific competences, know-
In this case the concept âcompetenceâ is described as: The ability to use knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal qualities in an integrated manner within a certain context, whereby relevant tasks are carried out responsibly and aware according to a recognised quality standard.
how, performance, experience, etc.)
Scouting experiences gained by practising their function as leader, team leader and group leader. The competence profiles describe three competence areas: the target group, the organisation and external. Competences measured, aimed at the target group, are divided in âplanning and organisingâ, âcontact with parents/guardiansâ, âStimulating childrenâ, âAttitude and independenceâ, âleading a groupâ, âflexibility and communicationâ, âresponsibilityâ and âbudget and controlâ. Aimed at the organisation, the competences are divided between âattitudeâ, âcooperation and participationâ, âbudget and controlâ and âpractising civil responsibilityâ. In the competence area âexternalâ competences are asked to represent scouting to third parties. Competences about leading adults can be found in de profiles of team leaders and group leaders. For the leaders, guiding adults is not an issue. The scouting group - leading children or leading leaders - all the other domains. Parents, fellow leaders, finance etc. (See 3.1) - Scouting Training (two weekends a year) All scouting groups in Gelderland received a briefcase with different sorts of material (See 3.5). In this briefcase also an explanation about the importance of VPL and valuation of competences is found. The portfolio is a tool to document scouting experience. The CD-ROM developed by the support group offers models and recommendations for making a portfolio, a list with translations of the scouting jargon and explanation of the competence profiles. Competence game, work-shops, CD-rom with documentation for leaders, team leaders and group leaders, Guide for a STAR-conversation, Competence Profiles. Documents, reflections, photos, movie, specific scouting training certificates. Every leader (minimum age 16 years old), team leader (minimum of 18 years old) and group leader (over 21 years old) can attend the VPL procedure. The organisation has developed three different competency profiles for volunteers â one for âleadersâ, one for âteam leadersâ and one for âgroup leadersâ. Profiles were built up through looking at the competencies held by current leaders, and discussions with volunteers about what support they would ideally like from a leader. The portfolio is valuated by these competence profiles made by Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland in combination with CITO and Knowledge centre EVC.
Which learning environments are involved? e.g. school, workplace, private life, others How is the applicant informed/contacted?
What are the steps in the procedure to be followed by the applicant?
What tools/instruments/methods are used for identification and valuation of competences? What kinds of proof can be submitted? Which criteria are used to accept candidates for the procedure? How is informal learning measured and valuated ?
What kinds of advice/feedback may be made by assessors or mentors, guiders, peers, examinators, etc? Split your answer up in: - certification (summative)
For certification purposes: When a pupil comes to Scouting as a âlearning firmâ for a training period, then learning is assessed within Scouting Gelderland through a combination of self assessment and discussion with Group Counsellors on basis of the portfolio. For development purposes:
personal development (formative) other
Volunteers are not always aware of the extent of their skills and knowledge when building their profiles. Scouting Gelderland therefore uses training to raise awareness of these competencies. A Swiss model âthe CH-Q (http://www.ch-q.ch/)â has been used to develop this training. Scouting Gelderland found about this model through the Knowledge-centre, and adapted it to the Dutch context. The training consists of three steps: o what am I good in? o how should I formulate my expertise? o Where can I actually use it? Beside CH-Q training, group leaders can observe the leaders, give feedback, write a recommendation letter for (team) leaders and practise job interviews with the STAR methodology. . The organisation set up the competence profiles to make third parties aware off which competences are developed during the time individuals spend on Scouting. Consequently this could follow in exemptions of modules/units/courses of studies, but could also be used in an application. This depends on the function within Scouting whether a VPLparticipant practice, the time spend on scouting, the level of functioning within scouting and which educational route they attend. The degree of overlap correlates positively with the percentage of exemptions. 1) Finding out what the individual would like to do with their life: identifying goals and setting ambitions. This step is linked with the CH-Q training. 2) Offering competence descriptions for tasks the individual is already carrying out 3) Adding descriptions of competencies which are âin the neighbourhoodâ of these tasks and which relate to the individuals future aspirations. This is the phase where teachers, trainers, career guiders come in to identify the potential for development of each individual. The aim is to empower people rather than exclude them from progressing further, and sensitive assessment mechanisms are used to keep people in the learning system
What is exempted on the basis of VPL? (e.g. courses/ units/modules of study: specific tasks set within units: demonstration of competences) which percentage of the certificate/diploma can be awarded through informal/nonformal learning? (on a scale from 1 - 100%) What are the subsequent steps in the valuation process?
4. Quality control
Which functions are filled in within the process and procedure?
Include the number and required qualifications of each function! e.g. assessor, advisor, instructor, certificatory, guider, etc. 4.2 How is the quality of the functions and the procedure
Awareness-raisers: Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland Advisors: CH-Q specialists Assessors: Group leaders, self-assessment. In most cases there is only one group leader who assesses the trainees. Guiders: team leaders, group leaders
In the case an organisation wants to be a âlearn firmâ, they have to be recognised by the OVDB (Knowledge centre for
learning in practice).They have to proof whether the group leaders are competent in guiding trainees. The competence profiles of the group leader describe the desired competences. These are: - is able to adapt the way of coaching to a person and context - has insight in the qualities and competences of (team)leaders and trainees - is able to make a judgement about (team)leaders and trainees on basis of own observations - is able to start and lead a conversation and to listen - is able to emphasise with one another OVDB It is difficult in Voluntary work to be very strict to separate de role of Guider and Assessor (both are integrated in the Group Leader). Intersubjectivity is possible for leaders, team leaders and group leaders. Both the Team Leader and Group Leader can be involved in de assessment procedure of a leader. Leaders and team leaders can be involved in the assessment procedure. Team leaders can be assessed by both the leaders as the group leader. It is also possible to integrate the opinion of parents and fellow (team)leaders.
Which authorities are in charge of quality control? Which extra measures are taken to guarantee the quality of the procedure?
Which results were in effect reached?
for the organisation in charge for the target group
1. All scouting groups in Gelderland received a briefcase with the VPL tools in it. Groups are more aware how they can use the competences developed on scouting. 2. There is relatively little quantitative information about take-up of these initiatives as yet, however: Tests have been undertaken involving 10 to 20 volunteers; 50 of the 200 Scouting Groups in the Province of Gelderland are in the process of becoming acknowledged as âlearning firmsâ; Approximately 30 students are currently gaining experience through Scouting volunteer work in Gelderland. On a national level, many more students are making use of it and many more Scouting Groups are involved because the Scouting organisations in the provinces of Overijssel, Zuid-Holland en Limburg are also involved in similar activities. In the future, certification could be a possibility. At the moment there is no direct connection between the VPL procedure and formal certification. It is the responsibility of the VPL candidate to use the outcome of the VPL procedure to qualify for exemptions in their training course and for making competences clear application. Development of self-esteem. Developing a portfolio to use as showcase for applications. By exposing competences gained at Scouting could be a basis to choose a direction in their further careers. The glass is already half-filled!
Validation: summative results
Number & types of certification
Valuation: formative results Number and types of development plans or career opportunities
Effects on other stakeholders and/or By setting up VPL-procedures in the voluntary sector, more work and learning firms become available for trainees. This knowledge infrastructure
means more help within Scouting organisations. A better image for Scouting in general and more publicity.
5.5 Financial results (positive/negative). Specify the type of this result, e.g. less/more absence of leave, less/more learning costs, less/more productivity, less spending on recruitment, outplacement, etc.
The process is aimed at developing self confidence and valuation of prior learning in two areas (future employers and formal education). It is difficult to state these things in financial terms. On the long term is expected (in a way linked to finance): Better allocation of employees within certain companies, who take into account the competences gained in scouting work. Less learning costs for companies when certain things are not learned twice.
Strengths of VPL in the case study 1. The procedures are very flexible, as a result of which it is easier adaptable to specific organisations and individuals 2. It is voluntary or not obligatory. 3. The focus is especially on the process; aimed at development of the individual and the organisation, 4. Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland has made the VPL-tools attractive by the briefcase they developed with different options they can use. 5. Formal recognition on organisational level 6. Scouting is accepted as a real learning environment 7. Scouting is able to perform pro-active HRM: steering on their need for competences and the supply of competences available in their âhuman resourcesâ. Opportunities of VPL in the case study 1. Dissemination of the tools developed. The briefcase is extremely portable. When in other regions catalysts can be found, the idea of recognising what is learned in scouting can be used in many other scouting groups. 2. More collaboration between employers, educational institutes and voluntary organisations. Both employers as educational institutes can profit from the experiences their employees or students have. By making these experiences more explicit in voluntary work and clear to employers and educational institutes, valuation of this learning is easier.
Weaknesses of VPL in the case study 1. In some cases, the procedure is too flexible and does not provide enough grip or certainty. 2. The competence profiles are built and approved by scouting groups in Gelderland on a national level. Before it can be used in other scoutingregions, the profiles have to be adapted to fit the specific regional needs. 3. There is relatively little quantitative data. Conclusions from this case study are based on qualitative data. More research is needed.
Threats of VPL in the case study 1. Using VPL within the organisation is very time consuming. Especially in the voluntary sector this could be a threat, because time is scarce. 2. Organisations that choose to use VPL, and in that sense offer their volunteers more guidance, could eventually withdraw leaders from other groups that do not offer VPL tools. For organisations in other (paid) sectors, this is not a problem. For voluntary work, this is an unwanted side-effect. 3. There is a reasonable threat that voluntary work gets more formalised by using these VPL tools and procedures. Is this desirable in Voluntary work. The most important aspect of voluntary work is the freedom to explore
things and develop own ideas. Also in the area of human resource development. This freedom becomes less, when a group management decide to use the VPL methods described above. It is important that the procedure cannot be obliged within a group.
Group management Chairman Secretary Group leader General Boardmembers
Foundation management (administration of means) Chairman Secretary
Group Counsel = group board + all team leaders and leaders (Consultation organ)
Beavers Team 5-7 years old team leader & leaders
DWEK Team 7-11 years old team leader & leaders
Scouts Team 11-14 years old 1 team leader & leaders
Explorers Team 14-17 years old team leader & leader
Youth section Team 17-21 jaar advisor
A European Inventory on Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning Interview Jo Peeters, Steunpunt Scouting Gelderland CH-Q and Scouting A Pilot CD-ROM âScout it Outâ Aan je ervaring heb je echt wat! Scouting Portfolio
The Dutch VPL-seminar 2007
VPL takes two âŠ. or three?
A seminar on VPL for organisations, schools, employers and employees
Wednesday Juni 13,2007
Vakbondsmuseum De Burcht
Henri Polaklaan 9 1018 CP Amsterdam Telefoon: 020 6241166
Hogeschool van Amsterdam: Lectoraat Leren Waarderen en EVC
European Centre for the Valuation of Prior Learning (EC VPL)
VPL takes twoâŠ or three?
When we look at the development of VPL we can see that it has rapidly gained momentum. That is not hard to explain: the knowledge economy and the knowledge society demand highly educated people, and VPL has enormously increased the accessibility of (higher) education. People can therefore be admitted to (higher) education who would previously have been excluded because they did not have the right diplomas. For the time being, it seems to be mainly (profit and non-profit) organisations that are, or are becoming, aware of the possibilities of VPL, and are working together with educational institutions to give it form and quality. This increasing interest can also be clearly seen at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA). If we examine what the interest is composed of, a wide variety of views can be distinguished. Where one organisation sees VPL as an exploratory or career-oriented tool, another views it as more as an exemption or training instrument, or uses VPL as a model for custom work in education and training. What is more, it is interesting to examine how we can encourage the âthird partyâ (the employee or jobseeker) to more actively take ownership of VPL and of lifelong learning. After all, VPL offers access to lifelong learning, which is in its turn a precondition for attaining or maintaining a strong position as an individual or an organisation within the (labour) market. And thus the title of this seminar: VPL takes twoâŠ or three?
Input for the debate
1. Total VPL Total VPL is an integrated, organisation-driven approach to VPL in combination with custom work. Enhancing employability, empowerment and lifelong learning are the key issues, and these are achieved by means of: 1. measuring and knowing what you as an organisation and an individual have to offer; 2. defining the destination you want to arrive at together; 3. establishing how employees (or job-seekers) can give shape to their future; 4. linking the interests of the individual and the organisation on the basis of their available strengths, concrete development initiatives and custom work. Total VPL means that organisations acquire a clear picture of their competency demands and requirements, work on the formulation of their demands, and invest in their âhuman capitalâ. For the HvA as a higher education institution, and therefore a component of the public knowledge infrastructure, Total VPL means acting as a âlisteningâ partner, initiating research projects and offering VPL and custom work. The employee (or job-seeker) has to be ready to explore, identify and develop his or her personal competencies so that he or she can work proactively on enhanced employability and further career development. VPL and custom work are outstanding tools with which the individual can attain this enhancement. 2. Four scenarios The starting point for the discussion in this seminar was that VPL can be deployed to various ends. In order to be able to recognise the developments regarding VPL within partnerships more clearly, four different applications or scenarios have been become generally identifiable in the course of the last six months: 1. 2. 3. 4. VPL as an educational model for initiating a particular programme; VPL as an upgrade model for determining an organisationâs educational and training needs, VPL as an HRD model for matching employeesâ competencies to organisational aims; VPL as a career model for supporting individual career development.
One or more key scenarios, in one form or another, can be found in all VPL partnerships. These scenarios were explored in an introductory plenary session. Then, with reference to five key questions, (the possibility of) the redevelopment of the partnerships was discussed in working groups. Each working group was given the opportunity to formulate recommendations for this redevelopment. Finally, these recommendations were linked back to the plenary session, after which the national seminar was rounded off. Questions for the working groups The working groups formulated recommendations for the redevelopment of Total VPL with reference to five key questions. The questions, listed below, were as far as possible approached from the participantsâ own organisational contexts. The working groups were facilitated and minuted by members of the Learning Valuation and VPL Study Group. 1. The aims: Why VPL as an approach? What aims are set? Under what circumstances does the application of VPL have the desired effect for the organisation? 2. The climate: Is there adequate support for the introduction of VPL among managers and employees? 3. The focus: is there sufficient clarity about the competencies to be developed both in the organisation and its employees in relation to the desired aims? 4. The preparation: are sufficient preparations made for initiating and implementing VPL in the organisation and in the collaboration with VPL partners? 5. The valuation: how does the valuation procedure take form, and what standards are used in it? Are the standards sufficiently clear to all involved?
12:30 13:30 14:00 14:20 welcome VPL takes two âŠ or three?
An introduction to VPL-practice in the Netherlands so far, by Ruud Duvekot
1st inventarisation of VPL-wishes, - questions and âroblems to tackle
Instruction working groups
Two themes for the working groups:: - how to match organisation- (or human resource-) with training-goals with the assistance of VPL? - how to activate or stimulate the individual to learn with the assistance of VPL?
14:30 15:45 16:00 16:45
Working Groups Break Feedback and recommendations End of Seminar
Outcomes of the 4 working groups
Various recommendations and issues concerning the diversity of the application and implementation of VPL in practice in partnerships between organisations/companies and training or educational institutions (VET/HE) were debated in the working groups. The main conclusions focused on: 1. General VPL a. Marketing VPL The addition of a preliminary phase (or âzero phaseâ) concentrating on the marketing of VPL is highly important. With regard to marketing, the relationship between the educational institution and the organisation (or between the âVPL providerâ and the âVPL applicantâ) in particular is the most problematic. An efficient approach focussed on the marketing of âthe VPL productâ is an essential prerequisite for building up the relationship effectively. It is therefore wise to invest in marketing and the preparation of information campaigns. Good use can be made of the contacts that are already present in the educational institution and sector. This preliminary phase of VPL can also be integrated in your PR, marketing and sales. b. Collection of practical examples of VPL An archive should be built up of examples of good practice in VPL on an individual, organisational and systemic level. If these examples demonstrate the value of investing in personnel and in yourself, this will undoubtedly eventually spread a strong positive message. Research into the practical âups and downsâ of VPL and its follow-up projects are definitely also needed here. c. Macro level role The motivational role of the government and social partners has been far from exhausted. More space and stimulus should be created than is now the case in legislation and regulations, which not only remove bottlenecks in the utilisation of VPL but also help to create favourable preconditions. On the international level in particular, many examples of good practice can be found, such as the individualâs right to a portfolio evaluation in Norway, the French regional competency matching system ROME, the linkage of the competency systems of businesses and (higher) education institutions in Finland, the Danish system for formulation of demands in small and medium businesses and the Swiss CH-Q self-management tool. 2. Preparation, and raising awareness of the value of and necessity for VPL a. Building up the âVPL-relationshipâ Do not initially invest in procedures and quality systems, but first in building up an effective customer relationship (the so-called âVPL-relationshipâ) with âVPL applicantsâ. Questions concerning assurances and procedures can be addressed once a firm VPL relationship has been created. However, if these are focussed on first first, this can have more of an inhibiting than a stimulating effect on building up a VPL-relationship between applicant and provider. b. Educational awareness âEducational awarenessâ and a corporate education plan should be present in an organisation or company if it aims to be a serious VPL partner. Briefly put: support on the basis of a specifically formulated demand for (particular forms of) competency development must be present in the organisation, and these must give direction to the creation of a VPL relationship. c. VPL scenarios in detail The âpalette of four scenariosâ provides a clear framework in relation to the goal or the intention of utilising VPL. The four scenarios encompass the diversity of goals with regard to VPL as an educational, upgrade, HRD or career model. In current practice, the educational and upgrade models are the ones most often employed. This palette needs to be worked out in greater detail, and accompanied by examples. d. Information provision The organisations that build up a VPL relationship together should jointly offer clear and accessible information on VPL and education/development (form, content, location, time and facilities) within the organisational context of the VPL applicant. Issues concerning aims and results must be made crystal
clear to the individual employee or job-seeker.33 Of course all of this is highly dependent on the scenario chosen for the use of VPL. e. Division of roles between VPL parties Once aims have been set, the exact division of roles between the individual, organisation and educational institution involved can be formulated. In each scenario, clear agreements should be made between the three parties directly involved. The parties that are indirectly involved (government and social partners) should remove obstacles to, or create favourable preconditions for, the utilisation of one of the VPL scenarios. f. Self-management of competencies In the division of roles between those involved, the emphasis for the individual is on personal process management (self-management of competencies); for the organisation it is on the formulation of aims and the accompanying formulation of demands for the desired competency development; and for the educational institution it is on the development of non-vocational-programme-dependent evaluation and a vocational programme in the form of custom work. 3. Identification of competencies a. Setting standards In the identification of competencies, setting standards primarily involves the selection of a standard or benchmark for VPL. This standard is dependent on the VPL model (or scenario) that is chosen. In this phase, VPL candidates must be highly motivated to meet the specified standard. b. Access to the standard The accessibility of a chosen VPL standard or benchmark is extremely important in taking the first step in the candidateâs self-management, that is to say the collection of descriptions and the accompanying evidence of competencies that are already present. c. Portfolio creation and guidance A candidate must in any event be able to work with a clear portfolio, whether or not with the support of the P post within the organisation. If necessary, a VPL candidate must also be enabled by means of a self-management programme to work efficiently and effectively on preparing and managing a portfolio. 4. Validation and valuation of competencies a. National coverage of the VPL advisory function More transparency, uniformity, harmonisation and collaboration are needed at national level in order to strengthen the desired effects of VPL. This concerns the taking over of the VPL advisory function at the level of regional training centres and colleges of higher education. Learning to understand or even to speak the language of personal competency systems is the aim in this context. An effective linkage of this language with the personal competency system, and of exemptions with advice, can then be more simply made. b. Linkage of competency systems In addition, it is advisable to create a link between competency profiles originating from corporate and educational systems. It is then more easy to switch between the two systems in the validation of acquired competencies, and the benefits of both âlearning environmentsâ can be utilized in order to efficiently provide for an individualâs competency demands from a developmental perspective. In any event, no distinction must be made here between competencies acquired in paid and unpaid work. c. Independent VPL VPL procedures must not take place within the programme, but outside of it. The uncoupling of VPL and educational programmes is necessary because after all the procedures a choice of programme has not been made, and because otherwise the independence of VPL is not assured. d. Distinction between intermediate and higher vocational education and training (MBO and HBO)
33 The term âjob-seekerâ is here used to indicate both an employee who is seeking other work within or outside of the employing organisation, and also an unemployed job-seeker who wishes to gain employment through the CWI (the Netherlands Government Department for Work and Income).
There must be greater clarity for the VPL candidate concerning the differences between intermediate and higher vocational education and training qualifications. Both standards often speak in the same terms about (generally) the same skills. The development of a self-test, through which the individual gains a clear picture of the qualification level that he or she currently belongs in, could offer a solution. e. VPL at Masters level The validation of competencies acquired otherwise or elsewhere should also be possible at Masters level. Examples on this level are provided by France, where a Masters degree can be acquired with the use of VPL. In Finland too, a great deal can be achieved at university level with the use of VPL. 5. Further development of competencies a. Workplace learning In designing custom work following VPL advice, collective (help with the) development of workplace learning is absolutely essential. However, custom work has to come from two sides: companies have to facilitate and in particular provide guidance in workplace learning, and educational establishments must accept and value the workplace as a learning environment. b. Custom work Employees need to be as self-reliant and programme-independent as possible in the development of their personal development programmes following a VPL procedure. In this sense, custom work primarily means that it is up to the individual to make choices concerning the degree of self-determination or external direction within the development programme. These choices range between 100% self-determination of the form and content of the programme (empowerment) and 0% (pampering). 6. Anchoring VPL a. Customer-centred education A more customer-centred orientation of education institutions towards organisations/businesses is needed in order to help anchor VPL in HRD. On the other hand, increased formulation of demands is needed from organisations/businesses in order to help anchor VPL in the policy of educational institutions. b. Individual responsibility The individual (employee, job-seeker) must take ownership of the value and necessity of investing in him or herself. This self-management requires direct encouragement from the educational institutions, the jobs market, and legislation and regulations. However, the key issue is that a certain desire for self-management is created on the basis of successful role models and practical examples. Greater accessibility, affordability and user-friendliness of VPL and the development opportunities it offers of course form the most important preconditions for this to come about. c. Formulation of demands by organisations/companies Organisations/ companies must ensure that their formulation of demands is effective. Formulation of demands means that there is clarity concerning (1) the competencies present within the organisation, and (2) the required competencies within the framework of the organisational aims. A match can be made between 1 and 2, so that (3) the competency demands within the organisation and ultimately (4), an action plan for the validation and development of available competencies, as well as those that need to be to be developed, emerges. d. Research into the effects of VPL Research is needed into the added value of VPL, among other things focussed on its economic, financial and social effects. e. Integration of VPL in HRD There must be greater integration of VPL into HR policy and practice. This integration is aimed at enhancing employability and mobility, increasing voluntary participation in VPL and working towards achievable goals regarding certification, development and career enhancement. The development of a motivating personnel policy with VPL as a built-in tool can be a significant factor that distinguishes a company from its competitors. However, practical experience shows that a company has to offer its personnel a great deal of freedom of choice in order to make VPL a success factor in employee throughflow.
Participants Dutch VPL-seminar
AlbĂšr Stallaart Alex van der Molen Alex Baggerman Alina de Groot Aljo Veldhuis An Goelema Andre de Vree Antoinette van Berkel Ben Hoogendam Ciska Raadgever Clemens Romijn Corrien van Nugteren Erik van Beek Glenn Rijssel Harry Daamen Henk Kemkes Henry de Groot Ine Sijstermans Inge Oudkerk Ingeborg Blessing Jacqueline KĂ¶sters Jan Leen Janke Neel Jeanet van de Bunte Jos Paulusse Karel Martinn Kees Schuur Kees van Oosterhout Louis Rutten Lucie te Lintelo Lucy Buddelmeijer Maartje van Trigt Mabri Fennema Marcel Uijen Marianne Kok Marijke van Rijswijk Marja Magnee Max van de Heuvel Monica Wolffensperger Patrick Oudijk Paul Bonsema Rebecca Beemster Reuven Halevi
EVC Centrum Zeeland De Unie Yacht Gemeente A'dam/DWI Fortis Fortis Regionaal Technocentrum A'dam HvA AbvaKabo FNV Fortis Romijn R&D HvA Projectdirectie Leren & werken HvA Company Coaching Tetrix Bedrijfsopleidingen A&O Metalektro Hogeschool Zuyd HvA AbvaKabo FNV HvA HvA HvA Politieacademie EC-VPL Politieacademie EC-VPL HvA FNV Bouw HvA HvA EMC A&O Metalektro Fortis HvA ROC Midden Nederland HvA Koninklijke Landmacht HvA HvA HvA Gemeente A'dam/AEB CWI-HOA
2 4 3 2 3 3 4 2 chair 1 3 1 2 2 3 2 4 1 3 4 chair 1 1 3 chair 2 2 3 1 4 1 1 3 3 1 4 3 3 1 1 3 1 2 4 4 2
Richard Mertens Robert vd Laak Ronald van der Mark Ruud Duvekot Sebastian Bristoll Suzanne van der Meer Thea Aarts Toon de Kruijff Trui ten Kampe Welmoed Lockefeer Wil Roelofsen Wilfred Fischer Willie Berentsen
Gemeente A'dam/DWI A&O Metalektro FME/CWM HvA Ecabo Gemeente A'dam/DWI Hogeschool Zeeland Metaalunie Hogeschool Zuyd VKA HvA HvA FME/CWM
2 4 4 1 vz 3 2 2 4 1 3 4 2 4