Cedefop is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies, which supports development of European vocational education and training (VET) policies and contributes to their implementation. The agency is helping the European Commission, EU Member States and the social partners to develop the right European VET policies to provide the right skills.
From this viewpoint, all governments in the French-speaking part of the country (the French Community, the Walloon Region and the French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region) have introduced a skills validation scheme. Its aim is to enable over-18s to gain recognition for skills acquired through work experience, vocational training and life experience.
A consortium consisting of representatives of Forem Formation, Bruxelles Formation, IFAPME, EFPME and social advancement education is responsible for issuing skills certificates. The social partners contribute to the design and running of the scheme.
When someone successfully passes a validation test, they therefore receive a ‘skills certificate’ which attests to their mastery of part or all of a profession (macro-competence). This skills certificate is a legal document, recognised by the three Belgian French-speaking governments, but it has no effects in law like the school certificate, because it can be issued by other operators than those in education. Two to five skills certificates correspond to a profession: for example, the profession of call centre operator is divided into two skills units, giving rise to two corresponding certificates (managing incoming contacts and managing outgoing contacts). To prepare for and take skills validation examinations, workers are entitled to paid educational leave.
In 2013, skills certificates relating to 53 professions are available, in 13 activity sectors (administrative, food; automotive; chemicals; construction; culture; electricity; IT; non-profit; green industry; personal care; technologies and industries, transport and logistics), in numerous validation centres.