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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

8.Adult education and training

8.5Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 27 November 2023

In 2015, a strategy for the introduction of a validation system was developed and a public launch event on the recognition of competences took place in October 2016. Stakeholders from the German-speaking community were invited to participate in a debate. Subsequently, a steering group was established with the participation of stakeholders from formal and non-formal education, as well as employment and social partners. Between February and November 2017, the steering group developed a validation concept for the German-speaking Community. 

The Ministry of the German-speaking Community of Belgium has been working on a project aiming at developing the validation of non-formal and informal learning in cooperation with diverse partners present in the area. In the context of demographic change and the extended working life as well as in view of the emerging shortage of skilled professionals, it has been a concern to promote the validation of competences acquired non-formally and informally.

The project is primarily aimed at low-skilled jobseekers and workers, as well as migrants whose foreign qualifications could not be recognized as access to education and employment is difficult for these target groups. Visibility and recognition of professional competences, combined with professional training, will promote lifelong learning and facilitate access to education and employment. The professional development of the general public will be strengthened, the shortage of skilled workers counteracted, and the unemployment of the low skilled reduced.

Main training orientation:

- Orientation and advice in the search for the appropriate training.

- Competence assessment: Development of personal competency profiles.

- Recognition of professional skills for usage in education and work.

Here a link for further information on this project : Zukunftswege gestalten.

In the German-speaking Community, validation procedures take place at the level of intermediate education: people who in a non-formal and/or informal way have competences in an occupation for which there is an apprenticeship in the German-speaking Community are given the opportunity to take part in the practical final examination at the end of apprenticeship to have their practical vocational skills certified at a Centre for Education and Training of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (ZAWM). The IAWM is the supervisory authority of the two ZAWMs. IAWM and ZAWM were involved in the development of the procedure.

The validation procedure is for individuals, regardless of their current employment status at home or abroad, who are unable to prove their status through a vocational qualification / recognised professional qualification in the German-speaking Community.

Individuals can participate in this validation procedure if they:

1. are at least 25 years old;

2. have relevant professional experience but do not have a professional qualification recognised in the recognised professional qualification in the German-speaking Community;

3. have a good command of the German language;

4. have mastered the German language to such an extent that they are able to understand professional tasks and give understandable explanations;

5. wish to work or reside in Belgium.

Evidence of relevant professional experience is provided by means of a curriculum vitae. Sufficient command of the German language is important for the smooth running of the validation procedure. The minimum language requirement is, therefore, level German A2 of the Common European framework of reference for languages.

Stage of development:

2015 - Design phase

2016 - Legislative process

2017 - Approved/agreed

2018 - Implementation phase

2019 - Implementation phase

In 2019, the German-speaking Community public employment service ADG – in close cooperation with Germany’s public employment service – has been training staff in using the vocational test procedure MYSKILLS – Identifying professional competences. In order to integrate low-skilled jobseekers formally into the labour market, the tool attempts to capture and understand informal and non-formal professional knowledge applicable at the workplace. First exams took place in 2019 and from the test results, it can be derived whether direct labour market integration can be envisaged (and in which operational fields) or whether qualification training should take place first.

2020 - Implementation phase

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no validation procedures could take place in 2020.

A circular regulating the validation procedures at the level of medium-level education in the German-speaking Community was elaborated.

2021 - Keep on implementing the measures from previous years.