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


8.Adult education and training

8.5Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 23 June 2022

The evaluation and accreditation of the professional competences acquired through work experience and non-formal and informal training is one of the necessary instruments to make lifelong learning a reality, encouraging the adult population, especially those who dropped out with no qualification, to reintegrate into the education system through the recognition of their training.

Since 2009, this evaluation and accreditation is conducted according to criteria guaranteeing its reliability, objectivity and technical rigour. The National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications serves as an objective reference for this procedure, since it lists the vocational qualifications to be recognised and accredited, identified in the productive system on the basis of the skills required to practice the profession. It includes the most relevant vocational qualifications related to the production system. Such qualifications are organized within vocational families and levels and they serve as the basis and benchmark to elaborate the training offer of the different vocational training titles and the certificates or professional experience.

In order to facilitate knowledge of this procedure and its requirements, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training provides all stakeholders with the two following tools:

  • The tool ACREDITA through the TodoFP web portal.
  • the National Institute for Qualifications (INCUAL), website, which is the technical tool of the General Vocational Training Council which connects the world of labour with the training sector and is responsible for updating the National Catalogue.

All the education authorities publish different calls for the recognition of certain competences. The procedure comprises the following stages:

  • Guidance, on the basis of the documents provided: an advisor draws up a non-binding report. If it is positive, the candidate may have access to the evaluation stage. If negative, the report indicates the additional training to be undertaken by the candidate as well as the institutions where he/she can receive it.
  • Evaluation of professional competence: it is checked whether the candidate has the professional competence required.
  • Accreditation and record of the professional competence: the accreditation is issued to candidates who have completed the evaluation stage for each competence unit for which the professional competence has been demonstrated.

On completion of the evaluation and accreditation process, the relevant authorities provide all participants with the necessary guidelines to complete training leading to the award of a vocational training qualification or a Certificate of professional experience.

If the workers’ professional competences that have been evaluated are not enough to achieve the level of qualification required by a vocational training certificate or a certificate of professional experience, they are partially accredited. Thus, they can complete their training in order to obtain a relevant qualification or certificate.

In order to participate in the procedure for the recognition of competences, it is necessary to meet some general requirements, which are valid throughout the country. The Autonomous Communities may also establish additional requirements.

General requirements to participate in the procedure for the recognition of professional competences

  1. nationality:

    • have Spanish nationality;
    • have obtained an EU citizen registration certificate or a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen;
    • have a valid residence permit or a work and residence permit in Spain, under the provisions of Spanish aliens and immigration law;
  2. age:
    • be 18 at the time of registration in the case of competence units corresponding to Level 1 qualifications;  
    • be 20 for Levels 2 or 3;
  3. work experience:
    • have completed at least 3 years of working experience, with a minimum of 2 000 hours worked in total, in the last 10 years before the call;
    • in the case of Level 1 competence units, 2 years of working experience, with a minimum of 1 200 hours worked in total, are required;
  4. training1:
    • have completed at least 300 hours in the last 10 years before the call for competence units in Levels 2 and 3;
    • in the case of Level 1 competence units, at least 200 hours are required.  If the training modules linked to the competence unit to be accredited have a shorter duration, the number of hours set for those modules will have to be accredited.

People aged over 25 who meet the above work experience and training requirements but cannot prove them through the documents mentioned may apply for provisional registration, proving their work experience or non-formal training through any evidence recognised as legally valid.

Since the ministerial reorganisation in January 2020, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has also assumed responsibility for the certificates of professional experience, in terms of their regulation, development and updating, as well as for the content of public calls for training including certificates of professional experience.