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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: 28 March 2023

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. It is aimed at the active population with work experience and without any professional accreditation, certificate or qualification of all or part of their professional competences, in order to validate these professional competences acquired in the course of work, as well as those acquired through non-formal education.

Organic Law 3/2022 on the organisation and integration of Vocational Training (LOOIFP) includes and updates, in Title VI, the provisions relating to the accreditation of professional competences acquired through work experience or other non-formal or informal channels. However, this accreditation procedure has not yet been developed, and the draft Royal Decree establishing the Organisation of the Vocational Training System, which develops it, is currently being processed (hearing and public information until 9 March 2023). 

Until its processing is completed, it is published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) and it is enforced, the evaluation and accreditation process developed in 2009 (which follows criteria that guarantee the reliability, objectivity and technical rigour of the evaluation) will be the one in force. 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.

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

  • The tool ACREDITA through the  TodoFP web portal.;
  • the National Institute for Qualifications (INCUAL) website, the technical tool of the General Vocational Training Council (CGFP) 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:

  • Pre-registration information or guidance
  • The registration itself. 
  • Guidance, on the basis 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 the 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 professional experience certificate.

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 the 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.

The general requirements to participate in the procedure for the recognition of professional competences are the following:

  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:
    • For levels 2 and 3, have completed at least , 3 years of working experience, with a minimum of 2000 hours worked in total, in the last 15 years before submitting the application;
    • in the case of level 1 competence units, 2 years of working experience, with a minimum of 1200 hours worked in total, are required;
  4. training1:
    • in the case of competence units in levels 2 and 3, at least 300 hours, in the last 10 years prior to the submission of the application.
    • 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;
    • in cases where the professional competence units to be assessed have, due to their nature, additional requirements, documentary evidence of compliance with these requirements is also necessary.

1People 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.