Helping migrants and refugees through recognition of skills and competences

Helping migrants and refugees through recognition of skills and competences

This week marks the European Vocational Skills Week 2018, a one-week programme of events and activities aimed to highlight Vocational Education Training (VET) and its key role in the lifelong learning continuum by helping young people with initial qualifications to access the labour market and continuously upskill.

From 5 to 9 November this year, the European Commission along with the Austrian Presidency hosted the European Vocational Skills Week in Vienna, while more than 1,000 events are taking place across Europe until the end of December 2018. The initiative, under the motto “Discover your Talent”, brings together education and training providers, civil society organisations, public authorities, business organisations, trade unions, and the general public to raise awareness of the advantages of Vocational Education and Training (VET).

Every year thousands of refugees and migrants arrive in Europe with little support, money or opportunities. Sometimes these people don’t even have the means or ability to get in touch with prospective employers or career guidance centres to build careers and thus improve their economic situation. There are layers of administrative and bureaucratic obstacles to accessing the labour market or continuing with studies, in most part due to non-recognition of competences and skills in the host country. Certain skills and know-how may not even be spotted because these do not match the specific criteria used in the country where newcomers arrive.

Eucen, the European University Continuing Education Network, is a multidisciplinary European association for University Lifelong Learning. As part of the VET Skills Week 2018, eucen has contributed through free webinars to expanding discussions on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNIL).

The webinar is also the first e-talk on the VINCE project, Validation for the Inclusion of New Citizens in Europe, which will help give university staff the training needed in Validation of Prior Learning (VPL) to help newcomers get integrated into society through Higher Education (HE).

The VINCE Validation Prize 2019 will also be an opportunity to showcase the most innovative and transferable initiatives in the area of the Validation of Prior Learning (VPL) and/or Validation of Non Formal and Informal Learning (VNIL) in all sectors of education in Europe. The Award Ceremony will take place in Barcelona on 14 November 2019 and will be an opportunity to exchange experience and share practices among VPL/VPIL professionals across Europe.

As part of the project consortium, SOLIDAR Foundation disseminates the project results among policymakers and stakeholders and gathers a wide audience to step up the policymakers efforts in the validation of prior learning.   On 20-21 November, the VINCE project and recent country analyses will be presented in the CEDEFOP working group on “Learning providers and Migration: Empowerment and Integration through Learning” at The Hague in the Netherlands.

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