Volunteering is widely acknowledged as an outstanding source of learning, and an important contributor to personal and professional development. Volunteering is an element of social innovation that can mobilise people’s creativity to develop solutions and make better use of scarce resources. At
the societal level, it can be a tool for the empowerment of people, especially for disadvantaged groups in society.
At the individual level, volunteering can be a means for citizens to acquire important soft and transversal skills, to play a useful role, and to connect or reconnect with society. Volunteering is understood to be a driving force behind social cohesion and personal development and the EMPL formation of the European Council Conclusions encouraged the ‘promotion of the role of volunteering as a form of non-formal and informal learning contributing to obtaining new skills and competences and improved employability in each and every age and social group.’
(Source: Background paper of the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Volunteer Centre and the Life Long Learning Platform, for the Peer Learning Activity on Validation of soft and transversal skills acquired through Non-Formal and Informal learning by adults when volunteering, Brussels, January 2019; EDOS Foundation participated in this event).
If the correlation between education and employment and especially to quality employment as well as to poverty is well known, one’s qualification does not always correspond to one’s knowledge and skills. Mechanisms to validate non-formal and informal learning contribute to tackle unemployment and achieve a better match between jobs and skills by acknowledging those acquired outside the formal education system.
Validation of non-formal and informal learning also gives opportunities for second chances, improves access to education, and enhances motivation to learn. It contributes to social inclusion, personal development, empowerment and employability.
The 2012 Council Recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNIL) is a first step towards more satisfactory validation policy frameworks in the EU. It gave a political impulse for Member States to speed up the building of well-functioning validation systems in partnership with
(Source: Life Long Learning Platform, project partner of EDOS Foundation in one of our current projects)
Since the start of the Erasmus+ program (2014) we have seen many projects dealing with validation in the voluntary sector. However, it seems that, so far, this doesn’t lead to the structural use of validation tools and -methods. Apparently, something more is necessary to make validation an integrated part of volunteering.
Based on previous projects, we have made an overview of current and finished Erasmus+ projects dealing with validation in the voluntary sector. After that, we made an overview of validation tools/methods for the voluntary sector that are available in the EU-member states, either developed in the framework of Erasmus+, or with other resources.
In this project we plan to:
- do research about the support on 3 levels, needed to implement validation in the voluntary sector
- explore successful implementation that has taken place in France, The Netherlands, and Romania
- develop a step-by-step roadmap for implementing validation in a volunteering organisation
- create connections with EQF / national qualification frameworks, to strengthen the role of volunteer work in enhancing people's employability
We expect that the Intellectual Outputs
- will make it easier for volunteering organisations to include ''validation of skills and competences'' in their volunteer policy
- will make it easier for volunteers to become aware of the value of validation as part of their volunteer work, to benefit from this for their position on the labour market and/or in society, and for their personal development
- will make it easier for volunteer centers, or other support structures, to encourage volunteering organisations to offer validation arrangements to their volunteers.
4 Intellectual Outputs are planned:
IO-1, IO-2, and IO-3, are ''basic intellectual outputs'', for organisations that do not have a validation arrangement for their volunteers, or want to improve that arrangement.
IO-4 is an ''advanced intellectual output'', for organisations that are already offering a validation arrangement to their volunteers, but want to improve the transferability from volunteers skills and competences to the labour market, with a special focus on the benefits for disadvantaged groups in society.
Members of the partnership:
Vereniging NOV - The Netherlands
Centre Europeen du Volontariat – Belgium
France Benevolat - France
Centrul de Voluntariat Cluj-Napoca -Romania
Edos Foundation - The Netherlands
See the results of this project on our bookshelf.
This project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.