Validation of Transversal Skills in European Commission’s Latest Policy Initiatives




On the 10th of December, the European Commission published two important policy initiatives promoting lifelong learning – the two proposals for Council Recommendations, one on individual learning accounts and another one on micro-credentials. 

Why are these two documents important for TRANSVAL-EU and for the validation of transversal skills?

Individual learning accounts aim to ensure that everyone has access to quality training opportunities that are tailored to their needs, regardless of whether he/she is currently employed or not. The proposed recommendation asks member states to set up individual learning accounts, offer guidance and validation opportunities and paid training leave. With regards to validation, the document says that individual learning accounts can be used to access not only training opportunities, but also validation and skills assessment opportunities. It is necessary to provide individuals with tailored support, and ensure closer coordination with guidance services. Guidance services should tailor the validation initiatives for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. 

Micro-credentials certify learning outcomes following a small learning experience (e.g. a short course or training). They offer a flexible, targeted way to help people develop the knowledge, skills and competences they need for their personal and professional development. In 2020 the European Commission led an evaluation of the Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. One of the conclusions from this evaluation was that greater links should be developed between micro-credentials and validation. 

These two documents are yet to be discussed and agreed by the member states of the European Union, and the concrete ways in which they will be implemented in each country will become clear next year. Nevertheless, validation and guidance professionals should already be aware of these developments.