The Benchmarking Report contributes to the preliminary researches carried out by the partnership and presents description of current situation of the use, role and potential of micro-credentials in partner countries. On the basis of the report findings, the partners will develop standards for key competences in the PHS sector, as well as evaluation and validation tools. These standards and tools will make it possible to explore the potential of validation of non-formal and informal learning for micro-credentials. The final project result provides useful insights on the implementation of micro-credentials and could serve as inspiration for other target groups and sectors as a promising tool to boost employability and social inclusion, especially for disadvantaged groups.
The research activities were coordinated by STEPS, all partners were actively involved from November until June 2022. STEPS delivered all the research architecture (guidelines, templates), take care of updating partnership about recent EU policies and studies on micro-credentials.
Project partners carried out 5 baseline studies on national level in France, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Belgium, collecting in total 10 practices on validation of non-formal and informal learning and reaching through interviews 6 experts in the field of validation. All data has been collected in the overall “Benchmarking report”.
What we have learnt?
We found out that the official validation of non-formal and informal learning can play an important role for the PHS sector and low skilled profiles. Why? Example from French country report shows that with only 30,000 certified workers (with a formal certification of the sector) for 1.4 million employees, the sector has a very high potential for Validation of Acquired Experience (VAE). IPERIA’s initiative “VAE by blocks” presents an innovative way of recognition of a small number of competences, corresponding to the needs of the candidate. It can be of interest for the future developments of the MyCred4Home project.
We tried to identify examples on existing initiatives on micro-credentials, especially for low qualified profiles on national level. Do they exist and what is their role? We did not find a simple answer to this question. Several examples of micro-credentials assigned after a short training activity (not as a result of validation process) have been collected e.g. an interesting practice from Italy, which includes the use of micro-credentials (in digital format) inside the EduOpen platform financially supported by the Italian Ministry of Education. Generally speaking the use micro-credentials is much more visible in the sector of Higher education (confirmed also by the Cyprus University national report).
Centre Familial de Bruxelles (Belgian partner of the consortium) with a huge expertise in the topic of validation of skills in PHS sector highlighted that the official validation of non-formal and informal learning help job seekers find a job, it reinforces the employability of low qualified profiles, improves self-confidence and self-esteem of the disadvantaged background’ groups (such as migrants, jobseekers, single mothers or battered women, etc.).
Even if, the full potential of micro-credentials has yet to be fully unlocked, micro-credentials are seen as flexible way for personalised, tailored, quick and accessible skills (re)development.