Project Description

Visible Skills of Adults (VISKA) is an Erasmus+ Key Action 3 Project, filed under the call priority theme of "Employment and Skills: validation of informal and non-formal learning in Education and Training." It is a three year project, running from March 2017 to February 2020 and is coordinated by Skills Norway. The research and evaluation partner of the VISKA project is Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland.

With this project, the seven partners in four countries address the European policy priority of diminishing skills mismatch by making knowledge, skills and competences of adults more visible through validation of informal and non-formal learning. In particular, VISKA addresses the need to make the skills of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and low-skilled adults more visible, in order to shorten their time to employment, targeted education and training offers and active engagement in society. Along with unemployed in general, these target groups are currently at a disadvantage in European societies and could greatly benefit from improved access to validation services and from more holistic validation arrangements.

The VISKA project plans to implement and evaluate five interventions, agreed by the partners and applied to the current processes (in the respective national contexts) for the validation of prior learning. The interventions have been developed and agreed with a view to making the knowledge, skills and competence of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and adults with low skills levels, more visible. While there will be differences across the participating countries in relation to validation policies, practices and infrastructures; the focus of the project team will be to learn how the chosen interventions, when enacted, can bring about real change, for individuals and systems and to collate the learning from the project to contribute to a broader policy agenda.

Planned Interventions for VISKA

Developing and extending regional/national networks and partnerships to include policy makers, social partners and practitioners working on the validation of prior learning (VPL).

Expected outcomes include:

  • improved collaboration and networking;
  • common vision and consensus of the value of the validation of prior learning in making skills and qualifications more visible and comparable.

Extending and/or adapting tools used in the validation of NFIL - includes digitisation as well as customisation for use with specific beneficiary groups and enhanced quality assurance of validation processes.

Expected outcomes include:

  • improved validation arrangement relying on enhanced tools (e.g. digitisation, criteria for assessing transversal skills) and more qualified practitioners;
  • improved access for specific adult learner audiences (e.g. through digital means);
  • more awareness among employers of the broad set of skills employees have.

Creating a common set of criteria for the documentation and assessment of transversal skills, able to be used with one or more adult learner groups

Expected outcomes include:

  • consensus between partner countries on what transversal skills comprise and how they might be documented and measured as part of the validation of prior learning;
  • transversal skills recognition embedded into existing practices and policies centered on the validation of prior learning;
  • improved validation arrangements enabling all learning experiences to be recognised, including those which are transversal and transferable (e.g. teamwork, creative thinking and problem solving).

Training and/or capacity-building for guidance counsellors and other frontline staff working on the validation of NFIL, including with specific adult beneficiary groups

Expected outcomes include:

  • improved capacity of guidance counsellors and other frontline staff working on the validation of prior learning.

Improving access to and awareness of validation services and support, including among specific adult beneficiary groups.

Expected outcomes include:

  • more awareness of validation services, and the benefits of validation, among primary beneficiary audiences – improved awareness of own skills and employment and education and training opportunities;
  • more take-up of validation services among targeted beneficiary groups in the partner countries.

The aim of the VISKA project

The VISKA evaluation has two main aims. The first is to understand, evaluate and enhance validation across the four participating countries. The evaluation also aims to provide country specific insights and case studies that can be analysed by policy makers seeking to understand the inherent challenges and opportunities within validation for low-skilled , migrants and refugees.

Through developing, trialling and evaluating these interventions:

  1. The processes to implement effective validation services, supporting networks and staff development will be mapped.
  2. The criteria, success factors and conditions of processes that contribute to outcomes of validation are identified.
  3. Case studies will be made available to be analysed by policy makers and other key policy influencers to understand key challenges and success factors in developing robust systems and processes in complex policy areas such as validation.
  4. The policy processes that play a role in influencing validation development will be identified and described.
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