UP Process: Assessment – Learning – Validation
To boost access to and take up of quality learning opportunities, adults with low levels of skills should have access to upskilling opportunities around the concept of an easily accessible pathway comprising three key steps.
- Step 1 – Skills assessment
This is to enable adults to identify their existing skills and any needs for upskilling. It may take the form of a “skills audit”: a statement of the individual’s skills that can be the basis for planning a tailored offer of learning. Many of the initiatives mentioned refer to methods such as skills profiling, or skills screening, as a first step in supporting low skilled/low qualified adults. However, only in few cases do they appear to be used to identify gaps in basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and digital skills. A few countries, among them Slovenia (see SVOS), are or will be using the OECD Education and Training Online (an online assessment tool linked to PIAAC).
- Step 2 – Learning offer
The beneficiary will receive an offer of education and training meeting the needs identified by the skills assessment. The offer should aim to boost literacy, numeracy or digital skills or allow progress towards higher qualifications. The learning offer should also consider, as far as possible, local, regional and national labour market needs. The Recommendation underlines that the offer of learning should be flexible as well as of high quality. Offering suitable learning pathways to adults depends on the flexibility of the system and how it enables adults to combine learning with work or a busy family life. Modularisation of programmes for adults is also growing.
- Step 3 – Validation and recognition
The beneficiary will have the opportunity to have the skills she or he has acquired validated and recognised. Many of the measures outlined by the Member States are closely related to the establishment of validation arrangements, which are being developed in line with the 2012 Recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning. There are also strong links to national qualifications frameworks (in Slovenia the so called SOK – Slovensko ogrodje kvalifikacij) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).