Empowering Social Inclusion by Validating Non-formal and Informal Learning

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Draft Agenda

14:00 - 14:20: Welcome and Introduction to the session  

14:20 - 14:30: EESC member Tatjana Babrauskienė  

14:30 - 14:45: CEV Director Gabriella Civico - Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning & Social Inclusion  

14:45 - 14:55: EVBB EU Project Manager Sotiria Tsalamani - Vocational Training & Social Inclusion 

14:55 - 15:00: Case study presentation

15:00 - 15:15: Q&A 

15:15 - 15:30: Closing and Next Steps

Concept Note 

Volunteering is a key source of non-formal and informal learning, serving as a pivotal force in lifelong learning and personal development, European democracy, and the embodiment of shared European values. 

Beyond its evident societal impact, active citizen engagement through practical actions and advocacy plays a vital role in promoting and supporting social inclusion. For volunteers, the learning acquired through their activities and experiences in the civil society sphere can also significantly enhance their chances of social inclusion and reduce the risks of social exclusion. This aspect is greatly enhanced when such learning is not only acknowledged but also validated and even certified. The learning outcomes derived from volunteering activities can cover vocational skills such as bookkeeping, occupational therapy, or essential transversal skills and important competences for employability such as flexibility, empathy and creativity. By fostering a collaborative ecosystem, we can ensure that the skills acquired through volunteering not only meet current industry demands but also anticipate future needs, thus bolstering the relevance and effectiveness of vocational education and the Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning (VNFIL) in promoting social inclusion. 

Recognising the significant role of volunteering in lifelong learning, it is therefore imperative for education, skills and employment policies to integrate the benefits from the learning acquired whilst volunteering experiences in the whole process. This can be achieved through a comprehensive understanding and implementation of the newly updated European Guidelines for Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning.  

This session will delve into the ways in which validation can be a driving force behind promoting and supporting social inclusion. We will explore the necessary systemic, organisational, and individual-level changes required to fully unlock its potential.  The impact of the European Year of Skills 2023/ 2024 will be also addressed, as well as how validation is being included in National Skills, addressing the accessibility of these processes for volunteers. Furthermore, we will discuss the transformative opportunities offered by micro credentials and how validation of non-formal and informal learning can foster a Green and Sustainable economy and society in an inclusive way. Through practical examples and case studies, we will identify the pathways where volunteering and vocational education converge, creating opportunities for individuals to bridge the gap between learning and application. 

In essence, the workshop aims to be a dynamic conversation where insights from the intersection of volunteering and vocational education converge to chart a course for a more resilient, adaptable and socially inclusive European workforce.

Work organisation