Title VALBUK: Valuing prior Learning, Building QualificationsApplying the VQTS Model to let adult qualification pathways in the cleaning sector be more attractive and flexible
Project Number 2012-1-CH1-LEO05-00381
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
The project aimed at implementing and using ECVET principles in order to facilitate access to lifelong learning of not qualified workers, particularly women with a migration background, in the professional areas of cleaning services.
Valuing the VQTS Model (www.vocationalqualifications.net) the project aimed at:
• comparing existing qualifications in the cleaning services sector, defining a shared competence Matrix enhancing permeability and transferability of qualifications at the European level;
• Identifying Guidelines and testing practical solutions in order to combine formal preparatory training and validation of non-formal and informal learning, for achieving a qualification on the basis of a modular pathway;
• developing operational partnerships involving stakeholders of the cleaning sector, in order to assure the sustainability of the model after the conclusion of the project.
In the majority of EU countries, data on access to lifelong learning and trends of unemployment provide a clear evidence of risks of exclusion engendered by the lack of a recognized qualification. Migrants are clearly over represented amongst groups at risk of exclusion, due to the low level of recognition of prior learning outcomes and qualifications achieved in their countries of origin, to difficulties encountered in finding an apprenticeship and last but not least to the complexity and rigidity of qualification pathways enabling adults recovery an initial Vet qualification, also considering validation of prior learning outcomes. The project aims at implementing and using ECVET principles in order to facilitate access to lifelong learning and qualifications of migrant workers. The project addressed a specific and emblematic sector – defined by the occupations included in the area of cleaning services in which many not qualified migrants (especially women) actually work both in Switzerland and all over Europe. From this point of view the project reached results of the utmost importance for all the partner countries, contributing at enhancing transparency and access to lifelong learning at the EU level.
The project has been developed by a Consortium, including the main stakeholders of CVT sector in Switzerland, the "owner" of the original model (3S - Austria) and a qualified network of institutions dealing with qualification systems, ECVET and validation of prior learning in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia.
The project addressed the following strategic aims:
• facilitate the understanding and application of ECVET by VET stakeholders in Switzerland and in the partner countries;
• identify and test practical solutions intended to facilitate the development of innovative practices in VET, using ECVET and validation of non-formal and informal learning;
• develop and disseminate strategies and approaches coherent with the above mentioned framework, valuing a powerful model - VQTS - developed in Austria and actually used in many EU projects as a benchmark for implementing ECVET principles.
Operational objectives of the project were:
• adopt the VQTS Matrix (http://vqts.netletter.at/) in order to compare existing qualifications in the cleaning services sector, define a shared competence Matrix declined in units of learning outcomes (areas of competences), EQF levels and steps of development of the competences on the basis of complexity of knowledge and skills, autonomy and responsibility, related to activities included in the Matrix;
• define and test the Guidelines, and related procedures, for the completion of a flexible and modular qualification pathway based on the Matrix
• develop operational partnerships involving stakeholders and key actors of the above mentioned sector, in order to test and consolidate the achievements, raising awareness of ECVET potentialities.
In Switzerland, as well as in the majority of EU countries, data on access to lifelong learning and trends of unemployment provide evidence of risks of exclusion engendered by the lack of a qualification. Low qualified workers has 5 less chances of the most qualified to participate to lifelong learning; their unemployment rate is more than double if compared to the average one. Despite openings and good purposes embedded in the new VPET Act (2004), aiming at facilitating permeability of VET/PET streams and the upgrading of qualifications, the lack of an initial qualification still remains a reality in Switzerland for at least 10% of the workforce, a quota that seems to be difficult to reduce. Migrants (both 1st generation ones and youngsters of the 2nd generation, which are often “drop out” from the Swiss school system) are clearly over represented amongst groups at risk of exclusion, due to some factors, such as the low level of recognition of prior learning outcomes and qualifications achieved in their countries of origin and at the workplace in Switzerland, difficulties encountered in finding an apprenticeship and in gaining an initial qualification in Switzerland, and last but not least the complexity and rigidity of qualification pathways enabling adults recovery an initial Vet qualification or validating prior learning outcomes, acquired in non-formal and informal settings. More than 50% of not qualified workers in Switzerland are foreign residents; only 20% of them, as in Germany, Austria or France, have an access to lifelong learning. Achieving recognition of learning outcomes could represent an important asset for all the people at risk of exclusion: it is a means for preparing a qualification, it enhances self-confidence, participation to lifelong learning, employability. Therefore it assures social cohesion and competitiveness. Gaining a qualification, however, still remains difficult for this people.
The Swiss regulatory framework, based - as the German or Austrian ones - on a holistic vision of qualifications, hampers the recovery of a qualification by people at risk of exclusion, as witnessed by the studies and by the reality of how competences are built up and put in practice in the world of work. Job experiences normally lead to partial qualifications, that should be taken in account and accredited. ECVET principles, and the VQTS Model, can effectively contribute to this scope, and more in general to cope with the above mentioned problems.
The project aimed at implementing and using ECVET principles in order to facilitate access to lifelong learning and qualifications of migrant workers not having a qualification and paying hard difficulties in let their competences and skills be recognized for lifelong learning purposes and access to the job market. The project addressed a specific and emblematic sector, defined by professional profiles included in the area of cleaning services, in which many not qualified migrants (especially women) actually work. The project aims at facilitating the innovation of qualification procedures in all the countries, through exchanges and transfer of good practices: i.e. between France and central European countries, particularly Switzerland, where more open and flexible procedures allowing the recognition of prior learning are currently in the implementation phase. The project addressed the strategic objectives defined by the Call, as far as ECVET priority is concerned. Operational aims were:
• to adopt the VQTS Matrix in order to compare existing qualifications in the cleaning sector and decline them in units of learning outcomes, interfacing the definition of a comprehensive qualification profile coherent with professional regulations of the branch (see procedures defined by art. 32 and 33 of the VPETA);
• to define a comprehensive modular system of qualification, including procedures for assessment, transfer, validation and accumulation of learning outcomes achieved in formal, informal and non-formal settings, according to Professional regulations and Guidelines for Validating learning existing in Switzerland and in the partner countries
• to define appropriate and flexible means for gaining complementary learning needed for achieving a whole qualification, valuing experiential and workplace learning;
• to develop operational partnerships involving stakeholders and key actors of the above mentioned sectors, in order to test and consolidate units and assessment procedures (Guidelines) in the framework of adults qualification pathways (both based on validation of prior learning outcomes and following traditional routes); this objective could be of the utmost importance for delivering suggestions to the Swiss decision makers (implementation of principles embedded in the new Federal law on CVT).
Recognition, transparency, certification
Access for disadvantaged
Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
Activities of Households as Employers; Undifferentiated Goods- and Services-Producing Activities of Households for Own Use
Other Service Activities
transparency and certification
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement
program or curricula
description of new occupation profiles
Amongst the products generated by the project - fully available via the web site - we mention:
1. the Shared VQTS Matrix for the cleaning sector (available in EN, F, DE, IT, SLO).
2. a proposal for the comprehensive Modularization of qualification procedures existing in Switzerland in the cleaning sector.
3. the VALBUK: valuing learning in the cleaning sector - promotional leaflet.
4. the Guidelines and tool kit for valuing informal learning.
5. the Pilot learning and qualification path: didactical plan and Manual (examples of materials).
6. the Flyer of the project.
7. the VALBUK: Guidelines, Handbook and Toolkit.
The project gained sustainable results: the coordinator, together with the Swiss partners, will ensure the delivery of a coherent training offer (qualification in the cleaning Sector, under the name of Progredir); the trade unions are actually negotiating with the entrepreneurial associations of the Sector the recognition of a modular qualification path, including the recognition of partial qualifications. Further developments are expected with the implementation of the new federal law for Continuous Training (2017)