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Recognition of formerly acquired qualifications (EVC)

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
The innovation consists of the formal recognition of competences and skills outside the educational system. This recognition is expected to facilitate entry into the formal schooling system, or access to jobs for which formal qualifications are lacking.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • education
Type of Policy
  • public
  • social partnership
Duration of the policy
Since 2001, although during the nineties a predecessor existed.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: around 17.700 people requested to have their competences acknowledged in 2011
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective of this innovation is to acknowledge competences and skills that have been acquired outside the formal educational system, to facilitate (re-)entry into educational system or to facilitate access to jobs for which formal diplomas are lacking. Private companies under control of the ministry follow a procedure to assess skills and competences and to ?translate? them into generally accepted, standardized vocational competences. The result can be used when applying for jobs or when trying to enter formal education.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
this is a permanent facility
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • lifelong learning
  • others (the innovation provides acknowledgement of informal skills and competences, which may stimulate further formal learning or career improvement )
Intended target group
Economic active population in general, but especially low-skilled groups at the labour market who did not complete sufficient formal education but have acquired experience in practice that is considered to be a relevant asset at the labour-market
Working age population
  • educational level (low/medium/high) (primarily targeted at low-skilled population)
  • main source of income: paid work
  • main source of income: social protection
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state
  • employees (organised or individual)
  • employers (organised or individual)
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial) (responsible for actual assessment of competences)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (involved in supervising the quality of the assessments)
Clarification of the role of various actors
The EVC-procedure is implemented by private certification companies. EVC was developed in the educational sector, but since the middle of the 2000s EVC has more and more been seen as a labour market instrument by both the state as well as the social partners. Since 2005 the state and social partners have become more involved in the system of EVC to increase its use and to improve the quality. In various covenants this has been stipulated, recently in 2012. The ministry is responsible for quality standards and auditing in cooperation with the educational sector. Social partners and the ministry invest in promotion of EVC. One in five collective agreements support testing of acquired competences. An expertise centre has been active since 2001 to support development of EVC
Intended output
  • others (the main effect appears to be easier access to formal education and acquisition of formal diplomas and various side-effects at the individual level such as self-confidence. A direct effect on labour-market chances has not been found)
Intended and unintended outcomes
In 2011, around 17.700 persons had their skills acknowledged
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
The evaluation states that the main effect appears to be that for participants with an EVC-certificate it becomes easier to achieve a formal diploma, which in turn improves their labour market chances. Participants experience various positive effects, such as better self-insight and an incentive to re-enter school. A direct relation between having a EVC-certificate and labour market chances has not been found, despite the importance social partners attribute to EVC. The evaluation also finds a number of implementation problems related to the quality of assessment of competences.
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