Validation of Competences Acquired in Volunteering

Volunteering concerns three significant parts of the European society: seniors, young people and, as a consequence of the recent refugee wave, also refugees and immigrants.

 

Click here for the project's website: http://valcovol.eu/

 

The percentage of people over-65 is predicted to rise to over 30 percent of the total population in 2060. This can be seen also as an opportunity for new forms of solidarity, and as a matter of fact, the number of older people volunteering is increasing all over the European Union.

 

However, seniors are not the only group that is in focus of volunteering. Due to the current economic situation in Europe, a growing number of young people, among them many graduates from high schools or universities, have to bridge the gap between their educaction and a paid job with volunteer work. But also for vulnerable target groups, such as NEETs (Young people not in employment, education or training), the volunteering sector is a promising way to re-engage in social life.

 

In addition to these two segments of the population, volunteer work should be seen as an important trigger to the integration of refugees and immigrants into the European society who have arrived, and will continue to do so, in the countries of the European Union. Refugees can act as volunteers within local resettlement programmes.  Their experiences of being resettled to the same country and local area, language skills and - often - their understanding of the culture and priorities of the new arrivals, make them invaluable additions to local reception and integration systems and processes for resettled refugees. Volunteering also provides resettled refugees with opportunities to improve their language skills, meet those living in the wider local community, learn more about the social and working cultures, develop new skills and acquire verifiable work experience in their resettlement country.

 

Regardless how different these three groups are, they have one thing in common: Volunteering is an opportunity, not only to be socially active and to feel part of civil society, but it is also a way to gain skills and competences. Volunteering can be considered as a natural learning environment, especially for those that fall out of the formal educational sector or who find it difficult to re-enter the labour market. Therefore, in order to improve their options should they decide to re-enter the labour market it is absolutely fundamental to properly validate those competences.

 

Therefore, the  overall objective of our strategic partnership is to provide an overview about projects, initiatives and methods for the validation of non-formal and informal learning, through volunteering, and to identify instruments, models, and schemes which validate and clearly identify the key competences that have been gained by volunteers. Providing this recognition could motivate volunteers to become either involved in additional learning activities or may also facilitate or improve their employability.

 

In order to reach this objective, the specific objectives are

•             to implement an e-platform with access to initiatives and learning information materials that have been identified and collected in the course of the project, especially concerning successful models and best practice concepts for the validation of key competences acquired during volunteering and systems of recognition of competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning

•             to summarize the findings in a “White Book for recognition of competences acquired through volunteering” that will give an overview about the current situation of the specific project environment in the partners’ countries, and present the initiatives, projects and materials with explanations in all languages of the partnership;

•             to implement also an online interactive forum for networking, exchange of  experience and good practice that makes use of Skype’s real-time translation in 8 spoken and 50 written languages, thus breaking down language barriers between users from different countries, and supporting ideas, foster exchange and assist initiatives that contribute to the European society as a whole.

 

Project Duration: 2016 - 2018