The competence subject is a key item in the policy and learning environment programmes of the European Community and very often it is one of the main topics in the discussion and programming agendas.
The rationale of this project is focussed on the mutual, shared recognition of eight Key competences for lifelong learning (*) which the standard LEVER has coherently referred to when it defined its thirteen competences.
In particular, the communication competences, cultural, social and civic, learning competences and social entrepreneurial skills. The general scope of the project is summarized in its title: "Modelling informal learning and transversal competences in the voluntary service experience to increase employment and mobility of citizens - LEVER".
The key innovative aspects of the project are:
> except for possible minor customizations related to the local laws, the model and process for the measure and certification of the soft skills will be a standard to be used at a transnational level, based on the European available tools, Europass, ECVET, and the EQF in terms of levels and learning outcome approach for recognition and certification;
> the creation of an initial European area based on mutual trust and common tools (namely Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Spain), where sharing common non-formal, informal learning paths in the voluntary cervice to be recognised by the market;
> the standardization of the model and process will enable its deployment and recognition, thus reducing the deployment and management costs (e.g. IT system-web site, operational manuals, etc.);
> young people will be stimulated to develop experiences in different countries, with the certainty that the feedbacks they will receive will have the same value in other European countries; it will be compliant with the European guidelines, criteria, rules (mainly, EQF, EUROPASS, ECVET);
> the project will involve the Industry Association as a Partner; it is a strong action that aims to build an important bridge between the non-profit and profit worlds. The result will be that the issued certificates will have great credibility in the labour world, facilitating the people employment.
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(*) Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning [Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006].
In some EU countries, efficient and well-experimented tools to measure and certify the acquired competences have been already deployed, as stated by the European Inventory report (last issue 2010). However, the implementation level and the competence measure and certification processes are quite different from each other and very often unknown or not recognized in different countries. With reference to the European Guideline for Validating non-formal and informal learning (Cedefop 2009), the aim of this project (LEVER) is to:
> collect all the current experiences developed by the various partners on this topic;
> design, test, implement and disseminate a standard model and process for the measure and certification of the soft skills (namely the above mentioned reference key competences) developed/acquired by volunteers during their activities in the non-profit organisations;
> elaborate recommendations for policy makers to embed the model and the process in the active labour market policies.
The Italian partners have been chosen to guarantee a mix of stakeholders able to really influence the local cultural approach and together facilitate the effective implementation of the proposed model.
The overall partnership has gained experience in the main LEVER areas, namely, recognition and certification of competences acquired in non-formal, informal environments, transversal competences, voluntary service. Moreover, the partners strongly believe in the voluntary service as a relevant learning set for skill enhancement and employability. For the last two years, the Italian partners have been carrying on local projects to foster unemployed people's transversal skill recognition by the labour agencies.
The aim was to value people's attitudes and capabilities and help them become more self-confident (FPM with the Province of Milano and the labour agencies); FPM has also developed the competence certification procedure in Lombardy and carried out a project with CIESSEVI Milano, the public agency offering services...
Tangible deliverables and intangible results are expected. Tangible outcomes are:
1) The LEVER cross-national survey. A collection of local experiences and practices on: a) recognition of informal, non-formal learning/prior learning and transversal skills, i.e. certification procedures of competences acquired in non-formal, informal learning environments; transversal skills/competence reference standards/frameworks against which evaluating voluntary service competences; the application of the ECVET system and the EQF. b) examples of voluntary service experiences as effective learning paths and sets for the enhancement of competences/transversal skills, as well as virtuous experiences from companies able to integrate voluntary service initiatives into their training programmes;
2) The LEVER e-book: a) a summary of the best practices/state of the art detected by the survey...