Jobs programme to offer certifications for acquired skills and experience

Summary

VDAB has launched a programme to assess and certify skills of jobs seekers who do not have a diploma

On-the-job training

The government of Flanders and jobs training agency VDAB have launched a new programme to recognise people’s skills and experience in a handful of specific professions. A certificate will stand in the place of a diploma for professionals who did not acquire the skills at college or university.

The new programme will provide those who possess the skills, knowledge and experience to perform a certain job with the paperwork to back it up. The intention is to help people get jobs that require diplomas or proof of other kinds of formal training.

“There are other ways to learn than at school,” said Flemish education minister Ben Weyts, who launched the programme together with labour minister Hilde Crevits. “Everyone continues to learn, including long after you might have obtained a diploma. We want to recognise all talent so that these skills are made evident to employers.”

Bottleneck jobs

VDAB will assess applicants and test them on skills required in their field. If applicants are successful, they will be certified by the agency. In the beginning, the recognitions are limited to certain careers: Pallet jack and forklift drivers, slaughterhouse butchers, child-care providers, landscapers, auto mechanics, fitness coaches and tourist guides.

All of the categories represent a bottleneck job in Flanders – one for which there are not enough skilled applicants for the current number of vacancies. VDAB expects that applicants for the certificates will have acquired skills from previous jobs, in family businesses, from self-study or from doing volunteer work.

“In a rapidly changing labour market, continued learning and retraining are essential for a long-term career outlook,” said Crevits. “So it’s important that skills are recognised that have been learned on the job, within the family, as a volunteer or by taking part in community groups. Recognising these competences adds value to them. The qualification will allow people to find their dream jobs or will provide the basis to start a new training.”

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