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Validation of non formal and informal learning

Since 2002 an individual right to non formal and informal learning (professional and personal experience) has been enforced by the law in France. This is a new access to entitle individuals: to professional qualification or certificates listed by the professional brunches or diploma. Validation of non formal and informal learning is a process built on life long learning principle recognising to work its training value and to the individual a professional skill.

The objectives
The validation of non formal and informal learning aims at supporting the most disadvantaged people in the labour market, because of their low level of certification or because their skills are not readable for the employers. Some people may have access to qualified jobs in their enterprises by internal promotion. In case of professional breaks, their qualification is not recognised by a new employer. Recognition of professional skills means also an easier and better access to mobility for people. Therefore, Validation of non formal and informal learning constitutes an element of human resources management and secures the professional careers.

The public concerned
All kind of population is concerned by such a non formal and informal validation process: people in employment, job seekers, volunteer workers, having three years of professional experience in the field interested. This mechanism is devoted primarily to people who didn‚t achieve upper secondary school level: this represents 38% of total population aged 25 to 65 years old.

After having received the opinion of the national certification joint commission, the certificates are embodied in a national repertory of professional certification. The certifications delivered by the public authority are systematically registered in this national repertory.

The institutional organisation
Several ministries are empowered to valid and deliver diploma and certification (National education, employment, agriculture, social affairs, health, Youth and sportsΣ). Financially supported by the public authorities and receiving subsidies from European social funds (ESF), an information network of 450 contact desks was set up in 2003 in partnership with the regional councils in all parts of France (44 000 people received in 2003, 80 000 in 2004). Besides, universities have organised their own information network.

The first results
In 2005, above 65 000 applicants have been accepted by the ministries concerned, 45 000 went in front of the jury, and 23 000 hold a certificate. Two third of the candidates to validation are women.
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