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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


2. Voluntary Activities

2.7 Skills recognition

Policy Framework

The Flemish Government is making efforts to better recognise voluntary activities and to value the social involvement of young volunteers and the skills they have acquired (EVC). The Policy Plan Youth (2020-2024) states that the Flemish Government aims to ensure that voluntary involvement is accredited and also in the Youth and Children's Rights Plan (Jeugd- en Kinderrechtenbeleidsplan) one of the tactical goals is the recognition and improvement of the talent, quality and competence developments that result from voluntary commitment.

The Flemish Government built on skill recognition in youth work through new regulations for a ‘certified training’ (kadervorming). Where in the past, from 1980 till 2015, organizations had a great deal of freedom in setting up framework reforms. There were major differences in structure, duration and content. Yet they were all honoured with the same certificates. This freedom was in line with the great diversity in youth work but had the disadvantage that it became unclear what a volunteer should be able to do.

The Flemish Decree ‘certified training’ of 2014 (Het Vlaams decreet Kadervorming 2014), which provides a framework for recognised training courses, was a social recognition of the importance of training for youth workers. The new regulations harmonized the trajectories. The aim of the decree was to strengthen leadership competences and to honour youth work as a powerful informal learning environment. Volunteers can register their voluntary work at the website of the Flemish Public Employment Service (VDAB) but they do not receive a certificate.  

In the Policy Paper Youth (2019-2024), the Minister of Brussels, Media and Youth, Benjamin Dalle (Christian Democratic Party), will work on the amendment of the decree and the decision in the field of ‘certified training’ (kadervorming) based on the results of the study delivered in 2018 and the consultation that took place with the youth sector in 2019. The procedures will be simplified without affecting the quality of training. .

Existing arrangements

Labour market oriented initiatives

  • C-STICK JES created a digital portfolio with a personal development plan, a screening and scaling tool and a job application tool. The so-called 'C-stick' also includes a set of techniques for the identification of competences and competence development, with the core elements: observation of competences, feedback, group dynamics, peer learning and experiential learning.

Organisations' own initiatives

Organizations working with volunteers usually provide a form of training, education or support for volunteers which may or may not lead to the award of a certificate. Although such certification is not legally recognized, these initiatives give an indication of the basic quality.

Accreditation of experiental learning for management volunteers

The Flemish Support Centre for Volunteer Work (Vlaams Steunpunt Vrijwilligerswerk) initiated a project called 'Accreditation of experiential learning for management volunteers' in co-operation with Socius, the Support Centre for Socio-cultural work (Steunpunt voor Sociaal-cultureel werk).  

‘Certified training’ -'Kadervormingstraject'

'Kadervorming' is a certified training explicitly meant for youngsters who (will) have leadership responsibilities in the context of youth work. The main goal is to strenghten their competences. One trajectory consists of a theoretical part, an internship and an evaluation. The training may lead to a certification (animator, chief instructor) delivered by the Division Subsidising and recognising.

The existing arrangements for skill recognition don’t make use of European credit systems.