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Several arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes have been introduced by the public authorities; some of them validate skills acquired during volunteering experience, such as “bénévole passports” and skills portfolios, which are intended in particular for the students described in the chapter on 2.8 “Skills recognition” others validate professional experience, such as the “Accreditation of prior work experience” (VAE - Validation des acquis de l’expérience) scheme.
The VAE is defined by Article 133 of Law no.2002-73 of 17 January 2002, which stipulates than “anyone in the labour market has the right to have their prior work experience accredited” in view of obtainment of a professional qualification listed in the National Directory of Professional Certification (See RNCP glossary).
The VAE is overseen by the Ministry of Labour, but its practical implementation depends on the institution responsible for delivering the qualification (Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forests, Ministry responsible for Youth Affairs, Ministry of National Education, etc.). Anyone, whatever their age, nationality, status or educational level, who can show proof of at least one year’s experience directly connected with the qualification sought after may apply for the VAE, as Article L613-3 of the National Education Code confirms.
For further information, see Eurydice 8.5 Validation of non-formal and informal learning.
VAE advice relay points (PRCs – points-relais conseil) have been set up at regional level at such public operators and associations as Pôle Emploi and local missions. Local VAE branches and offices have been set up in higher education and training institutions, providing information on qualifications accessible via the VAE.
The National Committee for Professional Certification (CNCP - Commission nationale des certifications professionnelles) keeps such information bodies’ contact details updated and makes them available on its website.
Since its creation in 2002, the VAE scheme has been the subject of several reports, drawn up by such ministerial statistics and studies departments as the Centre for Studies and Research on Qualifications (CEREQ – Centre d'études et de recherches sur les qualifications) and the General Delegation for Employment and Vocational Training (DGEFP - Délégation générale à l’ emploi et à la formation professionnelle).