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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 6 February 2024
On this page
  1. Arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning
  2. Information and guidance
  3. Quality assurance


Arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning


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 2.9 “Skills recognition others validate professional experience, such as the “Accreditation of prior work experience” (VAE - Validation des acquis de l’expérience) scheme.

This tool (skills portfolio) helps volunteers who so wish to identify and formulate the skills implemented through their experiences, and to build upon their learning achievements in their associative, educational or career paths.

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.


Digital tools

Some public institutions have developed digital tools for validating skills as part of non-formal education, for example open badges.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food offers Agricultural Education students who have shared an international mobility experience the chance to build on their skills with digital Open Badges: “Reporter” and “Ambassador” #Moveagri. MoveAgri is a website which operates like a social network, dedicated to agricultural education teachers and learners, to help prepare and build upon mobilities abroad. These badges recognise the young person’s commitment and enable him or her to make visible the abilities developed during this mobility experience.  

For further information, see Eurydice 8.5 Validation of non-formal and informal learning.


Information and guidance


In order to make known the mechanisms for validating learning achievements in a non-formal learning setting, the ministries concerned and associations develop tools and implement promotion campaigns.


Portfolio of volunteer skills

The France Bénévolat association, in partnership with Pôle Emploi (see Glossary) and the ministry in charge of youth and community life development, has built the skills portfolio. It is a tool presenting skills demonstrated and acquired through voluntary experience that can be identified and recognised as qualifications by employer structures.

 This booklet is in open access on the website “” of the ministry in charge of community life development.

Associations and non-formal education structures provide information on their validation mechanisms through their communication channels: website, social networks, online platforms, etc.


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.

The law n°2022-1598 of December 21th, 2022 on urgent measures relative to the functioning of the workplace to reach full employment, aims at reforming the criteria to benefit from a VAE.

This law opens a universal access to the VAE for every person with an experience gaining skills, without a criteria of length or situation.


Quality assurance


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).

The VAE (accreditation of prior work experience - validation de l’acquis de l’expérience) scheme is the subject of many analyses and assessments which are listed on a dedicated resource website ( It includes over 500 selected references of books, journal articles, official texts, and theses. Videos of testimonials from VAE professionals (consultants, accompaniers...) are also offered. The references are listed in chronological order. These various resources address adjustments to the scheme, its application in companies and its impact.

An evaluation of the VAE system (2015) was launched by to a General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS), the General Inspectorate of National Education (IGEN) . This assessment made it possible to identify 20 measures to transform the VAE system aimed at improving the system, including :

  • shorter waiting times for candidates”;
  • “simplified administrative procedures and formalities to be complied with to engage in the scheme”;
  • “a reinforced guidance to enable the best guarantee of success for candidates, targeting of the VAE as a priority towards audiences that are unemployed or at risk of losing employment, in promising sectors or particular territories (in keeping with urban policies for example) in order to make VAE a tool for employment policy”;
  • “development of collective VAE projects in connection with employment areas”.

These recommendations contributed to reflexions to reform the VAE as presented in the law n°2022-1598 of December 21th, 2022 on urgent measures relative to the functioning of the workplace to reach full employment.