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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  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

The validation or recognition of skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning is carried out, in practice, at the sub-national level, being the Autonomous Regions who make the calls (convocatorias) of the processes of validation or recognition. In any case, the whole process of recognition must conform to those set forth in Royal Decree 1224/2009,17th of July, of recognition of the professional skills acquired by work experience (Real Decreto 659/2023, de 18 de julio). The procedure consists of three phases: advice, evaluation, and accreditation and registration [1]. The definition of the whole process, followed the opinion and advice of the General Council of Vocational Training (Consejo General de Formación Profesional)[2].

In the OECD National Report on the Recognition of Non-Formal and Informal Learning in Spain (OECD National Report on Spain on the Recognition of Non-Formal and Informal Learning), this validation of learning is included among social innovation measures [3]. In Spain, the young population is considered a disadvantaged group in employment policies; for this reason, Organic Law 3/2022 was created, which repealed Organic Law 5/2002. The old organic law created two subsystems: vocational training of the educational system and vocational training for employment. The current organic law aims to give greater integration to the two subsystems. Vocational training will be dual in nature, allowing training at the centre and in the company.

This new organic law, 3/2022, wants to solve a number of problems:

1. Adapting the skills of the labour force to the productive needs of institutions

2. Giving greater flexibility, accessibility, operativity to vocational training

3. Accredit the informal training of active persons

4. setting up a system of career guidance to help citizens

In addition, Royal Decree 243/2022 of 5 April establishes the ordination and minimum education of the Baccalaureate. This organic law establishes new forms of baccalaureate, making a total of 4:

1. Arts (two types: Plastic Arts, Image and Design; and Music and Performing Arts)

2. Science and Technology.

3. General.

4. Humanities and Social Sciences.

With regard to matters, it establishes common, specific and optional materials. The curriculum is based on objectives, key competences, specific competencies, evaluation criteria and content. In turn, it states that Bachelor can be performed in 3 years if special situations occur, instead of 2 years.

On the other hand, it also empowers the autonomous communities to manage the teachings. Each community must from its own decrees complete the minimum teachings.

With regard to the development of specific programmes in the field of recognition of non-formal and informal learning in young people, there are initiatives such as the Recognize Project (Proyecto Reconoce) for recognizing competencies and skills, obtained through voluntary action that improve the employability of young people[3].

On the other hand, in February 2017, the Interterritorial Youth Council, formed by the Youth Institute (Instituto de la Juventud (INJUVE)) and the youth organizations of the Autonomous Communities, has agreed on the implementation of a specific recognition system for non-formal and informal learning in the sphere of Youth in Spain[4]. On November 5, 2018, a resolution was given by the Youth Institute, which publishes the Agreement with the Confederation of Don Bosco Youth Centers of Spain, with the Federation of Scouts-Explorers of Spain and with "DIDANIA" Federation of Christian Free Time Schools, for the development of a system of recognition and accreditation of non-formal learning in the field of youth.


Information and guidance


The main source of information and guidance at the national level in everything related to VT and the validation of competencies (validación de competencias) is the portal TodoFP. It reports the phases of the process of validation, it provides access to the certification tool (Acredita), where the young person, through a guided process, is informed about which competencies are susceptible of accreditation as well as the qualifications that they could obtain, once the accreditation process has been completed, with only a series of suggested professional modules. Also the Public Service of State Employment (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE)), offers information, guidance and orientation in the recognition of competencies.

The promotion of the validation of non-formal and informal learning is carried out by the Autonomous Regions that often publicise the opportunities and processes of accreditation through the websites of their respective departments of Education and Employment. It is therefore at the regional and local level where we find some initiatives of promotion and publicity of the validation of non-formal and informal learning.


Quality assurance

The quality assessment of the accreditation procedure of knowledge acquired through work experience and non-formal or informal learning is governed by Royal Decree 659/2023, of July 18. This decree talks about the vocational training management system. However, in Chapter VI called "Validations, exemptions, equivalences and homologations" it explains the validations given by formative elements, or by work experience or other informal ways (Article 128).

This chapter is made up of 5 articles and is part of Title 2 of the vocational training system. The first article, article 126, talks about the training elements that can be validated. Article 127 deals with validations between vocational training systems. Article 128, as already mentioned, deals with validations given by other means. Article 129 explains the validation between foreign studies and those of the Spanish system. Finally, Article 130 explains the system of recognition between vocational training and the university system. Title VI explains the accreditation procedures for Chapter IV.

[1] For more detail on the reality of recognition of non-formal and informal learning in Spain, see: Data report collected on the process of recognition of skills acquired by work experience (Programa Operativo de Empleo, Formación y Educación).

[2] Information on the Recognition of competences acquired through non-formal and informal channels in Spain can be found in the description relating to Spain in the Operational Program for Employment, Training and Education (Programa Operativo de Empleo, Formación y Educación).

[3] The Recognition Project has the momentum (impulso) of the Institute of Youth (INJUVE).

[4] INJUVE, green lights the recognition of non-formal learning (INJUVE, luz verde al reconocimiento del aprendizaje no formal).