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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.9 Skills recognition

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Policy Framework
  2. Existing arrangements

Policy Framework

At the moment, no national regulation exists with respect to validation of non-formal and informal learning in Sweden. No national system to recognize volunteer’s skills and competences is in place either. As volunteering largely takes place within civil society organisations, the role of volunteering is not specifically recognized in national education and training policies.

However, work is proceeding on finding methods for recognising non-formal and informal learning in a number of areas; skills and competences acquired through voluntary activities included. In 2015, the government established a special authority, the Swedish Commission on Validation (Valideringsdelegationen) to carry out development and dissemination measures aiming for better quality, cooperation between partners in the area and increasing equivalence concerning validation of skills and competences acquired outside the formal education system. 

In the final report, Validation – for skills supply and lifelong learning, the Delegation submitted its proposals for measures for a coherent, national and permanent system for validation, so that more people can have their knowledge and skills identified, assessed and recognised. Among other things, the Delegation proposed the following:

  • The definition of validation in the Education Act be changed. Validation should be defined as a structured process for in-depth identification, assessment and recognition of knowledge and skills that a person has, regardless of how they were acquired.
  • A government grant to develop validation of vocational skills should be established.


Existing arrangements

Youthpass, the European Commission’s instrument for validation of non-formal learning within the European Youth in Action Programme, is used by the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society as an integrated part of the Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps programmes in Sweden. Every organisation receiving support from the agency gets information about the Youthpass and its purpose.

The Swedish Centre for International Youth Exchange (does not exist anymore) has developed a method for recognition of informal learning. The method developed is entitled ELD (Experience, Learning, Description) and recognizes learning acquired by young people through international experience. ELD is a dialogue and documentation process for identifying valuable skills, talents and character traits shown through real experiences. The process results in a ‘Letter of Skills’ – a summary of specific experiences accompanied by key words that describe areas of competence.

There are no possibilities at the moment in Sweden to gain European Credit Transfer and accumulation System (ECTS) or European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) for young people who have carried out voluntary work. Neither are there any quality assurance mechanisms in place to monitor the system of skills recognition.