Validation in the Nordic countries


Validation in the Nordic Countries

Swedish researchers Per Andersson and Tova Stenlund (pictured left) report that validation makes the Nordic employee more flexible –but mostly within one vocational area and not between areas.

At the conference they presented a recent study that analysed specific validation cases in the Nordic countries. The focus of the study was on two main issues:

• What possibilities and difficulties can be found in validation practice with a view to increasing flexibility in working life?
• What possibilities and difficulties can be found in validation practice involving specific target groups?

Limited flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, the study found that validation processes are producing positive results both in the public and private sector. The main incentive for validation seems to be upgrading competences within the work place.
– Individuals are getting more flexible within their own work place specifically, and within their industry more generally, explained Stenlund, further pointing out the importance of standards:
– For validation to enhance flexibility, it’s important to have explicit criteria that do not differ between companies in the same vocational area.
The study found little evidence that validation is being used to increase flexibility between industries.

Inclusive for some

The study found good examples of validation processes that include and empower specific target groups. Fairly positive results were identified for immigrants, dyslectics and prisoners as well as for people with low formal education. But, as Stenlund told us, for some groups there are barriers to overcome.
– Most initiatives we observed were closely connected to the formal education system and aimed to either improve participants’ formal education level or to enhance their employability directly. Those with negative experiences with the educational institutions were less likely to take part in the programs, she remarked.
For immigrants, communication problems were also a barrier.

Main findings

- Involvement from employers is crucial, Stenlund concluded, making no secret of the fact that getting validated skills to be recognized by everyone is a major challenge.
The study further revealed that validation methods are indeed presently being developed and evaluated in the Nordic countries, and although there are few “follow up” procedures, the results seem to be satisfactory.
– But there are still lessons to be learned, noted both Andersson and Stenlund, pointing to the need for more research on the subject.


Per Andersson and Tova Stenlund: PDF