Certification of Civil Services non formal and informal Skills Transfer

CISESK, Certification of Civil Services non formal and informal Skills Transfert, is a project of transfer of innovations implemented under the program Leonardo-Da-Vinci (TOI), funded by the Spanish Agency APRE.
ERIFO’s objective consists in developing an European system for the certification of skills CSA acquired by young people during their European Voluntary Service experiences. In order to succeed, it is, however, necessary to lay the foundations for a dialogue among the different institutions involved in education and training at European level, so as to jointly define a mutual recognition and skills certification criteria set
ERIFO will manage this two years lasting challenge, together with other Italian, Spanish, Austrian and Bulgarian partners. To know more information visit the web site of CISESK.

Where was born CISESK? The project is born from the persuasion that competences represent a person and worker’s value. Their recognition modalities can allow the increase of occupational possibilities and/or facilitate the access to higher qualifications.
Moreover, the recognition of competences acquired on the job, from a union point of view too, could redefine the contractual frameworks, appreciating the gain of competences deriving both from non formal learning and from quality training paths.
In this context, volunteering experiences and, in Italy civil service ones too, as effective (non formal) learning environments appear inadequately set off, for purposes of professional development and job seeking.

Since bygone 2004, our association is engaged in experimenting new modalities for the identification and validation of competences deriving from these experiences.
We started from the assumption that all the competences an individual is an holder of, must be made visible and expendable, independently from where or when these competencies have been acquired.
For several years, one our activity focus has been the detection of competences rising from non formal and informal learning experiences. We, mainly, focused on the tools qualified to bring to light this learning typology, because the “individuation” phase, although not necessarily resulting in a certificate or official diploma, is the basis of such a formal recognition.

 This is, in short, our history

In 2004, we actively participated in a pilot project within the Leonardo da Vinci program, the leader of which was Cenasca-Cisl. This project was aimed at the evaluation of non formal competencies, acquired during civil service experiences. At the end of this path, in 2007, thanks to Cisl, which adopted the project results within its own civil service management system, we started a further experimentation.
Thanks to this ulterior testing we understood that the “competences” identified by the model were too strictly founded on the three ISFOL model great categories: “soft skills”, “transversal” and “professional” ones.

Thus, in 2008, we re-examined the model and directed our attention towards the identification of that operative capabilities, which already incorporate knowledge and skills and get stronger during volunteering experiences. In other words, we calibrated the intervention model as to that competences which are generally utilizable in the business world too, focusing on what an individual learned to do during volunteering or civil service experiences.
The model re-examination based itself on the concept that a competence is what an individual has learned to do or to be (also and mainly thanks to volunteering experiences).
We tried to make the concept of competence independent from the performance level, which it could have produced. Competence was considered as a personal resource and generally usable on the job. The model reconsideration, then, led to the realization of a software, produced and founded by ERIFO, dedicated to that civil services bodies, which desired to identify and increase the value of competences deriving from that experience.

The project is now concluded, but the final model represents an experimentation that could give rise to further investigations.
Ultimately, our experience confirms that non – formal learning needs an identification and validation system to be brought into light. This system has to emphasizes what a person is -and – can do, rather than how he learned what he knows.

It seems appropriate, during this introduction, to focus on some challenges that, in my opinion should be overcome, to create a real link between volunteering and business world:

Solicit all the bodies performing voluntary and civil service activities with at a system level shared tools, adaptable to a sectorial level, to the identification of non formal learning and to its validation, so that such a learning can also be used by bodies, which are different from the ones that recognized it;
•Promoting a competence human resources management in enterprises, helping them to acquire, also, the awareness of the skills, which can arise from a volunteering or civil service experience and of how these ones can create an added value for the organization;
•Stimulate an experimentation of an integrated training system, not only based on the alternation between school and job, but based on three pillars: school, job and volunteering.

The success of a new integrated training system will lie in the capacity that different institutions have to meet, to speak a common language, allowing, therefore, the practice of a right and well-balanced valuation of the competences that a person acquired during his life, whether an output of segments of educational paths, of training experiences, or of voluntary work, so as to make easier the young person’s migration from a channel to another, from a segment to another, from a job to another. Obviously in this context, skills certification and credits recognition represent variables which are fundamental to the entire system and, as basic tools, which make practicable the passage among different training and job channels, they are a guarantee of the concept of integration itself.