EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Phase: Anticipation
  • Fostering mobility
  • Recognition of informal and non-formal training
Last modified: 03 August, 2021
Native name:

Erkenning van Verworven Competenties (EVC)

English name:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


All sectors. 

Main characteristics

The 'EVC procedure' (EVC stands for 'recognition of competences achieved elsewhere') provides certificates for work experience and informal learning, in order to facilitate the job-to-job mobility of workers. The instrument can be used by individuals who are looking for employment, who do not have an educational diploma or qualifications, work at a higher level than their diplomas can demonstrate, who work in a different sector to the one they studied for, or for individuals who wish to continue their education. Demonstrating practical experience and expertise in a sector or area can be done by using EVC in restructuring situations but has gained additional relevance since the onset of the refugee crisis. There is a range of trajectories, both with regard to the sector and subject, and the educational level. The institutes that cover the different types of education eventually are responsible for granting a certificate. The UWV (the Dutch Public employment service) provides information on EVC on their website.

The instrument works by having experience recognised by a certified institute and by then having the costs for certifying experience reimbursed. Reimbursement can be provided via the UWV (the Dutch public employment service), sectoral training and development funds (O&O fondsen), or have declaring some of the costs through a tax deduction.

Besides EVC, the simplified version ‘EVP’ (Experience Profile) is on the rise. Evidence of knowledge, skills and experience are recorded in a portfolio. This serves to help individuals get a better sense of their own expertise and competences, but does not constitute a certification of skills or experience; as such, no assessment takes place and no certificate is granted.


  • National funds
  • Social partners (jointly)

Involved actors

National government
Funding (tax credits and funding based on collective agreements or sectoral training funds have given a boost to EVC); the Ministry of Labour coordinates the activities. The programme was initiated by the government, specifically the national Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs and the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Science.
Regional/local government
No information available.
Public employment services
UWV is the Dutch PES and provides information on its website on EVC.
Employer or employee organisations
Funding, negotiating provisions in collective agreements.
Temporary agency sector. The Ministries set up the Kennis Centrum EVP, or Knowledge Centre EVC which developed a code for certification of experience. The Knowledge Centre is a certified knowledge recognition institute and works for and with VET and higher educational institutes. The Knowledge Centre also helps other organisations set up their own internal trajectories for certifying knowledge.


The most recent evaluation was published in 2019. It was commissioned by the EVC Advisory Council (affiliated with the Kenniscentrum EVP) and supported by the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate, of Social Affairs and Employment, and of Education, Culture and Science. The report indicated that the use of EVC has declined since 2014, to 3,000 EVC procedures in 2017.

On behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, ProfitWise conducted a study on factors determining the effectiveness of EVC (2015). It was investigated what effects EVC has for the companies deploying EVC and for the employees going through a EVC-trajectory. In total, 1,080 EVC participants across 72 organisations participated in the survey (including Rabobank, Essent, KLM, Heineken, FrieslandCampina, IND, Menzis, Belastingdienst). The research shows that participating in EVC stimulates many people to subsequently follow training/schooling and obtain a diploma. EVC turns out to be most effective in combination with targeted career management. The way in which people themselves give direction to their career (Self Career Management) appears to play a key role. The effect of EVC can also be strengthened by career support by the HR division and especially by the (direct) supervisor.

The 2014 overview, developed by the Dutch ‘Kenniscentrum EVP’ (Knowledge Centre for recognition of prior learning) shows that in 2014 there were 70 registered providers (registering is a voluntary process). In 2013, 17,700 EVP procedures were completed. EVP was included in over 90 collective labour agreements. 

EVC can also be deployed to volunteers. According to an evaluation by the Trimbos Institute (2013) at 25 organisations, by participating in EVC-trajectories volunteers gain insight into and recognition for the competences they have acquired in their voluntary work. This leads to an increase in self-confidence and stimulates the further development of these volunteers.

A 2011 research report showed that almost all expected effects of EVC actually emerged, albeit with major variations. These effects include an increase in employability, in self-confidence, duration of education, self-knowledge and knowledge of and the image of the organisation. The research sample included 71 organisations and 1,000 employees.


The EVC procedure empowers employees with informal qualifications, thereby strengthening their position on the labour market.

Since no assessment takes place, the EVP-procedure is shorter and the costs are lower than the EVC-procedure. The EVP is good addition to the CV and increases the opportunities for applying. Finally, the EVP is a good starting point for obtaining an EVC-certificate.


The evaluation conducted in 2015 indicates that EVC is not usually a solution in and of itself for helping an individual grow in or change jobs, but that it is most effective when combined with career counselling and guidance. Having skills and experience certified is one step in the trajectory to moving into new employment.


At the ING bank, EVC has been offered to a large group of employees, at medium and higher vocational level. Over 400 employees have participated. Examples of other big companies deploying EVC are Rabobank, Essent, KLM, Heineken, FrieslandCampina, IND, Menzis, Belastingdienst. A more recent example of organisations setting up EVC trajectories within their own organisations so as to certify experiences of workers includes the Dutch Policy Academy (2019).
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