EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Device for the assessment and recognition of competence

Phase: Anticipation
  • Recognition of informal and non-formal training
Last modified: 03 August, 2021
Оригинални назив:

Dispositivos de evaluación y reconocimiento de la competencia

Енглески назив:

Device for the assessment and recognition of competence


Coverage extends to all the people older than 17 years old who have at least three years of working experience with a minimum of 2,000 hours worked or at least 300 hours of non-formal training.


Main characteristics

Work experience without formal training can be recognised with a professional certificate since 2008 (Royal Decree-law 34/2008). The professional certificates are the tools that provide the official qualifications recognised by the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications to the employed and, particularly, unemployed people trained outside the formal education system. These certificates can improve the employability of unemployed people in an occupational system widely structured by educational framework. They were published in 2008 and are provided by the public employment service and are the remit of the Autonomous Communities’ administrations. They are also structured across 26 professional families. The organisation of the certification process is a competence of the regional governments and may be implemented by IVET (Institutes of Vocational Education and Training) training centres, public or private centres licensed by the regional governments and National References Training Centres. The Royal Decree 1224/2009 establishes the single procedure for the evaluation and recognition of professional skills acquired through work experience or non-formal education.

To participate in a process of accreditation of professional experience, users of the service must register in a public call. After their admission, they participate in a process that consists of three phases:

  1. Advice: Experts in the professional sector from which the users come examine each professional background and identify the competences acquired by the workers and those that may be missing. Then, they report the convenience of moving on to the next phase or completing their professional background through training.
  2. Evaluation: A commission of experts verifies whether the candidates have acquired the professional competences for which accreditation is requested.
  3. Accreditation: The administration certifies each unit of demonstrated competence. These certificates are cumulative in order to request a certificate of professionalism or to access a vocational training certificate.


  • National funds

Involved actors

National government
Legal framework.
Regional/local government
It implements the process for assessment and recognition of professional qualifications.
Public employment services
It provides professional certificates.
Employer or employee organisations
They may be involved in the process of assessment and recognition. Social partners are involved in the process of designing and defining professional qualifications established in the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications.


The Ministry of Education does not publish statistics on participation in programmes for the assessment and recognition of competence or their effectiveness. However, a study by Randstad Research (2017) concluded that 18.2% of workers with a professional certificate obtained it through the assessment and recognition of competences. Among them, 59.1% confirm that the professional certificate increased their employability.


The programme encourages lifelong learning. It provides professional qualifications to workers that lack recognised professional qualifications. In addition, the public administrations responsible have improved the information accessibility (that was previously one of its weakness). For instance, through the ACREDITA tool: although the assessment and recognition procedures are managed by regional public administrations, the Ministry of Education provides an online orientation tool, designed to find individually the professional competences that each person may need its professional recognition (Carabias 2017Domingo 2018).


It is worth noting that some regional governments delayed providing professional certificates to workers with work experience but without formal training. For instance, in Catalonia the first professional certificates linked to the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications started to be submitted in 2010 (Lope and Alós, 2013).




The regional government of Andalucia through the Andalucian Institute of Professional Qualifications (I.A.C.P.) calls regularly procedures of professional recognition in several areas.
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