Identifying the skills of working-age people

Kuvassa mies korjaustöissä. Ympärillä erilaisia työkaluja, kuten jakoavaimia.

Identifying skills means that a person is able to recognise, verbalise and make visible the competence they have acquired in different ways, both for themselves and for the society around them. The ability to identify skills is particularly important when a person is looking for work, changing jobs or fields of work, or planning new studies or skills development. Identifying skills means that this competence can be harnessed and utilised to its full potential in the labour market.

At the individual level, identifying skills helps increase a person’s self-knowledge and confidence, improves their ability to set and achieve career goals and promotes access to employment. At the level of society, identifying skills helps to improve employment, working life, inclusion, wellbeing and the functioning of society.

Tools for identifying skills

The Identifying the skills of working-age people project, which will run from 2022 to 2024, aims to develop tools and methods for identifying skills in Finland. The work is guided by a working group appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The task of the working group is to promote the development of methods and tools for identifying skills acquired at work and elsewhere outside the formal education system.

In its interim report published in December 2022, the working group describes the current practices in place for identifying competence and identifies needs for further development. The working group proposes six national principles for identifying competence that can be used by both individuals and communities:

  • All competence is valuable. Competence is created and can be acquired and identified in different situations and environments.
  • Individual initiative plays an important role in identifying competence.
  • Individuals’ ability to identify their competence must be promoted through equal and accessible support and guidance in different situations.
  • To make competence visible, there must be open and accessible tools in place that are suitable for different situation and that form a coherent and user-friendly whole.
  • Processes for identifying competence must improve individuals’ experience of inclusion, personal wellbeing and opportunities for personal development.
  • Parties involved in identifying competence must be given the support they need.

The working group on identifying skills also proposes pilots and studies aiming to find new ways to promote practices and tools for identifying competence acquired outside degree programmes. The working group has also proposed a definition for skills badges that can be used to identify micro-credentials and skills acquired outside the formal education system and to make competence more visible and usable.

Pilots are carried out for different target groups and at different scales, and they will run until autumn 2024 at the latest.

The project is part of the reform of continuous learning and the measures are financed through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Jenni Larjomaa, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 028, [email protected]

Funded by the European Union - NextGenerationEU