Celebrating progress in RPL at home and across Europe


The RPL community of practice in Ireland is excited that CEDEFOP has published the ‘European Inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2023 update: Ireland’. The publication notes that ‘providing dedicated funding for pilots and projects has worked well to date, because it has enabled providers and practitioners to test approaches and then to identify and share good practice.

Frameworks, guidance, information and training in both FET and HE are supporting greater awareness and capability amongst providers and practitioners. In time, as these become more embedded, RPL will be made available to greater numbers of individuals and will be implemented in a more consistent manner.’

Thanks to everyone who contributed by making their work visible.

Why does this matter?

The broader context of the CEDEFOP Overview report 2023, looks across European progress in implementing the 2012 Recommendation to next steps in policy and practice. RPL is opening up opportunities, helping people show what they know and can do but yet there is a distance to travel in making policy and practice really centre on individuals.

What is the call for RPL policy and practice now?

RPL is a central topic of skills and employment policies and strategies, wrapped around career guidance and counselling, coordinated, coherent, engaging with all sectors, especially with the ‘third sector’ and labour market. Where national frameworks of qualifications and quality assured awards clearly signal opportunities for RPL, there is evidence that changes in the nature of work, skills and in digital technologies will alter learning credentials and mobility patterns and bring new learning for our RPL community of practice.

Case Study: Micro Credentials (Ireland)

A case study on the ‘European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2023 update: Case study: micro-credentials (Ireland)’ was also published.

This case study explores whether micro-credentials can be accessed or obtained through RPL (validation) or used to obtain a formal qualification. Part of the interest in national practice lies in our demographic, where Ireland has high levels of employment with a substantial proportion of people with highest level qualifications at NFQ Level 5, who therefore will benefit from upskilling, perhaps through strategic engagement with micro-credentials. Practice in relation to RPL is mixed, ranging from availability of identification, documentation and assessment to a perspective that it is more efficient to simply offer the programme. Conclusions include that workplace recognition, performance management or preparation for career progression and upskilling may be more efficiently served by different approaches, the former better served by RPL.

All three reports are helpful for committed practitioners interested in understanding the broad context of development for national and European policy. CEDEFOP and the Commission will develop these further as interactive reports that will interlink to examples of effective practice across different jurisdictions to further support our learning.