Norway has new measures in place to ensure that refugees are integrated as soon as possible. VISKA (Visible skills for adults), a European cooperation project with funding from Erasmus+ KA3 (Support for policy), is an important part of the effort.
VISKA is led by Skills Norway (Kompetanse Norge), the Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. VISKA partners believe that revealing human capital through more holistic validation processes will benefit societies and labour markets, and help maintain economic competitiveness.
VISKA seeks to make the skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees visible in order to shorten their time to employment, education and training, and active engagement in society.
Skills Norway promotes access and participation in formal, non-formal and informal adult education and has national overview of recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning.
Mapping of competences
Skills Norway was recently commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Research to develop an online, self-guided solution for mapping asylum seeker formal and informal competences. Once completed, this should be rapidly followed by an offer of career guidance to ensure that refugees are not only better aware of their existing skills and competence levels but that they are also able to make a successful transition to the labour market.
With VISKA, Skills Norway aims to extend these plans for mapping and career orientation to a more holistic validation process that could include documentation and certification. It will pilot an online solution for self-registration and mapping of competences in asylum reception centres, including non-formal and informal learning.
Career guidance will also be offered in these centres. Skills Norway will offer competence building for career counsellors, in cooperation with other VISKA partners. VISKA will also contribute to encouraging a transnational consensus on, and a common language for, the identification of transversal skills - including the development of validation criteria - as prerequisite for their effective documentation.
The current influxes of migrants and refugees to Europe calls for a more sustained approach and for sharing validation practices directed towards third country nationals. Identifying and validating skills acquired outside formal learning environments is particularly important for migrants, as well as for those with lower qualifications, risking unemployment. Validation processes and results help people better showcase and make use of their experience and talent and can identify further training needs.
In May 2016, the government presented a white paper on measures intended to strengthen integration: From reception centre to the labour market – an effective integration policy.
One of the three key work strands of EU’s New skills agenda for Europe (2016) is to make skills and qualifications more visible and comparable.
Report No 30 to the Storting (2015–16): From reception centre to the labour market – an effective integration policy https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dokumenter/meld.-st.-30-20152016/id2499847/
Norwegian skills strategy
New skills agenda for Europe