The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in education (NOKUT) has started recognising foreign vocational education and training (VET) certificates and diplomas, as of the end of 2016. These certificates are assessed according to scope, level and content of comparable Norwegian trade and journeyman certificates at NQF level 4. The assessment is carried out by experts, following the suggestion of vocational councils, and the process takes two months on average.
NOKUT opened its recognition procedure initially only for German or Polish qualifications and expanded for Baltic ones afterwards. In the coming years, the recognition procedure will gradually include more countries and qualifications. So far, over 1000 applications have been received and around 300 were recognised. More than half of the recognised qualifications are for plumbers and wood product carpenters.
Through a recognised qualification, skilled workers from abroad have a stronger position in the labour market. Norway is in need of skilled workers.
Social partner involvement
Norway has well-established and regulated cooperation between social partners and government. Close dialogue is important to secure relevant provision of VET. The social partners play a key role in the recognition procedure by recommending experts able to assess the vocational content of qualifications from abroad.
Applications are processed in two stages:
- through research, NOKUT assesses the qualification’s formal status in the country it originates from, finds out who is the responsible authority for vocational training and who has issued the documentation. NOKUT then assesses the scope and level of the vocational education and training and whether these are equivalent to those in Norway. NOKUT can reject applications at this stage;
- experts assess the qualifications’ vocational content and compare it to the skills, knowledge and competences acquired through Norwegian vocational education and training. The result is either an accepted or a declined application.
An accepted application means that the foreign qualification is recognised as comparable to a given Norwegian craft certificate. In case of a negative decision, reasons are stated.
Recognition of the foreign professional qualifications corresponding to EQF level 5 will start in 2019, with Germany and Poland. Between 1 500 and 2 000 applications are foreseen per year. NOKUT will manage the process.
Higher education from other Nordic countries
The Nordic countries have a long tradition of cooperation and Norway recently introduced a new scheme for automatic recognition of higher education diplomas from other Nordic countries. The scheme will make it easier to work or study in Norway and automatic recognition will be expanded to other education levels. There is a map showing the degree to which Nordic higher education equates to that in Norway.