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European Year of Skills
News article23 April 20242 min read

How to facilitate the Job-to-Job transition: VALIKOM in Germany

From innovation project to national standard and individual legal entitlement

Valikom logo

During the meeting of the National Coordinators of the European Year of Skills on 29 November 2023, France and Germany brought forth a significant proposal. They suggested to focus on the vital topic of Job-to-Job transition in one of the breakout sessions. This choice was motivated by three crucial reasons:

  1. Recognising the importance of training and acknowledging career trajectories in addressing this pressing issue;
  2. Considering the OECD's projection that a third of individuals will need to switch jobs within the next decade;
  3. Acknowledging that job transition impacts individuals across all age groups.

These points underscore the urgency and universality of discussing strategies for navigating job transitions effectively. This article presents Germany’s new national vocational skills validation system: VALIKOM.

Several million people in Germany do not have formal vocational qualifications but have great potential and wide-ranging vocational skills gained on-the-job. Their skills could often compare with the skills of people who had regular training in a profession. However, these people are unable to furnish proof of their skills. They are thus denied recognition and access to professional careers, and the industry – affected by the skills shortage – is unable to tap and identify the existing potential due to lack of valid skills assessment procedures.

This is why the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, together with the German chamber organisations of industry, launched a national VALIKOM innovation initiative in 2015. The initiative's aim is to establish a standardised national procedure for the validation of vocational skills. After successful development, trialing and dissemination, the Federal Government has now introduced a bill for a federal law governing the validation of vocational skills, which also enshrines a concerned party’s individual legal entitlement to validation.

In Germany, the VALIKOM initiative and the new validation law mark a significant shift towards inclusivity and recognition in the workforce.

Here's what you need to know:

The aim is to recruit more skilled professionals and to create avenues for individuals without formal qualifications, especially for those under 35, many of whom are immigrants working in non-skilled labour.

The focus is on establishing nationally recognised and industry-approved proof of vocational skills, which ensures equal access to higher education and government funding programmes for those who pass the validation process.

Individuals now have a legal right to have their vocational skills assessed and validated, fostering transparency and compatibility within the national Vocational Education and Training (VET) system.

VALIKOM Initiative: Transforming Practices

With 32 competence centers across Germany, validation procedures are now conducted efficiently at competent chambers. The process involves information dissemination, advice, documentation, external assessment, and certification by chambers, ensuring consistency and reliability.

By late 2023, over 2700 validation procedures had been completed, with the majority achieving full equivalence, offering pathways for further career development.

Target Group and Requirements

  • The law caters to individuals without formal qualifications but with substantial work experience.
  • Applicants must select from 320 reference occupations, provide proof of vocational competence, and demonstrate residence or significant professional experience in Germany.
  • The law is inclusive, offering adapted assessment procedures for people with disabilities.

Unlocking Opportunities: Post-Validation

Upon establishing full equivalence, individuals gain access to formal further training, career opportunities, and even admission to final examinations, paving the way for a more inclusive and empowered workforce in Germany.

The article has been written by: European Vocational Education and Training Area of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany


Publication date
23 April 2024