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European Year of Skills

The Nordic Validation Forum shares their amazing skills stories

The Nordic Validation Forum gathered skills stories from all over Sweden. In these stories, people learned new skills using the OCN method. These stories show the difference that this method can make in people’s lives.  

OCN: Skill Stories Nordic Valideration Forum

What is the OCN method? 

The OCN is short for Open College Network, and it is an internationally recognised validation method for validating knowledge, skills, and competencies It was initially developed in England in the 1980s to acknowledge informal adult education. It validates and accredits vocational and skills-based qualifications and has been proven to be fully compatible with the Swedish Qualifications Framework (SeQF). 

The Nordic validation forum supports the OCN method because it shows that learning on the job is possible. The method uses generic skills such as the ability to work together or to follow rules and guidelines in the workplace. The Nordic Validation Forum offers support and training in the use of these tools. 

People behind the skills stories 

Let’s delve into three skills stories! 

In the heart of Gothenburg, Zeljka works in the cleaning industry. She works to educate and validate different target groups in cleaning. Zeljka aims to identify the unique challenges of each group and tailors the training to their needs. The training includes practical exercises where the instructor first shows you how to do it. 

Zeljka sees how her students are more confident and very grateful after the training.  

“We see fantastic results here in Gothenburg. When I meet the participants afterwards, they are so grateful. They speak better Swedish and feel more confident in their work. Even those who have been working for many years and are a bit sceptical at the beginning. It's a difficult turnaround, but it can be done!" 

Jonna works in property management in Sundbyberg, Sweden. In her work, Jonna supports jobseekers to gain work experience through the following means. Jonna brought up one story of a participant who had previously worked as an electrician in another country, but who now wanted to work in Sweden. Jonna supported him in finding a career path and learning the language skills required for the job. This led to a 12-week part-time traineeship in property management, after which the participant found a permanent job. Jonna remembers him saying, "My life can start now". 

Max is a 32-year-old working in the carpentry industry. Before that, he completed many different training programmes and worked in various industries. Max said: "I have never found anything in my life that I have enjoyed doing for longer". Max joined the Uppsala Employment Agency a couple years ago, and after that he got a job in a carpentry shop, where he works on building bus shelters and changing booths. He emphasises how the OCN method suits him. 

Read more about the Nordic Validation Forum and OCN on their website