VPL Prize

Winners of the Global VPL prize

Congratulations to our winners of the Global VPL prize!

During the 4th VPL Biennale, the winners of the Global VPL prize were awarded. The winners are four and you can read short presentations of their VPL activities here. 

And the winners are:

VPL in working life – Specialized office clerk in the public sector

Guðfinna Harðardóttir, Fræðslusetrið Starfsmennt/The Educational Training Centre for Public Employees (Starfsmennt), http://www.smennt.is.

Description of the VPL activity:

Starfsmennt participated in a pilot project initiated by the Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) called Validation in working life. The main objective was to develop a comprehensive validation system in collaboration with stakeholders, where specific job standards were at the core. The project provided standards to validate the competencies against. Employees´ tacit knowledge and skills were made visible, shortcomings identified, and proper training provided. In the end, all project participants had received training and were skilled to take on more complex tasks.

The Directorate of Labour and the Housing and Construction Authority are public entities with offices in Skagaströnd and Sauðárkrókur located in northwest Iceland. The public entities are both very important for Employment in the local community. As well are the employers important for the organisation as the number of potential employees in the area is limited. The project was there for a win-win for the employers, as well as the local communities.

Technology-enhanced learning, assessment, development and academic strategies for RPL student success

Rekha Rambharose, University of Western Cape, https://www.uwc.ac.za/admission-and-financial-aid/recognition-of-prior-learning.

Description of the VPL activity:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a key policy-driven practice area aimed at redressing past inequalities and social injustices that are aligned to access to education within the South African higher education context. The RPL for access to the undergraduate programme, known as the portfolio development online programme (PDOP), at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is offered as a six-month fully online programme. The programme provides RPL applicants with an opportunity to develop critical academic literacy skills, and identify and showcase their competencies, strengths and academic readiness whilst developing a structured portfolio of evidence through the application of Bloom’s taxonomy. 

The PDOP is student-centred, interactive and involves the use of academic mentors and multiple University structures/resources such as the writing centre, library, centre for student support services, and centre for innovation in communication and education technologies. The PDOP uses technology-enhanced learning, Kolb’s experiential learning model, transformational, socio-constructivism and activity-based learning theories to transform, develop, engage, motivate, and support applicants in the RPL programme. The purpose is to drive quality, promote educational growth, lifelong learning, and critical thinking, and support student success.


Ulrich Scharf, SkillLab, https://skilllab.io/en-us 

Description of the VPL activity:

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous economic stress, and uncertainty and has accelerated the existing trends of worker displacement by technology, automation and the transition to a Green Economy. The growing number of vulnerable and marginalized job seekers often lack the tools to show their capabilities in a conventional CV and translate their skills and competencies across fields or retrain for new occupations. 

SkillLab’s AI-based solution empowers people to capture their skills, find education and jobs as well as generate tailored job applications. SkillLab makes career guidance accessible to everyone and provides a pathway to employment based on a skill-recognition system that is granular, technology-enabled and data-driven. Users create a skill profile through an AI-based interview that builds on the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations framework (ESCO). The underlying machine learning approach intelligently adapts to the answers of users. Based on an individual generated skill profile, SkillLab recommends careers, occupations and, if available, live vacancies in their area. The solution also incorporates local and online education offerings that address the skill gap between the desired job and a user’s skills. SkillLab ensures that the skills taught in education offerings and the skills demanded vacancies are correctly identified by using a combination of natural language processing and the insights from our data model. 

Recognition of foreign qualifications in Austria – AST-Counselling/Contact Points for people who gained professional qualifications abroad

Aleksandra Panek, Counselling Centre for Migrants in Vienna- Coordination of Contact Points for people who gained professional qualifications abroad (AST), https://www.anlaufstelle-anerkennung.at/ 

Description of the VPL activity:

Many overqualified migrants spend years in low skilled jobs. A job adequate to qualification has a sustainable impact on further career and the employability of the individual. As a consequence, there are long-term impacts on the labour market and economy. 

The Austrian Contact Points for people who gained professional qualifications abroad – AST – provides the procedure of professional expert counselling and support for recognition of foreign qualifications. The procedure of AST-counselling includes: clarification of requirement and possibility of formal recognition, cost coverage of certified translations of documents, assistance with the application for assessment and if necessary, assistance during recognition proceedings as well as assistance in the search for „bridging courses“ and its financing. The involvement of AST-Contact Points regards the improvement of integration and employability adequate to qualifications. The involvement is also a response to the needs of the Austrian labour market.