Non-formal and Informal Learning

The system for accrediting non-formal and informal learning – that is, skills that have been gained outside of the formal education system - or for individuals who do not have formal certificates, is known in the UK as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning (APEL).

What it can do for employers, college admission tutors and careers advisors

Through practical experience, your potential employee/learner/client has already gained the knowledge, skill and competence that would be taught through a particular qualification. But the individual has no certificate.

Or, in the case of refugees for example, they may have achieved a qualification, but cannot present it.

Rather than enrol the individual on a formal course to gain the official qualification, you may be able to use other forms of evidence to assess and recognise competence against a given set of standards or learning outcomes.

For an example of how RPL works, see the Scottish Qualifications and Credit Framework website

For assistance with RPL, contact your local college or training provider.

Other tools you may be interested in:

The European Qualifications Framework helps you understand qualifications levels abroad.

Europass is a portfolio of documents that describes an individual’s knowledge and skills in a way that’s understood across Europe.

The European Skills, Competences and Occupations lists the knowledge and skills needed for specific jobs in Europe.

The European Quality Assurance System for Vocational Education & Training helps give confidence that the quality of vocational education and training programmes in Europe can be trusted.

The European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training is a framework that supports the recognition of learning that takes place during study visits and work placements overseas.

Click here to read the non-formal in-formal learning PDF