02 SES 13 A, ValNIL - A Central Innovation for European VET Systems
Concepts of competence are widely debated within Europe, in the context of their relationships with VET and qualification frameworks. Integrative approaches to competence, which emphasise the development of capacities are contrasted with those that focus primarily on the performance of work tasks (see Brockmann et al, 2009). In the latter approach many learning outcomes can be achieved through workplace and informal learning and can be validated for accreditation purposes. The European Qualifications Framework describes competence in terms of responsibility and autonomy (EC 2008: 11), emphasising proven knowledge and abilities in work or study situations. EQF is a translation device, allowing equivalences between qualifications to be explored, yet this exploration is critically dependent upon different interpretations of the dominant concepts of competence and qualification in different countries. This paper considers how conceptions of competence and qualification are shaping higher vocational learning in the UK in an occupational field in which transnational recognition has particular importance. Competence development approaches in nursing will be compared with approaches in Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and UK, with particular reference to the European framework and the part that validation of informal learning plays in this field .
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