The portal for lifelong-learning

Validation of non-formal and informal learning
(Validation des acquis de l'expérience - VAE)

Validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE) is a process which enables professional and non-professional experience to be recognised  with a view to obtaining all or part of a:

What is it about?

VAE is an additional means of access to diplomas by recognising knowledge acquired by formal, non-formal and informal learning. It brings out the best in individuals and facilitates lifelong learning.

VAE is for anyone, regardless of age, level of study or professional status.

The only prerequisite is a minimum of 3 years or 5000 hours (continuous or not) of paid, unpaid or voluntary work which is directly related to the requested certification.

Certificates, diplomas and qualifications obtained through VAE are equivalent to certificates, diplomas and qualifications obtained through other testing methods and give the same entitlements.

Process to follow

The applicant must put together a portfolio and submit it to a Validation Committee or a qualified panel. The portfolio should provide details of the knowledge, competencies and skills which are directly related to the certificate in question, and provide concrete examples of tasks carried out.

The Committee or panel issues a decision based on the portfolio provided by the applicant, following an interview with the latter and, where required, a placement into a professional situation (whether real-life or simulated) if such a process is required by the authority which issues the certification.

The decision of the Validation Committee or panel can lead to the following scenarios for the applicant:

  • No validation,
  • Partial validation,
  • Full validation.

In the event of partial validation, the applicant has three years to gain the missing skills through training or additional experience.

Further information on the Validation of non-formal and informal learning process according to the diploma in question:


Marc, a Mechanic, would like to take over the family business

Marc, 33, has worked in his Uncle's garage as a mechanic for 13 years, and holds a Technical and Vocational Training Certificate (Certificat d’Aptitude Technique et Professionnelle - CATP/DAP) in car and motorcycle mechanics. He also helps his uncle with the day-to-day running of the business.

Keen to take over the business one day, Marc obtains information from the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse) on the possibility of obtaining the Master Craftsmanship (Brevet de Maîtrise) in automotive electronic mechanical engineering. The Ministry replies that based on his years of experience, he can submit a validation of non-formal and informal learning (Validation des acquis de l'expérience - VAE) application for the Master Craftsmanship (Brevet de Maîtrise).

This application is broken down into two stages. Firstly, Marc submits an admissibility application to the Ministry together with the required supporting evidence, by specifying the Master Craftsmanship (Brevet de Maîtrise) that he wishes to obtain. Then, after having received a positive reply, he submits his recognition application based on content, through which he provides evidence that he has gained the knowledge, competencies and skills required by the Master Craftsmanship (Brevet de Maîtrise) in question relating to employment and social security laws, company law, salary calculation, accounting tools and financial analysis, cost price calculation, communication techniques, staff management, running a business, setting up a business, reforms of vocational training, applied educational theory and professional theory and practice in the relevant trade.

He is granted only partial Validation of non-formal and informal learning status, as the Validation Committee deems his salary calculation, accounting tool, financial analysis and cost price calculation skills to be incomplete. Marc decides to attend evening classes in these areas. He has 3 years to obtain the missing skills.

Last update - 26.02.2020


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