Every person applying for a professional certificate issued under the IQS must first undergo the validation process, in the course of which experts will examine, very thoroughly, both their knowledge and skills. The validation is not a typical school exam; it may consist of an assessment of a candidate’s portfolio or observation in simulated conditions. Learn more about the validation process in the articles available here.
In the course of the validation process, a candidate is required to go through various stages which may vary depending on the description of the qualification and the body responsible for the execution of the validation. Throughout the process, practical skills and knowledge are verified as well as the potential of the candidate – what they still need to learn. There are three stages of the validation process:
Stage 1 – Identification
This stage focuses on the theoretical aspect. It defines the knowledge and initial skills. At this stage, the candidate finds out what they still need to learn in order to be awarded the qualification of plan their further development. It is also at this stage that the candidate prepares for the assessment phase. The Awarding Body may (but is not obligated to) ensure support of a validation counsellor, who will assist in verifying whether the candidate applying for a given qualification has the required competence.
Stage 2 – Documentation
This stage consists of collecting evidence (documents, photographs) which corroborate one’s skills and knowledge. The documenting stage is optional in the validation procedure. This requirement depends on the qualification and the Awarding Body responsible for the execution of the validation.
Stage 3 – Assessment
At the final stage, the assessors (experts in a given field) check if the candidate has all the required learning outcomes. In the event everything checks out, the Awarding Body awards the qualification and issues a relevant professional certificate to the candidate.
Validation process – an exemplary scenario
The following is a description of the validation process as carried out by the Scotland-based ICERMS vocational training centre.
Qualification of the candidate
Managing activities related to waste management: transport – hazardous waste (SCQF, level 7 and EQF, level 5).
Particular validation stages:
- The Awarding Body receives a notification from the candidate aspiring after the qualification. The Awarding Body sets a date for the introductory meeting and identifies details of the candidate’s validation process.
- The introduction of the candidate takes place at the workplace of the individual to undergo validation and its purpose is to make sure that the individual understands the course of the process of applying for the qualification.
- The candidate and the centre enter into a contract, which clearly stipulates roles and responsibilities of both parties. The candidate receives a validation guidebook along with a description of the applied for qualification. Additionally, the candidate receives a portfolio for including successive evidence under particular sets of learning outcomes.
- Next, the candidate signs a statement, in which he/she declares that all presented evidence is a result of candidate’s unaided work.
- The assessor evaluates if the workplace is suitable for assessment of the employee’s qualifications.
- There may be several visits to the candidate’s workplace in the course of the validation process. The initial visit takes place once the first set of learning outcomes has been completed. Prior to the visit, the method for the assessment of the set of learning outcomes is agreed on.
- Assessment methods are discussed by the assessor with the candidate. The individual subject to assessment collects evidence in the portfolio in order to corroborate the learning outcomes for particular sets. The role of the assessor is to thoroughly check if the candidate has suitable evidence sufficient for meeting the assessment criterion. Apart from the observations of the assessor, evidence may include photographs and other documents obtained at one’s workplace as well as interviews with and opinions from the candidate’s co-workers.
- During the meetings, progress made by the candidate is discussed, which affects motivation to further improve of his/her qualifications. Depending on a given qualification, the validation process may include several sets of learning outcomes.
- During the final meeting, inquiries may be made about the evidence collected at the workplace previously recognised as insufficient or additional questions may be asked. Prior to the final meeting, the assessor reviews collected documentation and summarises the learning outcomes once they have been completed.
- Following the visit, an assessment report is prepared, which allows for the decision making process. Subsequently, the report, along with the portfolio, is submitted to another assessment designed to check the decisions made by the assessor.
- The evaluator (the individual checking the assessor’s report) confirms the validation process.
- The candidate receives the professional certificate and is included into the Internet database.