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Factsheet for measure ES-2008-3/2496 – measures in Spain

Device for the assessment and recognition of competence

Dispositivos de evaluación y reconocimiento de la competencia

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 18 January 2008
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Jessica Durán (IKEI) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 03 November 2022)

Background information

Work experience without formal training can be recognised with a professional certificate since 2008 (Royal Decree-law 34/2008). The professional certificates are the tools that provide the official qualifications recognised by the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications to the employed and, particularly, unemployed people trained outside the formal education system.

Content of measure

Professional certificates (approved via Royal Decree-law 34/2008) can improve the employability of unemployed people in an occupational system widely structured by educational framework. They were published in 2008 and are provided by the public employment service and are the remit of the Autonomous Communities’ administrations. They are structured across 26 professional families.

The organisation of the certification process is a competence of the regional governments and may be implemented by IVET (Institutes of Vocational Education and Training) training centres, public or private centres licensed by the regional governments and National References Training Centres. The Royal Decree 1224/2009 establishes the single procedure for the evaluation and recognition of professional skills acquired through work experience or non-formal education.

Coverage of professional certificates extends to all the people older than 17 years old who have at least three years of working experience with a minimum of 2,000 hours worked or at least 300 hours of non-formal training.

To participate in a process of accreditation of professional experience, users of the service must register in a public call. After their admission, they participate in a process that consists of three phases:

  1. Advice: Experts in the professional sector from which the users come examine each professional background and identify the competences acquired by the workers and those that may be missing. Then, they report the convenience of moving on to the next phase or completing their professional background through training.
  2. Evaluation: A commission of experts verifies whether the candidates have acquired the professional competences for which accreditation is requested.
  3. Accreditation: The administration certifies each unit of demonstrated competence. These certificates are cumulative in order to request a certificate of professionalism or to access a vocational training certificate.

For example, the regional government of Andalucia through the Andalucian Institute of Professional Qualifications (I.A.C.P.) calls regularly procedures of professional recognition in several areas.

Use of measure

The Ministry of Education does not publish statistics on participation in programmes for the assessment and recognition of competence or their effectiveness. However, a study by Randstad Research ( 2017 ) concluded that 18.2% of workers with a professional certificate obtained it through the assessment and recognition of competences. Among them, 59.1% confirm that the professional certificate increased their employability.

Strengths: The programme encourages lifelong learning. It provides professional qualifications to workers that lack recognised professional qualifications. In addition, the public administrations responsible have improved the information accessibility (that was previously one of its weaknesses). For instance, through the ACREDITA tool: although the assessment and recognition procedures are managed by regional public administrations, the Ministry of Education provides an online orientation tool, designed to find individually the professional competences that each person may need its professional recognition ( Carabias 2017 Domingo 2018 ).

Weaknesses: It is worth noting that some regional governments delayed providing professional certificates to workers with work experience but without formal training. For instance, in Catalonia the first professional certificates linked to the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications started to be submitted in 2010 (Lope and Alós, 2013).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Local / regional government
Public employment service
National funds
Regional funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The organisation of the certification process is a competence of the regional governments, and each autonomous community is responsible for organising processes for the assessment and recognition of competences. Normally, social partners are consulted for the design and implementation of these processes.

For example, in the case of the Autonomous Community of Aragón, with the aim of improving professional competence and accreditation, the Regional Councillor of Economy, Planning and Employment and the Regional Councillor of Education, Culture and Sport have signed an action protocol with the social partners (employers' organisations Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE) Aragón, Confederación Española de la Pequeña y Mediana Empresa (CEPYME) Aragón, trade unions Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) Aragón, Sindicato Unión General de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de España (UGT) Aragón) for the development of the procedure for the assessment and accreditation of professional competences. The agreement is valid until 2024 ( CEPYME Aragón, SME’S organisation, 2022 ).

Views and reactions

Social partners have a positive opinion on professional certificates. These certificates improve employability, enable labour mobility and allow further training of workers and unemployed people.



Eurofound (2022), Device for the assessment and recognition of competence, measure ES-2008-3/2496 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.