Currently, the European Union is facing one of the biggest challenges in recent years: millions of refugees have been coming to Europe in search of protection and a peaceful life. For the single European member countries and the European society on the whole, this is a new and unexpected situation since they are faced with fundamentally different cultural and life-related backgrounds. While humanitarian aid is the first priority at the moment, we can expect up to 70 % of the people entering the EU to receive refugee status with full access to the labour markets. In other words: More than two million people from different education and labour market systems will need to be integrated in the European labour market.

While access to trainings and qualifications is and will be a crucial issue in the integration process, assessment and recognition of competences will usually be the starting point - and a challenge of its own. The NCNA target group of refugees and asylum seekers with a positive perspective to stay in one of the member countries very often lacks formal degrees; many of them have acquired their competences, mainly, through informal learning on the job, within the family etc. Assessing, validating and recognizing the refugees' competences needs to take new and innovative directions.

The NCNA project, to support this essential step in the process of labour market integration, is developing an ECVET-based model for the assessment, validation and recognition of informally acquired skills and competences on EQF levels 2 to 3 in four labour market sectors with a high demand in Europe: metal, wood, construction, and tourism. Moreover, the project parters are designing the model for a personalised and individual labour market integration plan, including a step-by-step approach for each single individual on how to fill their skill gaps and what steps to take on their integration pathway.

With its project results, the NCNA project hopes to provide strongly needed answers for current challenges and support EU member states in their integration efforts.