While the project focuses on development of innovative solutions for the recognition and validation of competencies acquired through informal, non-formal and other learning, its main aim is to increase the number of disadvantaged learners using RPL to successfully gain credits, access and progression to relevant adult education programmes.

The main objective is to identify and agree the role and competencies required and to co-design and test a flexible blended-learning transnational Community or Workplace based RPL Mentor Facilitator programme, not currently available, so as to provide the disadvantaged learner with qualified Community or Workplace based RPL Mentors/Facilitators whose role will be to:

  1. Raise awareness of RPL among disadvantaged learners
  2. Provide information, advice and guidance (IAG) on the benefits, opportunities and procedures of RPL
  3. Recruit, support, guide and motivate the RPL applicant through the process
  4. Act as broker between Higher Education (HE) providers and the RPL applicant
  5. Work as an RPL advocate in the community and in the workplace

The main target groups are:

  1. Disadvantaged learners
  2. Community and workplace activists
  3. Educational, labour market and community organisations.

The rationale for the project is based on partnership needs analysis and a range of national and EU research on the topic of RPL and disadvantaged learners, The 2014 EU report on RPL cites the lack of awareness and understanding among disadvantaged learners of the potential value of RPL, stating that disadvantaged groups are particularly likely to benefit from RPL as it is seen to be a useful tool for supporting social inclusion.

European Inventory 2014 argues for increased stakeholder involvement including the social partners and private, public and voluntary players in RPL. It notes that the incidence of Community or Workplace based RPL Mentor Facilitators continues to be at low level. The partners’ experience converged on the conclusion that more and higher quality connections need to be constructed between HE providers and Enterprise and Community organisations.