How jobskills can be matched with specific job criteria – an Icelandic pilot project

As the working life changes the need to match the competences of employees with criteria for specific jobs also increases. Enabling lifelong learning is a must and a current icelandic pilot project focuses on validation of skills against specific job criteria. The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ), through its educational department, are members of ABF Norden and they are also one of the partners in the project.

The project aims at developing methods and tools for validation in working life through field trials in five jobs in close cooperation with stakeholders. The purpose of the validation process is to make competences visible, recognized and certified. On-the-job training, following the results of validation, will be a part of the system.

The assessment criteria used in the validation process will be based on competency analysis of jobs and the implementation of the process will be based on the needs of individuals and companies.

The project aims at being beneficiary to both employees and employers;

  • Visibility of knowledge and competences
  • Visibility of areas for improvement
  • Increased opportunities for job development
  • Recognized competences can be taken into account when wages are decided


  • Competence utalization is optimized, leading to increased competetiveness
  • Increased focus on competence development
  • Clearer competence requirements for job development and recruitment
  • Respect for the company/industry

The results of the project will be used to build a foundation for a sustainable system of validation in working life.

reykjavik-1988082_1920 Pixabay

About FA


Fræðslumiðstöð atvinnulífsins (FA) (e.The Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC)) is owned by the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ), the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA), the Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB), the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland. In connection with the collective agreement between ASI and SA in 2002, the Icelandic government issued a statement of intent which led to the establishment of FA. Operation began in 2003.

We don’t cancel our activities – we adapt and go digital!

The last couple of weeks has been very hectic for the people working in the ABF Norden national member organisations. The social distancing needed to control the Corona outbreak has resulted in the need to very quickly transform many activites in to digital form. The need and the right for every individual to learn and be inspired is constant and when the pre-requisites changes so does the study organisations! 

Here a some examples of the work that has been done so far:

In Sweden the ABF has set up the “Meeting emergency” help line where any NGO-organisation can get help to go digital with annual meetings, study circles or cultural events. A guide for Digital non-formal adult education with tips on pedagogics, digital tools aso. will help organisations and individuals through the process in detail.

In Finland TSL has transformed for instance their work with immigrant groups  to digital form and video conference is an important tool in this. TSL is also offering help to record and share videos as well as assisting in holding interactive webinars. A lot of focus is also on changing the courses held for their national member organisations in to  digital form.

In Denmark the AOF has offered online courses to those in the work force who has been laid off. It is a way of buildning competence and keeping active during this very uncertain period. Another innovation is “30 minutes of Folkbildning” where a guest holds a short lecture on a relevant and current subject live on Facebook.

In Norway the AOF transformed 150 courses to digital form in one week. A huge task that was made possible thanks to the AOF staff and the students themselves. AOF also encourages people to take this chance to build and strengthen their competence and offers a wide range of courses online for those interested.


Climate- and coronacrisis; How can the Nordic Model meet these challenges? Time to apply for Nordenskolan 6!

Nordenskolan (The Nordic School) is a course about the possibilities and challenges of the Nordic model. It is a joint project for ABF Norden and the Nordic labour movements collaborational organisation SAMAK.

  • Read the invitation for Nordenskolan 6 (in swedish) here.
  • Read more about Nordenskolan 5 here.
  • Visit the Nordenskolan website here.
  • Let us know you are interested via the link here. (By June 5th at the latest.)
Working to complete the group assignment in Copenhagen.

” To have strong networks is one of the most important tools to have to be able to influence and affect society in the direction you want it to go. In the Nordic countries and in the workers’ movement we have a strong tradition of co-operation and this grows even stronger when we see what a difference we can make together in the world.

The Nordic School is a direct example of how we can build networks in practise – where driven individuals from the workers’ movement in the Nordic countries collectively educate themselves.

The Alumni Network ties the classes of The Nordic School together and gives added value both for new and old participants.

Emilia Työrä

Participant in the Nordic school in 2015, Chair of the Nordic School Alumni board and a member of parliament for the Social Democrats in Sweden. 

Don’t hoard food – hoard neighbours

In Sweden the ABF is supporting Beredsam – a podcast on readiness for crisis and “prepping”. Today they have released an extra podcast (in swedish) because of the Corona virus outbreak.

They have five tips on what to do in this situation, as an individual:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Stay at home if you are having symptoms – if possible work from home even if you are not having any symptoms.
  3. Have a little extra of the food you normally eat at home (but don’t over do it).
  4. Don’t spread rumours.
  5. Be solidaric!

You can also read this interview with Herman Geijer in Dagens Nyheter where his best advice for handling a big crisis is to get to know your neighbours. Our ability to co-operate is essential and a collective crisis is best handled as a collective.

What do you learn from representing your co-workers as a shop steward? The Balance model can be a way of documenting it.

As a shop steward (def. a union member elected to represent coworkers in dealings with management) you build new competences through your work representing your fellow co-workers. The Norwegian Federation of Labour Unions (LO) has together with AOF Norway tried to map out which these competences are and find a model for how they can be documented. The project has been a part of the “Year of elected representatives 2019” and the final report has just been presented.

The so called “Balance model”, taken from the retail and health sectors, has been tried and the results are positive. The model can be used to build a common “LO-qualification” that can describe the informal competences built up over a few years. This would not only benefit todays shop stewards but It could also strengthen recruitment.

Read more about it (in norwegian) here.




Life long learning – a must in our digitalized future

Several of the member organisations of ABF Norden offer a wide range of basic skills/digitalization training. It takes place in for example evening schools and study circles (Denmark, Sweden), together with employers and trade unions at the work place (Finland) and as net based courses open to everyone (Norway). It is truly about life long learning and acquiring the skills needed both for the work life and the private life in this digital age.

As the ABF Norden chairman John Meinert Jacobsen puts it: “We (ABF Norden) as a whole has an important role to play when It comes to contributing to a positive development of society and giving people the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and compences needed in all parts of life.”


Here you can read a brand new report on the need to politicise digitalization from a labour movement perspective and the need for life long learning is mentioned as a way to ensure a decent work life:

Systems and paths for life-long learning.

Given the fast pace of technological change, as well as the more flexible labour market, education and skills training need to be stimulated as well as revamped, and move away from the mass, one-off education system that may have worked well earlier.”

Learn more about Methods!

This is an online handbook for anyone who wants to start working with newly arrived migrants or who already does so. It offers tips and ideas that may be useful to you in your work. The methods are drawn from a number of European countries including Sweden, Italy, Finland and Belgium. Take inspiration from both articles and videos via the link.

Methods focuses on non-formal learning/folkbildning and both ABF Sweden and TSL Finland were involved as partners in the project funded by the European social fund from 2017 – 2019.

Here is an example with Urban farming in Gammelbyn in the north of Sweden: