The Certification system is regulated by Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 851/2010, de 6 de setembro, and amended by Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 208/2013, de 26 de junho, which grants on General Directorate for Employment and Industrial Relations (Direção-Geral do Emprego e das Relações de Trabalho – DGERT), central service of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, the responsibility for the quality certification of training providers.
The main objective of the system is to improve capacity, quality and reliability in the training service provided by accreditation of vocational education and training (VET) providers.
This acknowledgment should mean a distinguish factor element in the market and the guarantee of a clear commitment to a higher quality offer for the final customers of training.
The public acknowledgment of VET providers emerged in Portugal in 1997 with the Accreditation System, aiming the improvement of quality and adequacy of training interventions, to the structuring of the vocational training system and to the professionalization of its actors [Portaria (Ordinance) n. º 782/97, de 29 de agosto]. Twenty years later, the Accreditation system (currently, Certification system) is now consolidated and is improving his effectiveness in achieving its intents, with the right alignment with current education and training policies.
What is the certification?
The certification of VET providers is a global acknowledgment of their development capacity of the different stages of the training cycle, granted by areas of education and training in which they act. The authentication /validation of this specialized practice requires the assessment of policies held by training entity, in terms of practices and resources, according to a distinct quality benchmark standard for vocational training, and a unique technical assessment such as the suitability of training contents and targets, the trainer’s technical skills and the minimum technical requirements of the facilities and equipment, according to the pursued training areas.
Who can get the certification?
Certification can be granted to any public or private entity that is legally established which has a structure and adopts training practices according to the certification requirements.
- Acknowledgement of quality in the labour market
- Training certificated within the National Qualifications System
- Access to national or Community public funding programs for vocational training
- Tax exemption on the value added tax (IVA) training products and services
- Deduction of vocational training expenses in the individual income tax (IRS)
This acknowledgement is proved by an exclusive certificate/diploma and must be advertised through the logo provided by DGERT, considering the right graphic and usage standards. DGERT ensures the disclosure of certified VET providers, as well as the certification revocation and expiration.
The requirements for the certification of VET providers are divided in two groups:
They are basic legal conditions that allow the VET providers to apply for certification.
The structuring requirements of VET providers are:
- The internal structure and organization (human resources, facilities and equipment)
- The processes in training development (planning, design, organization, development and training assessment)
- The outcome review and continuous improvement (post-training follow-up, annual assessment of results, continuous improvement measures)
The certification process is organised in two main stages, in which the VET provider and DGERT take part.
First of all, the VET provider should define the training project, namely in the a
reas of education and training witch ones detain a specialized action and evaluate the structure and practices against the quality standard.
After this process, the VET provider submits an electronic request to DGERT, by which is subject to a technical, documentary or audited evaluation to validate the skills, means and resources revealed by the VET provider for the development of training in the required areas and according to with applicable certification requirements.
With the certification, it is possible the VET provider to request the acknowledgment extension to other areas of education and training, whenever it develops a new training offer and as long as it has the appropriate skills and resources.
It is also possible to transfer the certification to another VET provider, whereas the structure and the organization that underlies that recognition is maintained.
Once certified, the VET provider must ensure, the compliance with the requirements under which the certification was awarded, as well as with the related duties defined in the standard. The certification maintenance is assessed by DGERT through audits considering the results of providers training activity. It can also include a process of self-assessment and evaluation of performance indicators
Certification in numbers