Gunvald Herdin has had a dual role at the Bertelsmann Stiftung since May 2015: He is Senior Project Manager in the Further Education for All project and leads the Identifying Professional Competencies project.
“Even before my first day working at the foundation (I came from a consulting firm that supports foundations and NGOs in the field of education), one of my new colleagues spoke to me in the parking lot. He coached the foundation’s soccer team and wanted to get me to join the team before I had even started.”
That was more than five years ago, yet the anecdote is still a good example of what I really like about the foundation: the open way that people interact with each other, the networking that happens among everyone here, and the opportunities to learn from colleagues who have very different backgrounds from one’s own.
My program, Learning for Life, brings together the foundation’s activities in the area of education and training. One of the main topics I address is the recognition of non-formally and informally acquired skills. How can we acknowledge, develop and certify the things we’ve learned outside of schools and universities? Since the beginning of 2016, I’ve also been head of MYSKILLS, a project carried out in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Employment Agency. As part of the project, we’ve developed a computerized test to assess the occupational competencies of people without an educational degree. It allows formally low-skilled workers, refugees and migrants to demonstrate which work-related skills they have, thereby making it easier to integrate them into the job market or steer them towards the occupational qualification that’s right for them.
For me, it’s quite a luxury: I can work in a field I’m passionate about because it’s important to me and it’s important to society. That’s the biggest motivating factor for me – as it is for many of my colleagues here.”