The IVC Participation Ladder Model

The International Women Centre Den Helder (IVC) develops projects using own models:
1. The Participation Ladder Model
2. The Women Follow–up System
3. The pré VPL training Express Yourself
4. The Competence Awareness VPL training (based on the Swiss method of CHQ).
The standards and the criteria used in these models are nationally legitimate and widely recognized. There are various tools used: tests, presentations, discussions, search for evidence, port-folio writing, assessments and certificates (CHQ).
Validation and its wider benefits for the society are being recognized. In order to be successful a large network cooperation with stakeholders, social partners, across sectors and institutions is being rrealized. The inflow of participants comes from mouth to mouth information, women shelters, integration office, the voluntary work center, congregation, re-integration partners, educational institutes and health institutions. The outflow of participants goes to employers, education institutes, formal higher education centers, work placements. All the social – cultural religious organization in the area are implemented at the center by the Platform Honor Violence.

Year(s): Since 2012

Target group(s): Migrants, especially migrants from non-western countries



The following models are used:

  1. The Participation Ladder Model:
    The participation Ladder is an instrument that is used to determine how far a person is participating within society. The ladder has several steps from isolated to paid work. By using the Participation Ladder method, women are able to make steps on the ladder by following courses and trainings and develop through social activation to re-integration. Within the re-integration trainings the women make steps to unpaid work (voluntary work), education, internship and even paid work.
  2. The women follow-up system
    Along with placing activities, trainings and courses on the participation, all participants are placed on the participation ladder. To achieve this, a form has been created that gets filled in by the coordinator of the participation ladder, on two specific dates. Everybody who is involved with the IVC gets placed on the participation ladder, including, interns, volunteers and women who follow courses and trainings. This has created a clear view on how the progression along the participation is achieved and also how much the courses and trainings help work towards progression on the participation ladder. Everybody on the participation ladder receives individual attention and has a personal test moment twice annually.
  3. The pré VPL training ‘Express Yourself!’
    In order to prevent stagnation on the ladder, the IVC developed an pré VPL training filled with interactive games and lessons in order to learn not only the basic knowledge of the language but how to react adequately on different situations in a ‘European’ way. Participants train their language (verbal and non-verbal / trans culture elements) and presentation skills.
  4. The Competence Awareness VPL training (based on the Swiss method of CHQ).

The IVC organization follows a national validation system, which corresponds to the organization’s strategy and policy. Our target group consists of women including the disadvantaged, characterized as unemployed, lacking formal education, immigrants, young women and women over the age of fifty. (Immigrant) women experience more distance to the labor market. Especially the migrant women from non – western countries encounter problems such as *qualifications obtained abroad are not (yet) recognized *there are no proved documents of qualifications *lack of language and computer experience *culture differences *trouble with formal education *not knowing how to act, how to express yourself the ‘European’ way *discrimination and exclusion *not having knowledge about the labor market

Type of product

  • Paper-based material
  • Video clips / Films
  • Course / Training
  • Other - Toolbox with all kind of interactive materials        

Brief description of the product / outcome / method

Express yourself is an interactive training for language and presentation skills. During the training the participant will become aware of herself, the people around her, and her own abilities and desires. The participants will playfully learn how to (re-)act in different situations without letting go of their own identity and background.

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

The method teaches the participants how to present themselves "the Dutch way": an adequate, witty and assertive presentation. Something in non-Western cultures is not always appreciated, but very important to apply for a job in western labour market.

  • Holistic principle, which means: links between all different career and life activities
  • A mix of cultural, general and professional education
  • Good balance between theory and practical lessons
  • Relate to all different kinds of competences: professional, methodical, social and self-competences
  • The strength of the training is that participants form a strong and close group together that helps, supports each other. The participants rely on each other to do the assignments. Because of this, they will speak to each other about not turning up or arriving late.
  • Participants learn that everybody can react differently to situations, due to cultural differences.
  • Participants learn how to set their own realistic goals and how to go about achieving them and
  • Participants learn how to present themselves in different ways.
  • Participants receive important support which will help them further develop on the participation ladder.


  • Obtaining a good self-image (This plays an important role in culture and family)
  • Awareness of the personal qualities in broad perspective
  • Discovering individual qualities and qualities in social relations
  • Discovering qualities in different contexts: work, home, hobbies et cetera
  • Awareness of their values, motives and perspectives in the steps of their career
  • Being able to present and manage these qualities, motives and perspectives
  • Being able to plan or manage their life by using these qualities, values, motives and perspectives (empowerment).

The methods can easily be transferred to wider target groups.

Promoter of the initiative


Country: Netherlands



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