Since 2001, Validation of Non-Formal and Informal Learning (VNFIL) is the most important activity of Kees van Oosterhout. He is the founder of Centrum voor Waardering van Capabiliteit (hereafter Centre for Appreciation of Capabilities) and is at the base of VNFIL in the Netherlands.
Kees' motto: living is learning. In his vision, one can't do without the other, and that comes back into his professional life in every way.
Kees typifies that he is not stuck on a chair. Immediately after his education as a primary school teacher, he started working as a remedial teacher at a school for mentally deprived children to make the move to group leader at a school for sever mentally deprived children a year later. The latter required a type of patience that he had no answer to and in 1980 he changed career to Volmac, a predecessor of Capgemini, where he met the insides and outsides of ICT. There Kees was learning by constantly attending training courses in the rapid developments that ICT went through at the time. Here also he became a teacher because he was soon assigned as a ‘coach’ for new colleagues. At the same time, he was a developer of new methods and techniques because ICT was still in its infancy, and of course professional in the field of computer operation, programming, technical design, functional design, information analysis, ICT methodology, ICT training advice, project management, and change management successively. In all these areas of interest, he also taught and was hired by clients for in-house training, automation assignments and consultancy. This was a very formative period in his professional life because he met many companies from the inside, each with their own culture, size, and questioning. His sensitiveness for organizations grew.
Before the acquisition of Volmac by Capgemini Kees was asked to participate in a project to map the shared values of Volmac. This activity led him to take a seat in the works council and contribute to Capgemini’s development-oriented HR policy. This period and the moment he was about to train project leaders and managers were the beginning of his thinking in recognition of competencies. He became more and more aware that training should always be tailor-made because the 'initial situation' is different for everyone and everyone carries their unique backpack of competencies. The trick is to connect precisely to that backpack and not to burden students with the knowledge they already have. He also came to the understanding that the workplace is the best learning place and that effective learning has everything to do with asking the right (learning) questions. The idea of creating learning tension (thanks to Jef Staes) then took stand as a key motivator to professional development. At Capgemini, Kees has gained a lot of knowledge and tools to apply assessments today.
In 1998 Kees made the switch to ChangeVision, at the time a project of The Vision Web. There he introduced Change Management and carried out such assignments mainly at Rabobank and successfully.
With the idea that a network organization could do even better than The Vision Web, in 2001 Kees and two partners founded Vigor Transitions. At Corus (the current Tata Steel) as launching customer, VNFIL was brought to maturity. The assessment method for transferral competencies was developed and it proved very successful. Corus quickly pointed out the need to also make assessments based on professional profiles such as qualifications for secondary vocational education, higher professional education, and technical universities. To this end, the cooperation was sought with the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (higher professional education) and ROC-Nova college (secondary vocational education). At the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Kees contributed part-time to the development of VNFIL-assessments in the ICT field and was the right-hand man of the training consultant and lecturer of management and leadership at the Institute for informatics for two and a half years. Besides, partly thanks to him, the EVC-centum beroepsonderwijs (VNFIL Center for Vocational Education) under Nova College took shape, the quality system was set up and assessors for different disciplines were trained.
In 2015, EVC Centrum Vigor (VNFIL-Centre Vigor) was founded by Kees together with a partner, each with a 50% stake in this private company. VNFIL has been further professionalized there. Kees focused primarily on the 'fulfilment' and quality assurance of the company. In October 2018, he split from Vigor to take a follow-up step in the VNFIL domain with Centrum voor Waardering van Capabiliteit (Centre for Appreciation of Capability) and to pay even more attention to creating added value of candidates for their contexts and working domains.
Kees never completely let go of ICT. In May 2018, this was reflected in the launch of the report ‘Werken in een digitale wereld’ (Working in a Digital World) which he wrote together with Johan Op de Coul. In this voluminous book, almost all functions in ICT as recognized in the Netherlands are described. It is closely aligned with the European Competence Framework e-CF. The book was commissioned by KNVI (Royal Dutch Association of Computer Scientists).
Kees has two main hobbies: oil painting and bicycling throughout Europe.
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