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This paper looks at the importance of mechanisms that give formal recognition to vocational skills acquired through work-based learning and how such mechanisms might be developed. It describes how skill recognition can benefit individuals, employers and society as a whole, and identifies in which contexts skill recognition has the highest potential to bring benefits. The focus is on three tools that are commonly used to shorten the path to a formal qualification: admission into a programme, reduced programme duration and qualification without a mandatory programme. For each of these tools, this paper sets out country approaches, discusses common challenges that arise in their implementation and advances policy messages to support policy design and implementation.