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Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

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This green paper launches a public consultation with the aim of boosting mobility opportunities for young people.

ACT

Green Paper of 8 July 2009 – Promoting the learning mobility of young people [COM(2009) 329 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Transnational mobility through which young people may acquire new knowledge and skills (learning mobility) enhances personal development and employability. Currently however, the learning mobility of young people is more an exception than a rule, and should therefore be promoted in all disciplines and contexts. As a result, the Commission is launching this public consultation to initiate discussions on how existing and new instruments, as well as public authorities and stakeholders can be mobilised to that end.

The green paper presents a number of issues where further efforts towards learning mobility are needed. The aim is to promote organised mobility that is carried out across borders as well as within and across sectors. While the value of virtual mobility is recognised, the focus is on physical mobility and the challenges arising before, during and after such periods.

Preparing for a period of learning mobility

Preparation is an essential element of any mobility project and needs to be well thought-out in order for the mobility period to be a success. Firstly, this consists of providing good quality and easily accessible information and guidance on mobility opportunities, including on funding, education and training programmes, as well as on any practical issues. Secondly, there is a need to promote and motivate young people to be mobile by informing them of the benefits and guaranteeing the recognition of such an experience. Thirdly, linguistic skills and intercultural competences facilitate mobility, and may be upgraded during mobility periods. However, as a lack of such skills may be a barrier to participation, ways to address these obstacles must be explored.

Other challenges to take into consideration during the preparatory phase include the legal status of the young people in the host countries. A secure framework for the mobility of minors and a European Trainee Statute for the mobility of trainees could help to overcome such legal obstacles. Similarly, the obstacles to the portability of grants and loans as well as to the access to benefits, which often contravene Community law, should be overcome to promote mobility. To this end, the Commission is suggesting the publication of guides for Member State authorities and stakeholders.

There is also a need to assure that the mobility period is of a high quality, to which both the sending and receiving institutions should commit. Appropriate mechanisms should be set up for selecting participants in a fair and transparent manner, as well as for matching participants and receiving institutions. A number of charters, such as the European Quality Charter for Mobility, could be used to guide this work, as could learning/training agreements drawn up by the sending and hosting institutions together with the participants. Finally, measures should be taken to reach disadvantaged groups, so that they may also benefit from the opportunities of learning mobility.

The stay abroad and follow-up

Proper arrangements should be in place to receive young people during their mobility periods abroad. It is particularly essential that the hosting institutions provide mentoring support to young people in order to help them integrate better into the host environment. Concerning the follow-up, mobility periods must be appropriately recognised and validated in terms of both formal and non-formal learning. To this end, a number of European instruments are already available (such as ECVET, EQF, Europass), but greater use should be made of them at the regional and sectoral levels.

A new partnership for mobility

In order to overcome the continuing obstacles to mobility, it is imperative to mobilise actors and resources at all levels. A new partnership should be established between public authorities, civil society and partners from the business world. At the same time, the funding base needs to be enlarged to provide mobility opportunities to all groups of young people.

Virtual mobility can provide an added value by acting as a catalyst for physical mobility, as well as by providing an international dimension to learning for those who cannot or do not want to go abroad. “Multipliers”, such as teachers and trainers at all levels, youth workers, as well as people who have been mobile are important in motivating young people to embark on a period of mobility. Any obstacles to their involvement in promoting mobility should be removed and opportunities for their mobility encouraged.

At the moment, mobility has wide backing. However, it is essential to turn this support into concrete targets, based on which Member States, regional authorities, institutions and organisations may define their mobility strategies. Strategic benchmarks should also be established to complement those developed at European and national levels.

Background

The Commission invites stakeholders and the wider public to respond to the issues raised in this green paper before 15 December 2009. The Commission will propose follow-up actions on the basis of these responses.

Last updated: 17.11.2009

See also

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