Each EU country is responsible for its own education and training systems, but the EU supports them to set joint goals and share good practice.
Its flagship programme in this area – Erasmus+ – seeks mainly to tackle youth unemployment and boost skills and employability.
EU-wide recognition of vocational qualifications is a priority.
The EU Youth Strategy promotes equal opportunities for young people in education and on the job market and encourages them to participate actively in society.
Erasmus+ replaces 7 existing EU programmes in these fields, simplifying access to funding – including, for the first time, for sport.
Europass is a set of documents that help people present their skills and qualifications in a standard Europe-wide format. This makes it easier for employers to understand qualifications from other countries, and for workers to apply for jobs abroad.
The EU's scheme for studying abroad is named after Erasmus, a 16th century scholar.
The European Qualifications Framework makes it easier to compare different national qualifications by linking examinations and education levels to a common reference framework. The framework aims to help Europeans move abroad to study and work.
Through the ‘Copenhagen Process’ European countries (including all EU member countries), trade unions and employers cooperate to improve vocational and educational training. One result of this cooperation is the European credit system & quality-assurance network, which help people work and study abroad.
The 'Bologna Process' and launch of the European Higher Education Area aim to make it easier to move between education systems in Europe by promoting mutual recognition of periods of study, comparable qualifications and uniform quality standards.
The core mission of the EIT is to bring together Europe's best higher education institutions, research centres and businesses to focus on major social challenges.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie scheme supports the career development and training of researchers in all scientific disciplines, especially by helping them study and work in different countries and sectors.
Manuscript updated in November 2014
This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series