Why is there a need for better tools and services to make skills more visible?
People today have new ways and new opportunities to learn, work and find jobs. Tools and services for skills and qualifications can help them present their skills, qualifications and experiences in new and innovative ways. They can provide useful information on learning opportunities and skills trends in different sectors and countries; and they can support exchange of information and better understanding of skills and qualifications. These tools and services are essential to facilitate transparency, mobility and ultimately employability. This initiative, one of the ten actions proposed by the New Skills Agenda for Europe adopted by the Commission in June 2016, seeks to ensure that EU tools and services for skills and qualifications equip people and organisations with the support and information they need to find their way on the labour market or for further study.
What is Europass and why a new Decision?
Europass was established in 2004 by a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council to encourage transparency of skills and qualifications, in particular to facilitate mobility.
After eleven years, the tools and services need an update to reflect the needs of users in a changing labour market, as well as in education and training sectors. Europass was built upon largely static templates; its central objective remains to make it easier for people to exchange and understand information on skills and qualifications, but it will now also make full use of new technology and ensure links with other services to better respond to people’s needs.
Importantly, Europass will continue to serve the needs of all individuals including those who may not have access to online tools. Its delivery will be better connected with guidance services.
How will the new Europass help career and learning choices?
The new Europass Decision sets out two key planks to the evolution of the service. Firstly, the new Europass will offer a wider range of tools and services through a user-friendly online service. Europass will help individuals with their career management, and assist their decisions on education and training pathways and enable them to describe their skills to employers, education and training institutions and other interested organisations. Europass will offer tools such as an improved CV-builder for documenting skills and qualifications, free self-assessment tools and information on skills and qualifications, including trends in skills needs across Europe. It will be compatible with other services so that users can easily manage and share information with other systems such as online application forms for jobs or with social media.
Secondly, the new Europass will also embrace the use of open standards for topics such as learning opportunities, descriptions of programmes and skills. This work will be done in a way that complements other existing standards, creates consistency and makes sharing of information easier. The use of these standards will strengthen the ability of the Skills Panorama, for instance, to produce real-time, accurate information through web-crawling and data analysis on particular trends.
The online services will be complemented by services at national level.
What has Europass achieved so far?
Europass has gained more and more awareness in the last 10 years. Since 2005, there have been 126 million website visits, and over 93 million document templates have been downloaded. In addition, the most well-known document, the Europass CV, has been created more than 60 million times.
How have the social partners been consulted?
A series of targeted stakeholder consultations, including social partners and civil society, were organised to discuss the scope and priorities of the EU Skills Agenda, including the Europass initiative. Policy networks (Europass centres, European Qualifications Framework national contact points, Euroguidance network) have been consulted on an on-going basis during the development of this initiative.
What is the role of the Commission?
The Commission will provide the online platform offering the main services and will bring together a number of existing complementary EU portals for skills and qualifications, including the portal "Learning Opportunities and Qualifications in Europe" and the Skills Panorama, as well as the current Europass portal. The new Europass online service will deliver a range of linked services for skills and qualifications in an intuitive, user-friendly way through a single portal.
The Commission will also continue to encourage more synergy, coordination and sharing of expertise and good practice between national services supporting skills and qualifications and the use of EU tools.
Do EU funds support this initiative for better tools and services?
The EU is already supporting a number of EU portals for skills and qualifications, as well as the operation of national centres (which are currently funded by Erasmus+). Europass and the Skills Panorama are currently managed by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).
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