What is it about?

When moving to a new job or to further learning, whether within or across borders, learners and workers should see their skills and qualifications quickly and easily recognised. This is essential to raise skill levels and increase employability.

The European Union has developed several instruments to support the transparency and recognition of knowledge, skills, and competences to make it easier to study and work anywhere in Europe.

What has been done so far?

To date, a variety of initiatives have been launched with a view to simplifying the transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications across Europe. These include:

  • The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) helps in comparing national qualifications systems, frameworks and their levels to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe
  • Validation of non-formal and informal learning is a way to recognise the full range of an individual’s knowledge, skills and competences, regardless if acquired within or outside the formal education system. If validated (identified, documented, assessed, and/or certified) these learning experiences can be made more visible and usable for further studies or work. Member countries are invited to put the necessary arrangements for validation in place by 2018. Guidelines for implementation of these arrangements in the member countries are being developed. A European Inventory is updated on a regular basis to provide an overview over good practices in the area of validation
  • Europass, a set of five standardised documents and a skills passport available for free in 26 languages, designed to enable users to present their skills, qualifications and experience across Europe
  • Credit systems, ECTS for higher education and ECVET for vocational education and training
  • Quality assurance arrangements in higher education and vocational education and training

Public consultation

The European Commission ran an online survey on the European Area of Skills and Qualifications from 17 December 2013 to 15 April 2014. The survey collated views on the obstacles faced by people in having their skills and qualifications recognised across Europe. It found that there is strong support for action to simplify European tools for recognition of skills and qualifications, to make them more coherent and easier to use, and to ensure a stronger focus on the needs of pupils, students, workers and employers.