This involves enhancing equal access for young people to high quality education and training at all levels and opportunities for lifelong learning. It includes developing non-formal learning opportunities for youth, improving young people’s transition between education and training and the labour market, and reducing early school leaving. A more learner-centred approach, stronger teacher-student relationships, new technologies, learner mobility, better recognition of non-formal learning and flexible educational institutions are required.
Youth, like education and training, is a national policy area. Member States, however, learn from each other and exchange good practice through the Open Method of Coordination.
An EU funding programme is available for youth, and there is also one for education and training. In fact, the European Commission has integrated its various educational and training initiatives under a single umbrella, the Lifelong Learning Programme.
When tackling unemployment of young people, increasing emphasis is put on the development of skills and competences. A joint policy initiative carried out in cooperation between the European Commission and the EU Member States, New Skills for New Jobs aims at supporting EU Member States and regions in developing more effective ways to analyze and predict which skills will be required in tomorrow's labour markets and, with this knowledge, at developing and adapting education and training so that workers may gain the skills required.
For Europeans to be truly mobile, qualifications acquired in one country need to be valid in another. A central part of the process is the development of common European frameworks and tools to enhance the transparency, recognition and quality of competences and qualifications, and thus facilitate the mobility of learners and workers. The most important of these tools are the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), Europass, the European Credit System for VET (ECVET) and the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET (EQARF).
Youthpass is an EU-wide recognition of non-formal learning experiences gained by young people under the Youth in Action programme. This instrument has two main objectives: to create certificates for all the actions under the programme and to develop supplementary self-assessment instruments for long-term projects, which will complement the certificates.