What Europass currently is?
Europass is currently a portfolio of 5 documents which helps individuals take advantage of work and study opportunities across Europe and beyond. The most well-known of which is a standardised CV.
There is no doubt that Europass is a popular and successful tool. Since its launch in 2005 the Europass CV alone has been generated over 100 million times. However, with the prevalence of new technology and changing trends in the labour market, there is an imperative need to update the entire Europass framework to maintain its relevance to all end users in a modern context.
On the 4th October 2017 the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Europass Decision. In the European Commission’s press release announcing the revision of the Europass Decision they stated:
“With this revision, the [European] Commission aims to simplify and modernise [Europass] for the digital age and to add a new feature using big data to map and anticipate labour market trends and skills needs.”
Why the need for change?
One of the unique selling points of Europass is the internationally recognised format. Nonetheless, even if the current platform is valued in terms of the information and guidance provided, it is clear that end users value and require personalisation due to an increasingly competitive labour market.
The labour market is changing. According to UK Government figures, an estimated 5% of the population has ‘worked in the gig economy over the last 12 months’ – over half of which aged 18-35. This fits into the key demographic for Europass. In turn this means a greater emphasis placed upon shorter term, flexible work leading to more international mobility. Therefore, the need for transparent, portable, recognition becomes more important.
There is also, a demand for greater flexibility of output in terms of the information an individual presents. There is a wide range of ways that individuals show their skills and experience beyond the traditional paper CV. These include video, blogs, personal websites, links to a portfolio of work (in creative fields) or a link to an online recruitment platform e.g. LinkedIn.
Furthermore, the greater trends of job seeking point towards recruiters embracing these changes. According to the Social Recruiting Survey carried out by Jobvite around 90% of recruiters use social professional networks to match quality candidates to their positions. All of these factors contribute to the importance on the clear recognition of skills– placing greater importance upon the link between education (whether formal or informal) and employment. Furthermore, this shows that technology should be used to create a modern and flexible framework for Europass in line with the contemporary needs of end users.
What will the New Europass look like?
The new Europass is a set of web-based tools and information to support individuals in managing the different stages of their career and learning. These tools and information will be made available on a new online platform that is being developed by the European Commission.
The new Europass will be a free tool usable by anyone who is interested to use its services. It is being developed at European Union level with a goal to be adaptable to all national level systems and mechanisms.
The main work strands of the new Europass are set out in four pillars:
The Europass e-portfolio will enable users to display, document and share their skills, qualifications and experience gathered in the course of every stage of their life.
The format of the e-Portfolio will include three sections – My Europass, Work in Europe and Learn in Europe. It will be a hub that offers the Europass web-based tools such as the:
- Europass profile;
- Online editor;
- Skills profiler;
- Skills matcher;
- Aspirations manager; and
- Applications tracker.
A user-oriented approach developing, structuring and connecting content will be provided to meet user information needs. The provision of information using the new Europass platform will ensure that topics listed in Article 3(2) of the EU Decision on Europass are covered.
- learning opportunities;
- qualifications and qualifications frameworks or systems;
- opportunities for validation of non-formal and informal learning;
- recognition practices and relevant legislation in different countries, including third countries; and;
- services offering guidance for transnational learning mobility and career management.
Interoperability is the ability of any system to work with other products or systems without any restrictions or limitations. It is a system that can connect and communicate across platforms where information can be exchanged and reused.
Organisations that maintain CV databases, that operate IT systems where end-users fill in a profile, that process candidate applications or that provide databases of information to be published on Europass, benefit from interoperability with the new Europass offers. Interoperability aims to achieve these goals by providing the means to share and exchange the services while ensuring data protection and a secure process
With Europass interoperability, users can:
- Share their Europass with other platforms instead of re-filling all their data into online forms;
- Use their Europass to apply online for jobs or further training;
- Find the opportunities that are relevant for them;
- Always control the personal data in their profile, with whom it is shared and how it is used.
A key feature of the new Europass will be the inclusion of digitally-signed credentials.
Digitally-signed credentials are electronic records given to a person to certify the learning they have received. Such learning includes formal education, training, an online course, a volunteering experience and more. They can for example be awarded by a university, a school, an employer or a vocational training institute. Degrees, diplomas and certificates of participation can be provided as digitally-signed credentials. They provide recognition to learning outcomes achieved throughout an individual’s life.
Integration of digitally-signed qualifications will be a key feature in the new Europass (Action three of the Digital Education Action plan) and the EU Decision 2018/ 646 takes it further in Article 4(6) by specifying that the ‘Europass shall support authentication services for any digital documents or representations of information on skills and qualifications’.
Update on developments and where are we now?
The Europass team is actively developing content for the new platform which is scheduled for a two phased launch. Phase 1 will launch in February 2020 and Phase 2 by the end of 2020. The team also works on consulting and meeting with potential stakeholders who can be interoperable with the new platform. A timeline of scheduled developments of the New Europass can be found in this publication which details the Europass Project Management Plan.
Any interested stakeholders can be involved in the development of the New Europass. Notably through user testing (which will be taking place later this year), in expert working groups, by participating in webinars (the most recent of which can be found here). Keep up with developments in this area by visiting the Europass Development Website.
Regular updates can also be followed at: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/europass/news
Further to this, we continue our work as members of the Europass Advisory Group (EAG) and are responsible for the provision of regular feedback on design, content and approaches in development.
If you have specific questions or feedback on any of the above or would simply like to find out more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Characteristics of Those in the Gig Economy – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/687553/The_characteristics_of_those_in_the_gig_economy.pdf