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Europass 2020:

A vision for meeting the current

and future needs of modern
European citizens in recording and
promoting skills, qualifications and

By the Europass Innovation Working Group

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication
[communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held
responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Further
information about Europass can be found by visiting the Europass Portal.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page

1 Abstract 3
2 Introduction 5
3 Simplifying the Process: Analysis of the current Europass 8
4 Europass and job-seeking: Establishing Labour Market 11
5 Europass and skills / qualifications recognition: Education 15
Market Needs
6 Futureproofing: Proposals for modernisation
7 Conclusions 19
8 Contributors 20


This paper presents a vision of how the Europass networks Innovation Working
Group thinks Europass should look in 2020.

Europass is now 11 years old and some of the Europass documents precede the
Europass Decision1. Save for aesthetic changes, the Europass documents remain the
same as they did in excess of a decade ago.

Few would argue that Europass is a European Commission success story. Europass
documents have been used in their millions, and it is one of the European
Commissions best known brands.

Despite this, labour markets, education systems, modes of learning and (in
particular) technology has changed enormously. Digitisation has revolutionised the
way information and data is used, and Europass must change. Whilst the CV, and
Diploma Supplements are used in huge numbers, other Europass documents (albeit
in some cases niche documents) are not widely used, not fit for purpose and in
danger of becoming obsolete.

In particular, the Working Group believes that Europass Mobility, the Certificate
Supplement and Diploma Supplement need to be modernised, and made more
suitable to the needs of end users and stakeholders. The Language Passport should
be absorbed into the CV as Working Group members see little tangible benefit in
having it as a stand-alone document. Save for the Language Passport, there should
be a move away from self-assessment tools.

When developing Europass, labour and education market needs must be taken into
account, and sector stakeholders consulted throughout the process. There should
also be a move away from Europass documents and towards services as it is
perceived that documents in the traditional sense will become obsolete in the digital
age. Facilitating the recording and recognition of non-formal and informal learning
needs to be a priority as it is an area where Europass can be of most influence.

The Innovation Working Group sees Europass an online service that includes a
Personal Environment containing all sorts of information about the users skills,
qualifications, working experience and more. It will contain information verified by
third parties, which employers and other labour and education market actors can

2004 on a single Community framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences

rely upon. This verified information will be issued through a separate, but linked
Issuing Environment.

These Personal and Issuing Environments will form a stable base, which will allow for
the importing and exporting of digital information in whatever form future labour
and education market needs dictate, and utilising whatever technologies become
available in the future. Because this data will contain large quantities of quality,
verified data on skills and qualifications, this data can also be utilised to inform policy
and education and labour market needs.


Policy background
The EU 2020 Strategy outlined the general strategy, and outlined headline targets, to
create the conditions for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. EU 2020s flagship
initiative The Agenda for New Skills and Jobs provides actions including:
Improving flexibility and security in the labour market.
Equipping people with the right skills for jobs

In addition the New Skills for New Jobs initiative set out to:
promote better anticipation of future skills needs;
develop better matching between skills and labour market needs;
bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work.

Europass has the potential, together with other European tools like ESCO, to perform
a vital role in contributing to many of these targets and initiatives up to 2020 and
beyond. In particular, if developed properly, it can provide data to anticipate skills
needs, match skills to jobs and provide education and labour market intelligence. In
a broader policy perspective, Europass does, and can continue to facilitate the free
movement of workers around the European Union as outlined in article 45 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [2012] OJ C 326.

Europass was a key component on the consultation for the European Area for Skills
and Qualifications, and is now one of the focuses of the consultation on the New
Skills Agenda for Europe.

At the same time, there has been talk for some time about making changes to the
Europass Decision. The reason for this is that the Europass decision is, in the opinion
of the European Commission, too prescriptive.

It is in this context that the Europass networks Innovation Working Group is putting
forward their vision for the future of Europass.

It is worth noting that, whilst the publication of this paper coincides with the current
consultation on the New Skills Agenda for Europe, it was conceived separately, not in
response to that consultation.

With the European Commission having communicated their intention to revise the
Europass Decision, it is an opportune time to consider how Europass might look in
the future.

The Innovation Working Group

The Innovation working Group was established in 2013, initially as the European
Skills Passport, ePortfolio and Interoperability Working Group, but the remit has
subsequently expanded and the name changed to reflect this. The remit of the
working group is to explore ways in which Europass can develop to meet the current
and future needs of individual end users and labour market and education

stakeholders. This includes the Europass documents themselves (though we propose
that the concept of documents in the traditional sense may, in time, disappear), as
well as peripheral tools (Europass Interoperability and related tools for example),
and the use of modern and emerging technologies to distribute information to users
and stakeholders.

The Innovation Working Group currently constitutes representatives from 15

European countries. Cedefop (who developed the online editor, and website) also
regularly attend and contribute to meetings, though it should be noted that the
content of this paper does not necessarily reflect their views.

Deciding the direction

When deciding the direction of Europass, it is important that changes are not made
for the sake of it, and that changes are made for the correct reasons, and with the
needs of end users in mind. In this case, end users certainly must include individuals
citizens, but also employers and education institutions and stakeholders that will be
relying on the documents.

It is also important to build on the considerable successes of Europass to date, which

has been 11 years in the making and includes:
over 126 million website views,
over 93 million document templates downloads
over 60 million Europass CVs created online
These numbers increase by huge margins every year, and we must ensure that
changes do not undo all of this hard work.

Taking all of this in mind, the Innovation Working Group has concentrated on 4 main
areas in this paper, and to an extent each area is linked with and builds on the
Simplifying the process in deciding how Europass should evolve, we should
assess what is successful with the existing portfolio, and work to improve the
products and services taking into account feedback from stakeholders
across the whole of Europe.
Labour market needs Europass is probably best known for the Europass CV
(it is by some order of magnitude the most popular Europass document, and
probably the most popular standard CV template in the world) and its use in
the labour market. Despite this, the other existing Europass documents also
play a role. To develop Europass in this area, current and future labour
market needs must be established and met.
Education Market needs Europass also plays an important role in the
recording and recognition of formal and informal learning. Learning is
increasingly taking place outside of a formal context, particularly as
technologies evolve. Unfortunately not all of this learning is identified,
documented or recognised. Europass has the potential to play a very
important role in this area.
Futureproofing The Europass documents have not really changed very
much since the original Europass decision in 2005. This is despite huge

changes in the labour and education markets and, in particular, technology.
There is general agreement that, despite its successes, Europass needs to be
updated, and kept up to date particularly in an environment where
commercial products receive considerable investment.

The following sections outline the general conclusions that the Innovation Working
Group came to in these areas, and puts forward our concept for how we believe
Europass can build on its successes, keep up with new and emerging technologies,
and above all meet the needs of our target groups in providing a platform for aiding
the transparency of skills, qualifications and experience in modern Europe.

Simplifying the Process: Analysis of the current Europass Portfolio

In order to consider the future direction of Europass, it is necessary to analyse the

existing portfolio of documents. It is possible, and in the view of the working group
necessary, that Europass in 2020 should, and will, differ significantly to the current

The group also feels that it will be necessary for Europass to continually evolve as
National, European and worldwide employment and recognition practices change,
and technologies evolve.

The Working Group has analysed and discussed the existing Europass portfolio,
taking on board feedback gathered by the various National Europass Centres from
end users and stakeholders. Inevitably there was geographic variance in terms of the
usefulness of the various existing documents, but the following general conclusions
were reached:

1) There is a necessity to streamline the documents

Europass documents and the corresponding databases should be the consistent

and recognisable all over Europe regardless where they are issued. At the
moment, the documents issued through the Europass Online Editor CV, Cover
Letter, Language Passport and European Skills Passport - fulfil these criteria as
they are centrally issued from Cedefops Europass Online Editor. Other Europass
documents do not. Consequently, users are confused if they are confronted with
different systems in different countries. The specifics pertaining to each
document are listed below:

a) Europass Mobility:
There is an ongoing need for a document that performs the role of Europass
Mobility in recording and verifying work and study placements, though it
neednt necessarily require the activity to take place in another European
country placements could take place within the same country, or anywhere
in the world.

In the future, in order for Europass to have an instrument that documents

work and study placements and is seen as an asset by its users, the following
actions are seen as essential:

a) A simplification and modernisation of the document.

b) A single, Europe-wide, user-friendly database that imports data from the
Erasmus+ Mobility Tool.
c) For quality assurance and statistical reasons, issuing the document on
paper without a database should be discontinued. This would also give
added value to enterprises participating in Erasmus+ and other work /
study placements.

d) A user friendly self-guided interface for describing competences.
e) It should be perform the role of recognising informal and non-formal

b) Europass Certificate Supplement / Diploma Supplement

It was not possible for the Working Group to come to a consensus on
whether these documents should be merged, though there was consensus
that there is a need for a document or documents that perform the purpose
of aiding the recognition of higher and vocational qualifications.

There was unanimous agreement within the working group that both
documents should be digitised.

In order to make training and education transparent and easy to understand

all over Europe, some basic general rules should be followed by all countries,
including, but not limited to:
who can issue the document,
how quality control is maintained,
whether they are personalised / non-personalised.

As the Diploma Supplement is older than Europass itself, countries in which it

was introduced early face the problem that it is not seen as a Europass
document by the institutes of higher learning (HEIs). HEIs should be
encouraged to display the Europass logo by the European Commission.

In some countries Diploma Supplements are still not issued automatically

with qualification certificate or diplomas, even though it is compulsory. Work
needs to be done at national government and European Commission level to
encourage adherence.

One advantage of digital documents is that they can easily be linked to

Diplomas / Certificate, for example through the use of QR codes. Some
Europass Centres are already experimenting with this.

c) CV (including the Skills Passport and Language Passport)

As most functionalities of the Language Passport are integrated in the CV, it is
the unanimous opinion of the working group members that the Language
Passport is obsolete and should be discontinued as a separate document.

The optional sections (Certificate and Diplomas and Linguistic and

Intercultural Experience) should be added as optional fields to the CV editor
and template.

Apart from the language section, no more self-assessment sections should be
added to the CV. The ICT section is seen critically by employers according to
feedback received by NECs.

2) The co-operation with other EU Services

The co-operation with all other relevant EU Services is of utmost importance. In

this paper, we are focusing on two services where cooperation is extremely

ECVETs connection with Europass, and especially Europass Mobility, is
evident. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as well as the Learning
Agreement (LA) currently used by ECVET should be incorporated into a new
database for Europass Mobility.

Europass Mobility (or a replacement) should be the primary document used

to record ECVET, thus strengthening both services and increasing their
visibility. Should it not be fit for purpose as it is, it should be adjusted in
consultation with ECVET stakeholder in order to ensure that it.

Further co-operation with Eures is especially needed in order for Europass to
reach employers and to make sure that the interoperability between both
systems is transparent for users. Clarification is needed on the Skills
Passport: as there are currently two documents that are different, but share
the same name. Further integration of ESCO, Eures and Europass should be
explored particularly as regards job and skills matching.

Europass and job-seeking: Establishing Labour Market Needs


The EU2020 strategy and its flagship initiative An agenda for new skills and jobs"
aim to modernise labour markets and empower people by developing their skills
with a view to increase labour participation and better match labour supply and
demand, including through labour mobility.

When developing Europass, the involvement of labour market stakeholders,

especially employers, public and private employment services, and job counsellors,
are considered to be crucial in the future of Europass portfolio.

Recommendations regarding the involvement of employers and how Europass can

support it:

In order to ensure the future success of Europass we highly recommend better and
greater engagement with employers both at national and European level.

Employers need to be considered as one of the main target groups of the Europass
portfolio. We need to change our approach to better encompass the different
employers needs. For this we need to acknowledge the wide variety in employers
needs across sectors, company sizes and resources. We must appreciate that there
will be differing needs, and that Europass is unlikely to meet all of these needs, but
must provide a best-fit.

There is an urgent need for a more targeted approach in terms of a stronger

communication strategy and involvement of labour market stakeholders in the
development of the Europass portfolio.

An independent employers survey at European level should be carried out in order

to assess the opinion of the sector concerning all the Europass documents, their
recognition, validation and usage. It is essential in order to engage employers and
build trust in the Europass brand. The European network of Public Employment
Services, and organisations like the European Association of Private Employment
Services (Eurociett) should also be regularly consulted.

The revision of Europass documents and tools should reflect the specific needs of
the employers and job counsellors as identified in the survey findings. Their
involvement in this process is paramount in order to have flexible, useful and
modern documents. This exercise should not be a one-off, but needs to be repeated,
in order to keep pace with changes in job-seeking conventions and future
technological developments.

From an employer point of view, Europass can increase its added value by shifting its
focus from documents to services. As such there should be more attention and
resources spent on improving interoperability services and make Europass a more

attractive service for employers, particularly in the area of competence matching,
which is currently a major trend in employment practices.

Europass2Spreadsheet is a good example of providing such added value, especially

for medium-sized employers who do not have HR resources to make a
comprehensive comparison for all the CVs they receive. Europass2Spreadsheet
should, however, be seen as a useful first step, and needs further future
development. The Innovation Working Group is already working on a second
iteration of Europass2Spreadsheet (together with Cedefop) called Europass Drop-off.

In the long term, the Europass brand should be able to approach and engage
employers with such attractive services, which will further enhance them in using
the most popular documents that the EU has ever created.

Europass and skills / qualifications recognition: Education Market Needs


Following the economic crisis Europe continues to struggle with further internal and
external turbulences. Latest statistics indicate that Europe-wide unemployment
levels are in the region of 10.3%2. Levels of unemployment vary from country to
country, which means that citizens are increasingly looking to work further afield.
Employers are increasingly noticing skills gaps differences between the skills
actually required by a job, and those possessed by (potential) employees.

Citizens are also looking to up-skill in order to increase their chances of gaining
employment and to plug skills gaps. This up-skilling can take numerous forms,
including formal, and increasingly non-formal and informal education methods. The
way that learning takes place is becoming increasingly diverse, with distance
learning, e-learning, peer-to-peer and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
becoming more and more prevalent.

The increased mobility of citizens, and increased diversity in learning are, of course,
to be encouraged, however it poses problems in terms of international recognition
qualifications, further complicated by the need for methods of recognising and
making visible education that takes place outside of a formal education setting.

The future role of Europass in aiding recognition of qualifications and skills

For 11 years, Europass has played a major education market role providing valuable
tools for qualification, competence and skills recognition. In terms of qualification
recognition, the Diploma and Certificate Supplements, together with the European
Qualification Framework and the network of NARICs make formal qualification
recognition in Europe a reality, and fairly well developed. Although there is room for
modernisation including integration and interoperability with student record
systems, wholesale changes in this area and not necessarily a priority.

It is the opinion of the Working Group that Europass must do more to address the
issues concerning identification, recording and recognition of non-formal and
informal learning. Whilst Europass Mobility does to some extent provide a platform
for this, the scope of the document is too narrow (in terms of the circumstances in
which it can be used), the document is not fit for purpose, is antiquated, and (as


mentioned in the section on Simplifying the Process above) the tools for issuing
the documents vary from country to country leading to confusion.

Europass is the ideal tool to help address the shortcomings in recording non-formal
and informal education, and must seek advice from the sector on how this should be
done. Tools such as ECVET and ESCO should also be incorporated where appropriate.

Europass should provide tools and/or services to record and recognise all types of
learning including, but not limited to:
Online and electronic

In providing a tool for recording non-formal and informal learning of the types listed
above, the Working Group feels that Europass can provide valuable tools for hard to
reach, and under-represented target groups such as low skilled people, early school
leavers, adult learners, those returning to the labour market after a period of
absence and migrants.

The working group also feels that if ESCO can be integrated into the Europass
documents, then this data can and should be used to inform education systems on
skills gaps and Europass, integrated with Eures can be a key tool for job and skills

Finally, when looking into way in which Europass can facilitate recording and
recognising formal an informal learning, consideration should be given to existing
tools and, in particular, Open Badges.

Futureproofing: Proposals for modernisation

In the recent consultation on the forthcoming Skills Agenda, the European

Commission expressed their ambition to have flexible and interoperable products to
support mobility for citizens in Europe.

In this section the Innovation Working group sets out the direction that we foresee,
and would like, Europass to go. As mentioned in previous sections, the development
must be done in consultation with end users and sector stakeholders.

Specifically, we propose two different but interlinked environments that we feel

have the potential to realise our goal of making the skills, qualifications and
experience more transparent for citizens, organisations and employers.

It should also be noted that Europass should be developed in such a way that it is
flexible enough to embrace the evolution of education and labour market needs as
well as emerging technologies.

Personal environment

The wish to stand out of the crowd when applying for a job, means that there is an
increasing need for individuals to produce graphically appealing CVs, or even to hire
a graphic designer do that for them. Many HR professionals state3 that, the
aesthetics of a CV allows them to can see who is behind it. Whether we like it or
not, the form tends to become as important as the content.

It is becoming apparent that the use of CVs for applying for a job is gradually
disappearing in certain occupational sectors, and in certain regions of Europe. Job
applicants are increasingly using other techniques, like personal websites, blogs,
videos or infographics. Whilst this is not necessarily prevalent now, it is likely to
increase in the coming years. On the other hand, we see employers searching for
suitable employees with the right skills on platforms like LinkedIn.
We believe that these developments can, and should not be ignored and Europass
should prepare itself for future developments.

Inspired by LinkedIn-like systems, we believe the appropriate future direction of

Europass is a personal professional environment, accessible anywhere, where an
individual can store his personal data in a secure way. This data would probably

Note that this may vary by both sector and country.

remain essentially the same: educational history, work history, diplomas, open
badges, certificates, etc.

From this environment an individual will be able to generate products like a CV, but
also new products, like a personal clickable timeline (see figure 1 below for an
impression of how this might look) in the form of an infographic or a webpage. It is
essential that the user should be able to personalize his design.

Figure 1

The envisioned environment will have a stable base, and flexible output. Depending
on market needs, this environment should be able to adapt and expand relatively

There is no doubt that the Europass CV is very successful and useful, however a
weakness of CVs in general is that employers find it difficult to recognise the value
and credibility of the information contained in them. There is increasing evidence
that what employers and educational institutions want, is validated data instead of
self-assessed skills. We therefore propose that a new professional Europass Personal
Environment will support the inclusion of validated data like digital diplomas, open
badges or other verified documents and information.

Services to validate data can gradually be linked to this environment. This might
include national or institutional diploma registers, where the individual can
download his digital diploma and add it to his or her collection.

This environment would be much more attractive for employers than LinkedIn, as
the latter does not contain validated data. This is where we can provide an added
value over and above existing commercial products.

The environment could also share products on social media, but the user can also
share directly with peers, or open up a personal webpage to employers, teachers or
job coaches.

The user can also decide to allow their data to be searchable by employers and allow
data exchange with public and private employment service platforms. In order for
this to become a reality, we propose that Eures should also be involved in the
development process.

Within the environment the user should be able to construct more than one
product. For each separate product, it should be possible to give selective access to
others. Access might be provided in different ways, for example by sending a
classic Europass CV or an Infographic to an employer, or sending an employer or
teacher a link to a personal webpage that he composed within his personal
environment. The Europass Personal Environment should be multimedia friendly and
accessible from various devices.

Issuing environment

The Working Group believes that Europass should provide a single platform for
issuing proof of competency in whichever form. This could be mobility
experiences, domestic experiences, or more specific learning. It should, of course,
cover both formal and non-formal learning.

The simplicity of use of the environment is a critical success factor. The environment
should enable the use of standardized competencies, based on ESCO and/or ECVET.
Europass can grow to be an important distributor of these competency collections.

The environment delivers digital documents like PDFs, though in the current climate,
we see these being replaced with Open Badges. Open Badges have the advantages
that they are secure and interoperable in their own right.

Secure information is of more use to employers, who can then rely on data that is
not self-assessed. An Open Badge issued in the Europass Issuing environment could
be directly used in any other environment, and Open Badges from any other source,
can be directly used within the Personal Europass Environment (mentioned

The advantage of the Issuing Environment is that in the future, to stay flexible, other
technology might be added. These will be technologies that we are not aware of at
this time. Importantly, in a rapidly changing world these environments would offer a
solid base with flexibility in terms of output. This is why it is of great importance to
make Europass 2020 completely interoperable with other future digital tools.

The issuing environment also acts as a skills feeder to the Europass personal
environment. Products that are generated through the Europass Issuing
Environment can be automatically presented as a node or event to be presented
through the user interface. This way, personal skills will become more visible to both
employers and institutions should the individual choose to share them.

An important added value of centralizing the Europass issuing platform is that the
system will centre around a unique database with large amounts of data on skills
throughout Europe. The more the system is used, and the longer it is in existence,
the more data will be collected. Valuable intelligence and statistics from this
database can be linked to tools like the Skills Panorama, and be used by policy
makers, education systems and institutions.

In the 11 years since Europass was launched the needs of the labour and education
markets have evolved That is not to say actors in those markets necessarily need
different information, in general their needs are very similar, however the way in
which information is consumed and technologies utilised are changing. It is also now
possible, due to increasing digitisation, for information to be easily shared and

The labour market is evolving, and many vacancies are applied for electronically,
either via email, or tools like LinkedIn. Increasingly, employers are not requiring the
use of a CV in the form that we know it.

Similarly, in the education sector, digital student data is becoming more prevalent,
and a number of organisations all over the world are exploring tools like digital
diploma registers and electronic diploma supplements which do so much more with

Learning methods are also evolving, and migrating from traditional formal education
settings. Recording and recognising this learning is proving problematic, but tools
like Open Badges are filling this space.

It is the opinion of the Innovation Working Group, that Europass must evolve, not to
survive, but in order to provide a tool which meets these changing needs, as there is
currently no one tool which meets all of these needs.

The model that we have proposed in this paper is intended to provide a modern,
flexible infrastructure that will allow Europass to meet Europes needs in terms of
recording and sharing a citizens skills and qualifications. It is ambitious, but
achievable, and provides a platform to allow further evolution as new tools and
technologies arise. It also has the potential to collect data that can be fed back into
the education and labour markets and educate future policies and agendas.


Name Europass Centre

Working Group Chairs
Frazer Wallace UK National Europass Centre, ECCTIS Limited
Erik van den Broek National Europass Centre for the Netherlands, Dienst
Uitvoering Onderwijs
Wouter Kerkhove Flemish Belgian Europass Centre, VDAB
(former chair)
Subject Leads
Alexandra Enzi Austrian National Europass Centre, OeAD (sterreichische
Austauschdienst)-Gesellschaft mit beschrnkter Haftung
Csilla Szab Hungarian National Europass Centre, Tempus Kzalaptvny
Konrad Romaniuk Polish National Europass Centre, Foundation for the
Development of the Education System
Erik van den Broek National Europass Centre for the Netherlands, Dienst
Uitvoering Onderwijs
Peter Heeling National Europass Centre for the Netherlands, Dienst
Uitvoering Onderwijs
Working Group Members and Contributors
Marcel Vandamme Flemish Belgian Europass Centre, VDAB
Elena Borisova Bulgarian National Europass Centre
Maria Ranovska Bulgarian National Europass Centre
Mihaela Kanarcheva Bulgarian National Europass Centre
Anne Walsh Irish National Europass Centre, Quality and Qualifications
Ismene Tramontano Italian National Europass Centre, Isfol
Saverio Lovergine Italian National Europass Centre, Isfol
Gianluca Calzonlari Italian National Europass Centre, Isfol
Sigita Lovergine Lithuanian National Europass Centre, vietimo main
paramos fondas
Kathleen Lapie Luxemburg National Europass Centre, Anefore asbl
Sacha Dublin Luxemburg National Europass Centre, Anefore asbl
Dawid Wojcicki Polish National Europass Centre, Foundation for the
Development of the Education System
Catarina Oliveira Portuguese National Europass Centre, Agncia Nacional
Aurora Lazaro Spanish National Europass Centre, Organismo Auronomo
Programas Educativos Europeos
Luis Serrano Spanish National Europass Centre, Organismo Auronomo
Programas Educativos Europeos

*Please note that the above list represents members of the working group. This
paper is a collaborative effort and does not necessarily represent the views of all of
the individual members of the group.