Youthpass has originally been developed in the context of the EU Youth in Action programme (2006-2013). In December of 2013, Erasmus+ was established as the Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport, for the years 2014-2020. Besides formal education, Erasmus+ focuses also on non-formal and informal learning. The recognition of competences is an important part of the Erasmus+ legal text. Among other recognition instruments it specifically highlights Youthpass for the youth part of the programme.
In September 2018, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU adopted the European Solidarity Corps that offers young people the possibility to contribute to Europe's development through activities benefiting the society. Participating in the Solidarity Corps activities contributes to the competence development of the participants, which should be identified and documented through Youthpass, next to other possible tools.
The Youthpass certificate describes learning outcomes along the key competences for lifelong learning, which were first outlined in 2006 and revised in 2018: see Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2018). These key competences define a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that each individual needs for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment. Using this framework, Youthpass helps to build a bridge from non-formal and informal learning to other forms of education.
Furthermore, the political context of Youthpass includes the following documents:
- Adopted in 2012, the Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning suggests that the Union transparency tools (such as Youthpass) should be promoted in the process of establishing national systems for validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes.
- In 2015, the Council conclusions on enhancing cross-sectorial policy cooperation to effectively address socio-economic challenges facing young people invite the EU Member States and the European Commission to explore the possibilities of mainstreaming the Youthpass certificate outside the Erasmus+ programme and using it as a national tool for recognition, if relevant.