European developments related to recognition

Here below you can find an overview of several European-level policy processes initiated in the last five years (2018-2023) related to the recognition of youth work, and of non-formal and informal learning in youth work:

  • 2023 - Proposal for a Council Recommendation: 'Europe on the Move' - learning mobility opportunities for everyone emphasises the value of learning mobility, including non-formal and informal learning and those developed in the youth field. The proposal suggests the Member States to support the engagement in learning mobility activities by "...valuing the work of staff who prepare and implement learning mobility projects and activities by making it an integral and formally recognised part of the profession of education and training staff and youth workers, ...and recognising the role of staff mobility in preparing, encouraging and then supporting learners’ mobility". In addition, the proposal suggests to support transparency and recognition of learning outcomes by "...supporting the full recognition of competences acquired through learning mobility in non-formal and informal learning, youth work and volunteering settings by promoting cooperation on validation arrangements that non-formal and informal learning outcomes can be more easily used in formal education and in the labour market..." and "...supporting education and training providers and organisers of youth learning mobility activities, youth work and volunteering in the systemic use of EU frameworks and instruments, including Europass, ...and Youthpass and/or national frameworks to support the identification, documentation, assessment and where appropriate certification of competences developed through learning mobility."
  • 2023 - European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning (third edition) aim to clarify the conditions for developing and implementing validation and is based on the 2012 Council Recommendation on validation. The guidelines define the validation process in four phases: validation – identification, documentation, assessment and certification; and acknowledges the learning outcomes acquired in various contexts, including non-formal and informal learning, and volunteering activities. The guidelines specifically mention the learning outcomes acquired during voluntary experience in the context of civil society organisation or youth associations, emphasising the main objective of validation in such cases to be mainly self-reflection and self-awareness. The guidelines mention "...Such outcomes (to) be highly relevant for progressing in formal education and training, as well as in employment." The guidelines also define the potential role of volunteering and youth organisations in validation processes as 'providing awareness raising, outreach, information and guidance and in carrying out the four phases of validation'. The European stakeholders' role (including those of the European programmes, European projects, European NGOs and European youth organisations) are defined as providing common guidelines and common EU tools for validation and best practices transfer, among others.

  • 2022 - Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union mentions that "...A volunteering experience provides volunteers with learning outcomes that increase their employability. National or EU frameworks (that is to say, Youthpass and Europass) supporting the identification, documentation and validation of learning outcomes of volunteering activities exist." and recommends the Member states to enhance the quality of the learning offers by "...supporting organisers of volunteering activities in a more systematic and generalised use of existing national or EU frameworks (i.e. Youthpass and Europass) to support the identification, documentation and validation of learning outcomes of volunteering activities"; "...supporting the training of youth workers and organisers of volunteering activities, recognising their key role in accompanying and guiding young volunteers through a high-quality volunteering experience" and "...developing and promoting general quality standards for volunteering while drawing inspiration from the comprehensive system of quality, support, inclusion and certification measures" among other things. In addition, Member States are recommended to increase awareness of the benefits of volunteering activities, also through promoting the existing frameworks " support the identification, documentation and validation of learning outcomes of volunteering activities (including Youthpass and Europass)." The recommendation invites the European Commission to further develop, promote and provide support for the use of existing EU tools.

  • 2021 - Council Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030) sees the education and training systems as a whole, covering formal, non-formal and informal teaching, training and learning contexts. The Resolution emphasises the further need for improving the quality of lifelong learning offers including the validation of non-formal and informal learning.

  • 2020 - The 3rd European Youth Work Convention took place from 7 to 10 December 2020 with the aim of offering a platform for discussing the latest developments in youth work practice and youth policy in Europe. The Final Declaration of the Convention defines 'Promotion and Recognition' as one of the eight priority areas for the Bonn Process, inviting all youth work stakeholders in engaging in relevant initiatives. Further information is available via the Final Declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Convention and the Council Resolution on the Framework for establishing a European Youth Work Agenda.

  • 2018 - EU Youth Strategy aims to contribute to realising the vision of young people - particularly through addressing the eleven European Youth Goals - by mobilising EU level policy instruments as well as actions at national, regional and local level by all stakeholders. The Strategy, among other objectives, invites the member states and the European Commission to "...share best practices and further work on effective systems for validation and recognition of skills and competencies gained through non-formal and informal learning, including solidarity and volunteering activities, continuing the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning". For more information, please refer to the European Council Resolution on the European Youth Strategy 2019-2027.

Recognition is a dynamic field that includes a wide range of developments connected to political documents, tools, studies and events. An overview that reflects the state of affairs in April 2016 was brought together. In 2024, we will be updating the overview document to reflect the latest landspace in the field of recognition.