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What does Brexit mean for Europass?

BY UK NARIC
AUGUST 8, 2019

Europass is a non-profit initiative which is co-funded by the European Commission and the Department for Education in the UK. Therefore, the future of Europass depends on the outcome of Brexit. With this article, we hope to clarify what the potential outcomes of Brexit will mean for Europass.  

Deal or No deal?

If the UK leaves the European Union with any sort of agreement in place, then Europass will continue until the end of the current contract period – currently the end of 2020. During which period, a new long-term arrangement will be hopefully agreed between our National Agency and the European Commission.

If the UK leaves the European without a deal, then this will mean that Europass will not continue in the UK.

And finally, more simply, if there is not Brexit at all, then Europass will continue as normal.

What does it mean that there will be ‘no Europass’?

In reality, the only outcome which will have a major and immediate impact on the future of Europass in the UK is a No-deal Brexit. This is simply because the funding arrangements we have under the current contract will cease to exist.

To put this into context, this would mean that there is no UK representation and promotion of Europass. This would not mean that Europass ceases to exist across Europe (as each country across Europe has its own National Europass Centre).

Further to this, even if there is a No-deal Brexit the UK may be able to copy the model of countries such as Iceland, Norway and Turkey – non-member EU states – who still participate in European initiatives such as Europass as they make contributions to the overall Erasmus+ funding. These arrangements however, would probably take some time to arrange.

It is important to stress however, that access to the current Europass framework for UK citizens is freely available to all and will continue to be so in the same way that the Europass documents are completed all over the world, from Australia to Brazil. This is especially pertinent with the release of the New Europass which is scheduled to launch in early 2020 and promises to offer many more functionalities than the current platform.

For organisations, the No-deal scenario may also impact the use of Europass Mobility System but the details of this are unfortunately unconfirmed for the time being.

How to keep up to date with what is going on?

The reality of the situation is uncertain – and as the past three years has shown us, liable to change at any given moment. But there are some ways you can keep up to date:

  • Euroguidance, another European mobility initiative such as Europass, put together monthly Brexit briefings which are a great resource for keeping up to date with all things Brexit. You can sign up to receive them directly to your inbox
  • The UK NARIC blog is another useful resource to keep up to date with potential Brexit outcomes and other information such as recognition of international qualifications and The New Europass
  • The Erasmus+ Technical Notice is the latest and up to date UK Governmental Guidance on the Brexit scenarios, explaining what it means for both individuals and organisations

To summarise, just because we may be out of EU at some point in near future doesn’t mean we will not have access to the European infrastructure that is already in place or that which is being developed. We will not lose access to initiatives like Europass but, we will interact with them in a different manner.

If you have specific questions or feedback on any of the above or would simply like to find out more, please contact us at info@europass.org.uk

The New Europass: From Mobility Tool to Life-Long Learning Platform

BY UK NARIC
JULY 25, 2019

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.[1] 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:

e-Portfolio

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.

Information Provision

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.

These include:

  • 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 

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.

Digitally-signed credentials

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 info@europass.org.uk


[1]The Characteristics of Those in the Gig Economy – PDF




5 top tips for creating your Europass CV

BY UK NARIC
MARCH 11, 2019

1. Be clear and concise

  • Employers generally don’t look at CVs for very long. Fail to make the right first impression and you might miss your chance
  • One or one and half pages are usually enough for a CV

2. Keep it relevant

  • Employers don’t want to see your template CV so, update your CV according to the vacancy
  • Remember just because there are lots of sections to fill out on the Europass CV, doesn’t mean you have to include them all. Pick and choose the fields which will show you off the most

3. Check, check and check again

  • Employers are looking for attention to detail. Don’t miss out because of a silly spelling mistake
  • Get someone to proof read you application before submitting. Spellcheckers can miss simple errors

4. Upload your Europass CV to the EURES (European Employment Service)

  • Upload your Europass CV to the EURES portal
  • Your CV will instantly be available to thousands of employers all over Europe

5. Style is as important as substance

  • Make yourself stand out with the widely recognised  Europass CV format
  • Don’t mix up fonts for visual effect – it will make your CV look messy and disorganised

Get started here – https://rebrand.ly/EuropassCV




Europass’ top interview tips that lead to job offers

BY UK NARIC
FEBRUARY 13, 2019

1. Be clear and concise

You submitted your Europass CV and a potential employer invites you to interview. There’s no need to panic. We’ve put together a list of top interview tips to help you land your dream job.

Preparation

  • Allow plenty of time to get there. Turning up late makes a terrible first impression. If you are not familiar with the interview destination doing a trial journey is in advance is advisable. It will be one more thing you won’t have to worry about on the day of the interview.
  • Anticipate common interview questions such as “Why did you apply for this job?”, “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?” etc. and get someone to do a mock interview with you.
  • Thoroughly knowing the job description for the role you’re applying to will help you answer difficult questions and highlight specific skills which will show you are the right person for the job.
  • You are likely to be asked about the company you are applying for so, knowing about your potential employer is sure to impress.
  • Take a look at their company website and social media profiles such as LinkedIn prior to the interview. This can also help you to find the specific people who will interview you – giving an insight into what your future manager has achieved, on average how quickly you can expect to progress within the company and any areas of common interest.
  • Endearing yourself to your interviewers is just as important as the skills you present on your CV. You are more likely to get a job if an employer thinks they can work with you on a daily basis.

Appearance

  • Whilst it is true that some sectors take a relaxed attitude to office attire, dressing to impress is a good idea helping to show that you understand the company.
  • Presenting yourself well will reflect well upon you.
  • If you’re not sure what you should wear, you should ask in advance.

Ask questions

  • Having questions to ask your interviewers is always advisable. Nothing to ask makes you seem disinterested.
  • It’s also a great opportunity to ask about anything which has so far been unclear or simply about the work environment – i.e. is it fast-paced? Do employees socialise outside of work?
  • If you’ve spotted something in your research i.e. a lack of social media presence, then ask if the company has ever considered it. Suggesting ways to improve their business will impress and shows a potential employer what you could offer.

Make notes

  • Similarly to asking questions, taking notes shows that you’re diligent and engaged.
  • Even if you think you’ve taken everything in, it can be useful for when you want to ask questions at the end or after the interview.

Take your time

  • An interview is a chance to show off all of the qualities which can’t be written down. Highlight your technical capabilities and informal skills. Don’t just repeat your CV.
  • You’re not expected to answer every question immediately. Formulating what you want to say in a clear, coherent manner is more important than making the interviewers wait.
  • Giving yourself time to think is acceptable and will help compose yourself.
  • Admitting you don’t know the answer to a particular question is nothing to be ashamed of. Employers will appreciate your honesty and prefer this to hearing a response they know is incorrect.

Personal social media activity

  • Prospective employers are more than likely to check your social media activity prior to your interview.
  • Whilst an active social media account with lots of followers can make you stand out from the crowd, employers will only hire someone who they think will represent their company in a positive fashion both during and outside working hours.
  • Changing your privacy settings is a good way to keep your work and social life separate.

More resources from Europass…

  • Europass CV – if you haven’t created your CV yet, the Europass CV is here to help. It is widely recognised by employers, institutions and training providers across Europe – helping you highlight your skills, qualifications and work experience. 
  • EURES Job Portal – haven’t found the job that matches your skills yet? The European Job Mobility Portal has millions of jobs listed all over Europe. Employers can also search for you if you have a set of skills they require for a job role.
  • Euroguidance – not knowing what you want to do is fine. The Euroguidance network of careers guidance professionals can offer bespoke advice about what opportunities are available to you – whether that is working, studying or volunteering.



Europass: the CV template to fit every stage of your career

BY UK NARIC
JANUARY 31, 2019

Regardless of experience, all jobseekers need to make a good first impression with their CV. Knowing what format suits your career choice and what employers are looking for can be a challenge. Once you’ve identified which career description best fits your circumstances and experience from the options below, click through to the versatile Europass CV editor and start creating.

If you’re struggling to write a CV, here are some examples to help you stand out whether you’re a graduate, career changer, freelancer or ladder climber.

Graduate or Entry Level?

  • Whether you’re leaving school, college or university, a qualification-style CV is for you. This format shows off your qualifications first and other skills where appropriate – placing work experience second since you’re likely to lack experience at a young age.
  • Remember that it’s not just about showing off your good grades. Backing up qualifications with additional skills, such as volunteering, computer literacy or extra-curricular interests are of most interest to employers as it shows skills which can be applied in a job setting.

Promotion or Progression?

  • The reverse chronology CV gives prominence to work experience – listing your most recent position first.
  • This format is most useful for those who want to progress in the same industry or those who are applying for a promotion with the same employer.
  • It helps to identify relevant experience and expertise you can immediately bring to a role. 

Changing Career?

  • The skills-based CV is becoming increasingly more popular as labour market trends (such as the gig economy) encourage a more project-based approach to careers. This format encourages first list your most notable achievements and transferable skills from different sectors.
  • Just because you’re changing sector doesn’t mean you’ll start in a junior position – previous experience is still important. It’s about showcasing yourself properly.

Freelancer or Consultant?

  • Whether you are a graphic designer, influencer or project manager, the portfolio CV template is designed to illustrate your expert knowledge and, similarly to the skills-based CV, your most notable achievements in the hope of showing how you can be beneficial to businesses.
  • For those that work in creative sectors you may want to think about how you present your CV in addition to a document. You could point employers to a YouTube channel, blog or social media accounts. This will help you to stand out since a personal website or video will show a lot more than a paper CV.

Looking for a job? Upload your Europass CV to the EURES Job Mobility Portal to have access to millions of job opportunities. Thousands of employers can also search for candidates who best suit their job openings.




How will learners record and present achievement in the future?

BY UK NARIC
NOVEMBER 14, 2017

How will you record and present achievement in the future?

In 2017 the 100 millionth Europass CV was produced. It has proven to be popular and successful with a 2016 survey of Europass CV users reporting that 85% of respondents rated it as Good or Excellent. But Europass isn’t resting on its laurels.

Evolution of learning

Learning has changed enormously in the last decade, and is expected to change further, with an increase in online learning. We are increasingly hearing about learning becoming more ‘granular’ and bespoke. New ways of recording achievement are needed to reflect changes in learning, but also to counter fraud, and adapt to digital technologies and social media.

Evolution of recruitment

Recruitment is increasingly moving online, particularly through the use of social professional networks. Paper CVs are becoming less relevant, and online application forms or electronic CVs are now the norm. People are increasingly using smartphones or tablets for job-seeking.

What might the future look like?

It is difficult to tell. No one technology seems to pervade, and technology moves forward rapidly.  Professional social networks like LinkedIn seem to be having a period of success while so far ePortfolios seem to have failed to become mainstream.

In 2016, the UK National Europass Centre (UK NEC) wrote a paper entitled Europass 2020: A vision for meeting the current and future needs of modern European citizens in recording and promoting skills, qualifications and experience. This set out a vision of an online environment where individuals could store and share information relating to their study and work experience. This environment would also include an ‘issuing environment’” where the individual’s information could be verified  –for example through the use of digital credentials.

Please contribute to the new Europass

The UK NEC and other European centres are exploring a number of technologies to develop  a concept of what Europass might look like and how it might benefit UK and European citizens, as well as employers and other stakeholders. These include:

  • ePortfolios – an online space where electronic evidence is assembled, managed and can be shared with third parties.
  • Open Badges – visual tokens of achievement, issued by and traceable to a third party, which can be shared and used online.
  • Blockchain credentials – a way of issuing qualifications or blocks of learning (including Open Badges) which are traceable and verifiable by anchoring them to a Blockchain which attempts to eradicate the potential for fraud.
  • Digital Diploma Registers – online repositories of digital documents that are protected with digital signatures and other digital security measures. Often accessed online by invitation of the holder.

We invite you to contribute to the development of the new Europass. Please comment below with your thoughts on:

  • What sort of employability information do you think students should be encouraged to collect and share?
  • Where you think there are gaps in the information individuals are able to record?
  • What information do employers find difficult to gather when recruiting?
  • Are there any technologies that might be considered when modernising Europass?
  • Do you think there is a need for modernisation of the existing Europass Portfolio, or for Europass at all?



Record number of Europass documents completed

BY UK NARIC
DECEMBER 17, 2015

This article first appeared on the ECCTIS Blog

Since 2008 there has been an 86% increase in the number of visits from the UK to the central Europass website. Nearly quarter of a million visits were complete in 2012 resulting in over 120,000 Europass CVs being completed.

“These are really encouraging figures” commented Frazer Wallace, Europass Co-ordinator, “we’ve been working very hard at promoting the benefits of Europass and how the documents can help promote an individual’s skills and competencies and it seems to be paying off!”

In total, over 2.25 million Europass CVs and 40,000 Language Passports were complete in English while over 2 million Europass documents were downloaded in English in 2012; a 195% increase since 2008.

More information about the number of Europass documents that have been downloaded can be found on the central Europass website http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/resources/statistics.

More information about Europass is available from the Europass website.