Youthpass as a recognition tool for European youth training programs

In the modern world, the popularity of youth exchanges, mobility of youth workers and international training in the field of youth is growing every year. All this refers to the sphere of non-formal education. As part of such programs, participants acquire many new competencies or improve them. In order to confirm formal education, all over the world it is accepted to issue a diploma of completion of higher education. Then how to confirm acquired skills after participating in non-formal education activities?

A Youthpass has been recognized as an efficient and already known tool for recognizing results of European training programs. It was introduced back in 2007 and is not just a participant’s certificate. Firstly, this document is a validated confirmation of participation in the project, secondly, it contains a description of the new knowledge and skills that the participant has acquired in the process of informal education and, finally, Youthpass can help to increase the competitiveness of the participant in the labor market.

Let’s look at this document closer.

A Youthpass can be obtained by every participant of a project implemented within the framework of the Erasmus+ program (KA1), which makes an important contribution to the acquisition of competences. The project organizer is responsible for issuing the certificate and evaluating the results of informal training. Organizers can create such certificates online via the website, and find a lot of useful information about it, a list and description of key competencies and a printout of the certificate.

Youthpass consists of two parts. The first is a description of the implemented project, which includes the goals, place and date of implementation, names of managers and main areas of activity. And the second, which describes the achieved or improved key competencies.

In order to create a Youthpass, the organizer must complete the following steps:

1. Register and get a username and password (you need the project number you received when you registered your project).

2. Fill in the general description of the project.

3. Fill in the names and data of the participants.

4. Insert the learning results of each participant into the certificate.

5. Generate certificates, check and print them.

A useful feature provided by the site is that, when creating a certificate, you can save your files and return to them later. The site also provides an opportunity to practice and create a demo version of the certificate on the demo site .

The best option for creating a certificate is the one in which both the organizer and the participant are engaged in the process. In this case, the second part of the certificate, which contains data on acquired or improved key competencies, is filled in or edited by the participants themselves. This, on the one hand, facilitates the work of the organizer, and, on the other hand, enables participants to be involved in the process, to analyze their own achievements in acquiring new knowledge and skills, and to receive their personal (unique) certificate at the end. Participants can determine the learning outcomes they have achieved both individually and in a group. It should be remembered that it is not necessary to include all competencies, it is worth describing only those from which the results were actually achieved

Given that when creating a Youthpass, the developers used the Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning (which were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2006), project participants have the opportunity to obtain a certificate that will include such competencies as: communication in the mother tongue, foreign language communication, mathematical skills and basic science and technology skills, digital literacy, learning ability, social and civic skills, entrepreneurial skills and cultural awareness and expression.

Competencies offered in a Youthpass:

Communication in the mother tongue. This competence includes the skills to write and read different types of texts, to search, collect and process information, to use aids, to formulate, to express one’s own opinion persuasively.

Communication in foreign languages. Presupposes an understanding of language, the ability to maintain a conversation, read and understand texts as needed, and an interest and curiosity in languages and intercultural communication.

Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology. This competence is our ability to use mathematical skills to solve problems in everyday situations. Both areas of this competence involve understanding the changes caused by human activity and responsibility as an individual citizen.

Digital competence. Digital competence involves the confident use of computers to search, evaluate, store, present and share information, to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the Internet, and requires a critical and reflective attitude towards available information.

Learning to learn. This competence involves the ability to organize one’s own learning and includes effective time and information management, both for oneself and for the group; knowledge about the learning process and the ability to determine available opportunities for learning, etc.

Social and civic competences. These competencies are probably one of the most important for any field. Therefore, it requires communication skills in different environments, the ability to express and understand different points of view, to conduct negotiations, to be able to create a friendly atmosphere, to be able to empathize, it is also important to be able to distinguish between personal and professional spheres, to be able to establish intercultural communications, to respect others, etc.

Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. These competencies relate to our ability to turn ideas into action, which is particularly important for youth work and youth initiatives. This includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects to achieve objectives.

Cultural awareness and expression. This competency reflects the importance of creative expression of ideas, experiences and emotions through a variety of media including music, performing arts, literature and visual arts.

In summary, it can be concluded that thanks to the Youthpass certificate, participation in projects can be recognized as an educational experience and non-formal learning. Therefore, Youthpass is not only a certificate that proves the participation and key competences acquired by the participant within the framework of non-formal educational activities, but it is also a tool that helps participants through the process of involving them in its writing:

• to analyze their progress on the project and understand why they failed this time;

• to understand what else they would like to learn and how;

• to show their competence, including during an interview with an employer or for further projects;

• to get a competitive advantage when getting a job by adding a Youthpass to their resume.