In June 2022, EU Ministers adopted two Council Recommendations - on individual learning accounts and on micro-credentials - that can play a key role in addressing these challenges. The Council Recommendations are based on proposals adopted by the Commission in December 2021 which were first announced in the Skills Agenda in 2020.
The Council Recommendation on individual learning accounts aims to ensure that everyone has access to quality training opportunities that are tailored to their needs, throughout working life and whether currently employed or not. This account should allow all working-age adults to accumulate and preserve individual training entitlements over time, in order to use them for eligible, quality-assured training, guidance or validation in their interest and at their initiative.
The Recommendation invites Member States to embed the individual learning accounts in an enabling framework, which includes a national registry of training, validation, and career guidance opportunities that are eligible for funding from the training entitlements as well as paid training leave arrangements for employed adults. This way, the Recommendation outlines how Member States can combine financial and non-financial support in an effective way to tackle the existing barriers to training participation in a joint-up manner.
The Council Recommendation on micro-credentials establishes an EU approach to micro-credentials which can support the quality, transparency and uptake of micro-credentials across the EU to enable lifelong learning and employability.
Micro-credentials certify the learning outcomes following a small learning experience (e.g. a short course or training). They offer a flexible, targeted way to help people develop the knowledge, skills and competences they need for their personal and professional development.
The Council Recommendation provides building blocks including a definition, standard elements for describing micro-credentials, and principles for designing and issuing micro-credentials. Together, these building blocks can enable the understanding and recognition of micro-credentials work across institutions, businesses, sectors and borders. The Recommendation also outlines key areas for action on micro-credentials in education and training and in labour markets policies.
"The Estonian framework for the implementation of micro-qualifications is being prepared in the framework of the amendment of the Adult Education Act, also taking into account the Council recommendations. We are pleased that our educational institutions are already prepared to offer micro-qualifications, which will provide new and more flexible learning opportunities for adults," said Renno Veinthal, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research.
The Commission looks forward to working with Member States and stakeholders on the implementation of these Recommendations to deliver meaningful support and impact, in an inclusive way, that helps people get the skills and opportunities they need throughout life.
The Council Recommendations, which have been endorsed by EU ministers, build on proposals adopted by the European Commission in December 2021 and first presented in the European Agenda for Skills in 2020.