Qualifications fulfil many functions: they serve to signal an individual’s personal, social and professional status, but they also control access to education, training and the labour market. Moreover, these functions change in line with wider social changes. But how does this process take place?

This review examines how the role and functions of qualifications are changing in Europe. Covering a wide range of sources - including a review of research in several social science fields and case studies of countries and an overview of Cedefop’s own work - it outlines four possible scenarios for developments in the next ten years and identifies the cornerstones for a reform strategy.