Lifelong learning, training and skills development

EPSU-CEMR {“Future of the Workplace” project
Providing high quality, modern and sustainable jobs within local and regional government }


Theme n°3

Lifelong learning, training and skills development



The need for skills and lifelong learning

To undertake any job effectively, it is clearly essential to have the appropriate skills, and jobs in local and regional government, from social work to highway maintenance and from accountancy to waste collection, are no exception.

It is also increasingly being realised that it is no longer sufficient to rely on the skills and qualifications acquired at or before the start of a career. Instead employees need to be able to update and adapt their skills to changing circumstances, including potentially changing employment, through lifelong learning and continuing vocational training. This has wide ranging benefits for all concerned. It enables employees to do their jobs effectively, but it also makes it easier for them to transfer between jobs – aiding restructuring; it allows older workers to acquire and develop new skills – aiding retention; and it makes jobs more interesting and varied – aiding recruitment.

This necessity has been recognised in a range of European Union policy documents. In 2009 the Council of the European Union concluded that, “The challenges posed by demographic change and the regular need to update and develop skills in line with changing economic and social circumstances call for a lifelong approach to learning”. The Council also set a benchmark that “By 2020, an average of at least 15 % of adults should participate in lifelong learning” (as defined in the Eurostat Labour Force Survey – see below).

More recently the Commission document “'An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs” launched as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy in November 2010, identified four key policy priorities as supporting the overall goal of “comprehensive lifelong learning”. These were:
- improving access to lifelong learning;
- adopting targeted approaches for the more vulnerable workers;
- enhancing stakeholders’ involvement and social dialogue; and
- establishing effective incentives and cost sharing arrangements.

The communication also restated the 15% target for participation in lifelong learning.

- Final Report October 2012

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