Social partners have a key role in promoting adult learning at the workplace


European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) has published a new guide on access to and participation in continuous vocational education and training in Europe. It provides policy guidance, outlines success factors and gives examples of good practice to make continuing VET and adult learning more attractive, accessible and of high quality.

In 2014, just over 10% of adults (aged between 25 and 64) participated in lifelong learning, well below the EU’s target benchmark of 15% by 2020. But participation in adult learning can be difficult to assess as it takes many forms and is often non-formal.

Policy handbook – Access to and participation in continuous vocational education and training in Europe examines, how to overcome these challenges.

Obstacles for learning

According to the European Adult Education Survey, employees identify family responsibilities (21%), conflicting work schedules (18%) and costs (13%) as the main reasons preventing them from participating in training.

The Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) shows that employers also have problems with a lack of time (32%), costs of training (31%) and a lack of suitable courses (13%). According to the CVTS, 77% of enterprises that do not provide training say they do not because they have no need.

Validation remains limited

To raise people’s motivation to engage in learning, EU Member States have been experimenting with different approaches. Validating non-formal and informal learning at the workplace is a promising option as it can make learning visible and transferable.

Many enterprises use validation methods, but these are often not publicly recognised and so do not lead to recognised qualifications.

Cooperation across all levels

The publication concludes that to make adult learning more attractive, inclusive, accessible and flexible, policy-makers and stakeholders need to cooperate across national, regional, local and sector levels.

Social partners have a key role to play, as they are best placed to encourage learning at the workplace and to negotiate work organisation and working time arrangements to promote participation in adult learning.

The publication is available as a PDF and ebook at Cedefop website.

Text: [via Cedefop]