For a competitive Europe: lifelong learning as every employee’s right
Digitisation, longer working lives and the Green Deal as challenges for the world of work
LB – 07/2022
According to the recommendations of the
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), society and the world of work are undergoing
a profound change. Digitisation and its increasing dynamics,
demographic developments and, last but not least, the climate goals within the
framework of the Green Deal pose the challenges of the next decades, the
effects of which are also evident in the growing shortage of skilled workers,
among other things. Added to this is the management of current crises, such as
the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of the war in Ukraine, which require
companies and their employees to be able to react and adapt quickly.
Education secures the future of Europe
Therefore, general education and vocational
training are crucial for Europe's labour market and prosperity. In the European Pillar of Social Rights the EU has formulated the "right to
general education, vocational training and lifelong learning" as an indispensable
principle. Its implementation is also on the EESC's agenda.
Recommendations for the promotion of vocational education and training
In a public hearing, the results of a recent Study by the Labour Market Observatory were discussed with representatives of
the European institutions, the social partners and other civil society
organisations. The study presented examined labour market challenges and trends
in 12 EU countries, collected examples of good practice and made recommendations
to encourage both EU Member States and their companies to better integrate
lifelong learning and training into the labour market. Two of the most
important recommendations were to guarantee lifelong learning and continuing
education as an individual right of workers and to strengthen social dialogue.
Fields of action within the EU
A major problem within the EU was the lack of a
standardised system for skills of all EU workers as part of
their professional career. In order to improve labour mobility,
recognition, certification and assessment tools need to be better harmonised
across the EU. The study states that there is no standard for this in any
Member State so far.
A special role is played by interdisciplinary
skills, for the acquisition of which the participants also saw a need for
adaptation in education systems. Aspects of inclusion were also
addressed. Not only companies and providers, but also the workforce
should be spurred on to continuously train in order to continuously meet
changing demands ("upskilling and reskilling").
learning is part of the social rights of EU citizens. There is no
'one-size-fits-all solution’ to skills challenges – it requires a variety of
measures at different levels and the cooperation of policy makers, social
partners and civil society at European, national and local levels.