However, we would like to stress that skills should be understood in a holistic way: skills that help for professional development, including basic and social skills, but also skills that all citizens need in their daily lives, including life and transversal skills, and skills to strengthen sustainability, democracy, and social inclusion. The EU Year of Skills will be an excellent opportunity for the European adult learning and education (ALE) community to showcase its many great achievements in transforming people’s lives and communities.
As the Commission President pointed out during her speech, Europe is facing big challenges: the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, the green and digital transitions, the changing labour market, and a changing political atmosphere in many parts of Europe. To meet these challenges, skills – and ALE, which promotes these skills – will play a central role. Lifelong learning connects generations and communities and is more important than ever to learn from and with each other, especially in more challenging times.
It will be of particular concern to us in the coming year to point out that “skills” should not leave anyone behind: we advocate an inclusive approach to education and lifelong learning that promotes social, ecological, and economic sustainability. We hope that the EU Year of Skills will contribute to increased awareness among decision-makers that the ALE sector, in order to play its due role and to reach even more learners, requires a substantial increase in funding and stronger governance structures at all levels.
Text: EAEAPhotos: EPALE