Upskilling Pathways – how to go from practice to policy?

The webinars provided the occasion to showcase successful case studies and draw comparisons between different national approaches. Speakers and participants were invited to share their experiences and learn from each other. The webinars’ recordings and presentations below can be relevant and inspiring for many adult education practitioners and policymakers in Europe and beyond.

The UP-AEPRO peer learning webinars are focused on the following topics (scroll down to find more details and the supporting material):

  1. Individual-centred approach to validation
  2. Citizens’ Curriculum as a holistic approach to learning basic skills
  3. The value of validation of prior learning in working life
  4. Competences, administrative obstacles, and working life
  5. Implementing Upskilling Pathways – frontiers in Portugal & Sweden

The UP-AEPRO partners also drafted a questionnaire to collect feedback and recommendations for further implementation of the Upskilling Pathways initiative (you can find the results in this infographic).


Webinars’ description and supporting material

1. Individual-centred approach to validation (18/02/2020)

In the first webinar, Marlies Pfann from Women’s centre in the Netherlands presented a method focusing on a step-by-step validation process to empower women towards active participation in society and the labour market. The model presented is transferrable and highly effective as an outreach measure supporting inclusion. A total of 28 adult learning experts took part in the webinar.

Link to recording on YouTube

Resources: Marlies Pfann IWC presentation (pdf)

Presenter: Marlies Pfann, Director, International Women’s Centre

Coordinators: NVL Iceland and The Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) in Iceland


2. Citizens’ Curriculum as a holistic approach to learning basic skills (03/03/2020)

The Citizens’ Curriculum is an innovative, holistic approach to empower people to get the language, maths, digital, civic, health, and financial capabilities they need. The approach is based on what motivates adults to learn, through giving learners a voice in co-designing curriculum content and careful contextualization, ensuring that people are learning skills that are relevant to their lives and their work.

Link to recording on YouTube
Note that the first part of the webinar, Alex Stevenson’s presentation, was not captured on the recording.


Citizens’ curriculum as a holistic approach to learning basic skills (pdf)

Learning basic skills by solving everyday challenges – How learner centred approach works in practice? (pdf)

Presenters: Alex Stevenson (Learning and Work Institute), Nina Hjelt (Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation) and Venni Alanko (Aurala Setlement)

Coordinators: Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation (KVS)


3. The value of validation of prior learning in working life (17/03/20)

The RARPA-process measures the progress and achievement of students on non-accredited learning programmes in the UK. The majority of such courses are in the adult and community learning sector. The RARPA process has been an established part of the quality assurance of non-accredited learning in England for over 15 years and was updated by Learning and Work Institute in 2017.

The webinar included an overview of the 6-step process and suggestions for the practical implementation of RARPA, examples of how providers worked with the process and it might be adapted to use in different settings. In addition, the webinar tackled the issue of quality assurance and the similarities and differences between RARPA and other approaches.

Link to the recording on YouTube

Resource: Evaluating Non-Accredited Learning: Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (pdf)

Presenter: Alex Stevenson, Learning and Work Institute

Coordinator of the webinar: Learning & Work Institute, UK


4. Competences, administrative obstacles and working life (31/03/20)

A presentation on how Finland through the reform of the Vocational Training Act deals with future competence needs. The outset is the thought that as we cannot really predict the competences needed in the future, we are focusing on giving LLL skills to everyone. The second part of the presentation took a closer look at how the system tries to cope with adults that have low basic skills and at the same time are motivated and forwarded to secondary level vocational training, but lack the prerequisites to fully benefit from the training.

Guest speaker Erno Hyvönen focused on low skilled adults and how VET and tailor-made offers can support this group towards entering the labour market. In this context, VET has many target groups: young people, adults, and people in working life who need upskilling or reskilling and the unemployed. Hyvönen is involved in Upskilling Pathways strategy work in Finland and he is an expert on flexible learning in VET.

Resource: Competences, administrative obstacles and working life –and how VET system in Finland tries to cope with these,  E. Hyvönen (pdf)

Presenter: Erno Hyvönen, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture

Coordinator of the webinar: NVL Finland

Unfortunately due to the high number of participants and some technical issues, the recording of this session is not available.


5. Implementing Upskilling Pathways – frontiers in Portugal & Sweden (14/04/2020)

The webinar focuses on the role of non-formal adult education in implementing Upskilling Pathways basic skills strategy. Guest speakers Andreas Fejes (Sweden) and Dina Soeiro (Portugal) will share critical views on the current developments in their countries and discuss the next steps to advance education for low-skilled adults. EAEA’s Policy Officer Raffaela Kihrer will provide a short input on the 2019 country report’s results from the two countries.

Link to the recording on YouTube

Adult education and UP in Sweden, A. Fejes (pdf)

Adult education adn UP in Portugal, D. Soeiro (pdf)

Adult Education in Europe a civil society view, R. Kihrer (pdf)

Presenters: Andreas Fejes (Linköping University) and Dina Soeiro (Coimbra Higher Education School)

Fejes is professor and chair of adult education research at Linköping University in Sweden. His research currently concerns issues of what role adult and popular education play for migrants social inclusion (mainly refugees and asylum seekers) and issues concerning what the consequences are of the marketization and privatization of adult education. Fejes is one of the founding editors of the European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, and he is currently the chair of the board for the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults.

Soeiro is professor at Coimbra Higher Education School – Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra. She lectures Adult Education and Educational Gerontology using an on-Service Learning approach. She also does apply research on non-formal adult education. Dina is an Executive Board Member of EAEA and a Board Member of APCEP – Associação Portuguesa para a Cultura e Educação Permanente. 

The webinar has been introduced by Raffaela Kihrer, policy officer at EAEA, and moderated by August Nilsson (Glokala Folkhigh School).

Coordinator of the webinar: EPATV Portugal & Glokala Sweden




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