Employment and work

Workplace learning is one of the key drivers of adults´ participation in lifelong learning. Adult education increases innovation and productivity making companies more successful.

The positive link between learning and work is obvious: Learning workers, employees, entrepreneurs and volunteers are more innovative and productive – this makes companies more competitive and successful. Digitalisation, internationalisation, service orientation, flexibilisation, all these megatrends on the labour market have one thing in common: they raise and change the requirements for competencies of employees. This is not a new development. What is new is that the demands are changing and increasing faster than ever.

Keeping up with the changes

The new demands increase in parallel the pace at which employees have to adapt to the constant change and to gain new competencies. Professional competencies need to be updated regularly and meta-competencies such as social and communications competencies become essential.

Almost every study on labour market developments and the future of work comes to the same conclusion: in order to master the ongoing transformation, continuous training and workplace learning is simply indispensable – not only for low-skilled employees but for all employees. Equally, for those out of work, adult learning increases resilience and reduces the effects of loss of confidence associated with unemployment of over three months.

People without the right skills are highly vulnerable to labour market changes. This calls for continued investments in education and training. EAEA therefore highlights the importance of up- and reskilling and underlines that all learning is good for employment.

Research evidence

Cedefop has studied future skills supply and demand in Europe.

The Cedefop research paper on (2012), Future skills supply and demand in Europe – Forecast, concludes that “consequently (..) there is a need to maintain, or even increase investment in education and training by governments, enterprises and individuals, despite the current pressures of austerity. It is mostly adult workers who will need to cope with changes in the future and who need to be kept in the labour force. Opportunities need to be provided to enable them to learn and qualify for different jobs at any stage of working life. If these opportunities are not forthcoming, the risk of low-qualified people today becoming long-term unemployed is increasing.”

Good practice

A state programme in Switzerland supports basic skills learning at workplace.

In Switzerland, a state programme to promote workplace basic skills learning was launched in 2018. The program supports businesses that invest in basic skills training of their employees so that they can better cope with the transformation in the labour market. The program is based on the positive experiences made with the GO project
in Switzerland. The project demonstrated that workplace basic skills learning is highly beneficial for both the employees and the employers. More information at State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation