The EESC Civil Society Days 2023 featured three days of debates and exchanges around the link between civil society organisations and democracy, and the need to ensure an active, engaged participation to face the current societal challenges.
LLLP, alongside the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB) and Cooperatives Europe hosted the workshop “Skills and Lifelong Learning for Democratic Societies” to highlight how the life course perspective, education, training and transversal skills are the way forward for Europe. There are skills, competences and attitudes that ultimately enable people to find fulfilment in their lives, adapt to fast-paced changes and become more conscious about their potential in society.
This workshop conceived the following recommendations:
1. Education and training are not a matter of government only.
We must adopt a holistic and cooperative approach on education and training. To face our current challenges, we need to shape skills provision in partnership with civil society and all social partners who have political capital, concrete knowledge and understanding of the current needs and shortcomings. Introducing reforms in a holistic manner is the only option. By listening to those on the ground, building bridges across partners and by leaving no one behind, we will build a truly inclusive and sustainable learning societies.
2. Transversal competences are the key for citizen’s conscious and active participation in society.
While education and training policies often focus on job-specific skills, transversal competences are the true backbone of a participatory and deliberative democracy: cooperation, critical thinking, problem-solving, democratic and collective management, conflict-resolution. These competences are based on common European values: democracy, solidarity, inclusion. They allow citizens to consciously participate in society and actively engage in our economy. We must focus on these transversal skills through formal and non-formal education, we must practice these in the workplace and take example on alternative governance models like cooperatives for example. But above all, we must work on boosting and recognizing these competences, otherwise they will remain invisible and so will our efforts to adapt to this fast-paced world.