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Press release – Lifelong Learning Interest Group on ‘Skills for Life, Skills for the Future’

BRUSSELS, 30 September 2019 – On 25 September, ahead of the second European Education Summit, the European Parliament’s Lifelong Learning Interest Group met to discuss Skills for Life, Skills for the Future with Members of the European Parliament Julie Ward and Sirpa Pietikäinen, representatives of the European Commission, Finnish Presidency of the Council and stakeholders from all sectors of education, training and beyond. The meeting focused on how to better implement the concept of life skills, which enable people to fully participate in society as self-sufficient individuals, by bringing various domains and stakeholders together, including the different configurations of the EU institutions. 

In the course of the discussions speakers and participants dwelled on four key areas: 

Recognising the diversity of learning 

“Learning can happen in so many different places and we have to continue to demonstrate that,” stressed Ms Ward. The audience heard testimonies from different sectors of learning, all crucial in their own right for the development of skills required by individuals across different life contexts, including adult education, higher education, VET, non-formal education as well as the less obvious field of sports. Bart Verschueren, Coordinator of EU Sport Link and representative of the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA), emphasised the idea of physical literacy explaining: “sports help to include people in society and promote well-being. It is an essential part of lifelong learning.”

Investing in European cooperation 

Ms Pietikäinen made a strong plea to Member States to see the value of European cooperation and pooling of resources when it comes to skills policies: “We hope that we can encourage the Member States to see that lifelong learning is a European issue.” She added that it is a macroeconomic issue and so mechanisms such as the European Semester have a role to play. Margarida Segard, Vice-President of the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB), recommended further connecting the European and national levels in order to truly foster innovation. 

Mainstreaming skills and policy synergies 

Johanna Koponen, representative of the Finnish Presidency, emphasised its interest to promoting continuous learning by taking synergies between sectors further, notably through the first-ever joint Education and Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting on 8 November. Roman Horvath from DG GROW stressed the skills needs from the perspective of industry, explaining that both technical and soft skills are required.

However, this needs to be reflected within the institutions through more robust cooperation, recalled Lucie Susova, Vice-President of the Lifelong Learning Platform: “I hope that the (new Commission) President will mainstream skills issues holistically instead of having silos between DGs where they find it difficult to cooperate.” Strengthening cooperation between different sectors of education, formal and non-formal, was likewise highlighted by several speakers including Fabrice Gonet, Interim Secretary-General of the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL) and Gina Ebner, Secretary-General of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA). Learning also needs to happen in a more multidisciplinary way, taking account of psychology, neuroscience and through a more integrated research agenda, commented Mirela Mazalu, Secretary-General of the European University College Association (EucA). 

Promoting skills not only for the workforce

The idea that education and lifelong learning are not only for the acquisition of labour market skills was evoked throughout the debate. Mónika Képe-Holmberg from DG EAC said this is clear in the cooperation between Member States, where the ET2020 framework deals with issues such as inclusion, inequalities and innovation in education. Ms Ebner explained EAEA’s Life Skills for Europe project which offers a holistic approach: “In our project, we developed a framework that identifies skills that every person needs in their personal and professional life. Education providers can adapt it to their own needs, starting from the learner’s needs.” Francesca Caena from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) also stressed the different facets of the Life Competence (LifeComp) framework, currently under development, which conceives learners as agents of change, integrating cross-cutting skills such as critical thinking, intercultural understanding and offering “the advantage of straddling employment, education and lifelong learning”. 

The Lifelong Learning Platform and the European Association for the Education of Adults look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with the new European Commission and Parliament to embed a holistic approach to skills policies in the years to come.  

Initiated in 2015 by the Lifelong Learning Platform and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), and chaired by MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (Finland, EPP), the Interest Group on Lifelong Learning brings together civil society representatives and MEPs to discuss key issues connected to lifelong learning in Europe.

Click here to access the pictures of the event!

Call for contributions on digital facilitation and inclusion


The Réseau international des Cités des métiers and partners of the Erasmus+ project DIMESCA are looking for good practices in the field of digital facilitation and inclusion. About 10 “good practices” sheets have already been produced in the project, enabling professionals to share their experience regarding digital in lifelong guidance and disseminate them on other territories so they can inspire others. Feel free to contact us by September 15 if you want to share y with us!

This project led by the Cités des métiers International Network is focused on the sharing of practices among professionals working in education, training, employment or entrepreneurship. Two training sessions about digital watch and activation of basic digital skills and e-administration rights for clients have already been organized since the beginning of the project in September 2018. E-reputation of clients will be the main topic in the next meeting planned in December 2019 in Mulhouse.

Contact: projects@reseaucitesdesmetiers.com Find more here.


Les partenaires du projet Erasmus+ DIMESCA recherchent des bonnes pratiques en inclusion et facilitation numérique. Environ 10 « fiches bonnes pratiques » ont déjà été créées dans le cadre du projet  permettant ainsi aux professionnels de partager leur expérience concernant le numérique dans l’orientation tout au long de la vie et de les diffuser sur d’autres territoires comme sources d’inspiration. N’hésitez pas à nous contacter d’ici le 15 septembre si vous souhaitez partager votre expérience avec nous !

Ce projet porté par le Réseau International des Cités des métiers met l’accent sur le partage de pratiques parmi les professionnels de l’éducation, de la formation, de l’emploi et de l’entrepreneuriat. Deux sessions de formation portant respectivement sur la place du numérique et l’activation des compétences numériques de bases et des droits via l’administration en ligne pour les publics ont déjà été organisées depuis le lancement du projet en septembre 2018. L’identité virtuelle des publics sera la principale thématique abordée lors de la prochaine formation prévue à Mulhouse en décembre 2019.

Contact: projects@reseaucitesdesmetiers.com Plus d’informations ici.