Adult learning

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EESC opinion: Adult learning

Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes the recent Commission initiatives' focus on adult learning, training and skills development; points at the importance of investing in adult learning and skills development for the economic recovery in view of the pandemic and for a social Europe;
  • underlines the role of adult learning to help adults improve and acquire citizenship skills and to be more active in society; considers that lifelong learning should become a lifestyle for all and a reality at the workplace; calls on the Commission and the Member States to achieve and raise the target of 60% of adult learning participation per year;
  • recommends Member States to strengthen the policy, governance and funding to adult learning and to step up the implementation of the Council recommendation on upskilling pathways (2016); they should ensure equal access to lifelong learning for all adults, including those hailing from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds; teachers need to be provided with training on how to adapt lessons and online learning to make these accessible for all learners with disabilities and learning difficulties;
  • points at the need for better access to guidance and counselling so that all adults are informed on lifelong learning possibilities; all adults and workers should have the right, amongst others, to quality employment training and the validation of informal and non-formal learning; considers that social dialogue and interaction between trade unions and employers are crucial to align training with labour market needs, ensure training quality and to finance training; points at the need for Member States to set up, with the involvement of social partners, financial mechanisms and tools to facilitate access to learning and training;
  • considers that companies, together with trade unions, should be involved as much as possible in establishing strategies for skills development for the digital and green transitions of industries; emphasises that both upskilling and reskilling are crucial in these transitions, and that companies require support for their upskilling and reskilling strategies; encourages Member States to ensure amongst others that employee training programmes and curricula have clear learning outcomes and key competences;
  • calls on the Commission to re-establish open methods of coordination between EU Member States' ministries working on adult learning, social partners and civil society as part of a working group, so as to continue with the work that has been carried out by previous adult learning working groups.