Education and training are of paramount importance for Europe's future. This is why the EU has chosen as the first key principle of its European Pillar for Social Rights "the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning". Education and training is above all about preparing Europe's future citizens to become aware of their responsibilities in a multicultural, inclusive society, and well-equipped so that they can contribute to a competitive European economy. In a society that needs to react swiftly to new challenges, such as the increased use of technology affecting all jobs and industries, lifelong learning has become a new priority as it can enable employers and employees to respond successfully to market realities and the unemployed to up-skill or re-skill so that they can re-join the workforce; it is particularly valuable to people from vulnerable social groups, such as older people and people with low skills.
The responsibility for national education and training systems lies with the Member States, while the EU has the competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement them with initiatives such as Erasmus+, supporting a wide array of projects, and the New Skills Agenda, helping people find quality jobs and improve their life chances.
In its relevant opinions and information reports, the EESC has defended people's right to quality education, apprenticeships and traineeships, and to fair chances in an inclusive labour market.