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Lifelong Guidance & Ageing Societies

General background and the role of Regional and Local Authorities

As defined by both the Council of the European Union and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), lifelong guidance refers to “a continuous process that enables citizens at any age and at any point of their lives (lifelong) to: identify their capacities, competences and interests; make educational, training and other occupational decisions; manage their individual life paths in learning, work and other settings in which those capacities and competences are learned and/or used”.

As added by the Council of the European Union, “guidance covers a range of individual and collective activities relating to information-giving, counselling, competence assessment, support, and the teaching of decision-making and career management skills”.

Education, training and employment have increasingly fallen within the competence of Regions in Europe. And so lifelong guidance has become a matter of growing importance to them as they are confronted with the same challenges on their regional labour markets:

  • How to help matching people with the education, training and jobs that suits them best?
  • How to help speeding up the education-to-work transition and reducing the economic and social costs associated with early school leaving?
  • How to empower individuals to manage their career paths in a more secure way?
  • How to provide a guidance service of quality for all?

Lifelong guidance is one of the major answers to all these questions. It is therefore a key topic that Regions are trying to address in the framework of their policies for education, training and employment.

Purpose of the Working Group

  • Exchange of experience on this key topic: Which challenges are you facing in your region? How is lifelong guidance organised? Which stakeholders are involved and how are they cooperating? Which solutions have you tried to implement?
  • Organise meetings with representatives of the European Institutions interested in lifelong guidance (European Commission, European Parliament, Council, Committee of the Regions) as well as representatives of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)
  • Organise study visits in our different regions and meet local practitioners active in the field.

Ageing Population and the role of Regional and Local Authorities

Since 2010, ageing population and the challenges with a growing proportion of the total population in EU has been highlighted in several initiatives in EU in different programs and even a European year. The challenge has not become any smaller and will be growing until at least until 2040 according to EU statistics.

The issue of challenges and opportunities with a growing number of older adults is shared by many regions in Europe. It seemed natural that regional authorities should update knowledge and competence.

Past activities

  • Position paper on the Review of the 2016 Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning.
  • In 2012 and 2013 were conducted a number of seminars for a survey on regional level in Jämtland Härjedalen, Baden-Württemberg, Tuscany, Roskilde, Wales and Durham County. The combined survey shows commonalities and differences in how the regional and local stakeholders on older adults are organised and financed but even shows other interesting features.
  • An academic paper based on the regional seminars mentioned below was presented by researchers from NCK (The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning & Creativity) at the Pascal Observatory conference on Learning Cities 2020 in Glasgow June 2016.
  • The working group was represented at the AFE-INNOVET conference in Brussels in December 2015. Members of the group have met in Östersund in October 2015 to discuss other possible actions. Most importantly we concluded that we need a mix of adult education and culture on both political and professional level if we want to carry on any larger action.

Projects linked to Lifelong Guidance & Ageing Societies

  • BRIDGE+ – Building up Regional Initiatives to Develop skills-based GuidancE (A digital multi-actor approach) (Erasmus+ KA3, ongoing).
  • BRIDGE – Building up Regional Initiatives to Develop Guidance for Low-Skilled Adults (Erasmus+ KA2, 2015-2017).

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