Upskilling and Reskilling Pathways In Europe – Empowering adults in three steps

This report is the second volume of Cedefop research on empowering adults through upskilling and reskilling pathways. It presents the Cedefop analytical framework for developing upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults and illustrates its conceptual development.

The analytical framework is aimed at supporting policy-makers and stakeholders in designing and implementing sustainable, coordinated and coherent approaches to flexible and inclusive upskilling pathways.

The framework is articulated around important systemic features needed for a coherent and coordinated approach to upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults. It is grounded in a lifelong learning perspective and focused on the empowerment of the individual learner/beneficiary.

The Cedefop analytical framework has been developed to sustain this unique vision of upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults. Its value-added aspects involve the development process, its core foundation and its multidisciplinary contents. The development of the framework:
(a) is based on an iterative process integrating both qualitative research and two rounds of stakeholder consultations;
(b) is grounded in a lifelong learning perspective and focused on the empowerment of the individual learner/beneficiary;
(c) is in line with the principles and frame of reference provided by the Upskilling pathways recommendation.
Development of the analytical framework was
based on an iterative process following four main stages:
(a) scanning of official sources, relevant literature
and policy documents to identify interesting
practices for upskilling pathways;
(b) analysis of good and promising practices aimed
at identifying important systemic features for the development of a unique approach to upskilling of low-skilled adults, grounded in lifelong learning and based on the idea of flexible, adaptable and sustainable pathways tailored to individual needs;
(c) stakeholder consultations aimed at gaining important stakeholder feedback and input to the two draft versions of the analytical framework developed during the research process;
(d) continuous organic coordination of Cedefop knowledge and resources (Department for learning and employability) in adult learning, early leaving from education and training, financing, guidance and outreach, validation, and work-based learning.

Each of these four stages or processes of framework development is outlined below, beginning with the analysis of good and promising practices.

Developing Upskilling pathways: progress and challenges

Upskilling pathways is about a new vision for low-skilled adults’ empowerment, embedded in the principle of comprehensive, sustainable, inclusive and flexible learning pathways tailored to the individual learner’s needs.

Lack of coordinated and coherent approaches necessarily hinders the full potential of the initiative. Addressing this issue is complex, as the upskilling and reskilling needs of adults are generally treated in a fragmented manner, with insufficient crossover and policy coordination between relevant policy areas. While some cooperation and coordination between authorities and policy fields may exist, this is often structured in siloes, which creates challenges in terms of overlapping areas of responsibility and lack of overall coordination (see Cedefop, 2013; Desjardins, 2017; European Commission and ICF, 2015; European Commission, 2016b).

As reported in the European Commission staff working document tacking stock of implementation of the recommendation (European Commission, 2019), since the adoption of the recommendation, Member States have taken various positive steps. Some countries launched new ambitious agendas to support the upskilling and reskilling of the adult population; generally, most initiatives focus on unemployed adults, though increasing support is also dedicated to low-skilled workers in employment. Many of the actions are related to validation and on provision of digital skills.

Despite progress, the report also highlights remaining challenges:
(a) scale: the small scale of implemented initiatives compared to the magnitude of the low-skilled adult population with potential for upskilling
and reskilling.
(b) basic skills (literacy, numeracy and digital skills): few initiatives explicitly focus on basic skills provision.
(c) coherent three-step approach: few initiatives adopt a pathway approach
encompassing the three steps.
(d) outreach, guidance and support measures: little emphasis is placed
in strengthening guidance services to reach out and support adults
(e) coordination and partnerships: many fragmented initiatives exist without
evidence of mechanisms for coordination or partnerships between
providers and other stakeholders.
(f) sustainability: few initiatives adopt a long-term systemic approach with
appropriate funding resources and mechanisms.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Empowering adults through upskilling and reskilling pathways | Cedefop

Related posts

Upskilling Pathways in France and Italy – A review

Cedefop has started a close cooperation with France and Italy to support the development and implementation of systematic, coordinated and coherent approaches to upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults in the two countries. This first cycle of Cedefop’s thematic country reviews (TCRs) on upskilling pathways will take place between 2021 and 23. The reviews are country-owned … Continue reading


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