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Adapting to a changing skills demand

Monday, 21 June 2021: 10.30 - 12.30

Global trends are transforming the way we work, learn and live and the skills we need to thrive in this fast-evolving context. What does this mean for people? How can education and training systems accompany them in developing the ‘right’ skill sets throughout their lives?

We move towards a world where people will need to become worker-learners in a rapidly evolving landscape. With multiple and longer careers, lifelong learning will be crucial to strengthen an individual’s employability and to accompany social advancements.

Digital literacy and the ability to understand and apply technology to practical solutions is becoming a must across all jobs and all sectors, as well as life outside work. Environmental awareness will also need to become a core skill, alongside digital skills, as every workplace and job has the potential, and the need, to become greener.

Rapid change generates skills gaps and fuels the growth of an alternative workforce, as businesses increasingly bridge the gap with short-term workers, freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, on-demand workers, and people working in side jobs. Learning to learn, entrepreneurial and career management skills are becoming increasingly important to boost resilience and adaptability. More agile, responsive and accessible skills intelligence is needed to facilitate informed decision-making by institutions, businesses and individuals.


  • Stimulate a common reflection and discussion on how education and training systems can accompany individuals throughout their lives in this new diffuse and dynamic environment.
  • Bring the perspective of individuals on how to make the multiplicity of new profiles and pathways visible, recognised and supported by the learning system.

Adapting to a changing skills demand - Video

Adapting to a changing skills demand: Concept note
E2030: Education and Skills for the 21st Century
NEW SKILLS Final Video.
New forms of learning

Monday, 21 June 2021: 13.30 - 15.30

We are all need to be learners in today’s world where smart technologies pervade every aspect of life, where technological progress influences the way we work and where we all face challenges such as the current pandemic and climate change.

While many of us are motivated to learn and interested in learning, this is not the case for everyone. To engage people in learning and motivate them to keep on learning, we need to create meaningful and engaging learning environments. Such environments will foster positive attitudes towards learning and can incentivise people with negative experiences of learning to engage with it once again. We need to create such learning environments in initial and continuing education and training to incentivise people to keep learning throughout their lives.

Learning environments become meaningful when they offer relevant learning content in an authentic context. They become engaging when they invite learners to explore, to try new things, to make mistakes, to collaborate and to take ownership of their own learning process.

We need to create systems that support the wider use of meaningful and engaging learning environments.


In this session we will share examples of meaningful and engaging learning environments, discuss the need for this kind of environment, and address the following question:

What conditions are required at system level to facilitate and encourage the development and implementation of more meaningful and engaging learning environments?

New forms of learning - Video

New forms of learning: Concept note
The future of education and skills Education 2030
Mapping Covid 19
Role of actors in lifelong learning systems

Tuesday, 22 June 2021: 09.00 - 11.00

Moving towards good-quality lifelong learning for all can only happen through the engagement of all actors, including partners that are usually less involved in traditional education and training systems. This means all state and non-state actors in the initial and continuing vocational education and training system. All these actors contribute to building lifelong learning and their role is changing along with the change of the system.

As well as changing the roles of the different actors, the switch to lifelong learning will change how they interact with each other. This raises a number of questions, such as who has leadership on a given policy area or part of the system; how is decision-making organised and who is involved; what is the power of initiative of the different actors; how are responsibilities and accountability distributed; how is feedback between the various parts of the system ensured; what is the subsidiarity and degree of autonomy of the actors; who steers the identification of solutions when failures and bottlenecks emerge? 

The answers to these questions shape how a skills development system is governed and managed. 


  • How do we nurture a common vision that guide state and non-state actors in shaping their partnership models in the lifelong learning system?
  • What do these new partnerships look like? What motivates actors to work together? Has the Covid-19 pandemic provided useful lessons? 
  • How can we secure financial resources to make lifelong learning a reality? Who is going to contribute?

Role of actors in lifelong learning systems - Video

Role of actors in lifelong learning systems: Concept note
Monitoring and adapting

Tuesday, 22 June 2021: 11.30 - 13.30

Across the ETF’s partner countries, a system change is taking place in response to the challenge of upskilling and reskilling workers and ensuring that young people and adults remain employable in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nascent green and digital economy.

A new generation of policies is emerging, driven by the ambition to transform education and training into a system that can cater for the changing skills needs of an increasingly diverse group of potential learners of all ages. 
These changes are conceived and implemented in highly diverse, dynamic, and often unpredictable environments which are rich in opportunities but also risks. Such environments require constant monitoring of progress to ensure that policy reforms remain relevant and on target. 

Each country has its own reform trajectory, needs, context-specific challenges, and solutions for monitoring change. These experiences allow us to take stock of what works in monitoring reforms, but also what is missing and needs attention, especially when it comes to creating opportunities for lifelong learning. 


  1. What do we need to monitor to arrive at reliable judgements about the success or failure of system change towards lifelong learning?
  2. How do we monitor, so that various perspectives, subordinate developments, and stakeholder interests are considered in the monitoring process?
  3. How do we use monitoring results, what is their purpose?

Monitoring and adapting - Video

Monitoring and adapting: Concept note
Skills for all

Wednesday, 23 June 2021: 09.00 - 11.00

In common with other countries, the education and training systems of the ETF’s partner countries show gaps in providing relevant skills for all potential beneficiaries, as well as areas of excellence. The groups affected include (a) learners from disadvantaged communities, such as ethnic minorities, rural or remote areas or low income households; (b) learners with special educational needs; (c) young people not in employment, education or training; (d) people with low educational attainment; and (e) people from migrant backgrounds.

The ETF’s partner countries have managed to narrow gaps in access and improve retention in education, particularly at primary and secondary levels. However, the quality of skills development remains a matter of concern in most transition and developing countries.

The main challenge ahead is how education and training systems can encompass the growing multiplicity of learners and learning needs. A further challenge is how to make sure that the expansion and diversification of learning contexts is accompanied by efforts to make people’s skills visible through validation and certification, while providing timely and relevant career guidance and other support services.


The session will explore the key ingredients to improving the inclusiveness and relevance of education and training in a learner-centric and lifelong perspective. Key questions for reflection are:

  • What are the main challenges to effective and inclusive skills development today?
  • What instruments should be in place to ensure that we do not leave anyone behind, with particular emphasis on the early identification of vulnerabilities and support measures?
  • How should education and training systems adapt to ensure flexible learning pathways and visibility of skills for all, with particular emphasis on young people and vulnerable adults?

Skills for all - Video

Skills for all: Concept note
Supporting the green transition

Wednesday, 23 June 2021: 11.30 - 13.30

The global drive towards clean circular carbon-neutral economies and societies has major implications for education, training and skills:

  1. Citizens need to be aware of the environmental impact of their actions;
  2. Sustainable economies drive continuous innovation in technologies, production processes, products and services, and business models across all sectors of the economy;
  3. New technologies and production processes change the way traditional occupations are carried out and create new occupations requiring new skills and knowledge;
  4. Job creation and job destruction requires upskilling and reskilling large numbers of people;
  5. The transformation process requires a strong interaction between the education and training system and its environment ensuring that skills development empowers economic, technological and social change.

However, in many partner countries, developments in line with these new requirements are still in their infancy and small scale or sporadic. They mainly concern informal training and focus on skills development in certain economic sectors. Supporting the green transition and benefiting from the opportunities it brings will require more systemic and rapid action on a far larger scale.


This session will address the issue of how education and training systems should adapt to accompany the green transition? In particular, we will explore the following questions:

1. What does the green transition mean for education and training systems? And where should we see adaptation and change?

2. What are the mechanisms of adaptation and change? And who are the change makers?

3. How do we move from ad hoc actions to full scale interventions and system change that accompany effectively the green transition?

Supporting the green transition - Video

Supporting the green transition: Concept note