To mark three years of intensive European cooperation in adult learning policy, in which Cedefop has been actively involved, and to review the results achieved through the implementation of the Adult Learning Action Plan, the European Commission organised a conference in Budapest which discussed future needs and options. The event was held on 7-9 March 2011 under the first Hungarian Presidency of the European Union.

Speaking at the conference, Acting Director Christian Lettmayr pointed out that securing employment does not necessarily mean updating skills – it may require developing a completely new range of skills. Adult learning providers and systems need to provide appropriate support for such transitions: to broaden access to learning opportunities for adult learners, develop outreach strategies, provide lifelong career guidance, and recognise prior learning. More generally, we need to move from a remedial to a preventive approach to training and guidance for adults.

Cedefop’s involvement in the preparation of the plan, and its contibution over the years to the issues of adult education and training, were recognised in last December’s Bruges Communiqué on policy development in VET, which mandated the agency to work further on adult learning. 

The Action Plan on Adult Learning It’s always a good time to learn (2008-2010) provided for the first time a set of common priorities for the adult learning sector. In addition, it introduced the sector to the Open Method of Coordination and thus initiated intense European-wide cooperation among its diverse actors.  The Plan also defined what action the European Commission and Member States should take in order to improve the quality of adult learning, and develop systems that reach all adults and involve all relevant stakeholders.

In December 2010, the Action Plan on Adult Learning came to the end of its lifecycle, having accomplished its initial tasks. This was the final conference relating to the Action Plan, providing an opportunity to assess the results achieved during the three years and inspire ideas for the next phase, up to 2020.