In June 2023, the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training launched the online app ‘Training compass’ (Opleidingskompas), which provides an overview of all adult education offers, as well as various practical information. Before the compass, finding the right course proved difficult for adults, as adult educational provision in Flanders is fragmented.

The development of the Training compass is part of the programme Edusprong, which falls under the recovery plan ‘Flemish Resilience‘. The programme aims to boost adult education via two calls for a project with a total budget of EUR 30 million. Overall, Edusprong funded 192 projects (49 in 2021-23 and 143 in 2022-24) for Adult Education Centres and Adult Basic Education Centres.

Edusprong focuses on four priorities that align with the objectives of the European Year of Skills:

  • encouraging citizens to pursue lifelong learning through adult education;
  • strengthening labour market opportunities through retraining and upskilling;
  • reinforcing digital competences;
  • focusing on qualification.

There is always a reason to learn

The communication campaign ‘Er is altijd een reden om bij te leren’ (There is always a reason to learn) rolled out throughout Flanders is the key action in implementing Edusprong, promoting adult education as a strong brand. It aims to encourage every Flemish resident to pursue lifelong learning, a necessity for everyone in these fast-changing times, and promotes the Training compass, which was developed by AHOVOKS, the Agency for Higher Education, Adult Education, Qualifications and Study Allowances.

Flanders seized the opportunity following the COVID-19 crisis to turn lagging behind into a head start, encouraging a culture of lifelong learning: the adult education offer has been renewed, offering many opportunities to employed people or those supporting their families. Flexibility guaranteed by modular teaching, distance learning, adapted timetables and accessibility to face-to-face courses are examples of improvements brought to these programmes.

Finding the needle in the haystack

The Training compass brings together all available information about courses in the Flemish adult education. Not only does it list where courses are organised, but also when they start, their duration, registration fees, etc.

To find a suitable training course, users of the Training compass have several options:

  • entering self-chosen keywords and a location;
  • answering orientation questions in the guidance tool;
  • finding a course based on their interests: the courses are clustered by theme, such as welding, chemistry and pharmacy, photography and multimedia, languages, etc.;
  • accessing the training offer available in each centre.

After the launch, AHOVOKS intends to improve the Training compass further, to identify better what the users are looking for. The possibility of integrating courses from other recognised training centres will also be explored. The aim is for the Training compass to become the reference for all adult education and training.

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Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Belgium; Cedefop (2023). Belgium: Training compass: find the path to your professional future. National news on VET