17th March 2016
The last phase of the LLL-HUB project, the LLL-AGORA, took place at the Lamot Conference Center in Mechelen on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 March 2016. Around 180 experts from across Europe gathered in Belgium to discuss, exchange best practices and provide concrete outcomes such as policy recommendations towards the
convergence of lifelong learning policies and their implementation at the European, national and regional level. These outcomes will feed into the final products of the LLL-HUB Project, which has been running for about 2,5 years, such as the “Comparative Report on the implementation of lifelong learning strategies in Europe” and the Guidelines to following the bespoke Methodology which has been developed and implemented throughout the project (both May 2016).
The programme of the Conference, under the overall moderation of Audrey FRITH (Director, Lifelong Learning Platform), consisted of inspiring speeches from different stakeholders and various actors, including Joke VAN DER LEEUW-ROORD, (Secretary General, Lifelong Learning Platform) and Herman BAERT (Professor, Centre for Research on Professional Learning and Development, Corporate Training and Lifelong Learning, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium). Lively panel discussions including project partners, experts and stakeholders focused on both the current status and the ways forward for the implementation of Lifelong Learning policies in Europe. Sophia ERIKSSON WATERSCHOOT (Head of Unit “Europe 2020, DG EAC) and João SANTOS (Deputy Head of Unit, Vocational education and training, apprenticeships and adult education, DG EMPL) gave the European Commission perspective on the discussions and answers to the many questions asked by the expert audience.
During the first day participants were divided to 6 themed Workshops covering the broader areas of: Implementing lifelong learning strategies on the territories – Enrolling people in their lifelong learning pathway – Recognising and valuing LLL Pathways. They were centred around the presentation of relevant best practices that were collected from across Europe and focused on their potential transferability to different contexts.
Three out of the total 21 case studies presented during the workshops (“Learning Works!” from Belgium, “Life Management” from The Netherlands and “Dual Training” from Spain) were awarded the LLL-HUB Award during the LLL-HUB Award Ceremony at the end of the first day.
The second day was focused on the results from the workshops on Day 1, combined with the overall research outcomes and the lessons learnt from the LLL-HUB project in terms of the future of Lifelong Learning in Europe and the optimisation of the implementation of the project’s 5 key Policy Recommendations:
- Elaborate a holistic vision on learning
- Focus on the effects of learning
- Stimulate networks, partnerships and cooperation
- Promote flexible learning pathways
- Foster evidence-based policies and involve stakeholders in decision-making
Following the end of the public part of the LLL-AGORA, a high level meeting took place between all LLL-HUB partners and a representative of the European Commission in order to communicate and discuss the outcomes of the conference and of the project in general. This meeting contributes to the future plans of the partnership in view of developing its Policy Recommendations and furthering their implementation across Europe.
The LLL-AGORA constituted a very successful pan-European conference, proving that the LLL-HUB Methodology has contributed to achieving the wished results, and one step forward in order to “Create a Space for Lifelong Learning” in Europe.