chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up home circle comment double-caret-left double-caret-right like like2 twitter epale-arrow-up text-bubble cloud stop caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right file-text

EPALE - Elektronická platforma pro vzdělávání dospělých v Evropě


Workplace basic skills learning

od EBSN CBS Editor

/en/file/workplace-basic-skills-learningworkplace basic skills learning


The report „Promoting Adult Learning in the Workplace“ of the ET2020 working group on adult learning is about policies that promote or facilitate any adult learning that takes place at, or prepares people for, the workplace: 

  1. Adult learning for the workplace is when adults obtain the skills and competences needed to successfully obtain and keep jobs and progress in their professional careers. So, it can refer to preparatory learning, for instance, taking place in VET institutions.
  2. Adult learning at the workplace is the learning that adults undertake while working, or while at the workplace. The skills and competences they acquire may not necessarily be those needed for work. 
  3. The workplace in this sense can also function as the ‘outreach strategy’ by which specific groups of adults are approached with learning programmes.

This online discussion will focus specifically on the 2nd and 3rd bullet points. Participants will be asked to answer some of the following questions:

  • How developed is Workplace Basic Skills Learning in your country or region? 
  • Can you shortly describe any policy and programs you know, which include this type of offer?
  • What are the challenges these programs meet in your country – or would, in your opinion, meet if they existed?
  • How can such programs assess their impact?
  • How should such programs deal with the challenge of motivating and engaging both learners and company leadership?
  • Do you know of any specific policy that targets SMEs for this type of learning program?
  • What sort of training of trainers is needed in this field?
  • What are in your opinion the main success factors for Workplace Basic Skills Learning?

The online discussion will start at 12:00, 7 October and finish at 17:00, 8 October. The event will be moderated by Graciela Sbertoli. The results of the online discussion will contribute to the elaboration of further outcomes of the Capacity Building Series e.g. the forthcoming MOOC on Workplace basic skills! Join us here on this platform!



The Capacity Building Series of EBSN provides free open educational resources (OERs) and massive online courses (MOOCs) through EPALE, to help the implementation of the European Commission recommendations on Upskilling pathways in EU Member States. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme, as part the European Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. The project is implemented with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Epale SoundCloud Share on LinkedIn
Refresh comments Enable auto refresh

Zobrazuje se 11 - 20 ze 22
Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
Always wonderful to hear from NALA! 
The four tasks you give the employers are such a very good idea. It reminds me of the profiles for basic skills in jobs which Skills Norway compiled several years ago. They have proven to be very efficient tools for motivation, screening, and to make the learning process really relevamt.
You will find several of these profiles in English at
Obrázek uživatele Anita Apine

Latvijā par to lielā mērā rūpējas nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (  sniedzot konsultācijas, piedāvājot dažādus profesionālo prasmju atjaunošanas vai pat iegūšanas iespējas kursu veidā. Aģentūra aktīvi izmanto dažādus ESF finansējuma piedāvājumus. Piemēram, līdz 2019.gada 7.oktobrim no darba devējiem tika pieņemti pieteikumi ESF projekts „Atbalsts bezdarbnieku izglītībai”. Tā ir iespēja darba devējiem saņemt dotāciju, lai sagatavotu vajadzīgos speciālistus, izvēloties un apmācot NVA reģistrētos bezdarbniekus uzņēmuma vidē. Praktisko apmācību ir iespējams organizēt profesionālās kompetences apgūšanai, kas atbilst pirmā, otrā vai trešā profesionālās kvalifikācijas līmeņa profesionālajai kompetencei. Praktisko apmācību neorganizē nekvalificētos un mazkvalificētos darbos. Vairāk skatīt:

Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
(... which for some reason I cannot understand, gives a much better translation than if you click on the Google button at the rop of this page):

Acquisition of basic work skills in Latvia
In Latvia, this is largely taken care of by the State Employment Agency ( ): providing advice, offering various opportunities to upgrade or even acquire professional skills through courses. The Agency actively uses the various ESF funding offers. For example, by October 7, 2019, applications from employers were accepted for the ESF project “Support for Unemployment Education”. It is an opportunity for employers to receive a grant to train the necessary professionals in selecting and training SEA registered unemployed people in a company environment. Practical training can be organized for the acquisition of professional competence corresponding to the first, second or third level of professional qualification. Practical training is not organized in unskilled and low-skilled jobs. See more at:
Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
Thank you again for your input, Anita. Your explanations leave with a question, though: do these courses involve basic skills at all? Do they maybe only involve digital skills?

In the Nordic countries we have realized that a considerable percentage of workers with low levels of qualifications are NOT low-skilled regarding their professional skills, but simply lack the qualifications, mostly because they lack a functional level of basic skills. This prevents them from acquiring the necessary theoretic knowledge and being able to prove their knowledge so that they can access the qualifications.

How do you see this issue in your country?
Obrázek uživatele NSS EPALE Nederland
In today’s labour market, we cannot afford to leave people standing on the side-lines. To build a sustainable workforce, people should be able to continue to develop themselves. A vital part of this ongoing development is maintaining and improving basic skills: reading, writing, calculating, and digital skills. Lifelong learning is not just for the highly educated, we should all be able continue to develop ourselves and our skills. 

In the Netherlands, a total of 2.5 million adults have difficulty reading, writing and/or calculating. Of this group, roughly 1.8 million people are between 16 and 65 years old. They are low-literate. With some jobs disappearing and other jobs rapidly changing – in a way that renders basic skills indispensable – lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important. However, many low-literate people experience tremendous barriers on the road to lifelong learning. Due to their insufficient basic skills, they participate less in training. As a result, the gap between low-literate and literate people will only widen. 

Good practise: Time for language 
The Reading and Writing Foundation aims together with organization to create a movement involving every layer of society to make sure nobody has difficulty reading and writing. One way is to is to stimulate working on basic skills in the workplace. An example of such a collaboration is the project Tijd voor Taal (lit.: Time for language). At a home care organization, all 1500 employees – regardless of their language level or age – were offered the opportunity to follow a language course which, for a large part, addressed use of the employee portal. Tijd voor Taal had several aims: to ensure that all employees can work with the work-related apps and system (schedule, planning, routes etc.) and their intranet, to reduce the system-related questions to the back office, to reduce the number of errors and to encourage employees to develop themselves. Throughout the project, use of the term low-literacy was deliberately avoided, even though the programme was developed with the aim of personal development in the field of Dutch language.

In order to motivate people to participate, all employees received an e-mail with information about the project. Furthermore, ambassadors – experts by experience – shared their stories to further motivate employees. Also, no costs were involved for employees who chose to participate in the course. Since all employees were addressed – rather than singling out those with insufficient basic skills – people felt more comfortable to take the company’s offer. 

The project was offered in blocks of 13 weeks, 2 hours per week, with a possible extension of another 13 weeks. Classes focused on writing, speaking, vocabulary, digital skills, and empowerment. An important role was taken on by a language volunteer, who addressed more individual elements, such as using a DigiD (short for Digital Identification; a form of online ID that allows you to access many services and government websites in the Netherlands) or home administration. The project was organized in collaboration with a vocational school, a private educator, and the local public library and was concluded with a graduation ceremony. Tijd voor Taal is a success, a new group of employees already started the project, and even more employees signed up. 

Success factors
Based on this project as well as other projects around learning basic skills in the workplace, we can among others identify two success factors: 
  1. Encourage a positive learning culture. Include language and math in the training opportunities for all employees; high and low educated. By normalizing lifelong learning through working on basic skills, more people will dare to take the step. 
  2. Have learning ambassadors share their stories. Have people who have already followed basic skills training share their experiences. As a result, employees will see the added value of this lifelong development. 
To conclude, when we help people improve their basic skills, we increase their flexibility and employability. People will become more productive; they work faster and make fewer mistakes. Both their independence and their confidence will increase. This leads to better and wider employability and more opportunities on the labour market. 

Lisanne Bos 
The Reading and Writing Foundation 
Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
And welcome to the discussion!

The Time for Language program sounds indeed very interesting. A good mastery if the national language is an absolute need for immigrants to European countries. At the EBSN we consider that this second language acquisition is indeed a basic skills. It is important, however, to distinguish language learning from literacy learning. Becoming functionally literate is a cognitive process of its own. I am glad you did not use the therm low-literate for your participants, as many of them quite likely were not low literate at all, being able to read and write their own language quite fluently... 

These two different skills need to be identified as different but complementary. In my opinion, you will find four types of participants in a course of this type: persons who are functionally literate in a language that uses our alphabet, persons who are functionally literate in a language which uses a different alphabet, persons who have "broken the code" of reading/writing (initial alphabetization) but who are still not at a functional literacy level, and finally persons who still are at that initial alphabetization level. 

Providing meaningful, motivating and efficient training for all those four groups in a work place situation must be quite a challenge... Does the Dutch program make any attempt to differentiate between these groups?

Is there a link to a description of the program, preferably in English? Thanks! 
Obrázek uživatele Lisanne Bos
Thank you for your reaction. We don't have a description of the program in English. But I can give some more information about the program. The Time for Language program was not only for immagrants, but for all employees. So the people who signed up for the course were both L1 and L2 learners. Most of them wanted to have more digital skills or learn to use the new work-related app, besides the focus on language learning. Nevertheless the focus on language (reading and writing) was also a main focus.

You asked whether we differentiate between groups. The  participants were divided in different groups based on their language skills: Reading & Writing for beginners; Basic Reading & Writing; Better Reading & Writing. In this way we ensure that the participants in the group have roughly the same starting position and learning objectives. 
Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
Now I realize that you used Language Learning as a concept covering Reading and Writing. A bit confusing in my opinion, but I see the advantages from the point of view of motivation... 

I will be interested in hearing from other participants what they think of this issue.

The names for the different groups sound like a very good idea!
Obrázek uživatele Anita Apine
Labdien, esmu Latvijas EPALE projekta darba koordinators Vidzemē. Piekrītu Jāņa Kutraita (LV) diskusijas ievadrakstā Latvijas EPALE sadaļā atspoguļotajai idejai par 3 iemesliem pamatprasmju apguvei mācību procesā, kas notiek darbavietā. Pirmais no tiem –palielinās darbinieku spējas un iespējas/spējas paaugstināt kvalifikāciju. Otrais iemesls ir saistīts ar uzņēmuma/ iestādes nepieciešamību paaugstināt konkurētspēju, produktivitāti, arī drošību. Trešais iemesls saistīts ar motivāciju un plašākas auditorijas sasniegšanu.
Obrázek uživatele Graciela Sbertoli
Hello, I am the coordinator of the Latvian EPALE project in Vidzeme. I agree with the idea of Janis Cutrits (LV) in the introduction to Latvia's EPALE section on 3 reasons for acquiring basic skills in the on-the-job learning process. The first of these is to increase the skills and opportunities / skills of the employees. The second reason is related to the need of the company / institution to increase competitiveness, productivity, but also security. The third reason is motivation and reaching a wider audience.