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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Netherlands - Lifelong Learning: an occupational perspective

Language: EN
Document available also in: NL

Posted by NSS EPALE Nederland



The Dutch Centre for Expertise in vocational education and training (ECBO) recently published the report Lifelong learning: an occupational perspective – Learning for a stronger labour market position.


This report starts by charting trends in the market for middle-skill workers, participation by this segment in lifelong learning (LLL), and policy efforts in this area. It then turns to an analysis of several large datasets to establish links between participation in lifelong learning and the characteristics of different occupational groups, also considering the degree of intersectoral mobility among these groups. The report concludes with the results of a case study carried out to ascertain the extent to which participation in lifelong learning contributes to a successful sectoral switch.


Statistical analysis

The aim of the statistical analysis is to trace links between participation in lifelong learning and different occupational groups, ascertain which characteristics within groups determine participation and map out how participation ties into intersectoral mobility, using a combination of survey and register data. The study as a whole focuses on people in paid employment with an educational attainment level not exceeding upper secondary vocational education (Dutch MBO, level 4, which is mostly maximum ISCED level 3, for some qualifications level 4). The analyses were carried out firstly with reference to the entire paid labour force whose educational attainment does not exceed MBO level 4, and additionally for a selection of ten occupational groups where jobs are currently under pressure for various reasons; specifically:


  • Printers
  • Car mechanics
  • Logistics employees
  • Cleaners
  • Home care providers
  • Bank and insurance employee
  • Call centre staff
  • Construction workers
  • Childcare assistants


The following datasets were used:


  • Participation in lifelong learning. Lifelong learning was operationalised as participation in formal training, non-formal training or informal training. The study relied on information-gathering surveys carried out among the Dutch labour force for this purpose. Data on formal and informal training were drawn from the Labour Force Survey (Enquête Beroepsbevolking, EBB); data on informal training are derived from the National Labour Conditions Survey (Nationale Enquête Arbeidsomstandigheden, NEA).
  • Intersectoral mobility was mapped out using data from the benefit entitlement database (polisadministratie), a register containing the most recent Dutch national income data.


Case study


Among the occupational groups included, one – printers – was selected for a case study. Interviews were conducted with employees, employers and other sector actors regarding the role that lifelong learning plays in transitioning from the graphics to the processing industry.


A summary of the report in English can be found here. The (complete) original report can be found on ECBOs' website.

Resource Author(s): 
Karel Kans
Ingrid Christoffels
Rob Schipperheyn
Metje Jantje Groeneveld
Joris Cuppen
Alieke Hofland
Publication Date:
Saturday, 1 October, 2016
Language of the document:
Type of resource: 
Studies and Reports
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