Survey life long learning

2011 – There is a close attention for the learning process of the workforce in the Dutch knowledge based economy. Hereby it’s important that citizens and businesses take lifelong learning serious because the pace of economic momentum is so high that many functions need more and new skills to practice them adequately. Learning may relate to formal courses but also to informal learning from colleagues on the job or to just learning by doing. An intensive learning process can result in a greater accumulation of knowledge and skills and thus increases one’s sustainable employability. This report presents the (in) formal learning and knowledge development in the Netherlands based on three surveys of the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market Lifelong Learning Survey (2004, 2007 and 2010). The monitor section of the survey has remained unchanged over the years which makes it possible to analyze the learning trends and developments in theNetherlands and the detailed factors that promote or hinder learning. The main findings show that both the formal and informal learning appear to be deeply rooted in work where more than half of the workers has followed an appropriate work related course or training in the past two years. In addition, 28% percent of work time spent on tasks which one can learn from. Although the training participation between 2004 and 2010 remained virtually unchanged, the percentage of time that workers spend on tasks of which one can learn declined slightly during the same period. Approximately 93% of the time that workers spend on educational activities relates to the informal learning at work so it plays a crucial role in the learning process. So in sum it is not surprising that the knowledge of workers between 2004 and 2010 has not changed significantly. In the report the following policy conclusions are made. 

  1. Participation in training by (non) employed has not changed in the period 2004-2010, with a shift in participation by gender, educational level and age over the years;
  2. Training time has increased between 2007 and 2010 to an average of 57 hours per course;
  3. One in five workers has never followed a training or course during their careers;
  4. The percentage of time that employees spend on learning activities is steadily decreasing;
  5. Formal and informal learning go hand in hand;
  6. Aspects of the current work are more important for well functioning in the current job than to well functioning in a possible alternative job;
  7. There is a shift in knowledge development from young workers to old one;
  8. Especially people within organizing and cooperative jobs learn a lot at work, both formal and    informal. People who do routine work learn less in their work;
  9. Personality plays an important role in the extent to which people learn formal and informal;
  10. Especially accommodating employees participate in a course offered by the employer through a voucher. Careful people are less inclined to participate;
  11. The willingness to participate in training is lower where a financial contribution is requested. It’s higher when training can be followed in time of the employer;
  12. Especially those with a strong risk attitude among unemployed and inactive people are willing to use a training voucher from the government;
  13. The training readiness of unemployed is not significantly different from that of employed;
  14. Older workers experience that problems can be solved more easily than younger ones;
  15. When work changes there is often a lack of experience, but these changes give a boost to the development of knowledge at the same time;
  16. Employed over 45 years have the same expectations as young people that they will lose their jobs in the next five years, but they are less confident that they will gain a job at a similar level;
  17. In the allocation of tasks companies can strengthen learning at work by explicitly take into account the experience that anyone can build in carrying out certain activities.

From the research results the following policy conclusions are drawn: 

  1. Strengthening the human capital of workers;
  2. Increasing the employability of the inactive individuals;
  3. Maintaining the human capital of individuals older than 45.

Reference:  Borgmans, L., Fouarge, D.,  Grip,  A. de (2011)  Een leven lang leren in Nederland (Life long learning in The Netherlands).  Maastricht: Researchcentrum voor Onderwijs en Arbeidsmarkt School of Business and Economics. The article is attached.

Source Type: Research report / article.
Sector Classification: Not naming specific.
Theme: Sustainable employment, Smart working, Innovation & Innovation capacity, Talent development