Women at work factory

Skills throughout life

Learning for and at work is an integral part of adult education and a major component of lifelong learning. Learning is a lifelong endeavour that takes place in formal, non-formal and informal settings with the ultimate goal of ensuring that adults can participate fully in society and the world of work. Alongside basic and citizenships skills, vocational skills and further twenty-first century skills are key.

The centrality of work to lifelong learning has been further magnified by the transformation of the labour market. Workers can expect to retrain and upskill multiple times throughout their working lives: adaptability and the ability to acquire new skills and competences is therefore paramount.

asian factory worker

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning:

  • studies emerging skilling models and documents good practice in lifelong, technical and vocational learning, including how they contribute to quality jobs and, eventually, to high-skill, high-wage economies;
  • conducts research on new ways of validating and accrediting learning to inspire policy-making;
  • provides evidence of the rise of responsible forms of corporate management resulting from employers’ increasing awareness of the challenges of climate change and social inequalities;
  • reviews initiatives aimed at bringing together businesses, organizations and the education sector;
  • develops policy guidance tools aimed at equipping Member States with the information, frameworks and comparative experiences needed to design, implement and monitor strategies to build robust learning systems.

Our projects

Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of Non-formal and Informal Learning
Qualifications frameworks
The Contribution of Higher Education Institutions to Lifelong Learning
Climate change

Responding to the climate crisis demands new models of adult education geared towards learning to care for ourselves, for others and for the planet. Raising awareness and mainstreaming education for sustainable development and greening TVET approaches in day-to-day operations, teaching and learning processes, training arrangements and outcomes.

Melting glacier

Building on its work on green skills, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning:

  • documents trends and policy responses, identifying good practices for reskilling and matching skills needs;
  • will produce guidelines on climate action strategies for skilling, reskilling and upskilling through lifelong learning;
  • informs policy dialogue by offering a lifelong learning framework as a platform through which governments, businesses, trade unions, civil society organizations and learning providers can collectively address climate concerns and agree on a way forward;
  • contributes to building a body of knowledge on lifelong learning policies in support of techno-economic decarbonization strategies to inform the design of effective policy packages and identify various modes of cooperation among actors.
Digital transition
african students on laptop

Digitalization is not transforming the labour market. Its impact on work and jobs necessitates integrating digital skills as a core component of all curricula, as foundational skills. UIL explores the concepts of digital literacy and digital competence, and their integration in adult education programmes.