This book aims to examine and reflect upon how systems of education, learning and guidance are being challenged by the establishment of a new perspective that regards lifelong learning as a strategic tool for the future development of social, cultural and economic development.
Certain phenomena as, for example, the labour market segmentation, the polarisation of occupational structure and digitalisation, along with the emergence of new social risks, as increasing inequality and new poverty, family instability and housing crisis, have fuelled form of social vulnerability unheard of.
The paper looks into some of these critical issues and ongoing challenges, emerging from the transition of social policies from a phase of search for equality of outcome to one that has equality of opportunities at its core. It explores the emergence of a requirement for new and complex skills in the world of work, which may enable opportunities for equality, but it also reflects upon the necessity of a new type of governance focussing on people and recognising their right to lifelong learning.
If the demand for new competences is the challenge of this first part of the new millennium then the challenge can only be won with a close collaboration between systems and organisations, not leaving people alone in front of complexity and processes of ever increasing divide.
Only with a pact for development between the actors of the systems it will become possible to build a so-called learnfare system based on a guaranteed access to learning opportunities, consistent with the individual personal life plans as well as the requirements of the economy and the world of work.