Lifelong learning encompasses learning for personal, civic and social purposes as well as for employment-related purposes. It takes place in a variety of environments in and outside the formal education and training systems. Lifelong learning implies raising investment in people and knowledge; promoting the acquisition of basic skills, including digital literacy; and broadening opportunities for innovative, more flexible forms of learning. Lifelong learning is now one of the four "pillars" of the European "flexicurity" principles and recognised as a key element to maintain the employability of the workforce.
Whilst supporting the lifelong learning approach, UEAPME has consistently argued for the recognition of the specific needs of European SMEs as well as the recognition of continuous informal training in SMEs.
Position papers and other documents
January 2007: UEAPME position paper on adult learning
March 2006: UEAPME position paper on the Commission’s Communication on Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: Fostering entrepreneurial mindsets through education and learning - COM (2006) 33 final
Framework of actions on lifelong learning: key documents
June 2009, European Commission: Guide for Training in SMEs