Lifelong learning: organizational training and vocational training

Adult lifelong learning takes place mainly in two contexts: training in organizations and vocational training. The continuous improvement of skills and the development of people’s potential at work are essential elements in ensuring the performance and effectiveness of an organization. Several studies have shown that employees who participate in training interventions appear to be more motivated and consequently more effective in their work (Holman et al., 2018; Petrou et a., 2018; Slemp et al., 2021). In addition, training has a positive impact on participants’ level of work engagement (Elkhdr, 2019). It promotes growth in sense of responsibility at work, involvement in organizational goals, and level of well-being (Bakker & Wingerden, 2021). In addition, training interventions in organizations can increase the level of self-esteem of workers (Costantini et al., 2019).
Vocational training, on the other hand, does not take place in an organizational context, but is accessed by job seekers individually. It is difficult to define vocational training as a single institutional entity, as in many cases it involves many other parts of the training system. It can be defined as “training aimed at providing people with the knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences required in specific occupations or more generally in the labour market” (Cedefop, 2014a, p. 292). VET promotes the lifelong learning of adults who can upgrade (or retrain) their skills to enter the world of work effectively.
The current line of research analyzes organizational and professional training in the paradigm of lifelong learning (LLL), a process through which people acquire information, knowledge, and skills in different formal and informal contexts throughout their lives (Sartori & Tacconi, 2017). Lifelong learning should therefore be seen as an appropriate response to change (Gibbs et al., 2007), adaptation and development of individuals and organizations (Roland, 2010). Furthermore, lifelong learning policies aim to enable young people and adults to identify and develop the critical skills needed to find, retain and progress in employment: in other words, to improve their employability.

All of the Research Center’s scientific publications related to this research area are available at the following link.

Gibbs, K., Sani, M., and Thompson, J. (2007), Lifelong Learning in Museums: a European Handbook, Edisai, Ferrara, IT.
Holman, D., Johnson, S., & O’Connor, E. (2018). Stress management interventions: Improving subjective psychological well-being in the workplace. In Handbook of well-being. DEF Publishers.
Petrou, P., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2018). Crafting the change: The role of employee job crafting behaviors for successful organizational change. Journal of Management, 44(5), 1766-1792.
Roland, C. (2010), “Preparing art teachers to teach in a new digital landscape”, Art Education, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 17-24.
Sartori, R., and Tacconi, G. (2017), “Guest editorial”, European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 41 No.1, pp. 2-7.
Slemp, G. R., Lee, M. A., & Mossman, L. H. (2021). Interventions to support autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs in organizations: A systematic review with recommendations for research and practice. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 94(2), 427-457.
Markowitsch J. (2017) Conceptions of vocational education and training: an analytical framework, The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe
Cedefop (2014). Terminology of European education and training policy: a selection of 130 key terms (second edition). Luxembourg: Publications Office
Brookfield, S. D. (1986), Understanding and Facilitating Adult Education, Open University Press: Milton Keynes, Buckingham, UK.
Billett, S. (2011), Vocational education: Purposes, Traditions and Prospects, Springer Science & Business Media, Dordrecht, NL.
Smidt, H. and Sursock, A. (2011), Engaging in Lifelong Learning: Shaping Inclusive and Responsive University Strategies, SIRUS, European University Association, Brussels, BE.
Garavan, T. N., Morley, M., Gunnigle, P. and Mchuire, D. (2002), “Human resource development and workplace learning: Emerging theoretical perspectives and organisational practices”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 26 No. 2/3/4, pp. 60-71.
Jarvis, P. (2009), The Routledge international handbook of lifelong learning, Routledge, London, UK.
International Labour Organization (2000). Lifelong Learning in the Twenty-First Century: The Changing Roles of Educational Personnel, ILO, Geneva, IT.
Commission of the European Communities (2007). Action Plan on Adult Learning. It is always a good time to learn. European Community. Brussels. Belgium.