Lifelong learning: organizational training and vocational training

Training interventions concern a wide area largely dealt with Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Continuous improvements in the skills and development of the workforce potentials to the highest level, are essential elements to assure the performance and effectiveness of an organization. Many studies have shown that workers who have experienced a feeling of a lack of or insufficient preparation, with the consequent perception of being inadequate over the task requested, can easily experience difficulty in adapting themselves, with consequent deterioration of their commitment to work: typical features of the burnout syndrome (work stress-related). Investing in every single worker will make him feel more responsible for his job, more involved in the company goal, and more well-being. All these aspects will lead him to be more productive.  

Frequent training interventions bring benefits not only to the single worker but to the whole Organization. These are the multiplicity of organizational training interventions that can be implemented by I/O psychologists: from individuals, such as Coaching, Mentoring or Managerial training, to groups, such as Team Building, or to those aimed at developing some basic constructs of the Work and Organization Psychology as a Resource-Based Training. For instance: coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful a Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of the process as well as the variety of styles, skills, and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place. Mentoring is an off-line process where one person offers help, guidance, advice, and support to facilitate the learning or development of another. On the other hand, sometimes training instead focuses on learning in a very practical way. This is the case of vocational training (VET) a notion that takes many forms. It is the most heterogeneous of the main training sectors in Europe today. It is difficult to define the VET as a single institutional entity because it involves many other parts of the training system in many cases. VET could be defined as a “training which aims to equip people with knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competencies required in particular occupations or more broadly in the labor market” (Cedefop, 2014a, p. 292). This research project analyzes the so-called Lifelong Learning (LLL) between organizational training and vocational training. This is a process through which individuals acquire information, knowledge, and competencies in a range of formal and informal settings, throughout life (Sartori and Tacconi, 2017). Lifelong learning is considered to be an appropriate response to changes (Gibbs et al., 2007) and a key lever for resilience, adaptation, and development (Smidt and Sursock, 2011) of both individuals and organizations (Roland, 2010). It has been argued that it can represent how people go on acquiring such LLL key-competences (Garavan et al., 2002), gain expertise (Jarvis, 2009), adapt to different job market conditions (International Labour Organization, 2000), and develop employability while growing up (Commission of the European Communities, 2007). Because of the importance of these organizational policies regarding this topic is growing fast, majorly regarding young people. LLL policies aim to enable young adults to identify and develop those key-competences necessary to find, retain, and progress in employment: that is, to improve their employability. In the past two decades, the development of LLL policies resulted in a diversified market configuration for adult education throughout Europe, which is expected to increase further. The continuous acquisition of key-competences is a perceived determinant for professional success and career.    


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
Sartori, R., and Tacconi, G. (2017), “Guest editorial”, European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 41 No.1, pp. 2-7.
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.
Gibbs, K., Sani, M., and Thompson, J. (2007), Lifelong Learning in Museums: a European Handbook, Edisai, Ferrara, IT.
Smidt, H. and Sursock, A. (2011), Engaging in Lifelong Learning: Shaping Inclusive and Responsive University Strategies, SIRUS, European University Association, Brussels, BE.
Roland, C. (2010), “Preparing art teachers to teach in a new digital landscape”, Art Education, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 17-24.
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. Available at: