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Priority Theme

Increasing investment in human capital through better education and skills

The challenges of globalisation and rapid technological change pose new demands on human capital development. The knowledge-based economy has an increasing demand for workers to have transferable competences in order to be able to adapt to technical and organisational changes. A well-educated workforce and the continuous development of skills are key to success of the EU in the global economy.

The Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs underlines the crucial role of investment in human capital. Member States have committed themselves to establish comprehensive lifelong learning strategies 1), but much more needs still to be done to achieve a real breakthrough in lifelong learning. Investment in human capital needs to be more effective and efficient 2)

The issues of measuring, improving and promoting effects of lifelong learning concern all stages of learning throughout lifetime: education in the formal education systems (general education, vocational education and training, higher education) and adult learning in all its diversity (job-related training on/off the job, other learning activities of personal interest, etc). A strong link exists between the individual's level of education achieved at an early stage and the capacity for further learning at a later stage in life. At the same time, non-formal and informal learning and their recognition have become much more important.

1) Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs, guideline 23.
2) See conclusions of the Joint Employment Report 2006/2007.
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