One in two workers has recently undergone training but Belgium performs far less well than the neighbouring countries in terms of lifelong learning
The High Council for Employment (HCE) devoted its 2021 thematic report to the continuing training of employees. A number of seismic changes such as the development of new technologies and the green transition are affecting demand for skills on the labour market. Workers’ careers are set to become longer, so a deliberate policy of lifelong learning is needed to ensure that their skills are updated.
More than one in two workers stated that they had undergone training during the twelve months preceding the adult education survey in Belgium: that is around the European average, but there is considerable scope for improvement compared to some countries such as the Netherlands, and especially for certain population groups such as low-educated people and those in the 55+ age group, i.e., the ones particularly affected by the labour market challenges.
The majority of Belgian firms, namely 84 %, organise training for their employees. That is above the European average, but investment in training varies between firms according to their characteristics. Small entities are less likely to train their employees; conversely, firms which have large numbers of skilled staff and are confronted by a technological shock provide more training. That applies in financial services, for example.
The analysis highlights the multiplicity of schemes and parties involved in the current provision of continuing training for employees. To address the difficulties identified, the HCE issued a number of recommendations centring on four key elements: improving coordination and rationalising the continuing education system; matching the available training more closely to the needs of the labour market; encouraging participation, particularly for under-represented groups; and strengthening the statistical system in order to assess the training policy.