Table of Contents

  • People’s skills are at the heart of Flanders’s vision for the future, which is a society where people learn for and through life, are innovative, trust one another, enjoy a high quality of life, and embrace their unique identity and culture.

  • Flanders performs well compared to most OECD countries on most measures of skills development and use. The skills proficiency of Flemish adults exceeds the OECD average. High-performance work practices that stimulate the use of skills are widely adopted by firms. There are many good governance arrangements in place to support co-ordination and collaboration in adult learning across government departments, levels of government and with stakeholders. Financial incentives for adult learning help to reduce the burden for individuals and employers, promote cost-sharing and reduce under-investment. However, important challenges remain. Ensuring the continued success of Flanders in the future will depend on the policy choices Flanders makes today.

  • This chapter applies the OECD Skills Strategy framework to examine the characteristics and performance of the Flemish skills system. The findings are the basis for identifying, in consultation with the national project team, the five priority areas for action in Flanders. This chapter introduces these priority areas, and subsequent chapters for each priority area provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities, as well as concrete recommendations. In addition, this chapter provides an overview of the policy context of the Flemish skills system, including descriptions of long-term policy goals and recent and new reforms related to skills and education.

  • The chapter presents diagnostic evidence on adult learning in Flanders, the factors that affect adult learning and specific policies and practices to foster a learning culture. Flanders can develop a learning culture by taking action in seven areas. These are: 1) raising awareness about the importance of adult learning; 2) tailoring adult education provision to the specific needs of adult learners; 3) transforming adult education providers into learning organisations; 4) making higher education more accessible for adult learners; 5) promoting work-based learning in post-secondary education; 6) promoting human resource practices that stimulate a learning culture in the workplace.

  • The chapter presents diagnostic evidence on skills imbalances in Flanders, the factors that affect skills imbalances and specific policies and practices to reduce skills imbalances. Flanders can reduce skills imbalances by taking action in six areas. These are: 1) ensuring that the education system is responsive to labour market needs; 2) improving information about current and future skills needs; 3) integrating career and training guidance services; 4) making skills visible; 5) promoting labour mobility; and 6) prioritising training in skills in high demand for jobseekers.

  • This chapter presents evidence on how firms in Flanders use skills within the workplace. It highlights the factors that affect skills use as well as specific policies and practices within Flanders. Flanders can improve skills use in the workplace by taking action in four areas: 1) raising awareness of the importance of skills use in the workplace; 2) reshaping workplace practices and encouraging management training, especially among SMEs; 3) promoting career mobility within sectors and firms; and 4) encouraging human resources practices through partnerships between firms and public employment services.

  • The chapter presents diagnostic evidence on the governance of adult learning in Flanders, the factors that affect the governance of adult learning and specific policies and practices to strengthen the governance of adult learning. Flanders can strengthen its adult learning governance by taking action in four areas. These are: 1) developing a long-term vision for adult learning; 2) promoting a whole-of-government approach to adult learning; 3) using networks to promote collaboration between government and stakeholders at the local level; 4) consolidating information sources on adult learning for greater transparency.

  • The chapter presents diagnostic evidence on the financing of adult learning in Flanders, the factors that affect the financing of adult learning and specific policies and practices to improve the financing of adult learning. Flanders can improve the financing of adult learning by taking action in four areas. These are: 1) reviewing financial incentives to encourage the participation of marginalised groups in training; 2) repackaging existing financial incentives to provide each learner with a “training backpack”; 3) supporting transitions from job to job and from one employment status to another; and 4) ensuring financing supports flexible modes of learning.