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The journey into a digital future is continuous and ever-evolving. To stay competitive, enterprises must accelerate their digital footprint by leveraging new business models and deliver unique customer experiences using precise data analytics.
Technology is Allowing the Creation of New Types og Education
Industry 4.0 is driving an explosion in the use of the software. This drives hardware used by staff at all levels of organizations. You will find this across all sectors of industry all over the world. Most of these software packages tend to be specific or heavily customized to the needs of specific industry segments. Others are more accessible and work as more generic training programs. It is often most cost-effective to provide students with adequate training on these technologies at the workplace. That means that they are further strengthening the value proposition for apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning.
Technology is allowing the creation of new types of less structured virtual apprenticeships. Similar to new arrangements associated with the gig economy, these typically involve students taking on a project from a remote location – sometimes in a different country – to learn a set of relevant skills.
Technology can facilitate the management of apprenticeships by :
- discovery of placements, by providing matching platforms and ‘job portals’ for apprenticeships
- monitoring of placements, through technologies that allow sharing of live logbooks between multiple
- evaluation of placements and wider apprenticeship schemes, through technologies that allow
benchmarking evaluation results and matching with specific apprenticeship providers
China is Ahead on Lifelong Learning to Lead the Digital World
China’s education system has become increasingly refined over the years, yet it still falls short in TVET, where there is now a need to ensure that the entire Chinese population has the skills it needs. This means that three times as many people enrolled in the education system may need to refresh their skills by 2030. There is a particular need to develop competitive TVET programs and high-quality skills and expand the number and capacity of technology experts.
Formal and informal pathways would be beneficial, and private sector involvement might also be a key factor in filling gaps in the education system and widening access for all. Lifelong learning will also broaden the country’s rather narrow training framework: the world of work may demand more cognitive, social, and emotional knowledge, a skill set that differs significantly from what is taught today. This calls for changes in traditional textbooks and updates in curricula, especially concerning vocational training, which have fallen behind. The Chinese education program also needs to expand geographically, as rural migrants often lack access to education and rural residents are at a greater disadvantage than city dwellers .
China’s focus is on developing a culture of lifelong learning. More support on career options and skills-development pathways could help approximately 220 million people face career transitions between now and 2030, helping them understand their options to develop the necessary capabilities. A “micro-credential system” beyond graduation would, beyond a doubt, be beneficial and could promote a culture of lifelong learning. Employers investing in training their workers would also benefit from the skills they need to increase productivity. Working on education and lifelong learning is the only way for the country to lead the manufacturing world to lead the digital world of tomorrow .
Over the last years, a trend can be seen where lifelong learning is becoming increasingly popular. The number of people that partakes in lifelong learning is steadily increasing. There are, however, several important factors that are still quite uncertain and that have to be taken into account when an educational institution wants to develop lifelong learning. This is mainly the role that the government and the industry will play in developing lifelong learning. The outcome of this will largely decide which type of lifelong learning to focus on.
Digitalization in Lifelong Learning is Essential for Economic Development in Emerging Countries
Technical and vocational education training (TVET) provides knowledge and skills to shape perceptions, outlook, and employability. TVET is an integral part of economic development in emerging countries, with many studies highlighting its importance. Countries aim to reform their TVET system to make it contribute effectively to their socio-economic development. Such reforms are continuous adjustments to the necessities of global economic conditions. Hence, excellence in acquiring soft skills for the provision of enhanced employability through the TVET system is a significant dynamic factor in this research study .
To meet future needs in response to the new global conditions, there is a need for a sharper differentiation away from the historical antecedents of TVET in industrial and apprenticeship training as the provider of fundamental industrial and commercial skills.
New models of TVET are a way to respond in human and labor terms to the post-industrial world in which knowledge and digital technologies form new frames for individual, social and collective behaviors. To make a crude but useful analogy, ‘craft, manual and technical abilities’ need to project and expand their horizon to incorporate training the mind, developing intelligence, expanding knowledge, and significantly adopting new forms of personal and social behaviors and communication. To effectively contribute to the economic and social development of the intermediate and emergent economies, the ‘soft skills’ influenced and nurtured by individual emotional development is an essential means to attain the new horizons defined by change and technologies .
The Industry and the Government Maybe the Drivers of Lifelong Learning
Against the backdrop of transformations aimed at shaping and improving human capital, people of working age are experiencing increasing concern about job prospects and their social role. With the changing nature of work, some workers find themselves in a situation where their skills are lacking. In the course of work, many benefits of lifelong learning have been identified and grouped into such categories as :
- increasing well-being
- contributing to human capital
- continuing vocational training
- enriching one’s life
- realizing oneself as a person.
There is a need for a radical change in the paradigm of its socio-economic progress, the transition to new forms of education, namely, more attention to adult education .
The subject of lifelong learning programs may be a large influence on the success of lifelong learning. The willingness of companies to pay for lifelong learning is dependent on the industry that the company is part of. For example, if a
company is part of industry subject to constant and rapid changes, the willingness to pay will likely be larger. This is because these companies will likely feel a higher pressure to make sure that their employees are qualified and that their skills are up to date to compete with other companies. This might be a totally different story for an industry where the developments are stagnant, and the need for lifelong learning is not that high.
Education is an important component of poverty reduction efforts and economic and social development. Lifelong education is a key factor for improving knowledge, competence, working possibilities, and quality of life. The use of digital approaches in entrepreneurship education is necessary to prepare students for technological change, particularly digitalization nowadays; until now, a digital-based entrepreneurship education curriculum has been seen as critical.
 “The Digitization of TVET and Skills Systems” ILO 2020
 Morning Future 7 April 2021
 Nasrullah K. Khilji and Stephen A. Roberts, Soft skills acquisition for the knowledge economy: a research strategy for policy development in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in intermediate and emergent economies, (2021)
 Kateryna ONOPRIIENKO, Yuriy PETRUSHENKO, Wojciech DURANOWSKI, Artem ARTYUKHOV: DIGITALIZATION OF ADULT EDUCATION IN THE CONTEXT OF HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT, BULLETIN OF THE CHERKASY BOHDAN KHMELNYTSKY NATIONAL UNIVERSITY. ECONOMIC SCIENCES (2021)
 Jelle Wigger, Developing digitalized academic-level lifelong learning in the Netherlands, (2021)
Lucubrate Magazine July 2021
The picture at the top of the article: Adobe Stock