Judith Kirton-DarlingJudith Kirton-Darling, Labour Party, United Kingdom

On the importance of lifelong learning:

"As an elected Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), I have worked closely with colleagues in the union movement to raise the profile of non-formal learning at EU level. The ETUC has just concluded a joint project with UnionLearn to forward practical experience and policy recommendations.

Following a major campaign from trade unions and youth organisations on the catastrophic levels of youth unemployment in some countries, we have seen the launch of important European initiatives, such as the Youth Employment Initiative and the Youth Guarantee, as well as the European Alliance for Apprenticeship. This is clearly very welcome, however, I believe that much more attention is needed on lifelong learning, continuous training and workplace learning, as these policies are fundamental to tackling and preventing long-term and adult unemployment, as well as managing restructuring, dismissals and the transition to a green economy.

One example of my work in this area, was the ETUC campaign for a legal framework on anticipation of change, which would have given a legal right to education and training as well as a framework for individual training and education plans. We successfully convinced the European Parliament to support but employer opposition led to the Commission to water down the proposals to a set of recommendations."