'Never too young to retrain': Extra resources for adult education in Flanders

'Never too young to retrain': Extra resources for adult education in Flanders
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Flanders will invest an additional €20 million to allow education centres to focus more on distance learning, IT training and training for unqualified young people.

Adult education was hit hard after the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, and the pandemic has prompted many people to seek a change in the direction of their careers, either out of necessity or personal choice. Both the Centres for Adult Education and the Centres for Basic Education will receive funding.

“We want to see positive consequences come out from the coronavirus crisis,” the region's Education Minister Ben Weyts said in a statement.

“This is the perfect time for a power surge. In the aftermath of the pandemic, many Flemish people will want or have to retrain themselves.”

Online skills training for job-seekers

Flanders is investing a total of €60 million in modernising adult education, with €10 million freed up last year for, among other things, facilitating better communication with the Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training (VDAB) so that training can be better geared to the local labour market.

The additional €20 million will position adult education even more strongly as the place where people in Flanders can retrain and up-skill themselves, Weyts' cabinet said.

“Every person in Flanders should be able to access adult education in order to give a new direction to life,” said Weyts.

“You are never too old to retrain. In some areas, our adult education was lagging behind, but we are now seizing the opportunity of the coronavirus crisis to turn that lag into an advantage. In this way, adult education will also emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

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Education Centres will be able to develop online learning platforms that allow learners to follow or catch up at home at a time that suits them, along with hybrid courses that combine online and in-person learning.

IT training is targeted at building up digital competencies, which have become more important than ever amid the pandemic. This could include teaching older generations the skills needed for working from home or teaching the elderly how to communicate digitally with their families.

Additional training is aimed at young people who dropped out of school and need a useful qualification to obtain employment.

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