For EUConsult, the training and updating of consultants is one of the pillars. 

Meeting organizations that deal with subjects similar to ours is an efficient way to increase the potential of our members. Not only is it important to meet those who carry out activities “close” to those of EUConsult, but to learn new operating methods. This is only possible with comparison. 

During our recent study visit to Brussels, we met many third sector organizations engaged in advocacy actions. Among these, Lifelong Learning Platform

In this article, we bring you an interview with Andrea Lapegna – Deputy Director of Lifelong Learning Platform, prepared by our Board member Raffaele Picilli, in which he shared with us about Lifelong Learning Platform – what is behind the name of this organization, what are its main objectives, who it serves and much more!

Enjoy reading!

What does “lifelong learning” mean? 

The cold definition by the European Commission defines lifelong learning as “learning in all its forms, whether formal, non-formal or informal, taking place at all stages in life and resulting in an improvement or update in knowledge, skills, competences and attitudes or participation in society from a personal, civic, cultural, social or employment-related perspective, including the provision of counselling and guidance services”. For us, lifelong learning is a mind-set and an attitude; it is the flame that burns in all human beings that starts with curiosity and defines us all as a species and that ultimately allows us to understand, participate in and transform our society. 

Can you introduce us to Lifelong Learning Platform?

The need to reunite formal, non-formal and informal learning is at the heart of the founding act of the Lifelong Learning Platform. Today we gather over 40 European networks active in all sectors of education and training and we have the ambition to be the voice of the sector in Europe. We advocate for a holistic vision of lifelong learning that takes into account the many facets of the learning process; because of this, our members are very diverse and represent students, teachers, educators, institutions, practitioners, VET providers, parents, volunteering associations, etc. Together, we seek to shape policies around lifelong learning in a more inclusive, democratic and learner-centred way. 

Let’s talk about advocacy, what does LLLP do?

The main driver of LLLP is voicing citizens’ concerns about education and training to European decision-makers. Over the years, we managed to position LLLP as a trusted stakeholder in the EU policy arena, enlarging our network and scope to directly influence the outcomes of political processes. We are often contacted for opinions by Members of the European Parliament, officials of the European Commission and members of the European Economic and Social Committee; we are part of several Expert Groups of the European Commission together with representatives of Member States. Therefore, I am confident to say that we decisively contribute to the development of EU policies in the sector through a humanistic, holistic approach that puts learners’ back at the centre of education. 

What are the targets of LLLP?

A humanistic and holistic approach of learning, from cradle to grave, is of continued relevance in today’s world and a viable foundation for the rethinking of education in knowledge intensive societies. Adopting a vision, whose rationale is not limited to a single objective, but comprehends its multiple facets is not only relevant but also necessary in today’s context. Our Manifesto highlights three long-term objectives that serve as polar stars of our action: 1) Building inclusive and democratic education systems; 2) Widening access to quality education for all; 3) Increasing the relevance of education to modern societies: because a learning society is a better society. 

In your opinion, how important is it to collaborate with other third sector organisations?

If we want to get our messages across and see our voices finally heard, cooperation is quintessential. To give you a few examples: with our members of the European Association for the Education of Adults, we founded the Lifelong Learning Interest Group of the European Parliament, where friendly members of the EP support our requests and help us frame our demands; with our partners of the European Youth Forum we founded the Erasmus+ Coalition, a unique hub for Erasmus+ beneficiaries to share updates and demands on technical issues; we are also part of wider civil society networks, like Civil Society Europe, or the Liaison Group of the EESC with Civil Society, where our director acts as co-chair. So cooperation within and outside of the sector is crucial to achieve change. 

prepared by
Raffaele Picilli, founder of Raise the Wind,
EUConsult's Board member

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