Hot Issues of Skills Development

This page provides summaries of previous and relevant research on skills development.

SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] home Hot Issues of Skills Development Skill formation through lifelong learning and its challenges

Skill formation through lifelong learning and its challenges Yujiro Yamazaki
  • Skills Needed in Labour Market and Issues Related to Skills of Workers

   Lifelong learning plays an essential role in becoming a human resource that can adapt to the changing work patterns and skills required daily due to technological innovation and social changes. Regardless of age, re-learning required skills or learning new ones contributes to career advancement or career change for individuals entering the labor market.
 As for corporate human resources, it has been pointed out that hiring new workers and providing learning opportunities to existing workers, and developing them into people who can adapt to the times is vital for organizations to thrive in a rapidly changing society (Field and Canning, 2014). The current outbreak of the novel coronavirus has exposed the importance of learning the information literacy, skills, and alternative ideas necessary to be flexible in the new work environment, as workers worldwide are forced to work remotely and in other ways have never been done before.
 The first significance of lifelong learning is providing opportunities for people who missed out on schooling to re-learn or re-learn new knowledge and develop their cognitive skills. In recent years, attention has also been focused on the relationship between cognitive skills and non-cognitive skills, such as interpersonal skills and personal self-control. The development of non-cognitive skills has been the focus of discussion with early childhood education, starting with the research of Heckman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000, and later the marshmallow test became a hot topic. Although nurturing in early childhood is essential, it has also been pointed out that the malleability of non-cognitive skills is effective even in adulthood (see: Are non-cognitive skills malleable?). From this point of view, lifelong learning contributes to nurturing opportunities in developing non-cognitive skills (Brunello & Schlotter 2011).
 On the other hand, challenges to lifelong learning have also been pointed out from the perspective of equality of opportunity: Esping-Andersen (1990) pointed out that in retraining, the speed of acquisition varies depending on the learner’s original cognitive skills. It has been pointed out that those who are well educated and have cognitive skills can learn new skills in less time and at a lower cost, while those who are not well educated and have cognitive skills take a longer time to learn, which may further increase the gap (Esping-Andersen 1990). It has also been pointed out that lifelong learning through ICTs does not always provide equal educational opportunities in developing countries. It is intertwined with uneven internet access and disparities in information literacy (Lembani et al., 2019). Thus, while lifelong learning provides equal learning opportunities through re-learning, challenges remain regarding the different starting points for people entering the re-learning space.
(Yamazaki Yujiro)
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Polity
Brunello, Giorgio; Schlotter, Martin (2011) : Non cognitive skills and personality traits: Labour market relevance and their development in education & training systems, IZA Discussion Papers, No. 5743, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn,
Field and Canning (2014)Lifelong learning and employers: reskilling older workers. Sarah Harper and Kate Hamblin (editors)International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy, Edgar Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 463-73.
Lembani, R., Gunter, A., Breines, M. and Dalu, M, T. B. (2019). The same course, different access: the digital divide between urban and rural distance education students in South Africa. Journal of Geography in Higher Education