Following the Introduction (Chapter One), the emergence of lifelong learning as the central strategy in the EU’s education and training policy is described in Chapter Two. Illustrated in a historical and international context, it reveals where the idea of lifelong learning has come from and how it has developed up to the present day. A particular focus is on EU policy after the mid-1990s as well as on the EU’s concept of lifelong learning and its objectives.
Since lifelong learning is a complex concept, the provision of a broad perspective on VET in Germany and England seems inevitable in order to examine how VET fosters lifelong learning. Therefore, Deißinger’s concept of qualification styles, which explicitly aims at providing a multidimensional approach that reveals the complexities and singularities of VET systems, serves as the basis of Chapter Three to describe the main patterns of VET in Germany and England. The focus lies on initial training, though the whole system is taken into account.
Chapter Four explicitly builds on Chapter Three. It examines the role of VET in promoting lifelong learning in Germany and England. The six Key Messages of the EU’s Memorandum on Lifelong Learning serve as the analytical framework for the investigation.
Chapter Five summarises the findings and draws conclusions. It reveals that the approaches for promoting lifelong learning as well as the perceptions of lifelong learning differ. These findings are embedded in the wider context of EU education and training policy. The EU policy on lifelong learning is regarded critically, and attention is drawn to further research questions.
Appendices provide additional information to illustrate specific aspects of some of the issues in the main text in greater detail.