Joop Schippers
Professor of Labour Economics at Universiteit Utrecht.

Speaker on June 30 2023

The importance of lifelong learning and development​.

The importance of lifelong learning and development (LLL/D) is widely recognized. Especially now that the influx of young people on the labour market is gradually declining due to lower birthrates and work is changing rapidly due to technological developments. Moreover, due to increasing longevity we all will have to work longer until retirement. Knowledge and skills once acquired in school will not be sufficient. Many professions are changing or disappearing. So it is an absolute necessity to keep learning new knowledge and skills throughout your lifecourse. Young people should enter the workforce with an open mind. The profession they prepared for is by definition something temporary. So, they should grab new opportunities with both hands and take the opportunity to work constantly on their employability through LLL/D.

Nevertheless, there appear to be quite a few barriers to putting LLL/D into practice for everyone. What’s going well? What is problematic? Which groups should be the focus and who should be responsible for what (both financially and organisationally)? Through various policy initiatives financed by the National Growth Fund (NGF), among others, attempts are being made in the Netherlands to give a strong impulse to LLL/D. What do these initiatives look like and is there anything to be said about their chances of success? In the end LLL/D should be completely normal for every one of us, not just for the happy few.



Thunnissen, M., Schippers, J. & Boselie, P. (2018). Macro Talent Management in The Netherlands: A Critical Analysis of Growing and Retaining Talent in the Netherlands, in: Vaiman, V., Sparrow, P.,  Schuler, R. & Collings, D.G. (2018). Macro Talent Management. A Global Perspective on Managing Talent in Developed Markets, London: Routledge: 190-205, ISBN 9781138712386

Schippers, J.J. (2018). On the need for universities to engage in lifelong learning, in: A. Heijnen and R. van der Vaart (Eds.)(2018). Places of engagement. Reflections on Higher Education in 2040 – a Global Approach, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press B.V., 65-68, ISBN 9789463726702

Karpinska, K., Henkens, K., Schippers, J.J. & Wang, M. (2015), Training opportunities for older workers in the Netherlands: a vignette study, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 41 (September), 105-114

Fleischmann, M., Koster, F., Schippers, J.J. (2015), Nothing ventured, nothing gained. How and under which conditions employers provide employability-enhancing practices to their older workers, International Journal of Human Resources Management, 26, 22, 2908-2925

"It should become as natural at a birthday party to ask what course you are going to do next as it is to ask where you are going on holiday."