Participation in lifelong learning in Portugal and the UK
Lifelong learning (LLL) has now been on the agenda of the European Union and other major international organizations for some considerable time, with the European institutions stressing the need that such learning should be available to all, especially hard to reach groups. This paper seeks to explore LLL participation in Portugal and the UK, two countries at opposite ends of the adult learning spectrum and having very different labour market and educational contexts. Using Labour Force Survey data, the results reveal that universal penetration remains a challenge to be overcome, regardless of the setting. The barriers to its achievement, however, appear to be very different. In Portugal, there is an evident need for the learning culture to diffuse more widely throughout the population whereas, in the UK, the problem has its roots in the concentration of LLL amongst the better educated and those in the upper echelons of the occupational hierarchy.
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