From the end of 2009 until the end of 2011 seven Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences participated in a national program on lifelong learning in higher education. In their projects these HEI’s further developed into institutes for lifelong learning, offering flexible learning pathways for working adults, using recognition of prior learning, work based learning and distance learning to tailor learning programs to their needs and possibilities.
Evaluation results indicate these UAS have successfully attracted more working adults and increased their market share. Key success factors that have been identified indicate that organizational developments are crucial. Changes in organizational structure and culture and development of specific staff competences proved to be crucial to make investments in increased market orientation and co-creation with (regional) businesses successful. Strategic alliances with business partners become more meaningful and successful in an integrated approach in which cooperation and co-creation on flexible learning for working adults is combined with HEI’s expertise and services on (applied) research and innovation.
Related to the lessons learnt announcements have been made recently on future changes in Dutch government policy. Changes in the financing system and changes in laws, rules and regulations will be made in order to reinforce flexibility in the provision of training and education and meet the demands of target groups in the labour market.
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