Competence Centre

“The need for reskilling and upskilling will intensify”

“Micro-credentials […] are becoming increasingly common,” observes Oberlé-Drapié (pictured). Photo: University of Luxembourg Competence Centre

“Micro-credentials […] are becoming increasingly common,” observes Oberlé-Drapié (pictured). Photo: University of Luxembourg Competence Centre

As the world of work changes, so must the world of training. We spoke to Anne Oberlé-Drapié, managing director of the University of Luxembourg Competence Centre, about the evolution of continuing education.

Delano: What does the Competence Centre do?

Anne Oberlé-Drapié: Our mission is to develop and create university-level continuing education programmes. This includes university certificates that grant ECTS credits, but also shorter lifelong learning courses that respond to different needs.

What trends do you observe in the world of training?

I’ve seen that micro-credentials, which differ from traditional credentials such as diplomas and which attest to a person’s achievements in a specific area, are becoming increasingly common in other countries. They take less time to complete and can be personalised, and they provide distinct value and relevance in a changing world of work. Taking a micro-credential approach means having a more holistic view of abilities and achievements, which is essential in a hiring system that is increasingly based on skills and less on generic diplomas.

The challenge today is to transform the culture of continuing education in Luxembourg into an innovative approach that supports, values and recognises all lifelong learning activities, whether formal, informal or non-formal.

Most of our participants are looking for high-quality and affordable training that leads to a higher education qualification that opens doors. Our mission is thus to meet the needs of a public whose learning goals are different to those of people in school or university for the first time. We do this, for example, by adapting our training courses to employees and job-seekers. Having offerings with flexible courses and timetables, as well as digital training elements, is therefore essential.

Which skills are in high demand?

The digital transformation of society is increasing our dependence on information and communication technologies. Data is stored, processed and modified in constantly evolving systems of increasing complexity. This poses a major challenge to organisations, which must train professionals in these new technologies: both on how to add value but also on understanding novel risks. Highly requested subjects are high-performance computing; artificial intelligence; machine learning and data science; industry 4.0; cybersecurity; 5G; and the Internet of Things.

Luxembourg’s financial sector in particular is facing major challenges, creating a demand for training courses related to this digital shift as well as to the country’s regulatory framework. The health sector is also undergoing significant changes, especially in the area of digital health and health data analysis. We have been actively working with the health ministry and the health directorate on a curriculum for the new roles of midwives, and the same project but for nurses is coming soon.

Could you tell us a little bit more about your health management certificates? 

This certificate has been a great success, both because it meets a need to train health sector executives in the specificities of Luxembourg and because it is representative of our pedagogical approach, which is to include professional partners throughout the training process.

The added value of the certificate also consists in the participants’ drafting of a professional project, the objective of which is to put into practice the knowledge and expertise acquired throughout the course while developing the transversal skills that are indispensable to future executives in this sector.

Do you have any particular insight on the future of Luxembourg’s workforce?

At the level of the Grande Région and more particularly of Luxembourg, the findings are as follows:

—Beyond the pandemic, automation, migration and the decrease in labour supply are changing the geography of employment.

—Employment growth has been strongest in higher-skilled occupations and Luxembourg has the highest proportion of highly skilled people among 124 countries.

—As Europe ages, mobility has become the main driver of labour force growth in most sectors, and 45% of jobs in Luxembourg are held by cross-border workers.

—The strongest employment growth is expected in the tertiary sector in scientific and technical services, as well as in the health and social sector, while the strongest decline could occur in industry. Luxembourg is a country with a strong industrial tradition.

—Some sectors are booming, such as media, information and communication technologies; logistics; and the health and space technologies sectors.

—Finally, the development of a startup community over the last few years is fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

It is crucial to anticipate these developments in order to offer training that is fully responsive to needs and promotes equal opportunities and fair practices.

What role will digital learning play in the coming years?

The integration of digital learning into training courses is a major challenge for continuing education organisations because the need for reskilling and upskilling will intensify. However, training a population that is employed or seeking work requires flexibility in the training system. The Competence Centre has a team specialised in digital learning, which is essential if we want to offer quality training. Indeed, distance teaching does not simply imply sitting behind a screen and delivering a course, meaning that trainers must be brought up to speed. And so must learners, since studying by distance also requires new skills.

This article was originally published in Delano’s working in Luxembourg supplement.