The second transnational partnership meeting of the ‘Learn to Create – promoting Work-based Learning in Europe’s Cultural and Creative Industries’ took place in Bratislava (October 10th-11th, 2019), and Rozvojova Agentura Senec-Pezinok was our host. The representatives of all partners summarised on the most important findings in their national reports and the conclusions in the methodology concept were presented. We also focused on discussing the next project activities.

The role of the cultural and creative sector in economic and social development is becoming more and more meaningful, which is reflected in public policies, both at national and European level (e.g. in the new European programme for culture, accepted by the European Commission in May 2018, the significance of culture and creativity is emphasised when it comes to society and the competitiveness of the European economy). At the same time new technologies and digital communication have totally changed the ways of creation, production, or dissemination of works of culture, making available new tools to access and personally reinterpret culture, and globalisation enables artists to reach a previously unimaginable number of recipients.

The challenges of today’s world and the pace of the changes in every aspect of life make the idea of life-long learning a necessity. None can be sure what the jobs of the future will be, what the job market will look like. On the other hand the jobs performed nowadays require constant updating of knowledge, acquiring new skills – there is no profession that can be performed in the same way, using the same tools and means all your life. That is why education is facing newer and newer challenges – on the one hand, the repository of easily accessible knowledge grows at an unimaginable pace, on the other it is becoming a challenge to find the needed information and, to sieve genuine knowledge from pseudo-knowledge. Experts on education more and more often claim that it is not any specific knowledge but the so-called 4Cs that should be key targets of today education. These are critical thinking, communication, cooperation, and creativity. All these important competences may be shaped and strengthened in the process of work-based learning together with practical professional skills. It seems that especially the cultural and creative sector, which possesses one of those ‘Cs’ in its name is especially well suited to more potent use of WBL This has been confirmed by both employers and talented young people who strive to develop professionally in this sector.

The development of artistic and creative skills and supporting talents, which constitute  actions stimulating innovation, ensuring stable growth, and social inclusion lie at the foundation of cultural and creative sector. Artistic and cultural education, also as part of a specialist or interdisciplinary approach, plays a key role. Activities supporting young people’s culture, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, activities that enable smooth transition from the  education system to the job market, strengthening inter-sectoral cooperation, with special emphasis on the synergy between the process of education and the job market or social partners – and work-based learning can prove valuable tools for the development of such cooperation.

During the course of working on the national reports and final report, within the frames of the L2C project, a number of factors have been found that demonstrated the success of work-based learning in cultural and creative sector. The most important of them, named by all partners of the project consortium, are as follows: a vocational teacher who is experienced and updates his knowledge and practical skills; synergy between educational institutions and job-market entities – mutual openness and willingness to cooperate within the frames of work-based learning and good legal frames enabling financing of the work-based learning process.

The greatest obstacles that hinder the development of the WBL strategy in the cultural and creative sector, are in fact antonyms of the success factors: the lack of well qualified vocational teachers; the lack of financing system and system-based support (framework conditions) and the related fact that people dealing with this education at the moment suffer from lack of time; the lack of cooperation between educational institutions and the job market.

The most important ‘link’ in effective implementation of work-based learning is a good vocational teacher, therefore it is vital to define the most important features and competencies, and these are: practical knowledge of creative and cultural industries; entrepreneurship; soft skills, like the ability to build good relations, creativity, passion.

Broad and inter-sector activities for awareness and cultural expression as one of the eight key competences are acknowledged as extremely important at European level. Inspiring work on the way creativity and critical thinking are taught was performed by OECD – they have become an important element of the 2021 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Including arts, i.e. going towards creativity and critical thinking at all levels of education is becoming more and more popular. Such an approach was reflected in, among others, the  Commission Communication on the renewed EU programme for higher education – one of the recommendations is the change of approach from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to STEAM, including the Arts). However, in order to put the talents and possibilities into real economic growth and workplaces, people professionally connected with the cultural and creative sector, and cultural and creative enterprises need favourable framework conditions, system-based  and financial support, as well as legal regulations.

More and more young Europeans choose work in the cultural and creative sector and have to face such problems as the ubiquity of project based employment, no permanent job contracts, part-time employment. Additionally, these people must possess – as a result of the specific features of the CCIs – a wide array of digital, traditional, general, and specialist skills. Taking into consideration the findings of this report and the national reports produced by L2C partners – a well prepared and implemented strategy of work-based learning (WBL) may result in personal professional development as well the growth of the whole cultural and creative sector.