Portrait Goof Claessen

Investing in Radboud University’s future with Lifelong Learning

In the Netherlands, the importance of lifelong learning (LLO) is becoming increasingly clear. In a world where technology and knowledge are constantly evolving, standing still is no longer an option. It’s a matter of continuous adjustment and growth if you want to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing job market. As Radboud University, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility of supporting our students and alumni in this process of continuous learning. In its new educational vision, Radboud University draws attention to ‘the competences that are required for continuous learning’. As a university, therefore, let’s continue to support lifelong learning initiatives in particular.

The concept of lifelong learning’ goes beyond the mere acquisition of new skills or knowledge. It’s about cultivating a mindset of curiosity, resilience and adaptability. It’s about fostering a growth-oriented mindset that enables people to take on challenges and keep improving themselves, regardless of their age or background. It’s all about fuelling curiosity and offering opportunities that give substance to this curiosity: job shadowing colleagues, rewatching a webinar, completing an entire study programme or taking on a new role in a project.

As Radboud University, we should not only strive to embrace this mindset, but we should also actively contribute to its promotion. We want to create an environment in which not only our students but also our staff members are encouraged to keep learning, both during their studies and beyond. This requires leadership. It involves a type of leadership that has the courage to invest in programmes and initiatives that encourage lifelong learning, such as honours programmes, continued education and refresher courses, fine arts opportunities or music on campus. Unfortunately, we recently learned that proud traditions like Radboud Rocks were temporarily suspended due to budget cuts.

It cannot be stressed enough that the responsibility for lifelong learning not only lies with the individual, but also demands joint efforts from educational institutions, employers, government authorities and civil society organisations. As Radboud University we can, for example, play a leading role in creating partnerships and promoting collaborations that support and encourage lifelong learning, especially within the region. Let’s see to it that we do increase our focus on these partnerships and look beyond the trees on our green campus. Recognition for this can be expressed through Edubadges and Microcredentials. The Radboud Summer School and Radboud in’to Languages have already made a start. 

Inspiration can be drawn from other initiatives in the Netherlands in which knowledge institutions are collaborating with civil society and other organisations, and government authorities on this important topic. For instance, Utrecht University has a detailed partnership programme, TU Delft offers a large number of online initiatives and several National Growth Funds, including the Lifelong Learning Catalyst, are focused on this topic. Radboud University also hopes to benefit from this. 

Even so, apart from government programmes, lifelong learning is more than just a personal quest; it’s also a collective challenge in which we as a university must continue to play an important role. Let’s invest together in a future where learning and growing never ends and where everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Written by
drs. G.C.M. Claessen (Goof)
G.C.M. Claessen (Goof)
Goof Claessen is Lifelong Learning Programme Coordinator at Radboud Academy.