New center to strengthen society’s competitiveness. The new center DTU Learn for Life wants to accommodate society’s growing demand for continuing education and lifelong learning.
From the launch of the DTU center Learn for Life. Photo by Mikal Schlosser.
We must learn throughout life — in new ways and in new formats. This was made clear when DTU Learn for Life officially opened its doors on Friday, the 27th of September with the participation of guests from leading companies and organizations.
With this new center, DTU wants to gather lifelong learning efforts in one place and find new ways to accommodate society’s need for learning.
The center opens at a time when the labour market is undergoing a major change. Many jobs are being replaced by automation, and new technologies emerge. At the same time, employees and businesses are increasingly required to adapt quickly and to stay up to date on new factual knowledge. This requires a constant focus on enhancing employee competences.
“The employees are and always will be the companies’ most important resources. Therefore, lifelong learning is a necessary element in strengthening society’s competitiveness,” says Karina Rothoff Brix, Director of DTU Learn for Life.
“With the new center, we want to engage with companies, municipalities, and organizations to find out what they need — both at a national and international level. This way, we become their sparring partner and can make sure that they continue to have the necessary knowledge and skills to future-proof their workplace.”
One big showcase
DTU Learn for Life was established in April 2019 through a merger of three existing DTU units. The merger means that DTU now has one big showcase for the University’s technologies and know-how — and society has a single point of access to DTU when new competencies are needed for employees, management, and boards.
The center is DTU’s new platform for part-time and continuing education activities, and it caters to anyone who wants to further improve their skills or upgrade their knowledge. That could be anyone from engineers to primary school teachers, lawyers, or doctors. The ambition is for the center to reach out to industry, public authorities, and organizations in Denmark as well as the rest of the world.
Among other things, DTU Learn for Life will offer courses that support business development, e.g. how to accommodate the growing innovation needs or how to innovate with new DTU research. In addition, the center will create study programmes that address some of the current trends and research directions, such as artificial intelligence in the labour market, sustainability in construction, or innovation in the energy, water, and environment sectors.
“A master’s degree is no longer enough to ensure life-long employment. Depending on who you ask, 40-50 percent of all current jobs can be replaced by robots, and the radical technological changes in the coming years will place huge demands on society’s and the individual’s ability to adapt,” says Philip Binning, Dean of Graduate Studies and International Affairs at DTU.
Growing demands from new generations
He points out that it will also be the center’s job to find out how to accommodate the adults’ need for learning and how to help them balance education, private life, and work life. Not least when it comes to the new generations who grew up in the mid-90s. They are making greater demands — of themselves, of their jobs, and of society. They do not accept a job for the job’s sake, but because the job can do something for them personally and because they identify with the company’s values. If the workplace cannot live up to those demands, they will find another job.
“Companies will need a whole new mindset when it comes to learning if they want to recruit and retain the new generations in the future labour market,” says Karina Rothoff Brix.
“At the same time, we all need to break with the prevailing view on continuing education and be inspired by industries that have nothing at all to do with the education sector. This is a joint challenge that we at DTU want to help companies meet.”
“It’s no use closing your eyes to the changes. We need to constantly keep up and try to influence the process.”
Professor Jan Madsen, DTU Compute