Key Competences

Lifelong learning has become a necessity for all citizens. We need to develop our skills and competences throughout our lives, not only for our personal fulfilment and our ability to actively engage with the society in which we live, but for our ability to be successful in a constantly changing world of work.

The knowledge, skills and aptitudes of the European workforce are a major factor in the EU’s innovation, productivity and competitiveness. Growing internationalisation, the rapid pace of change, and the continuous roll-out of new technologies mean that Europeans must not only keep their specific job-related skills up-to-date, but also possess the generic competences that will enable them to adapt to change. People’s competences also contribute to their motivation and job satisfaction in the workplace, thereby affecting the quality of their work.

Ján Figel: Key Competences for Lifelong Learning


The Reference Framework sets out eight key competences:

1. Communication in the mother tongue

2. Communication in foreign languages

3. Mathematical competences and basic competences in science and technology

4. Digital competence

5. Learning to learn

6. Interpersonal, Social and civic competences

7. Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship

8. Cultural awareness and expression