Trade union leaders have called on employers to change their "hire and fire" culture to one of "train and retain" to build workplace partnerships for lifelong learning.
Delegates at the TUC's Partners for Lifelong Learning conference in London on Tuesday were told that employees should also change their outlook to see themselves as learners and not just earners. The conference is part of events in the European Year of Lifelong Learning.
John Monks, TUC general secretary, said: "The key to changing this culture is about forming partnerships."
Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, seized on the partnership theme to challenge trades unionists and employers to help the nation achieve the Government's national education and training targets by 2000.
David Blunkett, shadow education and employment spokesman, said the Labour party would develop a package of measures to promote a "culture of education". These would include a learning smartcard and learning accounts for young people both in and out of work.