Within the programme “Learning Regions” the development of lifelong learning at a regional level, on the basis of regional co-operation and networking, is promoted. It is promoted within the Austrian Programme for Rural Development 2007 – 2013, which was approved by the European Commission in October 2007.
The target is to bring together important players from different educational sectors, to jointly develop new offers for Lifelong Learning within the scope of a regional strategy. It is required that all relevant partners should engage in the networks and follow up on existing experiences and co-operation structures. The close co-operation within a regional network creates common ideas and trust in one another, which are both decisive conditions for the readiness to accept institutional changes and for the development of a learning culture, which is effective even beyond the network. On the basis of desk research, qualitative expert interviews, quantitative surveys within the regional population and networking workshops with regional players a Lifelong Learning Strategy was set up. On the basis of such a regional strategy a “Learning Region” is developing, in which education, as a regional location factor, is improving and new perspectives are emerging that previously may have been hidden. A “Learning Region” should support low-treshold access to education for regional population, on the other hand it also can help small and medium-sized enterprises within the region to cover their demand in skilled employees and to stimulate their innovative power.