It is now widely recognised that skills and competences needed for working and living can be acquired in a variety of ways outside the framework of formal educational systems. The author calls for an enlarged view of learning that emphasises the abilities of the individual learner and includes informal acquisition of skills on-the-job. In this kind of learning the teacher has to acquire a different role, becoming more of a partner in a joint educational process. The author argues that in this regard we can learn much from the example of popular educational movements in Latin America, some of which have established successful collaboration with the world of employment. In these examples he sees indications of promising approaches for the future.