On 1 July 2013 Croatia became the European Union’s 28th Member State. To mark the occasion Cedefop has prepared a statistical overview on vocational education and training (VET) and lifelong learning in Croatia. Selected for their policy relevance and importance to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy’s objectives, the indicators quantify key aspects of VET and lifelong learning and relate Croatia’s performance to the EU average.

The indicators are those in Cedefop’s recently published country statistical overviews updated for Croatia with the latest available data.

Access, attractiveness and flexibility

Indicators in this area show participation patterns in initial and continuing VET training by various groups such as age, gender, educational attainment, working status and type. Participation patterns are used as proxies to indicate the attractiveness of VET as a learning option.

Key findings for Croatia

  • Initial VET is well represented at upper secondary level in Croatia, accounting for more than 70% of students enrolled at this level in 2011, well above the EU average of 50%. Young women are also well represented. In Croatia, 64% of young women in upper secondary are VET students compared to the EU average of 45%.
  • Participation patterns in continuing vocational training (CVT) and adult learning in Croatia are among the lowest for European countries. In 2010, around 23% of employees participated in CVT courses, well below the EU average of 38%. However, a relatively high number of Croatian enterprises, around 57% provided training in 2010.
  • In 2012, participation by adults aged 24 to 64 in lifelong learning, at only 2.4% in Croatia is well below the EU average of 9%. The European target is an average of 15% by 2020. Data from the Adult Education Survey (2007) suggest that, in Croatia, interest by adults in training is low. Some two thirds of adults not participating in training said it was because they did not want to. The EU average was 53%.

Skills development and labour market relevance

This area includes indicators on spending which, although data are difficult to capture accurately, can indicate VET’s role in skill development. It also include indicators that give insights into VET’s contribution to different educational and labour market outcomes and the extent to which employees believe that employer-provided training has enabled them to do their job better.

Key findings for Croatia

  • Company expenditure in Croatia on CVT as a proportion of labour costs in 2010, at 0.6%, was below the EU average of 1.3%. This fairly low figure is in line the low rates of participation. This is despite a very high proportion of employees (93%) in Croatia who believe that employer-provided training has enabled them to do their job better.
  • In 2012, the percentage of 30-34 year-olds with a university-level or equivalent vocational qualification in Croatia was close to the EU average of 9%. More than a third of the tertiary-level education graduates in this age-group hold a vocational qualification, above the EU average of one in four.

Transition and employment trends

Indicators in this area aim to situate VET policies in a broader EU policy framework. Reflecting the focus on the labour market status of young people, the indicators include the two Europe 2020 strategy benchmark targets on early school leaving and educational attainment.

Key findings for Croatia

  • In 2012, only 4.2% of young people left school early (1), well below the EU average of 12.8% and better than the European target of an average of less than 10% by 2020.
  • Labour market outcomes for young people are less favourable. In Croatia, in 2012, some 22% of 18 to 24 year-olds were not in employment, education or training, compared to the EU average of 17%. There are also wide differences with markedly more young men than women not in employment, education or training in Croatia than in the EU as a whole.
  • Latest data show that in Croatia some 24% of people aged 30 to 34 have at least a tertiary-level qualification, compared to 36% at the EU level and the European target of 40% by 2020. The trend, however, is clearly upward as the 24% rate in 2012 compares to just 16% ten years ago.
  • Labour market outcomes for adults are also less favourable. In 2012, only 55% of adults aged 20 to 64 are employed in Croatia (the lowest level in Europe together with Greece), compared to the EU average of 68% and the European objective of 75% by 2020. However, fewer adults in Croatia have low levels of education, around 21% of people aged 20 to 64, compared to the EU average of 26%.


1 Persons aged 18 to 24 fulfilling the following two conditions: first, the highest level of education attained is ISCED 0 or 1, or 2 or 3c short, and second, the respondents declared not having received any education or training in the four weeks preceding the survey (numerator). The denominator consists of the total population of the same age group (18-24), excluding no answers to the questions "highest level of education or training attained" and "participation to education and training". Both the numerators and the denominators come from the Labour Force Survey.

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