At least two-thirds of adults in every EU Member State agree that their government should prioritise investment in their learning and training. In Bulgaria the figure is 92%, according to a survey by Cedefop. 

The case for prioritising adult learning and training is strengthened by the 29% of adults in Bulgaria who said that they lack some general skills to do their job, above the EU average of 22%. In addition, 31% of adults in Bulgaria said that they lacked some technical skills to carry out their job, also higher than the EU average of 28%.

Bulgaria’s adults are positive about learning and training. Over 90% say that they bring real benefits and help people to find a job, to make progress in their careers and can increase their pay. Further, 83% believe that they can help reduce unemployment.

Perceptions differ about the quality of adult learning and training in Bulgaria. Some 64% of adults generally regard its quality as good or fairly good, compared to 69% in the EU. However, 96% of adults who had participated in organised learning and training in the previous year rated it as good or fairly good, compared to 93% across the EU.

Some 72% of adults across the EU agree that there are many learning and training opportunities in their country, compared to 66% in Bulgaria. The survey reports that in the previous 12 months, 30% of adults in Bulgaria had looked for information on adult learning and training opportunities, compared to 40% in the EU overall. Some 66% of adults in Bulgaria said that information was easy to find, the same as the EU average.   

In 22 out of the 30 European countries surveyed, the main reason adults give for not participating in learning or training is that they have no need, but not in Bulgaria. The number one reason given by 34% of adults in Bulgaria is the difficulties they face combining training with other commitments.

Some 64% of adults in Bulgaria strongly support measures that provide financial help to encourage adults to participate in learning and training, compared to 56% across the EU. Some 62% also strongly support recognition and certification of adult learning, above the EU average of 54%. In addition, 53% strongly believe that better information and guidance would increase participation, compared to 49% across the EU.   

The EU has been trying to increase adult participation in learning and training and although it has risen to around 11% it remains below its target of 15% across Europe by 2020. Many Member States fell short of this target, including Bulgaria, where participation is around 2.5%.

The survey clearly shows that lack of participation is not because adults in Bulgaria are negative about learning and training. However, with 86% saying that they need to keep their skills up to date to do their jobs, the survey provides a basis to consider adult learning and training an investment priority and to reflect on how to encourage more adults to learn.


  • Cedefop’s second opinion survey, published in 2020, provides insights into what Europeans think of adult learning and continuing vocational education and training (CVET).The survey informs policies to make VET a more attractive and effective learning option. It was, carried out between May and July 2019 and comprised 40 466 telephone interviews of people aged 25 and over living in the EU, Iceland and Norway. The survey findings are in two volumes. The first volume looks at Member States, the second volume, to be published in 2021, considers the views of demographic and socioeconomic groups across the EU.
  • For EU lifelong targets see Eurostat lifelong learning.
Training for adults