In the EU in 2009, EUR 27.6 billion were invested in training as the most important and most reinforced public measure for helping individuals with difficulties on the labour market.

Training is particularly important for those facing various difficulties (such as the unemployed or workers at risk of job loss) as well as disadvantaged groups. In recent years, public investment in training as part of active labour market policy measures had to be dedicated to an increased number of individuals with labour market difficulties, sometimes resulting in budgetary constraints in Member States.


Source: Cedefop’s calculation, based on Eurostat, labour market policy database.


  • In 2009, governments of EU Member States invested about EUR 27.6 billion in training individuals with difficulties on the labour market (unemployed, employed at risk of job loss and inactive who would like to enter the labour market but are disadvantaged in some way). This was a 27% increase compared to 2007.
  • At EU level, training continued to be the most important public measure of active labour market policy to increase employability for people with difficulties on the labour market. Among all labour market policy measures, the share of public expenditure devoted to training was highest (about 43% of the 2009 EU total) and, compared to 2007, increased by 4.6 percentage points.
  • The share of expenditure on training (as % of total expenditure on active measures) was highest in Estonia, Austria, Portugal, Poland, Finland, Germany, Latvia, and Ireland (in 2009, 50% or more). High shares were also reported in France, Italy and Lithuania (between 40% and 50%); as well as in the United Kingdom (36%) and, to a lesser extent, in Slovenia (28%). In those 13 countries, training was the most financially supported measure of active labour market policy.
  • Compared to 2007, public expenditure on training as part of active labour market policy increased in 14 countries. In 10 countries, increases were observed both in absolute terms (in million EUR) and in relative terms (share of total expenditure on active measures). In three further countries (Estonia, Belgium and Slovenia) expenditure on training increased only in absolute terms (but accounted for a smaller share of the total). In the UK, expenditure on training decreased in absolute terms but increased in relative terms. In the rest of the countries, public expenditure on training decreased both in relative and absolute terms.

Data originate from the Eurostat labour market policy database and are subject to its methodology. Data were processed by Cedefop and extracted from the Eurostat online database on 6 September 2011. In interpreting the data, possible differences in national labour market policy should be taken into account. The indicator considered is the percentage of total public expenditure on active labour market measures, devoted to training people. Expenditure devoted to passive support of at-risk groups (e.g. income support, early retirement) is excluded from calculations and comparisons.