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Austria: lifelong learning vital for Austrian companies

95% of companies see lifelong learning as a (very) important education policy issue in the coming years, as per a recent survey conducted among 500 companies by the platform for occupational CVET. Pure forms of classroom-based training continue to dominate in company-based continuing vocational education and training (CVET).

Competence requirements for employees are changing faster than ever due to technological progress. Regular participation in CVET is essential to keep one’s finger on the market pulse. European comparative studies regularly show that companies in Austria are very active in CVET, which means they frequently offer their employees CVET opportunities or support them in completing CVET programmes.

This is also confirmed by a recent survey of human resource managers and managing directors in Austrian companies with 20 or more employees, conducted on the occasion of the Day of CVET (Tag der Weiterbildung) on 12 June 2019 on behalf of Platform for occupational CVET.  For 95% of the 500 surveyed companies, lifelong learning will be a ‘(very) important’ education policy issue in the coming years. This shows that companies are aware of the importance of initial and continuing VET for entrepreneurial success. Companies can only succeed on the market if their employees boast state-of-the-art and forward-looking skills.

CVET budgets are also rising: 23% of the 500 companies in the survey have earmarked a higher budget share for CVET this year than in the previous year. Almost 70% of the companies surveyed expect their employees to make use of the CVET opportunities they offer. It is therefore hardly surprising that, according to the experience of recent years, an average 86% of the annual CVET budget is actually used.  

Thematic focus of CVET  

Some 85% of the companies also see ‘the higher qualification of employees – skilled labour development’ as the focus of their CVET activities this year, followed at some distance by management training (72%) and training in the field of ‘digitisation/digital work environment’ (61%). For the companies, the most important measures include training in ‘technology and production’ (39%), followed by ‘personal development’ and ‘sales and marketing’ (38% each) and ‘IT and IT applications’ (35%). Overall – probably also as a result of the shortage of skilled workers in Austria – 38% of the companies surveyed regard ‘subject-specific CVET’ as the central topic of their human resource work this year.

Learning forms of CVET

As shown in Diagram 1, pure classroom-based training is still the most frequently used form of CVET, despite the wide variety of alternatives: 63% of all CVET programmes are organised in this way. Even so, 30% of the programmes already include pure digital forms of learning or blended learning (in which digital formats such as webinars, learning videos, learning platforms are used in addition to classroom-based instruction periods). A comparison with the survey results from previous years confirms that the share of digital forms of learning is on the rise. Time pressure and cost constraints are causing more and more companies to opt for more flexible forms of learning.

 

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