Lifelong learning is fundamental to jobs and growth, but also to social inclusion. Monitoring progress in lifelong learning, based on statistics and indicators, is essential to identify gaps and to develop future strategies. Taken together, data from the European Adult Education Survey (AES), the European Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the European Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) form a complete system of EU statistics on lifelong learning.

(click image for full size)       Data source: Adult Education Survey

The European AES covered participation in all types of lifelong learning (formal, non-formal, informal) and their characteristics; it included modules on self-reported IT and language skills, and on social and cultural participation.

One of the indicators reflecting on non-formal learning is how provision in countries is distributed among various providers.

Key points

  • In all countries where final data are available, employers together with formal and non-formal education/training institutions provide at least half of all non formal learning activities. The other half is provided by equipment suppliers, employers organisations and trade unions, non-profit associations (political parties and alike) and non commercial institutions (libraries and alike), individuals and others (not defined elsewhere). But shares for single such providers are rarely above 10%.
  • The data confirm the prominent role of firms in providing non formal learning activities that can be considered mainly as continuing vocational training: in half of the countries, more than one third of all activities is provided by firms; provision by education and training institutions is below 20%, except in Latvia (35%) and Greece (27%).
  • In the other countries provision by education and training institutions is generally more pronounced; shares range from 21% in Italy to 63% in Poland.
  • The more prominent role of education and training institutions is observed above all in East European Member States (Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). This observation is in line with low participation rates found in these countries in the CVTS.

Note: The data come from the Adult Education Survey that was carried out in countries for the first time between 2005 and 2008; data are subject to the AES methodology. For this indicator, final data are currently available for 15 countries; data for Hungary were not used in this analysis.

More information on continuing vocational education and training of adults in each country can be found in Cedefops National VET systems database.