Adults are learning, but need more encouragement

Europe’s labour force is getting older, but not enough adults participate in learning, according to the Cedefop, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training.

In 2014, just over 10 per cent of adults (aged between 25 and 64) participated in lifelong learning – well below the European Union’s (EU’s) target benchmark of 15 per cent by 2020. There are signs that more employers are providing training, but other changes are needed to encourage adults to learn more. 

A survey by the continuing vocational training survey (CVTS), which measures training in enterprises revealed that in 2010, over half of employees participated in continuing training courses up from 33 per cent in 2005.

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It also found that despite the economic downturn between 2005 and 2010, the number of enterprises who launched training incentives grew by only 1.5 per cent because of the cost in providing adult learning.

To tackle this, many EU Member States are developing and expanding different learning formats, such as modular courses to overcome the barriers of time. They have also devised a range of financial measures for individuals and employers to overcome this problem.

Since adult learning often does not lead to a qualification, many people may be discouraged from participating therefore business are being urged to validate all types of non-formal and informal learning to count towards a recognised qualification and consequently lead on to other learning pathways.

CVTS also found that 77 per cent of the enterprises perceived training as a waste of time despite the impact it could have on the success and productivity on their businesses. 



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