09 Jul 2015

Extending Working Lives

A comparative analysis of how governments influence lifelong learning

Miroslav Beblavy / Elisa Martellucci

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This report offers a comparative policy study on adult learning within the scope of complementary research conducted by Beblavý et al. (2013)* on how people upgrade their skills during their adult lifetimes. To achieve their objectives, the authors identified regulatory policies and financial support in 11 countries for two main categories of learning: formal higher education and employer-based training. Drawing upon the results of the country reports carried out by their partners in the MoPAct project, they found that in none of the countries examined is there an ‘older student’ policy. In most cases grants and financial support are awarded only up until a certain age and in all of the countries studied, standard undergraduate and post-graduate studies are available for part-time students. The distribution of full-time students and part-time students in tertiary education varies from one country to another as well as from one age group to another. The participation in full-time tertiary education programmes decreases with the age of students.

In Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and the UK, the authors reported that there are no mandatory policies to ensure employer-based training. However, in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, employer-based training is more clearly regulated and the employers might have obligations to provide training for their staff.

The paper finds that comparative differences across countries can be related to policy differences only in certain cases. The policy framework seems to impact more the employer-based training than the educational attainment (upgrade of ISCED level). In Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Poland, a perfect match is found between policy outcomes and the results of Beblavý et al. (2013) related to employer-based training. This is not the case in the United Kingdom, where the two aspects observed are not correlated.

Miroslav Beblavý is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and a Member of the Slovak Parliament. Elisa Martellucci is Project Officer at CEPS. This study drew on contributions from partner colleagues in the MoPAct project.

* Beblavý, M., A.E. Thum and G. Potjagailo (2013), “Where and when does adult learning happen? A cohort analysis of adult education”, NEUJOBS Working Paper No. 4.3.2 (www.neujobs.eu/publications/working-papers/when-do-adults-learn-cohort-analysis-adult-education-europe).