High level of continuing vocational training


In 2005, 86 per cent of Norwegian firms provided continuing vocational training (CVT) to their employees, through CVT courses or other forms of training. Compared to data from 1999, employees’ participation rate in CVT courses has declined. However, the total training activity remains high.

These results are found in the Norwegian part of a European continuing vocational training survey (CVTS3) coordinated by Eurostat.

The third Continuing Vocational Training Survey

The third Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS3) has been conducted in all 27 member states of the European Union, as well as in Norway. The survey covers enterprises (firms in the Norwegian survey) with 10 employees or above. Firms in public administration, primary industries, education and health and social work are not included in the survey. The year of reference for the data is 2005.

Results from all countries taking part in the survey are not yet available, but will be published by Eurostat in comparable form in due course.

A similar survey (CVTS2) was conducted with 1999 as the year of reference. According to results from CVTS2, enterprises in the Nordic countries had the highest level of continuing vocational training in Europe ( http://www.ssb.no/vis/magasinet/norge_verden/art-2002-07-17-01.html ). It is important to be aware that the percentages of firms offering CVT courses or other forms of CVT in 2005 are not directly comparable with similar percentages for enterprises from 1999. This is due to the fact that otherwise similar (e.g. same economic activity and number of employees) single firms and enterprises made up of several firms have a different likelihood for offering continuing vocational training.


High level of CVT within financial intermediation, real estate and business activities

 Even though the offer of CVT was on average high in 2005, 86 per cent, there were some differences between sectors of economic activity in their total provision of CVT. Within financial intermediation and within real estate and business activities, the level of CVT was comparatively high. Almost every firm within these two categories of economic activity had employees taking part in CVT in 2005. For firms within other social and personal services the numbers are uncertain, however indicating that about one in every four firms did not provide CVT.

More than half of all firms offered CVT courses in 2005

 55 per cent of all firms had employees participating in CVT courses, either CVT courses designed and managed by the firms themselves or CVT courses offered by external course providers. Whereas 44 per cent provided external CVT courses, internal CVT courses were less common, offered by 36 per cent of the firms. The highest percentage of firms offering CVT courses was found in the financial intermediation sector (82 per cent).

 When only comparing firms that provided CVT courses, it seems that the number of employees has an impact on the offer of internal CVT courses. Among firms with less than 50 employees, 63 per cent offered internal CVT courses. This relatively low compared to the percentages offering such courses among firms with between 50 and 250 employees (80 per cent) and more than 250 employees (91 per cent).

Fewer employees participated in CVT courses in 2005

When comparing the results from this survey with data from 1999, it is not possible to determine whether, overall, employees participated less in continuing vocational training in 2005 than in 1999. This is due to a lack of data on participation in other forms of continuing vocational training. There are however clear indications of a decline in employees’ participation in training through CVT courses. In 2005, 29 per cent of all employees took part in one or more CVT courses during the year. In 1999 the participation rate was 48 per cent. In 1999 there was also a significant difference in female (66 per cent) and male (40 per cent) participation rates. Such gender differences are not found in the results from 2005. The oldest and youngest employees participated less than other employees in CVT courses in 2005. 23 per cent of employees aged less than 25 years old, and 24 per cent of employees aged more than 55 years old, took part in CVT courses, whereas the participation rate was 31 per cent among other employees.

One in every three firms offered job-rotation

In addition to CVT courses, a number of other forms of continuing vocational training were offered by firms in 2005. 60 per cent of the firms had employees participating in on-the-job-training, 33 per cent offered job-rotation, 32 per cent had learning or quality circles, 18 had employees participating in self directed learning and 37 per cent used participation at conferences etc. as part of the continuing vocational training offered to their employees.

For most forms of continuing vocational training, the data indicate that firms with less than 50 employees were less likely to make use of such activities.

Satisfaction with existing competencies

75 per cent of the firms that did not provide continuing vocational training in 2005 said a reason for non-provision was that the existing skills and competencies of their employees corresponded to the current needs of the enterprise. In comparison, only 2 per cent said that lack of time due to a high workload was an important reason for non-provision, and 15 per cent stated that high costs of CVT courses had discouraged them from offering training to their employees.

CVT courses

CVT courses normally take place in a location specially assigned for learning (e.g. classroom or training centre). They exhibit a high degree of organisation (time, space and content) by a trainer or a training institution. The content is designed for a group of learners (e.g. a curriculum exists). Both CVT courses leading to an exam/certification and courses not leading to a formal qualification are included in the definition, with the exception of courses for individuals in initial vocation training.

On-the-job training, self directed learning and other individual training activities are not CVT courses but other forms of continuing vocational training.