<B>Around Europe: training trends</B>

IE Focus

28 June 2005

Continuing its series of initiatives to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship, the Danish government will add a “Society with room for free initiative” program for students, to make pupils better informed on how to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses.

The project will offer a “seamless chain of opportunities,” throughout their educational careers, to boost capacity for innovation, deepen their understanding of business, and provide professional qualities to help them establish and operate independent companies.

A new optional subject, “Innovation” has likewise been designed to promote initiative, independence and creativity, and will teach methods and theories of business, innovation and entrepreneurship. The course, as well as other general economics classes, may soon provide opportunities for planning and creating companies and projects, in partnership with business.

Students will also be able to participate in company competitions such as Young Enterprise and the European Business Game.

The government will also set up an entrepreneurship academy among higher-education institutions, as a center for teaching development, research and entrepreneurship training.

Schools too will be targeted by the program. New ways to motivate learning institutions include introduction of an “Entrepreneurial School of the Year” award.

More, but uneven training for Ireland’s employed

Ireland’s workforce saw a significant increase in participation in all types of education over the last decade. In 1991 only 4.6 percent of employees aged 25 to 64 underwent training. The figure rose to 6.1 percent in 1996 and reached 8.3 percent in 2002.

These numbers however still place Ireland in the lower-middle ranking of European countries.

This information, released in the Irish Labour Market Review, deals with the extent and distribution of education and training among the nation’s employed. Data covers all persons in work and will be available annually.

Differences persist, particularly in gender and age. Low levels of participation appear among males and older workers. Eleven percent of females undergo some training, as opposed to 7.8 percent for males. Younger workers, especially men, were more likely to receive training than their older colleagues. Participation rate for employed men over 45 was 4.3 percent; for women 8.6 percent.

Participation among the self-employed (3.3 percent) was much lower than for employees (9.5 percent). Here again, the gender difference shows up, as self-employed males undergoing education register only 2.5 percent, while females show 7 percent.

As expected, participation was high in white-collar, private-service sectors, such as finance or business, and in public administration, defense, education or health; all reported over 19 percent. Manufacturing had a below-average score of 7.1 percent, while construction, wholesale/retail and hotels/restaurants all showed low rates of 4 percent. All these sectors experienced a falloff among older workers, particular wholesale/retail and manufacturing. Among professionals generally, 18 percent of women received training, as opposed to 11 percent for men.

Lifelong learning, Italian style

Meanwhile, the average level of participation among Italian workers in training activities remains below the European average. The nation has a low level of investment, compared with other European countries, even though Italy is on a par with the U.K. in GDP.

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