Enterprise investment in continuing vocational training, designed to promote human capital resources, is a key dynamic of economic performance, competitiveness, and employment in Europe and reflects the role of enterprises in resolving labour market imperfections and employment imbalances.
A high quality data set reflecting the continuing vocational training activities of European enterprises is an indispensable asset in the assessment of enterprise competitiveness and workforce employability and is key to the analysis of
Before 2005, the continuing vocational training survey (CVTS) has been carried out under “gentlemen’s agreements” between countries and Eurostat. As from 2005, it is based on European legislation.
CVTS 1 (reference year 1993)
The first CVTS (CVTS 1) was carried out in 1994 in the then 12 Member States of the European Union and was part of the action programme for the development of continuing vocational training in the European Community (FORCE) based on Council Decision 90/267/EEC of 29 May 1990.
CVTS 2 (reference year 1999)
The growing policy interest in data on continuing vocational training in enterprises together with the demand for CVT data to cover the 15 Member States led the Commission to promote a second and further developed continuing vocational training survey (CVTS 2) in 1999. This survey, coordinated by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), was carried out in all the EU Member States, in Norway and in nine candidate countries.
CVTS 3 (reference year 2005)
The third implementation (CVTS 3) was carried out in 2006 with reference to 2005 CVT activities. It was for the first time underpinned by a European legal act, Regulation (EC) No 1552/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on statistics relating to vocational training in enterprises. Implementing details were provided in Commission Regulation (EC) No 198/2006.
The development of the CVTS 3 survey has been supported by all Member States and Norway, Trade Unions (ETUC), CEDEFOP, as well as the Commission Directorate-General Education and Culture (DG EAC) and the Directorate-General Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities (DG EMPL) in order to:
CVTS 4 (reference year 2010)
An amendment to the Regulation (EC) No 198/2006 was prepared in 2009-2010 in order to further improve the quality of the results on vocational training in enterprises and lower the statistical burden on enterprises as well as to ensure coherence with the information coming from the Adult Education Survey (AES). Commission Regulation (EU) No 822/2010 adapted the codification scheme, sampling, precision and quality requirements for CVTS 4. Compared to CVTS 3, the following was changed.
Simplification of the list of variables: CVTS 3 variables which are not required for breakdowns of the CVTS results any longer and which are available from the AES and the LFS have been suppressed. This concerns in particular some quantitative breakdowns (e.g. by sex and age or distribution of training hours by field of training or by provider) and some questions on disadvantaged groups. The module on initial vocational training (IVT) has been significantly simplified as the 2005 data collection put forward many implementation issues which hampered the comparability across countries. Other sources can however be considered to provide information on IVT costs such as the UNESCO-OECD-Eurostat (UOE) joint data collection on education systems.
Standard questionnaire: the order of the questions was changed and few adjustments on questions related to enterprise training strategies were introduced in order to improve the relevance and quality of the results. This covered a widening of some filters on variables on enterprises strategies requested only to training enterprises in the past.
Optional variables were proposed in the implementation manual in order to contribute to the harmonisation of data collected by few Member States.
Few new variables were added to highlight in particular how continuing vocational training can reply to enterprise future skill needs.
Precision requirements were adapted to the classification of economic activities NACE Rev. 2 as well as additional requirements for the representativeness of the results in large countries. (i.e. using a stratification based on 6 enterprise classes instead of 3 in the past) as this ensures the production of more accurate EU results.
CVTS 5 (reference year 2015)
Despite of the streamlining of contents (i.e. a significant reduction of variables) that took place for CVTS 4 (reference year 2010), the still considerable burden on respondents as well as quality concerns made the CVTS a controversial survey within the European Statistical System (ESS) and at the meeting of the ESS Committee in May 2011, CVTS was earmarked as negative priority.
Indeed, when reviewing CVTS 2010 results, issues such as the length and burden of the survey, quality problems of the quantitative variables (costs, participants), possible overlap with other enterprise surveys and low response rates were identified.
At the same time, CVTS is the only integrated source for collecting CVT costs, participation of persons employed in CVT and CVT strategies of enterprises, and there is a persistent strong policy demand for comparable data on vocational training in enterprises. In order to investigate alternative ways to collect relevant data for CVT, Eurostat together with a dedicated Task Force explored the feasibility of an alternative approach for CVT data provision but this work had to conclude that for the time being only CVTS can provide the requested data.
With the aim of further reducing the burden of CVTS to the extent possible, the list of variables was further shortened and simplified whenever possible. However, in view of the major streamlining that took place between 2005 (CVTS 3) and 2010 (CVTS 4), it was necessary to find a good balance between further burden reduction and keeping the survey relevant. This work resulted in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1153/2014 which provides the list of variables covered by CVTS 5. The draft of this Regulation had been supported by all Member States at the meeting of the ESS Committee in May 2014 (EEA/EFTA was against. Switzerland abstained).
CVTS 6 (reference year 2020)
As outlined above, there had been substantial discussions and streamlining of the CVTS in previous years, resulting in a core set of information on CVT provided by the CVTS. The implementation of CVTS 5 showed consolidation and further quality improvements in the majority of countries. In conclusion, Eurostat considers the contents as defined for CVTS 5 as feasible while at the same time meeting main policy needs. Accordingly, Eurostat, in agreement with the main policy users, decided to keep the contents of CVTS unchanged for the time being, i.e. there are no changes to the legal basis for CVTS. Therefore, the requirements for CVTS 6 (reference year 2020) remain the same as for CVTS 5.
Additionally, at the end of 2018, a CVTS workshop was organised jointly by Eurostat and DG EMPL. This workshop brought together all countries to inform about policy priorities on the one hand and to discuss lessons learned and exchange best practices from CVTS 5 on the other hand. The technical discussions focussed on data collection, data processing and dissemination. Main ideas that can help to maintain the level of quality achieved for CVTS 5 and further improving the survey implementation were integrated into the CVTS 6 manual. The full summary and conclusions of the CVTS workshop are also available (access restricted to the CVTS network).