Continuing vocational training in enterprises

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)
National metadata

National reference metadata

National metadata produced by countries and released by Eurostat

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F3: Labour market and lifelong learning

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 14/10/2022
2.2. Metadata last posted 14/10/2022
2.3. Metadata last update 14/10/2022

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS) collects information on enterprises’ investment in the continuing vocational training of their staff. Continuing vocational training (CVT) refers to education or training measures or activities which are financed in total or at least partly by the enterprise (directly or indirectly). Part financing could include the use of work-time for the training activity as well as financing of training equipment.

Information available from the CVTS is grouped around the following topics:

  • Provision of CVT courses and other forms of CVT (training/non-training enterprises)
  • CVT strategies
  • Participants in CVT courses
  • Costs of CVT courses
  • Time spent in CVT courses
  • Characteristics of CVT courses
  • Assessment of CVT activities

Since 2005, the CVTS also collects some information on initial vocational training (IVT).

Six waves of the CVTS have been carried out by now:

  • CVTS 1 – reference year 1993
  • CVTS 2 – reference year 1999
  • CVTS 3 – reference year 2005
  • CVTS 4 – reference year 2010
  • CVTS 5 – reference year 2015
  • CVTS 6 – reference year 2020

In the domain "Participation in education and training (educ_part)", the folder "Continuing vocational training in enterprises (trng_cvt)" presents data for 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 which are comparable between the four waves.

1999 data are available in the folder "Continuing vocational training in enterprises - reference year 1999 (trng_cvts2)". This folder can be found in the domain "Past series (trng_h)".

The first survey (CVTS 1) was carried out in the then 12 Member States of the European Union. CVTS 1 was of pioneering nature and due to lack of comparability with the following waves data are not available in Eurostat's online database but main results are available in CIRCABC.

3.2. Classification system

Classification of economic activities (NACE): NACE Rev. 1.1 up to 2005 and NACE Rev. 2 as from 2010.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Up to 2005: NACE Rev. 1.1 categories C, D (15-16, 17-19, 21-22, 23-26, 27-28, 29-33, 34-35, 20 + 36-37), E, F, G (50, 51, 52), H, I (60-63, 64), J (65-66, 67), K + O

As from 2010: NACE Rev. 2 categories B, C10-C12, C13-C15, C17-C18, C19-C23, C24-C25, C26-C28 and C33, C29-C30, C16+C31-32, D-E, F, G(45), G(46), G(47), I, H, J, K(64,65), K(66), L+M+N+R+S]

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Continuing vocational training (CVT) are training measures or activities which have as their primary objectives the acquisition of new competences or the development and improvement of existing ones and which must be financed at least partly by the enterprises for their persons employed who either have a working contract or who benefit directly from their work for the enterprise such as unpaid family workers and casual workers. Persons employed holding an apprenticeship or training contract should not be taken into consideration for CVT. The training measures or activities must be planned in advance and must be organised or supported with the special goal of learning. Random learning and initial vocational training (IVT) are explicitly excluded. CVT measures and activities cover both CVT courses and other forms of CVT.

CVT courses are typically clearly separated from the active workplace (learning takes place in locations specially assigned for learning like a class room or training centre). They show 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). Two distinct types of CVT courses are identified: internal and external CVT courses.

Other forms of CVT are typically connected to the active work and the active workplace, but they can also include participation (instruction) in conferences, trade fairs etc. for the purpose of learning. These other forms of CVT are often characterised by a degree of self-organisation (time, space and content) by the individual learner or by a group of learners. The content is often tailored according to the learners’ individual needs in the workplace. The following types of other forms of CVT are identified:

  • planned training through guided-on-the-job training;
  • planned training through job rotation, exchanges, secondments or study visits;
  • planned training through participation (instruction received) in conferences, workshops, trade fairs and lectures;
  • planned training through participation in learning or quality circles;
  • planned training through self-directed learning/e-learning.

Training enterprises are enterprises that provided CVT courses or other forms of CVT for their persons employed during the reference year.

A participant in CVT courses is a person who has taken part in one or more CVT courses during the reference year. Each person should be counted only once, irrespective of the number of CVT courses he or she has participated in. E.g. if a person employed has participated in two externally managed courses and one internally managed course, he or she should be counted as one participant.

The costs of CVT courses cover direct costs, participants’ labour costs and the balance of contributions to and receipts from training funds (net contribution).

Direct course costs:

  • fees and payments for CVT courses;
  • travel and subsistence payments related to CVT courses;
  • the labour costs of internal trainers for CVT courses (direct and indirect costs);
  • the costs for training centres, training rooms and teaching materials.

Participants’ labour costs (personal absence costs) refer to the labour costs of participants for CVT courses that take place during paid working time.

The net contribution to training funds is made up of the amount of contributions made by the enterprise to collective funding arrangements through government and intermediary organisations minus receipts from collective funding arrangements, subsidies and financial assistance from government and other sources.

Time spent on CVT courses refers to paid working time (in hours) spent on CVT courses, i.e. the time that all participants have spent in total during the reference year. This should only cover the actual training time, and only the time spent during the paid working time.

Since 2005, the CVTS contains some variables on initial vocational training (IVT). IVT within enterprises is defined as a formal education programme (or a component of it) where working time alternates between periods of education and training at the work place and in educational institutions or training centres. The definition of IVT differs between CVTS waves, for details see the implementation manuals for each wave, available in CIRCABC.

The number of persons employed is defined as the total number of persons who work in the observation unit excluding persons employed holding an apprenticeship or training contract (i.e. the definition of persons employed in CVTS deviates from the one used for structural business statistics as regards the treatment of persons employed holding an apprenticeship or training contract). According to the CVTS legislation, the number of persons employed should refer to the 31.12. of the reference year. However, the annual average is considered the better measure, as quantitative CVT measures (such as costs, hours) refer to the calendar year. See also 15.1.

For additional definitions used in CVTS and further information see the CVTS implementation manuals available in CIRCABC.

3.5. Statistical unit


3.6. Statistical population

Enterprises with 10 or more persons employed belonging to certain NACE categories (see 3.3 on sector coverage).

3.7. Reference area

CVTS 2: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom; for Poland, only the Pomorskie region was covered.

CVTS 3: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom

CVTS 4: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom

CVTS 5: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, North Macedonia

CVTS 6: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia

France: data refer to Metropolitan France.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data are available for reference years 1999 (CVTS 2), 2005 (CVTS 3), 2010 (CVTS 4), 2015 (CVTS 5) and 2020 (CVTS 6).

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Percentages, hours, EUR, purchasing power standards (PPS).

For the conversion of EUR into PPS, the purchasing power parities of GDP (gross domestic product) are used, see ‘annexes’ below.

5. Reference Period Top

Calendar year.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

CVTS 2 data were collected based on a gentlemen's agreement.

CVTS 3 is based on Commission Regulation No 198/2006 of 3 February 2006 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1552/2005 of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 September 2005 on statistics relating to vocational training in enterprises.

CVTS 4 is based on Commission Regulation No 822/2010 of 17 September 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 198/2006.

CVTS 5 and CVTS 6 are based on Commission Regulation No 1153/2014 of 29 October 2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 198/2006.

For further information see Eurostat's website page on education and training statistics legislation.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Data are disseminated in aggregated form and mainly as percentages. Due to confidentiality issues data are presented for groups of NACE and enterprise size classes. Estimates are systematically based on at least three enterprises.

Under specific conditions, researchers may have access to microdata. For further information see access to microdata.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Not available.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not available.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the European Union legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Every five years.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Ad-hoc news releases when required.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Statistics explained.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line.

Detailed information on the calculation of CVT indicators for 2005 to 2020 is provided in 'annexes' below.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

See access to microdata.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not available.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For each wave of the CVTS a detailed implementation manual is available which contains definitions and additional methodological explanations, a European standard questionnaire and the code book.

The implementation manuals are available in CIRCABC.

Detailed information on the calculation of CVT indicators for 2005 to 2020 is provided in 'annexes' below.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

CVTS 3: the EU quality report is available in CIRCABC.

CVTS 4: the EU quality report as well as national quality reports are available in CIRCABC.

CVTS 5: national quality reports as well as summary tables are available in CIRCABC.

CVTS 6: national quality reports will be attached to this ESMS as soon as they become available.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

CVTS 2 was based on a gentlemen's agreement. Quality was ensured through the use of harmonised definitions and concepts and a common questionnaire.

CVTS 3 to 6 were based on EU legislation (see 6.1 above), i.e. the list of variables to be submitted to Eurostat as well as sampling and precision requirements are set in the legislation. In addition, detailed implementation guidelines (concepts, definitions, additional explanations, standard questionnaire) were developed in cooperation with the countries and applied in the data collection.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Statistics based on the CVTS are considered to be of satisfactory quality thanks to a harmonised production process (see 11.1 above). The CVTS is a sample survey and thus the results are subject to the usual statistical errors of measurement.

The quantitative information (costs, participants, hours) are considered difficult by several countries as many enterprises do not keep record of this information. Some issues arise from high unit non-response in some countries.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The CVTS is a unique source providing quantitative information on enterprises' investment in continuing vocational training of their staff, providing information on participation, time spent and costs of such training. The CVTS also provides qualitative information on enterprise strategies towards training, on the skills targeted as well as on obstacles to continuing vocational training. Accordingly CVTS data are used to evaluate and better understand training practices across Europe and allow policy decision-making on vocational training.

CVTS data are widely used across the EU in particular for the monitoring and evaluation of EU policies in the field of vocational training. Other main users of CVTS statistics may be classified into the following categories:

  • government institutions, ministries of education, labour and other ministries;
  • universities, research institutions, vocational institutions, students;
  • enterprises, training companies, management consultants;
  • social partners (e.g. trade unions), media, multi-national organizations.
12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

A user satisfaction survey was conducted in 2011 for CVTS 3 in the framework of a rolling review of EU education statistics.

12.3. Completeness

The data sent by participating countries to Eurostat are overall complete and match the requirements set out in the regulations (CVTS 3 to 6) or gentlemen’s agreement (CVTS 2) respectively.

Nevertheless, some national datasets are not always fully matching the expected format because some content is missing. In those cases the data disseminated are displayed as ‘not available’ (‘:’). This can be explained either because the country could not implement the variable for some reason or because the variable once collected was of very poor quality due to various factors, too high item non-response rate or errors in the production process for instance. For flags applied in case of high item non-response, see 13.3.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Overall the accuracy of CVTS data is satisfactory. Some particular problems are encountered with regard to specific indicators (e.g. quantitative CVT indicators such as participants, hours and costs or IVT indicators) and relatively low unit response rates in some countries. Efforts are made by all countries to identify the sources of the errors and eliminate them in view of further improvement of accuracy.

13.2. Sampling error

The participating countries provide Eurostat with an estimate of the relative standard error of the percentage of training enterprises as well as for some other main results.

See the quality reports available in CIRCABC.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Coverage errors mainly emerge as a result of misclassification of enterprises. This is mainly due to the fact that registers are not regularly updated with latest changes on enterprises' size classes. 

The existence of measurement errors is mainly attributed to some shortcomings of the CVTS 3 model questionnaire. The standard questionnaire for CVTS 4 had been improved based on the CVTS 3 experiences.

For CVTS 5 national unit response rates vary between 24.2% and 98.9%; the national unit response rate is above 65% in 19 countries.

Item non-response is low in the majority of countries. Estimates are flagged for low reliability due to item non-response as follows:

  • An estimate is published without flag if the item non-response is below 10%.
  • An estimate is published with a flag 'u' if the non-response for the item concerned is between 10% and 30%.
  • An estimate is not published if the item non-response is more than 30% (':u').

No significant processing errors are reported.

See the quality reports available in CIRCABC.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

CVTS results are released within 5-10 months after the deadline for data transmission to Eurostat.

14.2. Punctuality

According to Regulation No 1552/2005 countries should transmit data no later than 18 months after the end of the reference year.

  • 19 out of the 28 participating countries met the deadline for the 2010 data transmission to Eurostat.
  • 26 out of the 30 participating countries met the deadline for the 2015 data transmission to Eurostat.
  • 24 out of the 30 participating countries met the deadline for the 2020 data transmission to Eurostat.

However, there were considerable differences in the time it took until acceptance of the fully validated data by Eurostat.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The introduction of Regulation No 1552/2005 for the implementation of CVTS 3 resulted in the limitation of comparability problems between countries, which was a problem in CVTS 2 (despite the agreed implementation guidelines).

For CVTS 3 to 6 most countries conducted their surveys in line with the regulations.

2015: Data for Spain refer to employees.

According to the CVTS legislation, the number of persons employed should refer to the 31.12. of the reference year. However, the annual average is considered the better measure, as quantitative CVT measures (such as costs, hours) refer to the calendar year.

2015: Data for persons employed for Italy refer to the annual average.

2020: Data for Belgium, Czechia, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Romania refer to the annual average.

Some deviations are reported in an effort to efficiently adapt the regulations at national level (e.g. slight changes in the questionnaire – wording, sequence of questions, etc., use of administrative data for the completion of specific items of the questionnaire).

For further information see the quality reports available in CIRCABC.

15.2. Comparability - over time

When comparing the different waves of CVTS, some changes have been made with respect to definitions and the questionnaire. Modifications have actually been made in view of improving the overall quality of CVTS and are not considered to have a serious impact on the comparability between the waves since 2005.

Specific breaks in series are signalled with flags in the tables where results from different waves are presented next to each other; for details see information on flags for CVTS 3 to 6 in 'annexes' below.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

CVTS 3 data has been compared with SBS 2005 data with regard to number of persons employed. For almost half of the countries relative differences do not exceed 5%, while for the rest relative differences vary from 12% to 25%.

However, full comparability is not possible due to differences in NACE and size classes, and due to the slightly different definition of persons employed used in CVTS.

15.4. Coherence - internal

CVTS results for a given reference year are based on the same microdata and results are calculated using the same estimation methods, therefore the data are internally coherent.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Filling in the questionnaire for the CVTS is considered by many respondents (enterprises) a burdensome and time-consuming task. Complains have been expressed mainly about the length of the questionnaire. Response time varies upon the extent of the enterprise’s training activities, the size of the enterprise and the availability of information required to complete the questionnaire. In order to reduce the burden on enterprises, the list of variables for CVTS 4 has been substantially shortened in comparison to CVTS 3. Some further simplifications were introduced for CVTS 5, for details see section 1 of the CVTS 5 implementation manual (available in CIRCABC). For CVTS 6, the same requirements applied as for CVTS 5.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

CVTS data are revised when major errors are identified in the data delivered or in their processing but there is no specific revision policy (no revision planned ahead).

17.2. Data revision - practice

Not available.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

CVTS data are produced by the National Statistical Institutes or other statistical authorities that are responsible for the CVTS. The sampling frame used is mostly the National Statistical Business Register (SBR), which is in most cases of good quality (coverage, regular updates, etc.). Countries implement stratified sampling and within the stratum they implement either random sampling or census depending on the size of the enterprise. The sample is stratified by NACE and size classes; sampling requirements for CVTS 3 to 6 are set in the relevant Commission regulations (there in Annex II). For legislation see 6.1 above.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Every five years.

18.3. Data collection

The data collection approach is determined nationally, i.e. countries implement the survey according to the approach that is best suited to obtaining a sufficiently high response rate. In many countries multi-mode data collection methods are implemented to ensure participation of the enterprises in the survey. Up to 2015, the most common modes were: postal questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, web-based questionnaires. For 2020, mainly CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) was used.

Details on the national approach can be found in the quality reports in CIRCABC.

18.4. Data validation

The National Statistical Institutes or other statistical authorities that are responsible for the CVTS validate the data before transmission to Eurostat according to the quality checks defined in the implementation manual for each wave and according to nationally set rules.

Eurostat checks the data submitted against the agreed validation rules. Once the data passed the validation checks Eurostat calculates CVTS results which are then validated by countries. Afterwards, the results are published.

18.5. Data compilation

Eurostat calculates national results and EU averages based on the CVTS microdata.

For CVTS 3 and 4 the EU totals are compiled based on the available countries, i.e. for CVTS 3 without Croatia and for CVTS 4 without Ireland.

For CVT cost tables, the EU total for CVTS 3 is without Latvia and for CVTS 4 without Romania. Both countries submitted CVT cost data but due to quality concerns (very high non-response, consistency issues) the data are excluded from the online dissemination.

18.6. Adjustment


19. Comment Top

For further information see CIRCABC.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top
Flags for CVTS 3 to 6
Detailed information on the calculation of CVT indicators (2005, 2010, 2015, 2020)
PPS conversion rate