Ireland's paritipation in Lifelong Learning continues to lag behind EU average

9 August 2016 

Ireland’s rates below EU average

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), today 29 July 2016, published a report on Lifelong Learning in Ireland.  The report, which was prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS on behalf of the Group, finds that the participation rate of adults in Ireland in Lifelong Learning lags behind the European average. In 2014, our participation rate of just under 7% was well below the EU average of almost 11%. Furthermore, the gap between Ireland’s participation rate and the EU average widened between 2009 and 2014.  

More recent data from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey shows that in Quarter 4 of 2015, Ireland’s participation in Lifelong Learning was 7.2%. Other key findings in the EGFSN report are:

  • of the population of almost 2.5 million adults aged 25-64 in Ireland, 177,300 people participated in Lifelong Learning activities in Quarter 4 2015;
  • the majority of these (amounting to 116,700 persons) participated in formal learning activities (i.e. education and training in the regular system of schools, universities, colleges and other formal educational institutions);
  • the remainder participated in non-formal learning activities (i.e. other organised and sustained educational activities which may or may not take place in educational institutions);
  • with a participation rate of 8%, females were more likely than males (at 6.3%) to participate in Lifelong Learning, particularly in non-formal learning activities;
  • lifelong learning participation rates tend to decline with age, but participation is greater amongst those with higher educational attainment levels;
  • participation rates were above the national average for the economically inactive and the unemployed, while the rate was below the national average for those in employment;
  • Ireland’s participation rate in non-formal learning is particularly low, although its rate of formal learning is amongst one of the highest in the EU.

To view a full copy of the report click here