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Adult Skills in the Nordic Region

Key Information-Processing Skills Among Adults in the Nordic Region

image of Adult Skills in the Nordic Region

Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden participated in the first round of the International Survey of Adults’ Skills. The survey is a product of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey assessed the proficiency in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments of adults aged 16–65. This publication is the product of the Nordic PIAAC Network, consisting of members from all five countries. It concentrates on the comparative results from four Nordic countries and Estonia, forming a Nordic region with many common features. It supplements the series of national and international PIAAC reports by comparing the results from five countries, as well as comparing an aggregate of these countries to other country aggregates. The results published in this book draw on a unique Nordic database, which the Nordic PIAAC Network has produced. The database consists of PIAAC assessment data and background information, supplemented by social, educational, and labour market register data from the five countries.

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Adult education and training

This chapter deals with formal and non-formal education and training among the population aged 30–65 years. The participation is approximately 60% within the last 12 months in all countries except Estonia, where approximately 50% participated. Most adult education and training is job related and very much takes place during working hours and is useful for the job; employers very often cover a substantial part the costs. Different factors explain variations in frequency and duration of training. Non-employed persons and immigrants participate less often, but their training has a longer duration compared to employed persons and nonimmigrants, respectively. Between one quarter (Denmark) and half (Estonia) of the employed persons feel that they need more training to cope well with their present duties at their workplace. It is argued that this is an indicator of a real discrepancy between competencies and job requirements. Between one quarter (Norway) and one third (the other countries) of the population aged 30–65 years had within the last 12 months wanted to participate in (further) training but did not. Both employer- and person- related reasons appear to be barriers for training. Age and educational level are among the most important factors explaining variations in behaviour and attitudes related to training. Key information-processing skills (literacy) are of limited importance. Overall, there are more similarities than differences between the five countries with respect to behaviour and attitudes related to adult education and training.

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