Published: 31 December 2008

Persons in adult education and training number 1.7 million

In 2006 every second person aged 18 to 64, or over 1.7 million persons, participated in adult education and training, that is, education arranged and organised especially for mature students. Participation in adult education and training has remained roughly on level with the year 2000.

Women were more active in participating in adult education and training – nearly three-fifths of women and fewer than one-half of men participated in such education. Women’s participation rate has been some 10 per cent higher than that of men since 1980.

The need for vocational adult education and training has diminished from the beginning of the millennium, even if the benefits of education are assessed as high. These data are based on the Finnish Adult Education Survey 2006 carried out jointly by Statistics Finland, the Ministry of Education and Eurostat. For this survey a total of 4,370 persons aged 18 to 64 were interviewed in February-June of 2006.

Participation in adult education and training in survey years 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Participation in adult education and training in survey years 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006 (population aged 18-64)

Employed persons were more active participant in adult education and training than the unemployed. Persons with a high level of educational attainment and employed in positions with high occupational status had participated in adult education more often than persons with a low level of educational attainment or employed in positions with lower occupational status. Area of residence was also significant in participation in adult education. Persons resident in the Province of Southern Finland had received more adult education and training than persons resident elsewhere in Finland. The least education had been received in the Provinces of Oulu and Lapland.

Most adult education and training related to work or occupation

Most adult education and training was vocational, i.e., participation was motivated by reasons related to work or occupation. Almost 1.3 million persons, or one-half of the labour force (employed and unemployed) participated in such education in 2006.

Most of the education and training related to work or occupation was subsidised by the employer, that is, it was so-called personnel training. Of all employees, 57 per cent received personnel training in 2006. This corresponds to some 1.1 million persons.

More than 520,000 adults participated education and training not related to work

In 2006 every sixth person aged 18 to 64, or slightly more than 520,000 persons (excl. students and conscripts), participated in adult education and training for other reasons than work or occupation. Such general or hobby-related education and training interested women clearly more than men: as many as two-thirds of the students were women. The participation rate in education and training related to leisure time or hobbies has changed very little since 1990.

Need for adult education and training has decreased in the current millennium

The need for vocational adult education and training has decreased since the beginning of the millennium. In 2006 nearly one-half (43 per cent) of the 18 to 64-year-olds felt they needed more professional skills or career advancing training, while in 2000 the respective proportion had been 11 percentage points higher. This is the case despite the fact that more than 60 per cent reckoned in the study year 2006 that further training would be useful in performing one’s tasks, in getting a new job and also otherwise in advancing one’s career.

By contrast, the need for education and training relating to leisure time or hobbies has remained unchanged at some 34 per cent in 2000–2006.


Source: Adult Education Survey 2006, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kirsti Pohjanpää (09) 1734 2604, Helena Niemi (09) 1734 2488, Timo Ruuskanen (09) 1734 3620

Director in charge: Riitta Harala

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Updated 31.12.2008

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Participation in adult education [e-publication].
ISSN=2489-6926. Participation in adult education and training 2006. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.11.2018].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/aku/2006/01/aku_2006_01_2008-12-31_tie_001_en.html