Social Standards


Topics | Education

Sustained development can only work when the population participates in these processes to a large extent. That is why the EU is demanding: “Better information, education and participation”[1] and sees a close connection between these areas. This does not only relate to the vocational training but “access to good education and training for all ages will enable the citizens to participate actively in the democratic society”.[2]

“The people should be able to use their potential to the full through appropriate support in lifelong learning. Indicators for this dimension are, for instance, the share of employees participating in further training measures or other measures of lifelong learning and the share of the employees who work with computers for professional reasons.”[3]

The reality in the companies looks different, however. Unfortunately, there is no Pan-European study on the status of vocational training and further training in agriculture. The basic vocational training is given good marks by the trade unions in many countries (see graph). We know from individual, regionally limited surveys that the employees participate little in further training measures. Often, only the legally binding qualification courses are provided.

The share of agricultural workers in qualification courses is lower than the average of all employees in the EU. In the accession countries, there is an enormous need for adaptation of the qualifications to the new techniques, technologies, new markets as well as economic and social issues and competencies.


We asked the trade unions:

The qualification of the agricultural workforce is?
  very good good satisfactory not so good
Belgium orange
Estonia red
Finland red
Italy rubin
Lithuania orange
Netherlands red
Austria yellow
Slovakia red
Czechia yellow

In its options for actions, the European Economic and Social Committee expects a sectoral strategy of lifelong learning to support employment!

The strategy consists of three pillars:

  • basic vocational training,
  • further training for employees in agriculture,
  • promotion of entrepreneurial spirit in agriculture,
  • learning in old age.

Conducting the strategy and maintaining a network of social-partnership educational institutions in the rural areas has led to an increase in demand for educational measures in agriculture.

The agreement among the social partners on vocational training is being implemented and the responsible authorities participate in an appropriate manner in the implementation.

These measures are promoted with European funds, such as the ESF, money from GAP and LEADER under national co-financing.

The image of agricultural and forestry trades can be augmented through cross-border European competitions. Targeted measures to promote individuals and scholarships are also part of the scheme.


Within the framework of the social dialogue, the social partners have agreed in a contract on vocational training on what steps are to be taken in the further development  of vocational training and how mutually acceptable diplomas can be developed to account for the growing free movement of labour[4]. There are the following proposals that have been tabled:

  • The social partners are to be integrated into the organisation of vocational and further training.
  • A Pan-EU balance of competencies is to help register the qualification needs and the expertise of the workforce under the aspects of a European labour market.
  • Procedures for recognising the qualifications acquired on the job are to be developed.
  • The proofs of qualification have to be made more transparent and acceptable also for other countries.
  • Every employee should receive a “Certificate of Professional Qualifications and Competencies” upon his application.

> See also the complete text of the statement (PDF 37k)


  • [1] European Commission, Strategy of the European Union on Sustained Development, Luxemburg, 2002, p.105.
  • [2] Ibid. p. 106
  • [3] European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, Employment in Europe 2002 – Recent Trends and Prospects, Luxemburg, 2002, p.80.
  • [4] EFFATT, GEOPA, Agreement on Vocational Training and Further Training.



© 2006 PECO-Institut e.V. | LEGAL NOTICE | CONTACT