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EPALE - Platforma electronică pentru educația adulților în Europa


Development of training in Portugal and Presentation of the "Human Capital Development" project - (Luis Alcoforado)

de Thierry Ardouin
Limba: EN
Document available also in: FR DE

[Translation (French-English) : EPALE France]


Interview with Ms Stéphanie Gasse

 Stéphanie GASSE is a teacher-researcher at the CIRNEF Laboratory of the University of Rouen-Normandy (France). She is involved in research projects related to adult learning using a comparative approach. In this interview, she presents the main points of a conference/seminar with Professor Luis Alcoforado.


 Luis ALCOFORADO has a doctorate in educational sciences and is a specialist in lifelong education and adult training. He is a Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Coimbra (Portugal), Coordinator of the Master's degree in Adult Education and Training and Community Intervention programme. His research is part of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of the 20th Century (CEISXX)


In the framework of the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility 2019-2021 exchange programme between the University of Rouen - Normandy (France) and the University of Coimbra (Portugal), Luis ALCOFORADO spoke at the closing seminar of the Master's degree in Educational Sciences, "Engineering and Training Consultancy" at the University of Rouen in June 2019 on the situation and challenges in adult education and training in Portugal.

He looked back at the progress made in Portugal since it joined the EU in 1986, highlighting strong investment in vocational training and in the transition of young people to the labour market, lifelong learning for workers and management of unemployment. 

As a reminder, in 2001, more than 62% of 25-64-year-olds had only 6 years or less of schooling. This situation has had an influence on the country's growth prospects and on its positioning in the face of international competition. 

The extension of compulsory schooling to 18 years of age, a minimum qualification threshold set at the 12th year of schooling, has ensured that school leavers enter the labour market with a recognized level of vocational training. Initial education and vocational training provide dual certification in both school and vocational learning, and crossovers between the different training pathways are facilitated. 

With a view to increasing the recognition, validation and certification of skills, Luis ALCOFORADO presented a flagship programme, "Operational Programme Human Capital", approved by the European Commission on 12 December 2014 and implemented on 29 November 2018, which aims to contribute to "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" for economic, social and territorial cohesion. This "Human Capital" theme is of key importance for Portugal because the return on investment will help to correct the structural imbalances that persist between the country and the Member States of the European Union (EU), both in terms of social inequalities and in terms of indicators of productivity, education and competitive specialisation of the economy. Investment in human capital is the most sustainable driver of the development and promotion of economic and social convergence.


With a view to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, this programme is based on five main objectives:


Luis Alcoforado, Universidade de Coimbra, 2019


In Portugal, lifelong vocational training is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, through the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP) and the National Qualifications System (SNQ). Public funding exists under certain conditions, but companies remain primarily responsible for funding. 


The Directorate General of Labour (DGERT) is responsible for implementing the Operational Programme Human Capital programme, supporting the design of employment and vocational training policies, coordinating the system of regulation of professions and the recognition of professional qualifications. Three entities are in charge of implementation: 

  • public employment and vocational training services
  • public and private schools, 
  • service providers. 


The programme has a lifelong training component, largely geared towards jobseekers, young people and those with a low level of qualifications.


According to CEDEFOP, one third of employees have received training in recent years and disparities remain between small and large companies (from 12% for the smallest to almost 60% in the largest). Employee participation in vocational training is slightly above the European average, but the number of adults in lifelong learning remains marginal and the number of training enterprises is only just sufficient, at a lower cost to employers than elsewhere. 


References, details and further information:


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