Continuing vocational training (CVT) is, by definition, something that takes place after initial vocational training. It can be divided into various types. One basis for classification is whether training is aimed at generating new skills or improving existing ones. Drake and Germe (1995) identify four types of CVT:
(a) deferred initial training is for individuals who prematurely discontinued their education and wish to reach qualifications similar to those associated with initial vocational training;
(b) updating training is to update individuals’ skills to meet the present requirements of the occupation or job, for example when new technology is introduced;
(c) upgrading training provides individuals with new skills, thus giving them possibility for career advancement;
(d) retraining is where individuals are trained for a new job. This may occur when certain occupations are threatened, for example, in sectors undergoing structural changes.
CVT can be provided in a range of venues. External courses are designed and managed by a separate organisation, whereas internal courses are planned and organised by the company itself. CVT can also be divided into formal, non-formal and informal training. Formal training refers to training that is typically based on external courses, which are validated and lead to formal qualifications. Non-formal training includes ‘planned and explicit approaches to learning introduced in work organisations’ (for more information, see Bjørnåvold, 2000). Informal training in turn, is characterised by an informal conveying of work skills or knowledge from one employee to another, i.e. it can be described as ‘learning by working’. (Westhead et al., 1997).
Continuing training is funded in a variety of ways. In every EU country, the State provides and/or funds some CVT often targeted at specific groups to enhance equity in access to training. Funding for CVT is frequently a combination of public support and/or enterprise as well as individual-based financing.