Back to Top

Central Statistics Office

Search currently unavailable

 Skip navigation

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Adult Education Survey

2017

Over half of adults participated in lifelong learning in 2017

Figure 1 Participation in education by type of education, 2017
go to full release

Over half of adults (53.9%) reported participating in lifelong learning (formal and/or non-formal education). Just over one in twelve adults (8.6%) participated in formal education in the last 12 months. Those who were unemployed were over three times more likely to participate in formal education than those in employment (28.2% versus 7.6%). Almost half of adults aged 25-64 (49.7%) received non-formal education. Employed persons were more likely to have participated in non-formal education than those who were unemployed (59.3% versus 38.3%). See Table 1a and Figure 1.

Younger persons are more likely to participate in lifelong learning than older persons. Over six in ten adults (63.4%) aged 25-34 participated in lifelong learning compared with only four in ten (40.5%) aged 55-64. As the highest level of education attained increased so did the participation rates in lifelong learning; only a quarter (24.7%) of those who had attained primary level or below were participating in lifelong learning while the corresponding figure for those who had attained third level honours degree or above was 71.7%. A higher proportion of persons in employment participated in lifelong learning than those who were unemployed (62.6% versus 52.9%).

Fewer than six in ten adults in employment (59.3%) participated in non-formal education while 63.9% received some form of informal education. Professionals were most likely to have participated in lifelong learning with four out of every five adults (81.4%) engaging in formal and/or non-formal education. In contrast, those in the skilled trades were the least likely to participate in lifelong learning with only two out of five adults (41.0%) participating in lifelong learning in the last 12 months. Those working in the Administrative and support services sector were most likely to be in receipt of formal education (14.1%) while those in Transportation and storage sector were the least likely to have participated (2.8%).  Those in the Education sector were most likely to be in receipt of non-formal education (76.9%) while those working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector were the least likely (30.6%). See Table 1b.