Enterprises are at the heart of the strategy launched by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000. Reaching the objective of becoming more competitive and dynamic in the knowledge based economy, capable of sustainable growth, more and better jobs, and greater social cohesion will ultimately depend on how successful enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, are [SMEs in focus]. The role and importance of SMEs and in particular micro enterprises can be characterised by the following statements:
- 93% of all European enterprises have less than 10 employees.
- The average European enterprise employs 6 people.
- Most jobs in Europe are created by micro enterprises.
- Lack of skilled labour is the main obstacle for SMEs.
Life long learning and vocational training are the most important indicators for innovation and development processes. To have well trained staff provides on the one hand a competitive advantage to enterprises, on the other hand raises the human capital of the individual employee.
Vocational training situation in small and micro enterprises
- The vocational training needs are investigated insufficiently in most of the addressed companies.
- There are no or few resources for active human resources development in small and micro enterprises and there is also a lack of medium and long term strategic and systematic planning for organisational and personnel development.
- Detected training deficiencies are often neglected, because the enterprises can not afford the loss of time, production and flexibility resulting from an employee who is attending training courses during work-time.
- There is lack of resources for planning vocational training actions in small and micro businesses.
- To some extent people in small and micro companies are frustrated about the standard training packages which are available on the market, because these vocational training offers only meet their needs to a small extent and are seen as waste of valuable work- or leisure- time.