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The Austrian Rural Development Programme of the current period 2000 - 2006 includes the measure "Vocational training" to improve the qualification of persons involved in agriculture and forestry as well as to help them convert their operations to other uses. The educational measures play an important role in the implementation of the whole programme, and the acceptance of the programme rises due to the accompanying education and training measures. Firstly, the measure "Vocational training" is designed to support their participation in training and qualification courses (participant support) and, secondly, it was developed to provide assistance in the preparation, implementation, processing and postprocessing of training and courses (support provided to educational institutions). Between 2000 and 2004, as much as 0.6% of the total funds of the rural development programme was spent on the "vocational training" measure. Total costs of 53.8 million euros were borne by the EU (28%), by the Austrian Federal Government (17%) and by the provincial governments (11%) - while the remaining 44% were contributed by the applicants themselves. 63% of the supported participants were males, but they received only 58% of the subsidies. The majority of participants attended computer - and telecommunication courses, courses in animal production and business management. The participants' were predominantly in the age between 35 and 49 years and nearly all of the participants were farm managers. The evaluation results suggest that the range of beneficiaries should be widened, and that there should be an increased support given to women and young people as well as higher endowments granted for vocational training. Additionally, the results make it clear that high-quality data are absolutely vital to achieve meaningful evaluations.


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