New opportunities initiative (Portugal)

Target Sector(s): 
Target Sector(s): 
Target Location(s): 
Grande Lisboa

The New Opportunities Initiative (Iniciativa Novas Oportunidades) of the Ministério da Educação and of the Ministério do Trabalho e da Solidariedade Social, was launched on 14th December 2005. It recognizes that through-life learning awards its own qualifications. If these can be properly validated, they will enable Portuguese citizens to re-qualify or re-train within the Further Education system. This New Opportunities Initiative follows the European Union’s guidance for reform. It involves a re-organization of the adult education and training system, the adoption of mechanisms for the formal validation of learning acquired throughout life, and the encouragement of innovation through networks of public and private organizations (Fragoso & Guimaraes, 2010, pp 20-21).
It aims to correct the perceived lack of training and schooling in the Portuguese population, when compared with other more developed countries. This is illustrated by data from OECD publication Education at a Glance 2010 (OECD, 2010); some relevant charts are enclosed.

The New Opportunities Centers are units promoted by training entities, Public or Private, Professional Schools, Vocational Training Centers under direct management of the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training, Entrepreneurs’ Associations, etc. The target groups for these Centers are: i) Adults - addressed to the active population (people aged 18+, employed or unemployed) who did not complete their formal education, i.e. who have not completed basic or secondary schooling or any vocational training. It is an opportunity to have their competences recognized as qualifying them for entry into Further Education. [URL: ] ii) Adolescents - The New Opportunities Initiative represents an investment in the diversification of educational opportunities. It offers dual training and opens up a variety of specialized artistic and vocational training opportunities (cursos profissionais) [URL:]
Educational attainment - adult population.doc49.5 KB
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