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On 4 December 2018, PPMI submitted the final deliverables for the Evaluation of the European Training Foundation (ETF) Functions. The main objective of this assignment was to conduct a meta-analysis of key achievements and impact of the activities of the ETF over the last mid-term perspective (2014-2017) to identify future opportunities to fully exploit the ETF’s mandate in support of EU cooperation in human capital development in third countries.

Recent trends in human capital development have generated a global consensus among policy-makers, national institutions, and partner organisations about the importance of combining good education with quality training and strongly linking skills development with labour market reform. The ETF’s Founding Regulation gives a mandate to the agency to contribute, in the context of EU external relations policies, to the improvement of human capital development in its partner countries. The ETF draws on the EU’s internal human capital development policy approaches, tools and instruments to support the growth and socio-economic development of its partner countries according to the priorities set by EU external relations policies. The ETF draws on EU policies by supporting evidence-based and participatory decision making, providing evidence and advice to the EU institutions and partner countries on human capital investments and institutions underpinning human capital development.

This evaluation aimed to synthesise the lessons learned from the previous evaluations of the ETF published since 2014 to come up with a single set of conclusions and recommendations for implementing its mandate in the years to come. This assignment drew on the evidence on the ETF’s performance from the agency-wide external evaluations, the internal project-specific evaluations, and the internal functional analyses of performance. The evaluation employed a mixed-methods design with extensive desk research and stakeholder consultation through interviews and a two-round Policy Delphi survey.

Our findings show that the ETF is a unique actor in international human capital development. Previous evaluations have established that the ETF has been relevant to its stakeholders, the agency’s actions have been coherent and highly complementary with the EU internal and external policies and with those of other international actors. The ETF has achieved its objectives and had positive impacts, has demonstrated its specific added value, and has worked towards greater sustainability of its results. Our report also presents a selection of conclusions and recommendations stemming from previous evaluations of the agency’s activities and outlines the scenarios that the ETF should consider when preparing to respond to the changing needs of its key stakeholders in the EU and the partner countries in the years to come.

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