In recent years, the number of foreign-language students in vocational education whose mother tongue is other than Finnish, Swedish or Sámi has increased considerably. Even as enrolment in general upper secondary education has grown, foreign-language students have been choosing vocational education more often.
All applicants for secondary education (ISCED 3) in Finland use a joint application system. In the spring of 2017, 54% of candidates applied to vocational education and training (VET) programmes and 46% to general programmes in upper secondary education. In recent years, VET applications have slightly decreased (56% in 2016). Approximately 39 700 applicants applied for VET, 3 360 applicants fewer than the previous year. The available number of starting places in vocational education and training is 43 900, of which 1 900 is in Swedish-language training.
A system of assessment, recognition and validation of informal and non-formal learning has been developed in Malta. It aims to address common concerns among VET providers and employers on quantitative or qualitative mismatch between education/training provision and demand in a rapidly evolving labour market. Validation of informal and non-formal learning is a recent issue on Malta’s education policy agenda and will help face the challenge of devising training and education programmes which not only equip their learners with the appropriate technical skills but also provide core skills to enable them to take on future challenges.
An ambitious plan from further education and training agency SOLAS aims to change negative views of apprenticeships by making them first choice - career plan ‘A’ - for people from all backgrounds and abilities.
The National youth strategy (NYS) of Cyprus 2017-22 was prepared by the Youth Board of Cyprus and adopted by the Council of Ministers on 18 May 2017. The Youth Board of Cyprus is responsible for youth issues in the country, with the full involvement of national stakeholders.
The post-secondary institutes of vocational education and training (PSIVET) were accredited in April 2017 by the Quality Assurance and Certification Agency for Higher Education as public schools of higher vocational education and training. This accreditation of PSIVET programmes at higher education level is considered an important development, contributing greatly to the aim of further strengthening vocational education and training in Cyprus.
The Youth guarantee initiative aims to support youth employment, ensuring that young people receive an offer of employment, education or training after they finish their studies or become unemployed. One of the first priorities of the new government in Spain on taking office in 2016 was to promote access to, and raise participation in, the national scheme.
The 500 000 formations supplémentaires plan, initiated in January 2016, was designed to provide training to one million job-seekers over the year, doubling the number of unemployed people accessing training. This target having been reached, the initiative is now being extended to mid-2017
Malta has been working on introducing vocational programmes at MQF Level 3 in the last three years of compulsory schooling, from ages 14 to 16. This has happened as part of the national curriculum framework (2012) and in line with the framework for the education strategy for Malta 2014-24: Sustaining foundations, creating alternatives, increasing employability.
The first school year implementing the National plan for digital education (Piano Nazionale Scuola Digitale, PNSD) has reached an end. The plan is the steering document from the education ministry to launch a comprehensive strategy for promoting innovation in Italian schools; the purpose is repositioning the education system in the digital era. The plan consists of 35 actions which will be implemented up to 2020 and is in line with the Italian digital agenda strategy.