The new dual learning (apprenticeship) system, focuses on innovation, digitalisation and (international) cooperation through different projects. The winners of the IdeaalDuaal competition are five apps in support of dual learning in Flanders.
Cedefop organised the second policy learning forum on apprenticeships, a European vocational skills week event, on 18 and 19 October in Thessaloniki.
Brussels’ first counselling and guidance centre Cité des métiers was opened on 23 April 2018, in the presence of the European Employment Commissioner, Marianne Thyssen, and several ministers from the Brussels Region. Based on a multi-partner and bilingual initiative, this one-stop shop for life-long guidance and counselling is designed to improve access to all types of life-long learning, including vocational education and training (VET).
As from the next academic year (2018-19), Flemish secondary education students will have the opportunity to do a week-long taster exercise in a company, experiencing or observing work-based learning in a real setting. Initiated by the Flemish education minister, Hilde Crevits, and the labour minister, Philippe Muyters, this measure gives participating students a better idea of dual education programmes and is a step towards more efficient career orientation.
In July 2017 a graduation ceremony was organised by Bruxelles Formation (public adult training provider in the Brussels Region) and 78 trainees were given their credentials, as official recognition of skills acquired through successfully completed training. More than 700 trainees are hosted every year in largely practical training schemes of two to eight months.
Tourism is an important sector in Wallonia (6.2% of GDP in 2012) but many initiatives fail through lack of management skills and incomplete knowledge of tourism and leisure specifics.
In 2016, fifteen Flemish apprentices were given the opportunity to do a two-week work placement abroad through the Erasmus+ project MOBILE. These young students were in the process of doing an apprenticeship in the catering and food sector in one of the various Flemish SYNTRA training centres. The host countries were France, in cooperation with URMA Nord Pas-de-Calais, and the Netherlands, through Cingel College in Breda, embedded in the ROC West Brabant.
On 1 January 2016, the Centre for Education and Training (ZAWM) in Eupen set up the two-year ESF project Vocational integration through training guidance in dual education (BIDA) for Belgium’s German-speaking community. BIDA’s goal is to support apprentices who are at risk of breaking their training contract or who have already dropped out of training, with the aim of getting them back into the dual vocational education and training (VET) system. This project is meant as a response to the increasing drop-out rate among apprentices in the first year of training (around 15% currently leave prematurely).
In 2015, the Flemish government made a decision to develop new procedures for finding an apprenticeship place, with the purpose of elaborating a high-quality, fully-fledged alternative to existing 'classic' education systems. This reform had an impact on all stakeholders and related fields; significant developments are already visible.
Skills credentials have existed in Belgium since 2005; any person over the age of 18 who has experience, but no corresponding diploma, can have it officially recognised free of charge. Over 28 000 credentials have already been issued in 47 approved centres in Wallonia and Brussels, in 39 occupations.