Cross-border apprenticeship is a concrete example of the European principle of free circulation, which opens up new chances and prospects for young people to broaden their professional and educational horizon, while helping to fight skill shortages. Luxembourg, France and Germany have recently been reinforcing cross-border apprenticeship by concluding bilateral agreements.
The State budget proposal for 2019, submitted to the Icelandic Parliament on 11 September, included several measures concerning VET-related issues, including a possible budget increase that would improve the potential of the ‘workplace training fund’ (Vinnustaðanámssjóður).
In an analysis of further education and training expenditure by Education Training Boards, the Irish Government Economic & Evaluation Service noted that, given the characteristics of the labour market and low basic skills among certain cohorts of unemployed people, it is necessary to equip individuals with the foundations to pursue more specific programmes and meet important education and social objectives. In this capacity, the Galway City Community Training Centre (CTC) (Galway CTC) aims to provide learners with basic skills to progress further in the labour market.
Cedefop Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas took part in the European Training Foundation’s (ETF’s) conference on ‘Skills for the future: managing transition’ in Turin (21-22 November) along with 300 delegates from 50 countries.
Over 80 partner and national representatives from ReferNet’s 30 countries took part in the Cedefop network’s 16th annual plenary meeting, a European vocational skills week event, in Thessaloniki from 21 to 23 November.
The government is increasingly focusing on vocational education in an effort to update it. A new structure for vocational subjects in upper secondary schools will be introduced in the autumn of 2020; this will be the biggest change in VET since 2006.
In July 2018, 25 VET schools were chosen among 42 applicants to become the first centres of competence in Croatia.
Vocational colleges still face problems with recruitment and low completion rates. Important factors are the lack of focus in municipalities responsible for primary education, and the lower status and negative social value attributed to vocational education by parents and young people. Further, vocational institutions saw a decline of financial resources due to falling numbers of students, while cutting short education affects opportunities to develop and create new and more attractive learning environments.
In recent decades Denmark has been facing an ongoing challenge of increasing number of young people choosing general upper secondary school over VET. Different national initiatives are addressing this challenge, with a political agreement opening the way to new approaches in primary/lower secondary school (folkeskole).
The Digital Skills Partnership was established for public, private and charity sector bodies in England to develop and deliver training that improves the digital skills of individuals and organisations as a whole.
Strengthening European mobility is a priority at both national and European levels. The Agence Erasmus+ France/Education Formation aims to expand the benefits of the Erasmus+ programme. The French government has set a target of 15 000 apprentices in long-term mobility for 2022.
Around 75% of the economically active population are above 45 in Latvia. In the next 20 years, due to this ageing workforce, there will be a shortage of employees with medium-level vocational education and training (VET) qualifications, especially in engineering, manufacturing and construction.
On 1 September 2018, a new regulation on vocational guidance and counselling in Polish schools entered into force. Vocational guidance and counselling will be carried out in a systematic way in all types of school with the exception of art schools.
A new VET Act CXCII was adopted on 17 December 2017 by the Parliament. This amends certain acts on general education, vocational education and adult training and aims to support practical training in dual VET programmes.
The Finnish government’s new budget proposal for 2019 includes plans to grant a learning material supplement to some upper secondary learners, including VET. Although upper secondary education is free of charge, students are required to buy their own learning materials.
The Dutch Cabinet, in cooperation with social partners, sectoral training and development funds, educational institutions including VET schools, and other stakeholders, has proposed significant developments in lifelong learning. On 27 September 2018, Parliament was informed about the main lines of this approach in a policy letter.
The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in education (NOKUT) has started recognising foreign vocational education and training (VET) certificates and diplomas, as of the end of 2016. These certificates are assessed according to scope, level and content of comparable Norwegian trade and journeyman certificates at NQF level 4. The assessment is carried out by experts, following the suggestion of vocational councils, and the process takes two months on average.
A longitudinal study, published in August 2018, measured the success rate (percentage of learners completing the programme in three years) of professional programmes, (cursos Profissionais). It examined the number of learners that failed to complete the programmes, the number of student transfers to other programmes, and the dropout rate. The study concluded that the success rate of professional programmes increased from 53% in 2014/15 to 60% in 2016/17.
In VET programmes with a low enrolment rate the market for textbooks and other learning materials is too small to be of interest to publishers. Therefore, students have to rely on other sources (their notes, teacher’s handouts, and the internet). To counter this, the education ministry has been systematically part financing the preparation of learning materials from budgetary funds for a number of years.
Following the publishing of the Learning Slovakia document, approved in 2017, the education ministry prepared the National programme for the development of education (NPDE), a 54-page document including 106 policy measures.