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Denmark: rising interest in vocational training

Demand of vocational training upon completing primary/lower secondary school (folkeskole) has risen for the third consecutive year. Despite a fall, however, general upper secondary education remains the most popular choice among learners in classes 9 and 10.

In 2019, one in five graduates (20.1%) of primary/lower secondary school (classes 9 or 10) wish to continue to vocational training (13 309 learners). This is an increase of 0.7 percentage points in comparison to 2018 and 1.6 percentage points compared to 2017. One in three students interested in vocational training chooses EUX programmes, which lead to both a vocational and a general upper secondary qualification, allowing students to study along the same lines as those who complete general upper secondary education.

Upper secondary general education is still the most popular form of youth education; 72% of students leaving primary/lower secondary school have opted for it as their first priority, a fall of 1.1 percentage points compared to 2018.

The Danish Minister for Education, Merete Riisager, stated:

‘It is positive that, for the third consecutive year, we are seeing progress in the search for vocational training, but I would have liked it to have been even greater. There are still major differences between municipalities, so I would again encourage them to seek inspiration from other municipalities that understand how to introduce primary/lower secondary school students to vocational training. There are so many opportunities for young people with vocational training.’

The highest interest in VET is still in the North Jutland region where 25.7% choose vocational training as their first priority. The capital, Copenhagen, has the lowest rate of all the regions, only 14.2%.

At the municipal level there is significant diversity. Overall, 31 municipalities are above the target of 25% of a youth cohort opting for vocational training after classes 9 or 10. The municipalities around Copenhagen have the lowest rates. In a small number of municipalities, only 4 to 6% of students are interested in vocational training. A total of seven municipalities have less than 10% of students looking into vocational training. Municipalities that have a search rate of less than 10% by 2020 will have to draw up an action plan to increase this rate.

A total of 47% of students in class 9 have chosen not to leave primary/lower secondary school and will instead continue to class 10. This is an increase of 0.8 percentage points compared to 2018.