Norway had a change of government in October 2013. The new government, which consists of two parties, drafted a coalition agreement laying down their policy. Vocational education and training (VET) at upper secondary level is a priority.
Current numbers of VET students who complete their training with a trade or journeyman's certificate are not sufficient to match future needs of the labour market. To deal with this issue the government wants to increase attractiveness of VET and fight high dropout rates. The government highlighted the following eight measures:
- increase a State grant given to training companies for each apprentice;
- help increase apprenticeship placements in the public sector;
- allow alternative training schemes;
- develop provision for students who want to combine a VET programme with a general study programme, called TAF (tekniske allmennfag). These pupils will receive both a trade or journeyman’s certificate and direct admission to higher education. This scheme is currently being piloted in the electrical trade and building and construction sector in some counties, and is considered a success;
- expand the certificate of practice (Praksisbrev), a pilot project where students start as apprentices while attending school one day a week. Initial duration of training is two years. However, most participating students continue their training as an apprentice to complete the four-year run. The government wants to expand this project, and the aim is to include all counties;
- encourage making common core subjects relevant to VET;
- increase possibilities for VET students to alternate between school-based and apprenticeship learning in training companies;
- reinforce the VET pathway to higher education.
In addition, the government is trying to increase gradually the national target on how many students complete and pass upper secondary education and training. The new target is set at 90 %, which is particularly challenging for VET because of high dropout rates.