1Target group

    Q7. What is the target group of this scheme?
    Young people in initial vocational education and training (15-16 year-olds)
    Young adults in education and training (above 16 year-olds)
    Other (please specify in the description)
    Q8. What is the age of learners?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    The 1994 reform gave everybody aged 16-19 a statutory right to three years of upper secondary education. “The juridification of individual access for 16-19 year olds implied a redistribution of resources between age groups. 19 year olds or older youth had occupied more than 40% of the total capacity in upper secondary education. The new system institutionalised upper secondary as a cohort-specific space for younger youth” (Michelsen 2014:68).

    2Overview of the scheme

    Q9. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?


    ISCED-97 level of qualification/educational attainment: 3

    Q10 - Is the scheme part of the VET system?
    Yes, it is the main route in the VET system
    Yes, but it is considered a second-chance route
    No, it is an alternative pathway outside of formal VET

    A student can choose to enter one of nine Vocational Education Programmes. The nine programmes offer 3-, 4- or 5-year vocational training, mainly with basic occupational education. Apprenticeship training is often included. After the first year at upper secondary level in one of the nine programmes, the student has to choose between several specialisations in year 12, leading to a further specialisation in year 13 when the vocation or occupation is chosen. If a student is not able to find an apprenticeship after having completed 2 years of training, a safety valve in the form of a third year of practical training in school is offered. In a formal sense, both workplace-based and school-based tracks would lead to the same vocational qualification (Michelsen et al. 2014:70).

    Successful apprenticeship candidates are awarded a trade certificate (Fagbrev), most common in industrial and service trades, or a journeyman’s certificate (Svennebrev), which prevails in traditional crafts. The two certificates have equal status based on similar sets of theoretical knowledge and practical skills (ibid.).

    Q11 - When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    In 1994, the number of vocational foundation courses was reduced from 101 to 12 broader and more theoretically oriented initial courses, thus structuring several related trades in each of the vocational tracks. In 2006, there was a further reduction from 12 to 9 vocational courses or programmes. 

    Q12 - How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
    traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
    school-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs
    programmes for the unemployed (active labour market measures) to facilitate integration on the labour market

    The situation before the Reform 1994 was as follows:

    The old fine-grained practically-oriented course structure in VET, organised according to the principle of a one-to one relation between trades and course structure, was costly to maintain, and courses were often technologically outdated. “The anticipated and eagerly awaited structural build-up of continuation courses in the different VET areas was grinding to a halt due to tight budgets, queues were multiplying and youth unemployment rising” (cf. Michelsen et al 2014:67).

    “Policies aimed at “parity of esteem” between general and vocational education was failing.

    The formal reclassification of vocational schools as an equivalent branch of the upper secondary comprehensive school had failed to make an impression. The combined effects of large birth cohorts, unemployment and relatively prolonged recession problems made capacity planning as well as transitions from school to work more difficult” (ibid).

    Q13 - What are the major sources of financing of the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    By companies hosting apprentices
    By employers through sectoral funds
    By the state from the education budget
    By the state from the labour / social security budget
    By EU funding
    Q14 - Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    The state subsidies the salary paid to an apprentice. The subsidy amounts to about €500 per month per apprentice (Olsen, Høst, Tønder 2014:11).

    Q15 - Is the scheme temporary, meaning that it is financed for a limited period of time?
    Q16. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    In 2015-2016, 190,038 students were attending upper secondary education of whom 72,026 were enrolled in the 9 vocational programmes offered at this level. For the same school year, 28,000 applied for apprenticeship contracts of which more than 19,000 were concluded. In 2014, the number of registered apprenticeship contracts was 38,400.




    Q17 - How many learners are enrolled in this scheme in relation to all VET students?
    the main VET track (majority of VET learners - more than 60% of VET learners)
    strong VET track (important share of VET learners - between 30%-60%)
    minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
    very small track (less than 10%)
    Apprentices are not considered as learners (they are employees)

    There is only one VET scheme, so it is difficult to compare those enrolled in it with “all VET students”.

    Q18 - How many learners are enrolled in the scheme in relation to all programmes for learners of the same age group?
    the main track (majority of learners - more than 60% of all learners)
    strong track (important share of all learners - between 30%-60%)
    minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
    very small track (less than 10%)

    Statistics on this topic depends on which age group is measured. The share of 16-year olds applying for vocational programmes as against those applying for general programmes has oscillated around 50-50, but in recent years vocational programmes have lost some ground. Between 1996-2014, the share of Norwegian youth who received vocational education through an apprenticeship, calculated in relation to the 18-year old cohort, oscillated around 16-19% (Olsen, Høst, Tønder 2014:26).

    Yet, there are many transfers from VET to general education tracks. Hence, almost 15% of the 18-year cohort of VET students leave for the supplementary course, which leads to general education (cf. Supplementary Studies Qualifying for Higher Education, see question 23 below). 

    Q19 - Does the apprenticeship scheme result in a qualification?
    Q20 - Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Educational qualification
    Occupational / sectoral qualification

    Trade certificate (Fagbrev) most common in industrial and service trades, a journeyman’s certificate (Svennebrev) most common in traditional crafts. 


    Q21 - Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)
    There is no NQF

    EQF 4 / NQF 4A 

    Q23 - Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    Should a student wish to transfer to a General Studies Programme, he/she may do so by completing a year of Supplementary Studies Qualifying for Higher Education.


    Q24. What is the duration of the VET pathway? (please refer to the typical duration)
    2+2 years model

    The standard VET trajectory at upper secondary level is called the 2+2-model, consisting of two years school-based training followed by two years enterprise-based training. The latter corresponds to one year in school. The model carries a certain degree of flexibility, depending on the VET programmes and the trade in which an apprentice wants to be trained.

    Q25 - How is the length of stay in apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
    Is defined as minimum and maximum
    Is defined as minimum
    Is defined as maximum
    Is not defined by regulation

    After one year at school, students choose their specialisation among programme areas at Vg2 and after two years (Vg3/school or apprenticeship), the curricula are organised around the respective trades. After 2006, the content in VET programmes have been divided into Common Core (588 hours: math, language, etc.), the Common Programme Subjects (954 hours: theory and practice) and the In-depth Study Project (421 hours, preferably spent in firms). Thus the minimum is established at 421 hours which is equivalent to 2 years in enterprise-based training (equivalent to 1 year in school-based training for those who cannot find a placement in a company).

    Q26 - Is there a distinction between the training and working period for the time spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction

    This is basically regulated through the remuneration of apprentices, which is settled in collective wage agreements that may contain a remuneration scale for apprentices (cf. question 35 below). Normally, a two-year apprenticeship period contains 50% training and 50% ‘value creation’, the latter considered as the foundation for calculating the salary of an apprentice. 

    5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

    Q27 - Is in-company training a compulsory part of the scheme, as per regulation?

    Education Act stipulates that ‘apprentices are persons who sign a contract in view of obtaining a trade certificate or a journeyman’s certificate within a trade where in-company training is offered.’

    As pointed out in question 25, the In-depth Study Project (421 hours) should preferably take place in firms. This is to allow those students who cannot find apprenticeship placements in companies to still continue the VET programme by doing the study project at the VET school.

    Nevertheless, only students in in-company training can obtain trade certificates or journeyman’s certificates. Students in VET school-based training can obtain a leaving certificate of upper secondary vocational education.

    Q29 - What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school / training centre?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at VET school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at VET school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at VET school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various - depends on VET school / training centre
    Not specified

    This alternation is subject to huge variations depending on the trade in which the apprentice is trained and on the degree of workplace training which the apprentice is offered. 

    6Formal relationship with the employer

    Q30 - Is any contractual arrangement between the learner, company and/or education and training provider, required as per regulation?

    An apprenticeship contract is issued to learners who follow routes to trade certificates (mostly in industry and services) or journeyman’s certificates (mostly in handicraft).

    Q31 - Which parties enter a contractual relationship?
    Learner and employer
    Learner, employer and the education and training institution
    Education and training institution and the employer (not the learner)
    No contract is required

    The apprenticeship contract evolved from a dyadic labour contract form into a triadic agreement signed by the apprentice, the enterprise and the county municipality (Michelsen et al. 2014:69).

    Q32 - What is the nature of the contract?
    Apprenticeships are a specific contract covered by the Labour Code
    Apprenticeships are a form of employment contract
    Formal agreement, not covered by the Labour Code

    The contractualisation of apprentices rests on the Education Act and the Working Environment Act. The presence of a collective wage agreement in the enterprise where the apprentice is trained can also regulate the rights and obligations to which the apprentice and the employer have to comply. The county authorities (alongside a Local Training Agency that may be involved in the training arrangements) are monitoring the quality of the in-company training offered to the apprentice. 

    Q33 - Where is the contract registered?
    At the education and training institution
    At the employment office
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    The registration is an issue between the training institution and the county authorities to which the government has devolved the responsibility for all education and training at upper secondary level. 

    Q34 - What is the status of the learner?
    Apprentice is a specific status

    The duality of the apprenticeship training defines a dual status of apprentice and student. 


    Q35 - Do apprentices receive a salary, allowance or compensation?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a salary (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    Compensation is possible but not required
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    There are multiple remuneration forms and the salary varies a lot according to the wage agreements concluded between social partners in the sector that an apprentice is engaged. If the apprentice works in an enterprise covered by a wage agreement and provided that the apprentice is member of a trade union, the national wage agreement for the trade in question may define an increasing pay scale according to the length of the apprenticeship period.

    All workplace-training hours during the two first years are paid with an apprenticeship salary. For the two last years, all school and work hours are paid as apprentices (Olsen et al. 2015:13). Normally, a two-year apprenticeship period contains 50% training and 50% ‘value creation’, the latter considered as the foundation for calculating the salary of an apprentice.  

    Q36 - Who pays the salary / allowance of the apprentice?

    The state subsidies the salary paid to an apprentice. The subsidy amounts to about EUR 500 per month per apprentice (Olsen, Høst, Tønder 2015:11). 

    Q37 - Is the company hosting apprentices required to provide training at the workplace?
    Yes, obligation to provide training at the workplace is required in the contract
    Yes, it is required by law
    Yes, required by other regulations
    No, not required formally

    According to § 4-4 in the Education Act, the training enterprise is obliged set up an internal training plan to make sure that the apprentice is being trained in compliance with the curriculum of the vocational programme that the apprentice is enrolled in. In case some parts of this training is not delivered by the training enterprise with which the apprentice has signed his/her contract, the enterprise in question should accommodate for this (for example when neighbouring enterprises join forces to train a group of apprentices, see also Local Training Agencies in question 40 below). 

    8Responsibility of employers

    Q38 - What are the requirements on training companies, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer
    Have to provide learning environment
    Have to ensure learning support
    Have to develop a training plan

    A training enterprise should appoint a qualified training supervisor (faglig leder) with responsibility for the apprenticeship training, while ensuring that legal obligations are respected. Each such enterprise should have one or several trainers (instructors) who are directly involved in the training of the apprentices. These trainers are vocationally skilled employees, often with a formal vocational qualification.

    Q39 - Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    More than a judicial question about sanctions and fines, the apprentice contract defines rights and obligations that apply both to the apprentice and to the training enterprise. Subject to approval by the county educational authorities, a contract can be annulled if one of the parties: a) neglects to follow their obligations, b) for some reason cannot continue the contract till its end; or c) if the apprentice by writing informs that the act of complying with the contract till its end represents a unreasonable disadvantage for him or her.

    Q40 - What is the role of chambers, employers' and employees' representatives (social partners), sectoral councils (if existent), in apprenticeships, as per regulation?
    Roles in designing qualifications/ curricula
    Roles in final assessment of apprentices
    Roles in quality assurance of work-based VET
    Responsible for the regulation of the contract
    No role

    There are apprenticeship councils at a county level. The local VET councils are ascribed an important role in quality work and quality steering but there are substantial variations in how strongly this role is followed up. The leaders of the national VET Council consider their new mandate and position as a revitalisation of the cooperation between the stakeholders, where the Directorate of Education and Training carries out system development in cooperation with the social partners (Michelsen et al. 2014:77).

    At the level of the firm, Local Training Agencies organise around 80% of all enterprise training in the Norwegian apprenticeship system. The agencies are “privately run” institutions owned by their member firms, and held accountable to a board. Executive representatives from member firms dominate the agency boards. Trade union representation exists on these boards, but on a very small scale. LTAs are almost totally dependent on state funding. Grants are paid based on the number of apprentices solicited and completion of training and certification (Olsen et al. 2014:7).