Reference year 2019

    1Target group

    Q6. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?
    Minimum and maximum age limits defined
    Minimum age limits defined only

    EPAS admit students aged 16-23 who must have completed at least the first grade of the Upper Secondary School (“Lykeio”), either the general or the vocational one.

    Q7. What is the average age of learners in practice?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    EPAS students’ profile (age range, educational background, etc.) is not published at the official web page of the Manpower Employment Organization. Relevant data (microdata) are kept for statistical reasons at the relevant authority due to the funding of apprenticeship programs from European Social Fund.

    2Overview of the scheme

    Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

    Technical Vocational Education Schools (Upper secondary education) (Epagelmatiki Sxoli (EPAS), prog. 10032, ISCED-P 2011 level 353 (ISCED97 - 3C).

    Q9. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

    The Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) is the Greek Public Employment Service (PES) is the main authority operating and supervising most schools offering the EPAS apprenticeship scheme. EPAS schools, will operate until school year 2020-2021 under the current institutional framework.

    The operation of OAED is based on the following three pillars: (i) promotion of employment; (ii) unemployment insurance and social protection of maternity and family; (iii) vocational education and training. OAED is the public authority and central structure managing:

    • Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) for reducing unemployment, promoting employment, and vocational training for both unemployed and employed citizens.
    • Passive Labour Market Policies (PLMPs) concerning unemployment insurance measures (regular unemployment benefit) and other social security benefits and allowances (family allowance, maternity allowance etc.).
    • ALMPs for initial vocational education combined with on-the-job training (including through the EPAS Apprenticeship scheme).

    More specifically, OAED is a legal entity of public law supervised by the Hellenic Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance, and Welfare. It is directed by its Governor and Administrative Board.

    Composition of the Administrative Board is based on the principle of tripartite representation, since, not only state bodies but also employer and employee associations participate in it, as representatives of the social partners.

    OAED structure consists of the Central Administration, seven Regional Directorates, the network of local Public Employment Services (PES) –also known as Employment Promotion Centres (KPA2) –, and its educational units (EPAS, IEK and KEK).


    Given the expansion of VET and apprenticeship provision through various schemes at various levels, in the national strategic framework regarding the expansion of VET system, coordination of VET governance, including apprenticeships, is promoted through the establishment of the National Committee and the Technical Committee for VET. In particular, according to the law 4485/2017 (article 79):

    • The purpose of the National Committee for VET is the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the actions for upgrading of Vocational Education and training, including apprenticeships, as well as the support to the initiatives by the Ministries of Education and Labour on major issues of their competence related to the implementation of these actions. 
    • The Purpose of the Technical Committee for VET is to support the work of the National Committee for VET, to monitor the implementation of the National Strategic Framework for the upgrading of Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeship and to make proposals/ submissions to the National Committee, concerning matters related to apprenticeship. The Technical Committee of VET, for the implementation of its competences, as appropriate:
      • Considers the Development Priorities of the country on a national, regional and local level
      • Takes into account the suggestions of the Regional Committees of VET, any apprenticeships associations, the social partners and other stakeholders,
      • Considers the outputs of the Labour Market Needs Analysis Mechanism of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity

    The National and the Technical Committee consist of Ministry and national institutions representatives and covers all VET, including apprenticeships.

    For apprenticeships in particular, the National Apprenticeship Coordinating Body was also established aiming to improve the institutional framework for apprenticeship and the design, implementation and evaluation of apprenticeship schemes. It includes social partners, employers' and employees' organizations and local authorities - in addition to the representatives of the Ministry of Education representatives of the Ministry of Labor and OAED.


    Q10. When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    The scheme is a continuation of previous apprenticeship schemes provided by the national public employment service. It exists since the 1950s, but with variations. Formally, the current format as it exists today was introduced in 2006 and was regulated with the enactment of Law 3475/2006 ‘Structure and operation of secondary vocational education’. It builds on experience from previous years.

    Q11. 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

    EPAS Apprenticeship programmes provide young people with a combination of class-based theoretical education and on-the-job training in both private and public sector in order to help them acquire professional experience in real work conditions so as to facilitate their integration to the labour market.

    Q12. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    Single employers hosting apprentices
    Sectoral funds

    Employers pay approximately 25% of the set apprenticeship wage plus social protection and insurance contributions.

    The bulk of the resources (€33,390,720) was provided by the ESF co-financed O.P “OP Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning 2014-2020”, with the rest of the planned resources coming from OAED’s own budget. The overall budget of OAED (the national PES) largely relies on enterprises contribution. Some of the budget is channeled to the operation of the apprenticeship scheme.

    Q13. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    Enterprises participating in the program are subsidized for their apprentices. As of 1/2/2019, each apprentice is paid 21.78 € / day (75% of the wage) and the subsidy from the above-mentioned OP is 14.5 € while the employer pays the remaining amount and insurance contributions.

    Q14. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    5,512 learners were enrolled in the scheme in 2018/2019.

    Participation has been declining since the early 2000s, with a significantly lower average in the years of the economic crisis (dropped from 18,445 pupils enrolled in 2001-02 to 12,954 in 2008-09 and then ranging between 10.5 and 11.5 thousand until 2014-15).

    Since 2015-16, the drop continues, but private employers are increasing in share (also in number compared with the previous period).

    Table: Apprentices by school-year, class and type of employer

    School-year Class Public sector Private sector % of private
    2015-16 A 2,301 1,506 39.56
    B 2,246 875 28.04
    2016-17 A 2,000 1,481 42.55
    B 2,029 1,369 40.29
    2017-18 A 1,640 1,468 47.23
    B 1,747 1,308 42.82

    Source: OAED data provided at the National Coordination Body for Apprenticeship

    In 2018-19, 6,100 students enrolled in both A & B class, and in 2019-20, 5,500 students.

    Graph: Total enrolments in OAED EPAS apprenticeship, by year

    Source: OAED data provided at the National Coordination Body for Apprenticeship

    NB: blue column: male, red column: female

    Q16. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
    Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
    Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

    The development of EPAS apprenticeship programmes is based on qualification standards and occupational profiles following the legal framework and the relevant lists provided by the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP).

    Although in the national context the programmes are considered to be offered outside the formal system, the qualifications are formally recognised and included in the NQF. The qualification awarded on completion of EPAS programmes is the Vocational School (EPAS) Certificate at EQF/NQF Level 4 (foreseen in EOPPEP referencing report, not regulated by law yet).

    Q17. Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
    There is no NQF

    EQF/NQF level 4 (not yet regulated by law)

    Q19. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    Direct access is only possible to post-secondary education and training. EPAS graduates can enroll in IEK (Vocational Training Institutes, providing qualifications at EQF/NQF level 5).

    Access to higher education requires enrolment to the last year(s) of upper-secondary VET school-based programmes (EPAL), including evening ones.

    Otherwise, graduates can move directly to the labour market.



    Q21. If the scheme is implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, what is its duration?

    The duration of EPAS Apprenticeship Schools is 2 school years.

    Q22. If the scheme is not implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, how is duration of apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
    It Is defined as minimum and maximum share of a VET programme
    Is defined as minimum share of a VET programme
    Is defined as maximum share of a VET programme
    Is not defined by regulation
    Q23. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction

    Regulations set by OAED for the EPAS scheme describe the common practice, i.e. four days per week shared between the enterprise and school, and one day only at school.

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

    Q24. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?
    Q25. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?
    Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
    Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
    Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
    No, no minimum share is compulsory

    Based on the apprenticeship curricula [1] 21-22 hours are provided in schools and 24-30 hours of practical training at workplace.


    Q26. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
    Not specified

    During the two years of study (grades A and B):

    • four or five days a week (5th day being Saturday in some specialties) is devoted to workplace training at the workplace relevant to the specialty, according to a specified programme, combined with theoretical learning and workshops in EPAS schools in the afternoon
    • one day a week is exclusively dedicated to school-based learning (in the morning) and 4 days in the afternoon).

    6Formal relationship with the employer

    Q27. Is any contractual arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

    An apprenticeship contract is signed between the employer, the apprentice (or the apprentice’s guardian in case of an apprentice less than 18 years old) and the director of EPAS school. The contract is provided by the EPAS and has to state clearly the duration of the training programme and the obligations of the company. The employer has the obligation to facilitate the apprentice, by allowing them to attend their school training programme. Each signing party gets a copy of the contract (Article 2 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship /

    Q28. What is the nature of the contractual arrangement?
    Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
    Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
    A formal agreement

    The tripartite contract is a specific type of contract, still regulated by the labour code.

    Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?
    At the school
    At the Ministry of employment
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    All apprenticeship contracts are registered in the central information system used by the Ministry of Labour for all types of employment contracts under specific field for apprenticeships (ERGANH).

    Furthermore, apprentices in the public sector are registered also in the Greek State Payroll Registry.

    Q30. What is the status of the learner?
    Apprentice is a specific status

    Apprentice is a specific status, as mentioned in the Quality Framework for Apprenticeship (Article 7, apprentice work and learning conditions) 

     (Quality Framework for Apprenticeship)


    Q31. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    Apprentices receive wage by employers that is in principle taxable.

    In practice, the subsidised part of the wage (now paid directly to the apprentice, not through the company) is tax-free, reducing the taxable part below the taxation thresholds.

    Q32. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?
    By law (applying for all)
    By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

    The remuneration of the apprentice amounts to 75% of the daily minimum wage (as determined by the National General Collective Labour Agreement/EGSEE) for all four semesters. The wage remains the same for each of the four semesters. 

    The employer’s contribution to the social security of the apprentice is set as the 37.78% of ½ of the actual wage the apprentice receives.


    Q33. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

    According to the current provisions, the students of EPAS apprenticeship during the –workplace learning periods, are receive wage equal to 75% on the minimum daily wage of the unskilled worker (29.04 €), that is, 21.78 €.

    Employers pay 11.39€ (25% of that amount, plus insurance contributions) and a subsidy tops up the remaining amount (14.5 €). The subsidy is paid directly to the apprentice and is co-financed by the NSRF 2014-2020 (ESF funding). Previously the employers used to receive this subsidy and pass it on the apprentices.

    Q34. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?
    No, it covers only the time spent in the company

    8Responsibility of employers

    Q35. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
    Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
    Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
    No, is not required formally

    Yes, according to Article 4 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship workplace learning should be based on educational programmes at the workplace that should be developed based on existing occupational profiles of each specialty and be updated accordingly with the occupational profiles (supervised by EOPPEP). In addition, workplace learning Programmes should be developed in accordance with the (recently introduced) Framework for Quality Curricula. These provisions apply across all apprenticeship schemes to ensure common quality standards.

    A learning agreement should complement the apprenticeship contract, according to the same article. In practice, the specific article is not fully implemented. Nevertheless, OAED has recently developed pilot work based learning programmes (

    Q36. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a suitable learning environment
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

    According to Article 5 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385//16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship employers must:

    • sign the Apprenticeship Contact
    • provide good conditions for on-the-job training, have the appropriate facilities and equipment, and designate a trainer responsible for apprentices
    • meet the necessary hygiene conditions and employee safety and provide them with necessary personal protective equipment during the workplace learning
    • must inform the apprentice of the activities, objects and areas of the job and integrate it into the work environment.
    • contribute to the acquisition of personal skills and the formation of work culture by the apprentice.
    • comply with the terms of the apprenticeship agreement and the terms set out in the learning agreement.
    Q37. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    There is no information on arrangements for compensation, in case a company cannot ensure the acquisition of all required learning outcomes for company-based learning as defined by the curriculum.

    In practice, if the company fails to provide the indicated training, the contract can be eventually terminated, and the school would be less willing to co-operate with that company in the future.

    Q38. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?
    Role in designing qualification
    Role in designing curricula
    No role

    At national level the competent bodies for these functions in apprenticeships are the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and OAED.

    Social partners sit on OAED’s Administration Board and thus they can directly influence the type and nature of measures, interventions and programmes that OAED develops and implements, including apprenticeships. So far, the involvement of social partners in the design, implementation and assessment of apprenticeship schemes has been limited.

    When drafting apprenticeship curricula, OAED takes into consideration the relevant occupational profiles, which are developed by national level social partners under the supervision of EOPPEP (Social partners are also represented in EOPPEP’s governing board).

    Since 2016-17, involvement of social partners, chambers and labour market representatives is further promoted in the overall apprenticeship governance:

    • The National Apprenticeship Coordinating Body, aiming to improve the institutional framework for apprenticeship and the design, implementation and evaluation of apprenticeship programmes,  includes social partners, employers' and employees' organizations and local authorities - in addition to the representatives of the Ministry of Education representatives of the Ministry of Labor and OAED.
    • Representatives of relevant ministries, social partners, the Central Association of Chambers, and the National Institute for Labour and Human Capital, participate in the National Council for Education and Development of the Human Capital.  The council’s  aim is to provide advice and scientific guidance on major issues related to the design of educational policy in the context of the promotion of knowledge , sustainable development, the use of human resources capacities, the promotion of inclusive employment and, in general, the link between education and the labour market and employment.
    • In addition, the selection and the development of the occupational profiles as well as the development of the apprenticeship curricula will take into account the outcomes of the national Mechanism of Diagnosis of Labour Market Needs, in which social partners and labour market authorities are represented and/or contribute with their input.
    Q39. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?
    Role in final assessment of apprentices
    Role in accreditation of companies
    Role in monitoring of the in-company training
    No role

    According to Article 4 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship, representatives of social partners, sectoral associations or chambers may sit in the panel for the final assessment together with VET teachers. However, this provision is not integrated in the daily operation of the scheme yet.

    At local level, newly established Teams supporting apprenticeship across schemes (comprising OAED and VET school teachers, both EPAS and EPAL) may include representatives of local chambers, employers’ and employees’ associations to reach out to local companies, in the effort to increase placements in the private sector.

    EPAS Apprenticeship Schools traditionally launched training programmes for specialties according to the local labour market needs and their capacity in respective technological equipment. Each year EPAS Career Offices had annual deliberation with social partners, chambers and companies for the selection of specialties. The specialties that operated mostly over time were mainly related to craftsmen of various kinds (bakers, chefs, car technicians, electricians-mechanics, electronics, CNC, graphic arts,) as well as plumbers, silversmiths, watchmakers, carpenters, hairdressers and administrative staff.

    There is not a regulated role for representatives of social partners in the actual delivery of the apprenticeship scheme.