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.
A major survey conducted by the consulting firms Rambøll and Qvarts on behalf of the education ministry highlights these problems. The survey is related to the implementation of the 2015 VET reform aimed to improve the esteem, relevance and attractiveness of vocational education.
The survey emphasises the following findings:
- the role of municipalities in introducing VET and motivating learners has not been fully fulfilled. While challenges should be initially addressed by municipalities and lower secondary schools (folkeskolen), this is not always the case;
- VET still suffers low esteem among parents and is seen as an alternative for young people without the necessary motivation or formal qualifications for general upper secondary education;
- public school learners are not introduced to VET nor to the potential of the different trades it leads to;
- initiatives to improve the attractiveness of the learning environment suggested in the 2015 VET reform have not been fully implemented.
Cutting short the initial, and especially the second part of vocational education, does not give learners the necessary time to qualify in the area they choose for apprenticeship.
The report calls for increased municipal efforts, greater consideration for learner diversity and improved teacher qualifications, including in terms of teaching practice.