In November 2020, the Danish Government, the national association of municipalities, the national association of Danish Regions and their social partners made a tripartite agreement with the aim of increasing the number of people completing vocational education and training (VET) programmes.
Almost half of the VET students do not have a training contract after completing the basic VET course – a contract ensuring an in-company training place. This is seen as closely related to the fact that most students drop out during the transition from the basic course to the main course. The agreement objective is to secure an apprenticeship contract for 80% of VET students before the end of their basic course.
The agreement aims to ease the process of gaining an apprenticeship contract. While finding a contract was solely the student's responsibility, with the agreement the greater responsibility is placed on schools. The agreements states that: ‘vocational schools unequivocally have the responsibility for providing concrete apprenticeships for students who have not found apprenticeships themselves through dialogue with companies. Schools also have a clear responsibility for reaching the goals set out in this agreement. The vocational schools must organise apprenticeship-seeking, mediating and matching efforts from the beginning of the second part of the basic course’.
According to the agreement, DKK 500 million (EUR 67 million) will be financed through the Employers' Reimbursement Fund for apprenticeship support initiatives. Through the professional committees, social partners must aid the work of guaranteeing apprenticeships for VET students. The fund is a self-governing institution which manages and reimburses money that contributes to setting up and maintaining the required number of internships and apprenticeships in VET. The money for this institution comes from all employers, who must pay EUR 335 per year per full-time employee.
Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil welcomes the fact that an agreement has been reached on such an important issue:
‘I am pleased that both employers and workers are taking shared responsibility for solving some of the recurring problems we have had for decades with lack of apprenticeships. With what we have agreed, it will no longer be the individual student who will have to take the responsibility for finding an apprenticeship, but the school. A vocational education will be an increasingly safe choice, and it will hopefully make more young people choose to go down this route, and hopefully fewer students will drop out of education.’