To make the vocational education and training (VET) more responsive to labour market needs and to raise its attractiveness, the education ministry has designed a new apprenticeship-type scheme called work-based learning (WBL).
WBL can be implemented in VET programmes, leading to qualifications at EQF levels 2-4 and was introduced in 2013 as a pilot project in six vocational schools. The scheme comprises flexible curricula with alternating periods of training in school and company, and promotes sharing responsibilities between them.
The 2015 amendments in VET law defined WBL as one of the national VET implementation forms. In July 2016, the government approved the WBL implementing regulations and defined the roles of sectoral expert councils, VET schools and enterprises.
Sectoral expert councils promote and evaluate WBL implementation, and encourage cooperation between VET schools and enterprises. VET schools design the implementation plan of WBL programmes, with at least 25% in-company training. Individual learning plans indicate the proportion of theory and practice. A learning agreement is signed between the school, enterprise and the student for at least one semester. The VET school provides accident insurance for students as well as transportation and accommodation during the WBL.
The enterprise pays a wage or allowance (scholarship) to students, provides them with personal protective equipment and liability insurance and assigns a mentor. The regulation sets the requirements for mentors in the enterprise. From January 2017, they must have a master of crafts certificate (issued by the Latvian Chamber of Crafts), vocational education or at least three years of relevant work experience and teaching competence (teacher’s professional qualification or completed teacher 72-hour professional competence-development course).
The European Social Fund is supporting companies training VET learners during 2014-20.