In the wake of the many economic consequences of the covid-19 virus, the Government and the social partners have reached an economic agreement to secure apprenticeships both during and after the crisis. Specifically, the agreement is to spend EUR 725 million on subsidising apprentice salaries.

The money set aside in this agreement is to be used so that private companies can cover 75% of the salary costs for apprentices for the rest of the year. Due to the different kind of apprenticeships in Denmark covered by this agreement, not all companies can ensure apprenticeships during a whole educational period. Therefore, new short-term contracts will receive 45% of salary while regular education agreements (where entire training internships are agreed) receive 90% of salary.

Minister of Employment Peter Hummelgaard says:

‘The worldwide outbreak of corona raises a risk for students and apprentices who cannot undertake or finish their education. The agreement will ensure equal rights for the young but also benefit the society because we know we are going to need skilled people in the future. That is why it is important that the social partners have once again taken a huge social responsibility; this DKK five billion for pupils, apprentices and companies will allow us to continue to educate skilled people despite the crisis. ‘

The cry for skilled people

For many years, stakeholders have been stressing, with little response, business need for skilled labour. However, this problem is complex. Not all the 104 different vocational programmes in Denmark enjoy the same popularity. Along with the declining demand for vocational education, some programmes attract more learners than others.

Lone Folmer Berthelsen, deputy director of the employers’ organisation Danish Industry, told the newspaper Weekendavisen:

‘We have plenty of learners who would like to become a car mechanic, with a well-known education programme and internship here in high demand. In contrast, companies experience difficulties persuading enough learners to become truck mechanics. So, the discussion about the lack of internships is complex.’

Employer reimbursement fund

This agreement is based on funding from The Employer reimbursement fund. The fund is a self-governing institution which aims to manage and reimburse money that contributes to setting up and maintaining the required number of vocational training internships and apprenticeships. The money comes from all employers who contribute EUR 335 per year per full-time employee.