Since 2016 the Greek Government has been putting in place a series of important reforms to link VET better with the labour market. A new apprenticeship programme, the Post-secondary year - apprenticeship class, has been launched in line with current European practices.
With pilot actions completed, 1 200 upper vocational education (EPAL) graduates from all Greek prefectures are taking part in the first phase of implementation. Some distinctive features of the programme are:
- enrolment criteria: this programme is open to adults, young men and women meeting certain criteria: holders of EPAL diploma and EPAL school certificate not in employment, education or training; and below 24 years old;
- programme duration: the programme lasts nine months and includes four days (twenty eight hours) per week workplace learning, and one day per week work-based learning in the school unit (‘laboratory courses programme of specialty’ or specialisation courses) with a total duration of 203 teaching hours;
- student remuneration and insurance: besides the apprentice remuneration (75% of the legislated wage threshold of an unskilled worker), health and pension insurance coverage is provided from the first learning day;
- specialisations offered: the apprenticeship programme is running in seven specialisations.
Intense legislative preparation
The new apprenticeship programme aims at improving quality and effectiveness, while better safeguarding apprentices’ rights. The government has set down a series of legislation and subsequent ministerial decisions that allowed the introduction of the Post-secondary year - apprenticeship class:
- establishing an apprenticeship quality framework and a quality framework for VET curricula;
- developing several curricula necessary for the initiation of the new apprenticeship programme (administration and financial services officer, nurse's assistant, electrical installations technician, structural engineering design and geoinformatics, plant production technician, vehicle technician, IT application technician);
- implementing two pilot apprenticeship programmes in the prefectures of Crete and Attica.
Over the course of 2017, the main objective of the new apprenticeship programme is to contribute to upgrading VET, allowing it to become an equal education option that promotes VET students’ distinct skills and interests. This is expected to help alleviate social inequalities by providing EPAL graduates with work experience and reducing high youth unemployment rates.