Understanding of apprenticeships in the national context

Q1. Is there an official definition of 'apprenticeships' in your country?

§ 2 in Law on VET defines VET in Denmark as alternance-based, consisting of periods in school and in placement enterprises. Details about curriculum, duration, remuneration etc. are decided for each programme by the social partners in the so called trade committees. 

Q2. Which apprenticeship schemes exist in your country?
At upper secondary level: Yes
At post-secondary / higher level
At sectoral level

All IVET-programmes are carried out as apprenticeship training (lærlingeuddannelser) in upper secondary education. After a foundation period of 40 weeks at a VET-school, they decide on the specific programme and sign an apprenticeship contract with an enterprise. Students who are not able to conclude an apprenticeship contract may be trained instead in so called “placements centres” which are attached to the vocational school. For some learners, practical training may also be undertaken partly or entirely in a production school (produktionsskolebaseret erhvervsuddannelse).

There are two variations besides mainstream apprenticeships:

  1. EUX: since 2011 it has been possible to take an apprenticeship programme within a number of professions, which at the same time confers both journeyman’s qualification and qualifications from upper secondary general education (EUX). This variety of mainstream apprenticeships is of a slightly longer duration due to extended school periods. Enrolment for EUX was app. 1500 in 2014.
  2. Ny mesterlære: apprentices who already from the beginning have a clear idea of what they want, may choose to sign an apprenticeship directly with an enterprise rather than starting with a foundation period at a VET-school. They thus start training with an enterprise immediately and in a specific programme. After a year in the enterprise, they are assessed to check if they have the required level of knowledge, skills and competences, and they continue their programme alongside mainstream apprentices. 

Apprenticeship is not used at other levels in the educational system.

Basic vocational training (Erhvervsgrunduddannelse/EGU) is a scheme for young people who are not able to enter mainstream VET. It is alternance-based and lasts for 2 years. Placements are remunerated, but EGU confers no formal qualifications on the participants. 

Q5. How well-established are apprenticeships in your country?
A long history
A recent history (in 2000s)
No history yet, they are still to be established as a pathway

Since medieval times, apprenticeships have been the dominant form of VET.

Q6. Additional information to understand the specificity of apprenticeships in the country

All employers with more than 5 employees must contribute to the so called Employers Reimbursement Scheme (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag - AUB) irrespective of whether they have apprentices or not. The funds are used to compensate employers with apprentices for the extra costs they have for this (e.g. wages of apprentices during school periods).

Funds from the AUB are also used to finance the PIU-scheme (Praktik I Udlandet) which gives apprentices (also VET-students who have not yet signed an apprenticeship contract) the possibility to do part or all of their placements abroad. Apprentices may receive grants of up to DKK 32,000 (EUR 4,300) per year. The law on VET makes it possible to recognise this as an integral part of their apprenticeship.