Reference year 2023
    Content updates and contributors

    Version 2023 - Drafted by Ilze Buligina, Senior expert, Department of VET and adult education, Latvian Ministry of Education and Science - Member of Cedefop Community of apprenticeship experts for Latvia

    Q2. Is there an official definition of ‘apprenticeship’ or ‘apprentice’ in your country?

    The Amendments of the Vocational Education Act of 2022 formalised the term ‘work-based learning’, defining it as: ‘a component of a full-time education process in which the learning outcomes specified for the educational programme are achieved, in accordance with the education plan, alternately at the educational institution and with the employer. Work-based learning can include practical training’.

    The present WBL scheme represents an apprenticeship type scheme where the student acquires practical skills and knowledge primarily in a real working environment of the company – at least for 25% of the total duration (general education and practical training) of an initial VET programme.
    In short cycle (continuing) VET programmes (after secondary education), the share of training implemented at the workplace represents around 70% of the total volume of the programme, since the student does not have to acquire the general education subjects that are needed in the IVET programmes.  
    The term ‘apprentice’ (in Latvian – māceklis) is not used for VET students in the WBL scheme, since the term is part of the craftsmenship scheme regulated by a different legal framework and formally not part of the VET system (see below).

    b. Craftsmenship scheme
    As defined in the Law on Crafts, ‘craft apprentice’ is a person who, in order to acquire the craft, has joined a crafts company or an educational institution and has signed a training contract[1].

    Q3. At which level do apprenticeship schemes exist in your country?
    At upper secondary level
    At post-secondary (not tertiary)
    At tertiary level
    At sectoral level

    a.    The work-based learning scheme as an alternative way to get qualifications is offered at NQF/EQF levels 2-4. This means it is offered at both upper-secondary and post-secondary level. It can be offered as an initial (IVET) or continuing (CVET) option. Work has started on the approaches to introduce work-based learning also in EQF level 5. VET institutions are free to choose whether they will implement a VET programme in apprenticeship mode or not.    

    b.    Craftsmenship programmes lead to journeyman and master craftsman diplomas after the relevant exams. They are included in the sectoral qualifications frameworks that are referenced to LQF (SQfs being subsystems of LQF, using the same descriptors)

    Q4. How well-established are apprenticeship schemes in your country?
    A long history (before 2000)
    A recent history (in 2000s)
    Pilot scheme

    The work-based learning scheme was introduced formally in 2015 (Vocational Education Act amendment) with a detailed stipulation of organisation and implementation procedure and stakeholder rights and responsibilities by the Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers adopted in 2016. After being piloted in a limited number of VET institutions in 2013/14 onwards, it was then mainstreamed and developed with a stable legal basis.

    Craftsmenships have a long-standing tradition in Latvia. The current craftsmen system acquired its legal basis with the adoption of the Law on Craftsmenship in 1993 (

    Q5. Relevant information that is essential to understanding the specificity of apprenticeships in the country.

    Drafting the 2016 regulation on WBL has proven to be challenging as there were different opinions among ministries and stakeholders, especially on the remuneration of apprenticeships (it took time for employer organisations and companies to accept the new responsibilities in VET programme implementation, and to paying remuneration).