Understanding of apprenticeships in the national context

Q1. Is there an official definition of 'apprenticeships' in your country?
Yes
No

If no, please explain the main characteristics of apprenticeships in your country:

There is no official definition of an apprentice in the Slovak VET system nor is it a concept defined in legislative (all individuals in IVET are called ‘students’ in relevant legislative). While there is no clear-cut definition of an ‘apprentice’, the term is sometimes used in common discourse or in media.[1]

Up until very recently, the Slovak VET system was organised into two broad school-based VET programmes which are part of the secondary educational system:

Three-year secondary education ending in a final exam resulting into what is called an ‘apprenticeship’ certificate (ISCED 3C level). While this programme is often called ‘apprenticeship’ education, it is essentially a school-based VET programme (12.9% of all upper secondary education students in academic year 2011/12) that prepares students directly for labour market entry – it does not allow for progression into higher education. Nearly all students in this programme (99.8% in 2011/12[2]) have study curricula in which practical education accounts for at least 25% of learning hours, however it is common that this education takes place in the school rather than at the employer’s workplace.  

Four-year secondary education with a vocational component (ISCED 3A Level) which results in what is called a ‘maturita’ certificate. This VET programme covered 56.8% of all upper secondary education students in academic year 2011/12. However, only about a third of students of this programme have study curricula in which practical education forms more than 25% of learning hours – these students typically participate in what is called a study programme with extended practical education, which offers both the ‘maturita’ and ‘apprenticeship’ certificates. The practical education typically takes place in school rather than at the employer’s workplace.

Overall, students in study programmes leading to ‘apprenticeship’ certificates represented around 40% of all upper secondary students in 2010[3]. The reasons why these students cannot be considered as apprentices in the context of this study are explained in more detail under question 4.

However, in 2015 a new Act on VET (61/2015 Coll.) has been adopted by Slovakia[4] that introduces the possibility for students of ISCED Level 3 VET programmes to study them in a mode called ‘System of Dual Education’, which essentially means to undertake theoretical studies in the school and practical education at employer workplace. This newly introduced mode of study can be considered an apprenticeship scheme within the context of this study. However, it is very recent and so far has not affected many VET students – in academic year 2015/16 there were only 422 registered students[5].

 

[1] Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes: Slovakia, Cedefop 2014; Slovakia: VET in Europe – Country report, Cedefop 2014.

[2] Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes: Slovakia, Cedefop 2014.

[3] Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes: Slovakia, Cedefop 2014.

Q2. Which apprenticeship schemes exist in your country?
At upper secondary level: System of dual education
At post-secondary / higher level: None
At sectoral level: None

Systém duálného vzdelávania – System of Dual Education 

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

The Act on VET (61/2015 Coll.) that introduce the ‘system of dual education’ has been adopted only in 2015 and implemented as of academic year 2015/16. There are currently only 422 students enrolled in the dual education system[1].