Understanding of apprenticeships in the national context

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

    Apprenticeship is defined as “a training pathway of upper-secondary vocational education and of continuous vocational education”. (Apprenticeship Act, §1)

    An apprentice is a (regular) student enrolled into the apprenticeship pathway of upper-secondary vocational programs. An apprentice could also be an unemployed part-time student or an employed person studying with the aim of obtaining a vocational qualification, retraining or further vocational education. (Apprenticeship Act, §5)

    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

    The current apprenticeship scheme is an alternative pathway of the upper-secondary vocational education (EQF level 4), open to anyone that signs an apprenticeship contract with a training company.

    There is a higher vocational study scheme at the tertiary level (višješolski študijski programi, EQF level 5). Although 40% of the scheme is carried out as practical training in companies, this is not considered apprenticeship.

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

    The existing apprenticeship scheme is based on the Apprenticeship Act: it was introduced in 2017 and it is now considered as a pilot scheme.

    In the school year 2017/2018 the pilot apprenticeship scheme implementation started, based on the Apprenticeship Act. At the moment (November 2019), 20 schools and 12 curricula are included in the scheme and approx. 340 students signed an apprenticeship contract, i.e. less than 3% of all upper-secondary vocational students.

    The decision about the full implementation of the apprenticeship scheme will be made after evaluation of the pilot in 2021.

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

    Apprenticeship in Slovenia has a long history with many discontinuances. It was considered a main method of training young people in craft occupations at the beginning of 20th century, and even retained its position in Yugoslavia after 1946. However, the role of the state in this area was gradually strengthened due to centralized management of human resources development and the needs of sectors. Consequently, the role of craftsmen, businesses and trade associations decreased. After the education reform in the early '80s, the responsibility for VET was entirely transferred to schools.

    Two parallel pathways of VET were re-introduced by the Vocational Education Act in 1996. Different vocational programs were prepared for both pathways and jurisdictions of practical training was different. In the dual form, the provider of VET programme was the company together with the school. The person enrolled had the apprentice status with some employment elements, e.g. 50% of the time for practical training was included in years of service. The committee of experts of the authorised chamber provided the final examination for the apprentice. On the other hand, the, the final examination for students in school-based programs was provided by schools. These dual programs were abolished in 2001.

    The current vocational upper secondary programs were conceptually introduced by the Guidelines for preparation of upper secondary VET programs in 2001 and implemented as revised IVET programs in line with Vocational Education Act in 2006. The Act prescribed a minimum of 24 weeks of work-based learning in companies (named as practical training by work) as a part of all 3-years upper-secondary vocational programs.  The training contract can be collective (concluded between the school and the company) or individual (concluded between the company and the individual student). With an individual training contract, the training in companies can be extended up to 53 weeks. Only few students per year opt for this possibility.