Reference year 2019

    1Target group

    Q6. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?
    Minimum and maximum age limits defined
    Minimum age limits defined only

    Minimum age is not set but learners are at least 15 years old as they need to have completed lower secondary education (to have successfully completed the lower secondary or equivalent education and to not hold an upper secondary or equivalent education qualification).

    They should also be less than 25 years old.

    Q7. What is the average age of learners in practice?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    The programmes are accessible for all learners up to 25 years old.
    There is no information available about the average age of learners, but they range between 15 and 24 years old.

    2Overview of the scheme

    Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?
    Q9. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

    The scheme is coordinated by IEFP (Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional), the public employment service. IEFP is traditionally responsible for CVET, apprenticeship programmes and active labour market policies.

    Q10. When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    Pilot projects were implemented from 1980 to 1984 and the legal regime was introduced in 1984 by the Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 102/84, de 29 de março (see Q4 on the country fiche).

    Q11. How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
    Traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
    School-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs

    The scheme was inspired by the German dual system and the involvement of the social partners, some big companies and business associations.

    Q12. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    Single employers hosting apprentices
    Sectoral funds

    Apprenticeship training is covered by the social security budget and ESF support.

    Q13. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    Employers do not contribute to apprentices’ remuneration and do not receive incentives to participate in the scheme.

    Q14. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    In 2017-18, there were 21 869 learners attending apprenticeship programmes.

    Source: DGEEC, Estatisticas da educação 2017/2018.

    Q16. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
    Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
    Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

    All VET offers comprised in the National Qualification System award a double certification, i.e. an education certificate (upper secondary level/12th year of schooling) and a vocational qualification (level 4 of the QNQ/EQF) upon successful completion.

    Q17. Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
    There is no NQF

     Level 4 of the QNQ/EQF.

    Q19. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    As any other learner, apprenticeship graduates wishing to continue their studies are subject to the regulations and requirements established to access higher education.



    Q21. If the scheme is implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, what is its duration?

    Total duration ranges between 2 800 and 3 700 hours, of which 1 100 to 1 500 hours for in-company practical training, split in three periods of training.[1]

    [1] Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 1497/2008, de 19 de dezembro.

    Q22. If the scheme is not implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, how is duration of apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
    It Is defined as minimum and maximum share of a VET programme
    Is defined as minimum share of a VET programme
    Is defined as maximum share of a VET programme
    Is not defined by regulation
    Q23. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction

    There is a distinction of sociocultural, scientific (school-based training) and technological training component provided at the VET centre and the practical training (WBL) at the company.

    5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

    Q24. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

    Maximum duration for each training component:

    • Sociocultural – 700 hours
    • Scientific – 220 hours
    • Technological – 1 000 hours
    • workplace learning (WBL) - 1 500 hours
    Q25. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?
    Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
    Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
    Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
    No, no minimum share is compulsory

    In-company training may vary from 39.28% to 40.54%.

    According to the legislation the mandatory in-company training ranges from a minimum 1 100 hours to a maximum of 1 500 hours [1] while the total duration extends from 2 800 to 3700 hours.  

    [1] Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 1497/2008, de 19 de dezembro.

    Q26. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
    Not specified

    In apprenticeships programmes, in-company training can be organised in one of the following ways:

    • as a block at the end of each training period (the programmes are organised in three training periods);
    • divided into small training blocks spread throughout the training period;
    • with a certain weekly or monthly periodicity.

    In the particular case of the first training period, it may be more advisable if in-company training takes place in a single block at the end of the period to ensure that in the first contact of the learners with the company they are already carrying a set facilitating skills for learning at the workplace.

    Source: IEFP ‘Guide on the practical training in a work context’ (2018) (Guia de Orientações da Formação Prática em Contexto de Trabalho 2018)

    6Formal relationship with the employer

    Q27. Is any contractual arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

    The legislation of apprenticeship programmes[1] mentions that an apprenticeship contract needs to be signed between the learner (or legal representative for underage learners) and the school. (…). 

    By signing this learning contract, the provider assumes the responsibility to deliver the agreed training and the apprentice commits to attend training and perform all the activities that are part of it. The training contract sets the amounts of social support (allowance) to be awarded to the apprentice, if it is the case. It also sets apprentices rights for personal accident insurance, under the responsibility of the training provider.

    The employer responsible for the workplace training does not sign the learning contract.

    Although not compulsory, a cooperation agreement may be concluded between the school and the company, to jointly carry out learning courses regarding the practical (work-based) learning, as part of the apprenticeship programme. It refers to commitments by the company side to provide an in-company trainer and to agree with the VET provider on the training to be carried out at the workplace (see Q36).

    [1] Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 1497/2008, de 19 de dezembro.

    Q28. What is the nature of the contractual arrangement?
    Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
    Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
    A formal agreement

    The regulation of the apprenticeship programme[1] mentions that the apprenticeship contract does not regulate (nor generate) labour relations and is terminated at the end of the training programme for which it was concluded.

    It specifies the maximum number of hours the learner can work at the company and the number of hours of daily rest. In case the learner is minor and working in a night time regime, the apprenticeship is governed by the rules laid down in labour legislation of minors.


    Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?
    At the school
    At the Ministry of employment
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    Through IEFP, the public employment service of the labour ministry. 

    Q30. What is the status of the learner?
    Apprentice is a specific status

    There is a specific status laid down in the Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) nº 242/88 de 7 de julho.


    Q31. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    Apprentices do not receive reimbursement from participating companies.

    The training contract sets the amounts of social support (allowance) to be awarded to the apprentice, if it is the case. It also sets apprentices rights for personal accident insurance, under the responsibility of the training provider. Social support may include:
    - study support/material scholarship (bolsas para material de estudo) at the beginning of each training period, if learners are from disadvantaged families;
    - professionalization scholarship (bolsa de profissionalização) payed monthly and equivalent to 10% of IAS (1)
    - meals (subsídio de refeição);
    - accommodation (alojamento);
    - welcome for children if the learners are parents (acolhimento);
    - transportation (transporte).

    social support is funded by the Operational Programme for Human Capital (POCH, strand 3 – apprenticeship, LLL qualification and strengthening employability).

    The value of the social support is based in the IAS index, updated annually (the indexing reference of social support (Indexante dos Apoios Sociais).


    - Mapa Apoios Sociais anexo ao contrato de formação at…;
    - Indexante dos apoios sociais (IAS): Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 24/2019, de 17 de janeiro.
    - Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 19/2018, de 17 de janeiro (the fourth modification to the Portaria n.º 60-A/2015, de 2de março; Apprenticeship programmes. 2018 IEFP regulation.

    Q32. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?
    By law (applying for all)
    By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
    By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

    Apprentices do not receive a wage.

    Q33. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

    The Human Capital Operational Programme, approved by the European Commission's decision from 12th December 2014, aims to contribute to an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth and to the economic, social and territorial cohesion. 

    Q34. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?
    No, it covers only the time spent in the company

    There is no difference between the time spent at school and in the company.

    8Responsibility of employers

    Q35. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
    Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
    Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
    No, is not required formally

    Yes, there is an agreement between the training institution and the company. Workplace training is based on an individual activity plan which sets the competencies to be acquired and/or consolidated and the professional activities to be performed.

    Q36. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a suitable learning environment
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

    The company should demonstrate technical and organizational capacity, to have an adequate working environment and occupational hygiene and safety conditions and the necessary technical, human and material resources. All these conditions are verified when the entity applies to be a provider of in-company training in the context of apprenticeships (ASE). 

    On top of this, an agreement between the training institution and the company may be concluded, which refers to a joint effort to provide work-based learning in the context of the apprenticeship programme. According to the agreement, companies are asked to appoint an in-company trainer and to agree, together with the training provider, on a plan of activities guiding the learning to be carried out or to be consolidated by the trainee during the period in which the practical training takes place.…

    An activity plan and evaluation plan also exist:…

    Q37. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    Termination of the agreement with the company is foreseen, and eventually the companies are removed from the list of institutions that may provide in-company training for the apprenticeship scheme.  

    Q38. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?
    Role in designing qualification
    Role in designing curricula
    No role

    The qualifications references/standards (structured in short duration training units), that are part of the curricula, are validated by all representatives that are part of the sectoral councils for qualifications.

    Q39. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?
    Role in final assessment of apprentices
    Role in accreditation of companies
    Role in monitoring of the in-company training
    No role

    Social partner representatives participate in the panel (jury) for the final assessment of the programme (prova de avaliação final -  PAF).

    The composition of the jury is:

    • The pedagogical responsible of the programme
    • trainers of the sociocultural scientific and technological training components
    • in-company trainer, and
    • In cases where a tripartite jury is foreseen (i.e. in regulated professions), representatives of the national competent authority.

    Moreover, employers’ associations, companies, or trade unions can set up apprenticeship training centers jointly with IEFP, which they manage with a great autonomy, under protocol with IEFP (protocol centres).