Reference year 2019
The Apprenticeship Scheme (AS) has a long history since it was introduced in 1963.
It was reformed and renamed into New Modern Apprenticeship in 2012 by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
In 2015, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus, with its Decision no. 78.658, designated the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth responsible for the apprenticeship scheme.
Learners interested in joining the core apprenticeship are eligible if they are up to the age of 18 by December of the school year they apply to enroll.
They must have successfully completed compulsory education (lower secondary) at the age of 15 or go through the preparatory apprenticeship option.
Preparatory apprenticeship targets young people up to 16 who have not completed compulsory lower secondary education. It is a school-based option that gradually introduces students to the labour market, giving them a taste of what VET would be like, and helping them choose a specialisation when they go on to the core apprenticeship. It is one of the two options to enroll to the core apprenticeship, the other being completion of secondary education.
See more in Cedefop’s Thematic country review of apprenticeships in Cyprus.
The age of learners is typically 15-18 years of age, corresponding to the age of learners in Upper Secondary Education.
School year 2015-16:
156 apprentices enrolled - Core Apprenticeship
54 students enrolled – Preparatory Apprenticeship
School year 2016-17:
165 apprentices enrolled – Core Apprenticeship
60 students enrolled – Preparatory Apprenticeship
School year 2017-18:
161 apprentices enrolled – Core Apprenticeship
53 students enrolled – Preparatory Apprenticeship
School year 2018-19:
136 apprentices enrolled – Core Apprenticeship
70 students enrolled – Preparatory Apprenticeship
School year 2019-20:
143 students enrolled – Core Apprenticeship
54 students enrolled – Preparatory Apprenticeship
The Apprenticeship Certificate is included in the NQF level 3 (lower secondary education certificate 10th class).
Core apprenticeship corresponds to ISCED 352 (Upper secondary vocational education – sufficient for partial level completion, without direct access to post-secondary non-tertiary education or tertiary education).
Part of the education and training acquired in the context of the apprenticeship scheme is recognised for completion of upper secondary VET at an Evening Technical School in less time (two years) than the standard one (three years), which in turn allows access to higher education.
The qualification is linked to the scheme only through completion of the three-year long Core Apprenticeship. Only the core apprenticeship scheme grants qualifications at this level (NQF/EQF3).
The type of qualification is the Apprenticeship Certificate, which is equivalent to EQF/NQF 3 and is awarded upon successful completion of the three - year Core Apprenticeship Scheme.
The Scheme does not provide direct access to higher education, unless graduates of the Apprenticeship Scheme continue their studies in an Evening School of Technical and Vocational Education (which operate as second chance schools) to obtain the upper secondary education leaving certificate (Apolyterion) which will grant them access to higher education.
The Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training has linked the programmes offered by the Apprenticeship Scheme with the programmes offered by the Evening Schools. Part of the prior education and training acquired in the context of the Apprenticeship Scheme can be recognized and transferred. As a result, apprentices are given the opportunity to complete upper secondary education in two years (instead of three that is the standard duration of the Evening schools).
The duration of the core apprenticeship is defined as three (3) school years, divided into six (6) terms. Each school year starts in September and ends in June.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth has been assigned to coordinate the core apprenticeship scheme through its Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
At national level, the Apprenticeship Board (Συμβούλιο Μαθητείας) supports the Ministry of Education in designing and implementing the NMA (see more in Q38 and Q39).
The Apprenticeship Board has a role in both advising/consulting and in decision making for matters such as qualifications, curricula, law and regulations. It is currently involved in updating and creating a new legal framework.
It consists of members from chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives and governmental staff representing the following Ministries: 1. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, 2. Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, 3. Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, 4. Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works.
The members of the national-level Apprenticeship Board have the authority to oversee and act upon implementation of apprenticeships in Cyprus, according to the body they represent. This can vary, and it can include sharing/disseminating information, networking, setting up partnerships, consulting on apprentices’ qualifications, providing company incentives and any other matters which arise from the annual meetings.
5Training at the workplace
The two learning venues alternate during the week, with two days allocated to school-based training (Modern Greek, Mathematics, English, IT and the relevant classes according to the apprentices’ specialisation) and three days allocated to in-company training.
There is no distinction, the legal framework is customised accordingly between the apprentice and the employer.
Core apprenticeship is a specific scheme which leads to different qualifications (EQF3) than school-based VET (EQF4). Still, it is based on curricula designed for school-based VET, that may be adapted at school level to serve the purpose of apprenticeships, and workplace learning in particular.
School-based VET curricula are used as a basis for the apprenticeship scheme and are adapted at school level to meet its particular needs and conditions.
Sanctions are not foreseen as such, but the Apprenticeship Board (see Q9 and below) may issue additional regulations to address issues that may arise.
6Contract and compensation
The contractual arrangement is signed between the learner, his/her parent or guardian, and the employer. This is required by the 1966 legislation governing apprenticeships.
The contract specifies the salary, maximum working hours for apprentices, and that the employer is subject to inspections and responsible to follow the legislation for health and safety in the workplace in relation to the apprentices.
The contract is registered either at school with the Apprenticeship Officer or the workplace.
All apprentices receive wages from their employer.
Individual agreements between apprentice and company. Wage agreed is stated on the contract signed by all parties.
7Financing and incentives
Employers pay the apprenticeship wages.
The in-company training is covered financially by employers of the apprentices, based on work-based practical training three days a week.