Content updates and contributors

    Version 2023 - Drafter by Petya  Evtimova, Chairman of the Board, Modern Education Foundation

    1Scheme history

    Q1. When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)

    In 2014 for the first time, dual education has been introduced in the legislation (See Q4 of the country fiche).

    Q2. 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


    Q3. 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

    The minimum age limit for enrolment is 16. The age limit is defined in the Labour Code and in the VET Act.

    Q4. What is the average age of learners in practice?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    Most of the dual education students are between 16 and 19 years of age (VET Directorate, Ministry of Education and Science). This is due to the fact that dual education is better developed in vocational schools than in training centres.

    Q5. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

    11705  students enrolled in dual education (VET Directorate, Ministry of Education and Science, 2023) (as a comparison, in 2018, 2 873 students were enrolled in the scheme)


    Q7. Are the qualifications included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
    There is no NQF

    EQF 4 for dual education in vocational schools (upper-secondary): NQF 4
    EQF 2-4 for dual training in training centres (post-secondary): NQF 2-4

    Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?
    Q10. 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.)
    Q11. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?
    Q12. What is the typical duration of the apprenticeship programme?

    The duration of the VET programme is 5 years; however, students spend time at the workplace only in the last 2 years of the programme.
    In the last two years of the apprenticeship programme when the students actually learn on the job in a company the minimum share of the time spent on the workplace is at least 50 %. This share is set as a minimum in the framework programmes for dual education approved with an Order by the Minister of Education on the basis of the VET Act. Days per week in class: 3 or less in grade 11, 2 or less in grade 12. The exact percentage of time spent at the workplace is defined in the school curricula and can be  higher than the minimum.


    Q13. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?
    Q14. 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

    Employers’ and employees’ organizations representatives participate in national level committees  that are responsible for developing, approving and updating the state standards for VET qualifications.

    Q15. 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

    Employers’ and employees’ organizations representatives participate in the committees for final evaluation of apprentices, which are organised by schools. Sometimes the exams are held in companies where the dual VET training took place.

    Q16. What are the main roles of key state actors?

    1.    The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the overall coordination of the work-based learning (dual system of training) in the country, including the enrolment and certification. The Minister of Education and Science issues the Ordinance on the procedure and requirements for the work-based learning (dual system of training). He approves the State Standards for acquiring professional qualification as well as the List of professions for VET.
    2.    The National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) is a state agency under the Council of Ministers responsible for:
    a.    the elaboration of qualification standards for different professions taught in VET in cooperation with the nationally represented organizations of employers and employees, which then must be approved by Minister of Education and Science;
    b.    the elaboration of the List of professions for VET;
    c.    licencing and monitoring of VET centres and centres for information and vocational orientation.

    5Training at the workplace

    Q17. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

    It is compulsory as per the Vocational Education and Training Act that students alternate between two learning venues: VET school or training center in the case of adults, and the company.

    Q18. 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

    Each curriculum for dual training defines at least 50 % for in-company training. In grade 11 student spend 3 days in school and 2 days at the workplace and in grade 12 students spend 2 days in school and 3 days at the workplace.

    Q19. 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
    Q20. 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

    Each week includes both venues. In the 11th grade, students spend minimum 2 days a week at the workplace, in the 12th grade students spend minimum 3 days a week at the workplace.

    Q22. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
    Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
    Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
    No, is not required formally

    The employer hosting apprentices is required by legislation to follow a training plan developed jointly between the VET school and the employer.

    Q23. 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

    Besides offering a suitable workplace, each company should have enough mentors/instructors: each company should provide at least 1 instructor for every 5 apprentices.
    Moreover, companies should be registered according to the Trade Act or the Act for NGOs and should not have unpaid liabilities to the state budget.

    Q24. What are the formal requirements regarding workplace trainers/mentors/tutors? What is their profile?

    The legislation provides that the mentors at the workplace are employees of the employer who have at least 3 years of professional experience on the job and who have undergone special training for mentors following a training plan approved by the Minister of Education and Science.
    The formal roles and duties of the mentors include:
    -    Participating in the elaboration of the in-company training plan and follows it strictly once approved by the VET school and the company;
    -    Instructing every apprentice on the safety regulations;
    -    Helping the apprentice in his/her adaptation to the workplace;
    -    Taking care of providing the tools and material for the training;
    -    Giving practical tasks to the apprentice and monitors their execution;
    -    Participating in the evaluation of the work of the apprentice;
    -    Keeping regular contacts with teacher-methodologist from the VET school.

    Q25. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    6Contract and compensation

    Q26. What is the status of the learner?
    Only student
    Only employee
    Apprentice is a specific status (student and employee combined)

    At the workplace, the student is an employee with a specific status as he/she works under the supervision of an instructor. As such, apprentices are subject to the same rights and obligations as other employees.
    At the school, the student has a normal student status.

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

    The Labour Code requires a labour contract for dual training to be signed between the student and the company.

    Q28. What is the nature of the written arrangement?
    Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
    Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
    Another type of formal agreement, not a contract

    The type of labour contract is specific for the scheme.

    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

    The contract should be registered in the National Revenue Agency.

    Q30. 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 receive a salary. The law defines minimum salaries in the 11th and 12th grade.
    In November 2018, a progression mechanism was introduced. Before then, the rate was at least 90% of the national minimum wage. With the changes in the Labour Code of November 2018, in 11th grade apprentices receive a wage which is at least 2 times the maximum student grant defined by the Council of Ministers, and in the 12th grade 3 times the maximum student grant.

    Q31. 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

    The law defines the minimum wage, however, in practice many firm collective agreements apply and also individual agreements between apprentice and company, which can only increase the minimum wage.

    7Financing and incentives

    Q32. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?
    Q33. 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

    Employers provide the working places for the apprentices, instructors (mentors), materials and pay the salaries.

    Q34. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    As of 2018, the apprentices’ health insurance is covered by the state budget instead of the employers, as it used to be before. This is a specific policy initiative and has been made possible with an amendment in the Health Insurance Act in 2018, and it is considered as an incentive for the employers participating in the scheme.

    As of 2021 part of the salaries of the mentors in the companies are covered from the budget of the EU funded project “Support of the dual system of training”.

    Q35. 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
    Q36. Are there any incentives for learners?
    Yes, grants paid to learners to top up their remuneration
    Yes, grants paid to learners related to other costs (travel, food etc.)
    Yes, recognition of prior learning / fast-track opportunities
    Yes, other types of incentives