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Scope and glossary

About the database

The information presented in this database reflects the findings of Cedefop’s study on ‘ Financing apprenticeships/dual VET in the EU’ that was launched in November 2016 and carried out throughout 2017. Cedefop experts, Patrycja Lipinska and Vlasis Korovilos coordinated the project. Research was carried out by 3s Unternehmensberatung GmbH together with Visionary Analytics, JSC and IKEI Research & Consultancy, SA.

The tool brings together a significant amount of data on financing apprenticeships across EU countries for the first time. The information presented largely relies on the data provided by the national experts. The data was quality checked but may be further reviewed on the basis of the feedback received from the users.  To contribute to further refinement, please use the feedback form.

The database provides the links to other two Cedefop’s on-line tools: European database on apprenticeship schemes and Database on financing adult learning (in relation to the latter, the new/updated information will be collected in 2020).

The database on financing apprenticeships in the EU is the outcome of a team effort. Cedefop's contributors are:
- Patrycja Lipinska and Vlasis Korovilos (concept, data revision and structuring)
- Nancy Touissant, Michail Ioannidis, and Stella Papargeris (web development support)
- Anthie Kyriakopoulou and Maria Karamanoli (technical/editing support)


Scope of the database on financing apprenticeships

Key terms


Reference period

The information on the design of apprenticeship financing arrangements/financing instruments refers to 2016 – 2017 period. The data on their results, such as beneficiaries and volumes of funding involved, may also date back to the previous years.

Financing instruments

The database focuses on the main financing instruments in terms of high volume of funding and/or high number of beneficiaries involved (apprentices or companies).

Level of operation

The database covers apprenticeship schemes and financing instruments regulated by national legislation or through collective agreements (in particular, in countries where involvement of social partners in collective bargaining is traditionally strong). The database does not include the apprenticeship schemes where there are significant regional differences in implementation of the same national law on apprenticeship (e.g. Spain). The database covers, however, regional apprenticeship schemes sufficiently distinct in terms of origin, governance (e.g. apprenticeship schemes in Wallonia and Flanders).

Financing apprenticeships glossary

Key terms



Cedefop’s definition: systematic, long-term training with alternating periods at the workplace and in an educational institution or training centre. The apprentice is contractually linked to the employer and receives a payment (wage or allowance). The employer assumes responsibility for providing the trainee with training leading to a specific occupation.

The database covers the apprenticeship schemes that comply with at least four out of six operational criteria set on the basis of Cedefop’s definition. At the same time, all apprenticeship schemes included feature the following: (a) there is a systemic alternation between training in a company and learning at school/training provider or a compulsory learning and/or working in a company, in combination or not with learning at an education and training provider; (b) apprenticeship leads to formal qualification; (c) apprentices are contractually linked to the employer; (d) apprentices receive payment in the form of wages or allowances.

Apprentice remuneration

The database distinguishes two categories of apprentice remuneration, namely ‘wages’ and ‘allowances’. Both terms relate to the reward that apprentices receive for their productive work done during on-the-job period. Wages are considered as taxable income; fixed amount per hour or pay period, e.g. a month or a year. Thus, this remuneration category may also include salaries (typically referring to monthly or yearly remuneration), however, for simplicity reasons only the term ‘wage’ is used. Allowances, instead, are non-taxable income (e.g. scholarships).

Cost A monetary valuation of expenses incurred by the various actors involved in running an apprenticeship scheme.
Financial flow The payment of a cost at a specified period of time. The payment has an amount, source/contributor and a recipient.
Grant Subsidy to support the individual’s or company’s investment in education and training.
Tax incentive

Tax incentives are the concessions in tax codes that mean a conscious loss of government budgetary revenue. They are usually intended by public authorities to encourage particular types of behaviour (in relation to education and training, in this case) and/or to favour concrete groups (certain individuals or companies).

The following tax incentives are covered by the database (definitions by OECD):

(a) tax allowances – allowing deduction from the gross income to arrive at taxable income (i.e. tax base), for individuals and legal entities;
(b) tax credits – allowing deduction from tax liability (i.e. tax due or tax payment), for individuals and legal entities.

Training fund

A stock or flow of financing outside normal government budgetary channels dedicated to developing productive skills for work’ (Johanson, R. 2009. A Review of National Training Funds. SP Discussion Paper No. 0922. Washington, D.C.: World Bank). It is sourced usually from levy on company payroll. Training funds may be set up at national level (with tripartite governance) or sectoral level (with bipartite governance, based on social partner agreements).