Process of adaptation of VET provision to labour market demands. INCUAL (National Qualifications Institute)
The Royal Decree 375/1999 of 5th March 1999, created INCUAL and states that an Observatory of Professions must be created within INCUAL.
The instrument consists mainly of qualitative research, in order to identify the skills that are needed in concrete professions, in order to adapt the contents of VET diplomas.
The rationale is to carry out qualitative research about selected occupations, in order to identify the skill shortages and the main changes in the skill demands. This information is taken into account in the design of new VET diplomas and in the update of the contents of the already existing VET diplomas. Thus, VET provision should match better labour market demands, improving the employability of VET graduates and the capacity of companies to access adequate skilled workers. The final goal of the instrument is a correct matching between education and labour market demands. This is seen as necessary to reduce unemployment and to have a skilled workforce that enables economic growth.
The INCUAL is responsible for defining, updating and adapting the Spanish National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales, CNCP) to the evolution of the labour market.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
INCUAL is embedded in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. However, at the same time INCUAL is the technical body of the CGFP, the General Council of Vocational Training, (Consejo General de Formación Profesional, CGFP), the organisation that advises the government on VET issues. The CGFP is included in the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
General Council of Vocational Training, CGFP: INCUAL is the technical body of CGFP. The CGFP is included in the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and gathers 77 member advisory bodies, integrated by the central and regional education and employment authorities, as well as by employers´ and workers´ representatives.
Members of the Observatory of Professions (department within INCUAL): Includes sectoral experts and representatives of the public administration, trades unions and employers’ associations, suggested by CGFP. The role of these experts is to define the skills that are needed by professions.
Members of the working group of diplomas (department within INCUAL): experts in education who should define the changes needed in TVET provision to respond to labour market demands identified through the observation of occupations.
Government: Is responsible for the approval of new TVET diplomas and the changes in the contents of already existing diplomas. This is carried out through the approval of Royal Decrees at the Ministers' Council.
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports: In addition to fund INCUAL, the ministry has a responsibility in the coordination of the process of identification of skill gaps and of the implementation of new diplomas created or updated.
Regional governments: Are responsible for implementing the new TVET diplomas and the changes in the contents of already existing diplomas in their regions.
TVET Schools: Are responsible for the final education provision to students.
Private companies: They offer apprenticeships to students, as well as participate in the process of identification of skill needs through their representatives at business associations, who participate in the Observatory of Professions. They can also directly contact INCUAL to suggest skill gaps that should be taken into account in the definition of contents of diplomas.
INCUAL is funded by the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. However, INCUAL resources are not fully devoted for this process. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports has other departments outside INCUAL that work in the definition and in the implementation of diplomas. Therefore, a concrete budget for the process of identification of skill gaps and update of VET provision is not available. According to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, an average of €10,000 is invested in the design of new diplomas (without including the identification of skills gaps).
The beneficiaries of this instrument are students, who improve their employability through an education that more correctly matches labour market demands, and also companies, who can employ better qualified workers.
Use of labour market intelligence
The definition of professional standards for each occupation and their follow-up and update is made through two working groups in INCUAL: one working group focuses on occupations, while the other working group focuses on diplomas that, in turn, shapes education provision. Both groups include sectoral experts and representatives of the public administration, trades unions and employers’ associations, suggested by CGFP. The working group of diplomas also includes experts in education, which should define the changes needed in TVET provision to respond to labour market demands identified through the observation of occupations.
This systematic process of working groups and consultations leads to the update of qualifications included in the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications. In practice, in addition to this process, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports holds frequent communications with a broad and open set of agents (other administrations, foundations, trades unions, business associations or companies), receiving inputs on the evolution of labour market demands and contributing to the definitive process of updating the TVET provision. Moreover, changes in the VET provision must be opened for public consultation before their final approval.
Frequency of updates
The qualifications included in the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications must be updated every five years after their inclusion, in terms of contents, denominations, schedules, etc (Royal Decree 1128/2003, Article 9.4 ).
The approach has not been adapted or adjusted during the implementation of the policy instrument.
One barrier for the implementation of training changes in response to the skill gaps identified is the need to update training for teachers. In addition, some companies lack the means to provide apprenticeships for students in line with the updated contents of diplomas.
A barrier has been identified regarding the identification of relevant sources of information in the case of emerging sectors. A network of companies and experts needs to be updated to include new members that provide relevant information about new sectors.
Another barrier is often the dissemination of the approval of new diplomas and the change of diplomas. Although diplomas have been updated, several companies and students often do not know it.
A last barrier has been the economic crisis. Although some diplomas have been updated, the economic crisis has reduced the investment, reducing the potential implementation of the diplomas, as less jobs have been created for their graduates.
The participation of a broad set of interviewed agents to provide qualitative information. In addition to the regular and formal process of identification of skill needs, INCUAL is open to the constant participation of any agent who can be interested in suggesting changes for the VET provision.
Companies usually validate the process of update of diplomas and the approval of new diplomas, considering whether the changes carried out are adequate.
The main indicators to follow up the progress of this instrument is the approval of new VET diplomas and the change of already existing diplomas. This is not measured regularly, although the qualifications included in the National Catalogue of Professional Qualifications must be updated every five years, in terms of contents, denominations, schedules, etc (Royal Decree 1128/2003, Article 9.4 ). However, in practice this does not necessarily happen exactly every 5 years. Their update is made in accordance with sectoral demands, although the update takes place approximately every five years.
Evidence of effectiveness
No evidence of the effectiveness and impact of the instrument as a whole is available. However, there are reports that partially assess the system, such as reports about the number of students that graduate or labour insertion of some diplomas. Benefits are as expected, although those responsible of this process would like to speed up the process of updating VET provision. Often schools and the update of diplomas are a factor that promotes innovation among some companies that are not that innovative, such as some SMEs. Thus, the process of identification of skill gaps and update of the VET provision serves to transfer innovation from advanced to less developed companies through the educative system.
Engagement of stakeholders
The engagement of stakeholders is permanent and defined in regulation, which clearly specifies the role of the General Council of Vocational Training (CGFP) and INCUAL in a systematic process of continuous update of the VET provision in Spain.
The General Council of Vocational Training (CGFP) permanently includes 77 members in its advisory body, including the central and regional education and employment authorities, as well as employers' and workers' representatives (regulated by the RD 1684/1997).
Working groups of INCUAL (Observatory of Professions and Working Group on Diplomas) have a permanent network of members. This network includes sectoral experts and representatives of the public administration, trades unions and employers’ associations, suggested by CGFP. The working group of diplomas also includes experts in education.
The qualitative methodology of research of skills needs, based on interviews with a broad set of agents, can be transferred to other countries.
The instrument is permanent. It is expected to continue permanently, as it is needed for the update of the VET provision in Spain.