2005 - 2008: First phase of NSK (NSK I)
2009 - 2015: Second Phase of NSK (NSK II)
Ongoing: retraining and vocational qualification authorisation
The methodology, identification of vocational qualifications, elaboration of standards, networking of stakeholders and processes were carried out during phases I and II of NSK.
Policy focuses on retraining, testing, examining of vocational qualification certification of adults in a broader sense - unemployed, job seekers, employed people intending to change or enhance their working position and graduates.
Provide the unemployed, job seekers etc. with the possibility of having their informally acquired skills and competences assessed and certified, thus deepening, increasing or changing their qualifications, and in effect, improving their chances in the labour market.
An increasing number of citizens find their original formal qualifications either obsolete or losing relevance in the changing conditions of the current labour markets, and their workplace-learned (i.e. informally acquired) skills gaining significance. At the same time, quick technical developments cause employers to lack required skills in their staff. Vocational Qualifications are designed according to current and actual needs of the labour market, and allow for obtaining formally recognised qualifications by demonstrating actual skills and competences rather than by absolving periods of formal education.
The instrument simplifies the process of acquiring selected vocational qualification and certification without the necessity of long term formal education.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports) - abbreviation MŠMT
Národní ústav pro vzdělávání (National Institute for Education) - abbreviation NÚV
Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports) - responsible body, financing NSK via project funding
Národní ústav pro vzdělávání (National Institute for Education) - methodology and executive body
Ministerstvo dopravy (Ministry of Transport) – authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo kultury (Ministry of Culture) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo pro místní rozvoj (Ministry of Regional Development) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo průmyslu a obchodu (Ministry of Industry and Trade) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo vnitra (Ministry of Interior) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo zemědělství (Ministry of Agriculture) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Ministerstvo životního prostředí (Ministry of Environment) - authorisation of selected vocational qualifications
Sektorové rady (Sector Councils) - designing of selected qualification standards
Hospodářská komora (Chamber of Commerce) - designing of selected qualification standards
Svaz průmyslu a dopravy (Confederation of Industry) - designing of selected qualification standards
Agrární komora (Agrarian Chamber) - designing of selected qualification standards
The first and second phase of the NSK (NSK I and NSK II) were financed by public funding using EU co-financing (ESF). The total costs for NSK II (2009-2015) reached 580 mil CZK (EU co-financing 85%, i.e. 493 mil CZK). This funding was used for setting the system, methodology, design of qualification standards, piloting etc. Currently, running costs for NSK amendments are ensured by the annual budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The implementation (retraining, testing, certification, authorisation) have no specific budget, however, especially retraining can be funded by other public financing schemes, e.g. via retraining programmes run by Labour Offices.
The funding allocated in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports budget - for the year 2017 total 34 mil CZK- is available to ensure running of the NSK system. For future operations, there is a need to ensure funding for additional activities, particularly because of the new required skills arising due to Industry 4.0 / Skills 4.0 trends.
The implementation (retraining, testing, certification, authorisation) have no specific budget, however, retraining especially can be funded by other public financing schemes, mainly via retraining programmes run by Labour Offices (often ESF co-financed).
The unemployed, job seekers, employed people intending to change or enhance their working position and graduates of high and vocational schools.
Use of labour market intelligence
Labour market needs were the starting point for the designing of vocational qualifications and their standards. The aim of the NSK was to identify those qualifications that do not require long-term formal education. This approach was used during the first and second phase of NSK through multi-sectoral discussion with employers (associations, chambers etc.) and providers of further and lifelong education. The basis for designing vocational qualifications and their criteria is set by National System of Professions (NSP - http://www.nsp.cz/) and Central Database of Competences (CDC - http://kompetence.nsp.cz/). The qualification standard of vocational qualification is formulated though competencies, which the holder of the qualification should achieve. There are three main areas of competences described in NSP/CDC: soft, general and specific vocational skills and knowledge. The qualification standard of each vocational qualification of NSK covers only specific vocational skills and knowledge.
Beneficiaries have no special incentives except of training costs covered by training programmes and certification obtained.
Frequency of updates
New vocational qualifications can be added and existing qualifications amended.
The instrument was developed (design, methodology, assessment, etc) during the project (2009-2015). Due to the long time devoted for designing, the instrument is fully operational. New vocational qualification can be added (currently over 1,100 in the database), and existing qualifications amended.
No crucial barriers identified for implementation of the instrument. Processes were described and checked during design phases.
The key factor for the success of the instrument was setting the qualification standards for selected vocational qualifications, which were designed and approved by responsible bodies. The involvement of a broad range of stakeholders was also an important factor, as well as its anchoring within the Czech legislation.
The key indicator is a number of vocational qualifications obtained. Over 170,000 people have already achieved the certification via the instrument. The number is measured by the Ministry of Education.
The instrument made the acquiring of vocational qualifications (that do not require formal education) easily accessible and thus a new and skilled labour force is more accessible for employers in specific qualifications and sectors.
Evidence of effectiveness
The system was developed in a shape and extends as intended. There are currently 1,194 vocational qualifications covered and archived in a NSK database (level 2- 67, level 3 - 639, level 4 - 369, level 5 - 53, level 6 - 44, level 7 - 22). For each a qualification, the standard (specific vocational skills and knowledge) is described, an assessment/exam/certification standard (form, criteria and process) defined and an authorising body selected. So far (October 2017), 171,168 NSK vocational qualification certifications were issued to job seekers and 1,359 authorising bodies certified.
Engagement of stakeholders
A National Board for Qualification (Národní rada pro kvalifikace) was set as an advisory body for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and is responsible authority for vocational qualifications. This board consists of 18 members covering public, education and employment sectors, and provides background and advice for vocational qualifications and labour market monitoring issues. The Board meets twice a year and its status is set by a law (Act 179/2006).
The vocational qualification by NSK uses 8 qualification levels similar to EQF. These levels are covered by descriptors similar to EQF qualifications levels and the system is fully compatible with EQF. Qualification standards used in NSK are being translated into English and might be enclosed to Europass. The transferability is possible, but requires time consuming processes and involvement of a many responsible bodies.
The practical implementation of the instrument (i.e. training, assessment and certification of vocational qualification) will continue over the next period. The reasons for this statement are a) evidence of the need declared by employers b) legislation act No. 179/2006 setting the position of national system of qualification within the lifelong learning environment.