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General themes

VET in Austria has the following main features:

  • VET ranks high; about 70% of each age cohort opt for a VET path at the end of compulsory education ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    ).
  • early leaving is comparatively low at 7.3% in 2018 and a ‘safety net’ for young people has been in place for many years. In 2017, the training obligation until age 18 was introduced: all young people who are not in education and training, or in a job, must participate in mainstream school-based programmes, apprenticeships or other recognised training;
  • school-based VET and apprenticeships (dual track training) coexist. They cover nearly all economic sectors and lead to different qualification levels (either EQF 4 or 5).
  • there is a variety of VET programmes at tertiary level and for adults.

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
):

  • the broad range of available VET programmes is not only reflected in the various types of training and qualification levels but also in the fields of study, which include business, engineering, tourism, fashion, design, arts, and agriculture. Programmes can be adapted to regional economic contexts and skill needs, and allow learners to develop their strengths and talents in the best possible way.
  • all programmes at upper secondary level, whether school-based or dual-track, combine VET with general education and theory with practice. Work-based learning is central to VET, particularly in apprenticeships where learners spend 80% of their training time in a company. School-based VET is also practice-oriented, including learning in workshops, labs, training restaurants and practice firms, complemented by mandatory work placements in companies. Project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam of the five-year VET programme (EQF 5) are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration. Many teachers have experience in business and industry, which, for certain areas, is also an admission requirement;
  • much attention is paid to the acquisition of key competences (e.g. team work, digital and entrepreneurial skills). At least one foreign language is mandatory − in some study fields (such as tourism) up to three − and is also used as a working language at several schools. Competence-orientation is a key principle in VET;
  • the number of apprentices (within the dual VET-track) being trained is driven by company demand. On completion of compulsory education, young people apply for apprenticeship places in companies and conclude a training contract with them. Apprentices are also assigned to the respective school-based programme, which is mandatory;
  • many VET programmes are offered outside the formal education system. A diverse range of institutions offers continuing training and progression opportunities to complement or upgrade people’s initial qualifications.

Despite its wide recognition, VET faces several challenges:

  • basic skills: OECD-PISA results in recent years suggest that the share of learners with low achievement in reading literacy and maths is comparatively high. Companies tend to point to young apprentices’ basic skills gaps. This drives the current government’s goal that no young person should leave compulsory education without having achieved basic competence levels in reading, writing and maths. 
  • early leaving from education and training: early leaving rates from education and training have been comparatively low and a ’safety net’ for young people has been in place for many years. What used to be an offer became a training obligation until age 18 in 2017: all young people who are not in post-compulsory education and training, or in a job, must participate in mainstream school-based programmes, apprenticeships or other recognised training until the age of 18.
  • value of non-formal training: Austria has a relatively segmented education system; permeability is limited, particularly between non-formal and formal programmes at higher levels. Public perception of formal and non-formal qualifications is not the same. The national qualifications framework (NQR) is expected to provide a new perspective on them, as assignment to NQF levels is based on learning outcomes, irrespective of the institutional context in which they were acquired.

Data from VET in Austria Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 8 822 267 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

The continuous increase in the size of the population since the mid-1980s is mainly due to the growing influx of foreign nationals, rising particularly sharply in recent years. Overall, roughly 16% of the Austrian population are foreign nationals ([5]Cedefop (forthcoming). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office.).

It increased since 2013 by 4.4% mainly due to migration ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019]). According to the projection of Statistics Austria, based on assumptions on fertility, mortality and migration, the population will continue to grow to nine million people by 2022, to over 9.3 million by the year 2030 and to 9.53 million people by 2040 (+8% compared to 2018) ([7]Statistics Austria (2018). The Austrian population will grow to 10 million inhabitants by 2080; labour force increases by 5%. Press release 11.903-214/18 published on 22.11.2018.
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/PeopleSociety/population/119618.html .
).

The demographic development reveals that the population is ageing, as in many other EU countries. In 2015 only 18.5% of the Austrian population were aged 65 years or older; the share of this population segment in the population overall is expected to increase to over 29% by 2060.

The old-age dependency ratio ([8]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).) will also continue to rise. In 2016 the number of people aged 65 and above, in relation to the 15 to 64 year-olds, was still slightly more than one to four (27.4%); projections show this ratio reaching about one to two by 2060. This means there will be less than two people in employment for every pensioner ([9]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The demographic structure and dynamics in Austria – mainly driven by migration and an aging society – will have an impact on available resources as well as on the demand for education ([10]Oberwimmer, K. et al. (2019). Nationaler Bildungsbericht Österreich 2018, Band 1 [National education report, Volume 1]; Das Schulsystem im Spiegel von Daten und Indikatoren [Education in facts and figures], p. 25.
https://www.bifie.at/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NBB_2018_Band1_v3_final.pdf
).

Because of migration, support structures (such as classes in German) have been created for the acquisition of German as a foreign language (language of instruction) and measures have been taken to make it possible for migrants to complete VET programmes: these include transition courses, the ‘b.mobile’ programme ([11]See
https://www.wko.at/site/fachkraeftepotenzial/b_mobile.html
) of the Austrian economic chambers.

The demographic development towards an ’aging society’ will have an impact on the education sector. In order to keep pace with the (future) requirements of the economy, lifelong learning (LLL) will become imperative. Therefore it is/will be necessary to encourage participation of older employees in further and higher qualification (VET) programmes ([12]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Austrian Economy: 99.6% of all enterprises are SMEs. Around 330 000 such enterprises employ nearly two million people (2016) ([13]Austrian Institute for SME Research (2019). KMU-Daten 2016 [Key figures on SMEs, 2016].
https://www.kmuforschung.ac.at/zahlen-fakten/kmu-daten/
).

87% of them are micro-enterprises with fewer than ten employees. 11% are small enterprises employing between ten and 49 people, around 2% are medium-sized enterprises with 50 to 249 employees. Overall more than 1.9 million people are self-employed or work in dependent employment in Austrian SMEs. This means that SMEs provide work to around two thirds of the entire workforce. The share of large enterprises in the total number of Austrian companies is only 0.4%. But they employ roughly one third of all employees. Especially for SMEs – and particularly for micro and small enterprises – vocational education and training (VET) that is properly differentiated and adjusted to current and future requirements is very important because these companies, as a rule, do not have their own in-house HR (development) and research departments ([14]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Since the 1960s, the Austrian economy has undergone fundamental changes. In 1960, agriculture and forestry still boasted an 11% share in the gross value added. The services sector, at around 42%, was behind the manufacturing sector (47%). In the 1970s, structural change started and continues today; it has led to a shrinking of the primary and secondary sectors to the benefit of the tertiary sector. Today more than 70% of the value added is created in this sector, which also employs around 70% of the workforce. In response, new specialisations and qualifications have been introduced in the education sector (mainly in wholesale and retail trade, tourism, healthcare) to meet the requirements of the economy. In addition, increasing attention is being paid to teaching key competences, which play a major role in the services-oriented economy ([15]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The most important manufacturing sectors (by turnover 2017) and export sectors of the Austrian economy with the dominance of SMEs are ([16]WKÖ- Austrian Economic Chamber (2018). Statistical Yearbook 2018.
http://wko.at/statistik/jahrbuch/2018_Englisch.pdf.
):

  • energy supply;
  • machinery and motor vehicles;
  • metals and metal products;
  • electrical and electronic equipment;
  • food and feed;
  • petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical products;
  • plastic, glass, wood, paper products.

In terms of foreign trade, tourism, environmental technology, construction and infrastructure, creative industries, training and the service sector are strong sectors ([17]WKÖ-Austrian Economic Chamber (2019). Österreichische Exportwirtschaft 2019/2020 [Austrian foreign trade 2019-20], S. 12f.
https://www.wko.at/service/aussenwirtschaft/oesterreichische-exportwirtschaft.pdf [accessed 23.5.2019].
).

In Austria around 200 professions are regulated ([18]See
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm
); they require a specific professional qualification when accessing or exercising them. Certificates/diplomas are generally very important, although for most jobs they are not a formal requirement.

Total unemployment (2018): 4.3% (6 % in EU-28); it increased by 0.9 % percentage points compared to 2008 ([19]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment differs strongly for persons with low-, medium- and high-level formal education.

In 2018 the unemployment rate of persons (aged 25-64) without an upper secondary qualification was 10.9%, almost three times higher than of persons with at least upper secondary education (3.8%) and even higher than of people with tertiary education background (3%).

Younger people (aged 15-24) with no or lower formal qualifications are especially affected by significantly higher unemployment risks and rates. However, in 2018, Austria had the sixth lowest unemployment rate (13.9%) in an EU-28 comparison (21.9%) among young people (15 to 24 year-olds). This is particularly due to the varied VET programmes offered at the upper secondary level ([20]Cedefop (forthcoming). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 86.3% in 2014 to 88.6% in 2018; it is 8.1 percentage points above the EU 28-average (80.5%) ([21]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates of ISCED levels 3 and 4 increased to 88.6% (+2.3 pp) between 2014 and 2018 ([22]NB: Beaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

This is due to the wide range of vocational programmes at upper secondary level, which make it possible for graduates to enter the labour market directly ([23]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The employment rate and the change between 2014 and 2018 in the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 is higher compared to that for all 20-34 year-old graduates (2014: 83.5%, 2018 84.5%) ([24]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018 more than half of 25 to 64 year-olds (52.6%) acquired a qualification in an education programme at ISCED Level 3 or 4, i.e. an apprenticeship diploma or a qualification from a school for intermediate vocational education or a general secondary school. This also reflects the importance of the upper secondary sector within the Austrian education system.

About one third of the population (32.7%) between the ages of 25 and 64 years completed a tertiary education programme, also including ‘short programmes’ (ISCED 5) below the bachelor degree, such as the qualification obtained at a five-year school-based VET programme or at an industrial master college.

But many programmes aiming at vocational further and higher qualifications (such as the engineer qualification, the financial accountant qualification, qualifications obtained in the police force) are offered outside the formal education system and are not included in ISCED ([25]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The share of the population with no or low-level qualifications (ISCED 0-2) is significantly lower (14.7%) compared to the EU-28 average (21.8%), and the share of the medium-qualified (52.6 % at levels 3-4) significantly higher (EU-28: 45.7%). The shares of the high-qualified (ISCED 5-8) are almost balanced (AT: 32.7%, EU-28: 32.2%).

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].
 

For more information about VET in higher education in Austria please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [25a]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Austria. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/austria_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

In Austria nearly 70% of all upper secondary education VET learners (ISCED level 3) are enrolled in vocational programmes compared to 47.2% in the EU-28 average (2017) ([26]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
).

This is primarily due to the high attractiveness and inflow of approximately 40 % – a relative constant rate since the mid- 1990s – of an age cohort to the apprenticeship training in Austria.

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

68.6%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Around 70% of each age cohort opts for a VET programme at the end of compulsory education ([27]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
). There are more male learners in these programmes (80% choose a VET programme) than female ones (70%) ([28]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 - Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/.
).

Education choices of females and males in IVET differ:

  • young males are traditionally overrepresented in apprenticeship training (77 %) with the main focus on technical trades and crafts. They also favour technical branches in school-based VET;
  • young females generally prefer school-based VET with commercial, economic, social, healthcare and pedagogical programme orientation.

In Austria the share of early leavers from education and training – 18 to 24 year-olds, who have not graduated from upper secondary level and are currently not in education and training – has further decreased from 8.8% in 2009 to 7.3% in 2018. The national target of 9.5% in 2020 has already been passed and is clearly below the EU-28 average (10.6%) with the European benchmark of less than 10% for 2020.

This relatively favourable figure in comparison to the EU-28 is attributed to the wide and differentiated range of education and training programmes after compulsory schooling, especially apprenticeship training and the VET school sector.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Austria has already achieved, even exceeded, the EU benchmark for lifelong learning of 15%, reaching 15.1% in 2018. The Austrian government in 2011 upgraded the national target for adults aged 25 to 64 years to take part in lifelong learning to 20% by 2020 ([29]https://www.qualifikationsregister.at/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Strategie1.pdf).

LLL participation is generally higher among women than men and is clearly above the EU-28 average (11.1%) ([30]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Especially in an aging society, lifelong learning (LLL) will become imperative to keeping pace with the (future) requirements of the economy. Encouraging participation of older employees in further and higher qualification programmes is essential ([31]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

 

Adults in education and training by age group

Source: National data (Statistics Austria, Micro Census – Labour force survey).

 

According to the labour force survey, around 400 000 people between 15 and 19 were in education and training (IVET) in 2016. Just below 430 000 people aged 20 to 29 were in IVET or CVET; more than 590 000 people at the age of 30 and above participated in an education and training programme.

Structure of the Austrian education system:

  • kindergarten or preschool education (ISCED 0);
  • primary level (ISCED 1);
  • lower secondary level (ISCED 2);
  • upper secondary level (ISCED 3-4);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary level (ISCED 5);
  • tertiary level (ISCED 5-8).

General compulsory schooling starts at the age of six and lasts nine years. To promote equality of opportunity and employability, a training obligation up to the age of 18 has been established after completion of compulsory schooling; this means that young people are obliged to take part in a training programme or attend an educational measure up to the age of 18.

  • primary level (four years, learners aged 6 to 10): before entering the four-year primary school, half-day attendance at nursery school/kindergarten is obligatory. For children with special educational needs (SEN) integrative classes are set up at primary school or there are specific special needs schools which are geared towards the education requirements of individual types of disability;
  • lower secondary level (four years, learners aged 10 to 14): at this education level learners can choose to follow general secondary education offered at the academic secondary school (AHS) or at the new secondary school (NMS). In these school types, the learners with SEN can either attend integrative classes or the fifth to eight grade of a special needs school. To switch from primary school to NMS or the lower cycle of AHS, learners need a positive final certificate of the fourth class of primary school; for entering the lower cycle of AHS, additional performance requirements (such as specific marks in the main subjects) and possibly an entrance examination are foreseen;
  • upper secondary level (one to five years, learners aged 15 to 19): the first school year of upper secondary education is, at the same time, the final year of compulsory education. Compulsory education ends after attendance of nine school years; there is no separate compulsory school certificate. At the upper secondary level, learners can choose between general and (pre-)vocational education programmes. Many of these programmes support direct entry to the labour market, provide access to post-secondary programmes and/or lead to the tertiary sector either directly or upon acquisition of higher education entrance qualifications;
  • post-secondary and tertiary level (different durations; learners aged 19+): higher VET programmes (which aim to provide further and higher qualifications, especially for holders of initial VET qualifications), many of which are organised in cooperation with work-based learning in companies, are offered in the formal education context (schools and universities) but also the non-formal context (outside schools in adult education institutions). Higher education programmes, which lead to Bologna qualifications and are primarily academically oriented and designed as pre-professional, are offered at universities, universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education;
  • education outside the formal education system: many adult education establishments provide programmes for personal and professional continuing education. There are also programmes which make it possible for adults to acquire qualifications in the formal education sector. For the unemployed and those threatened by unemployment, programmes are offered as part of active labour market policy.

At secondary level, learners can choose from various pre-VET and VET options in different occupations/ sectors:

  • different types of one- or two-year pre-VET (Polytechnische Schule, PTS, ISCED 341; berufsbildende mittlere Schule, BMS, ISCED 351): learners acquire general education, key competences and basic vocational skills preparing them for further school-based VET, apprenticeships and simple jobs on the labour market;
  • three- to four-year school-based VET (berufsbildende mittlere Schule, BMS, ISCED 354, EQF 4): learners strengthen their general education and acquire the respective occupational competences and qualifications to perform medium-level jobs. Those who complete an add-on programme or take the Berufsreifeprüfung (exam for people whose initial VET does not automatically qualify them for entry into higher education) also obtain general access to higher education studies;
  • five-year school-based VET (berufsbildende höhere Schule, BHS, ISCED 354-554, EQF 5): combining theory and practice, these programmes offer high-quality occupation-related training while strengthening learners’ general education. They lead to double qualifications for senior positions in business and general access to higher education at the same time (Reife- und Diplomprüfung);
  • apprenticeships (dual track training) (ISCED 354, EQF 4) in some 200 occupations and trades for learners from age 15 onwards, after compulsory education. They lead to qualifications at medium level. Graduates can progress to qualify, for instance, as master craftsperson or, following additional exams, access tertiary level training in a related field. By completing the Berufsreifeprüfung or an add-on programme they can also obtain general access to higher education;
  • training for occupations in the health sector: access to programmes preparing for care and medical assistant professions (ISCED 351 and 353) and other occupations in the health sector (ISCED 351) requires completed compulsory education, being of minimum age, and/or a specific qualification. Training to become a specialist and general care nurse (ISCED 454) is being upgraded to bachelor level. This process will be completed by 2023.

VET at post-secondary level

The introduction of ISCED-2011 has had the result that a series of VET programmes which had formerly been classified as ‘post-secondary, non-tertiary’ are now considered as ‘tertiary’. Due to this change in classification, the number of post-secondary programmes is now reduced while the number of tertiary programmes has risen. ISCED Category 4 basically only comprises schools for healthcare and nursing (ISCED 454). However, the programme to become a specialist and general care nurse offered in this school is being upgraded to a bachelor programme at universities of applied sciences. This process will be completed by 2023, so no VET programmes at ISCED level 4 will be provided in the future.

VET at tertiary level

At tertiary level (ISCED 5 to 8) a wide range of VET programmes are offered. These are provided at higher education institutions, in particular by universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education.

  • Bachelor and master programmes provided at the universities of applied sciences (FH, ISCED 665 / 767) are offered both as full-time and also as part-time in the evening (with extended overall programme duration). A period of work placement is a mandatory part of the bachelor programme curriculum. The programmes are completed with an academic thesis followed by a final exam. Successful completion of an FH master’s programme entitles graduates to access subject-related PhD courses at university.
  • Teacher education programmes offered by university colleges (PH, ISCED 665) aim to train compulsory school teachers for the type of education selected in a four-year bachelor programme. These PH programmes focus on imparting knowledge and skills related to teaching and didactics as well as their application in school life. There are practical teacher training phases within the bachelor programme as well as an induction period, a one-year phase in which graduates teach at a school under the supervision of a mentor.

Tertiary VET is also provided in special schools or in adult learning centres. This includes add-on courses (Aufbaulehrgänge) and post-secondary VET programmes (Kollegs), which both lead to the same qualification as offered by the five-year school-based VET programme at secondary level. There are also special schools offering the industrial master programme (Werkmeisterschule) and the building craftsperson programme (Bauhandwerkerschule). Preparation for the master craftsperson examination (Meisterprüfung) is offered by master craftsperson schools (Meisterschulen) within the formal education system or by adult learning centres, which are not considered to be part of the formal system.

Learners can acquire qualifications in one of the 200 legally recognised apprenticeship programmes with different area specialisations (construction, electro, information technology, wholesale and retail) offered at ISCED 354 level (EQF 4). Apprenticeship training takes place at two places of learning: in the training company and at vocational school. A prerequisite for taking part in an apprenticeship is the successful completion of nine years of compulsory education. Learners need to find themselves an apprenticeship place in a company to be able to access this programme. Once a training company is found, leaners need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with the authorised apprenticeship trainer, which is recorded by the apprenticeship offices (Lehrlingsstellen).

There is an Austrian-wide training regulation (Ausbildungsordnung) for every apprenticeship. It includes the job profile (Berufsbild), a type of curriculum for the company-based part of training, which lays down the minimum knowledge and skills to be taught to apprentices by companies. The competence profile (Berufsprofil), which is also part of the training regulation, formulates in a learning- outcome-oriented manner the competences apprentices acquire by the end of their training in both learning sites. The social partners are essentially in charge of taking decisions about what in-company curriculum and/or competence profile an apprenticeship occupation is based on and they exert a decisive impact on the structure and content of apprenticeship training via their work in relevant advisory councils.

At the end of the apprenticeship period, every apprentice can take the apprenticeship-leaving examination (LAP), comprising practical and theoretical parts. The apprenticeship qualification can also be acquired via a so-called exceptional admission. For this purpose, relevant periods of professional practice and attendance of relevant course events are credited as a substitute for formal apprenticeship training.

Following successful completion of the LAP, graduates have various progression options, such as taking the master craftsperson exam for a skilled craft. Access to HE programmes can be acquired by taking the exam called Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) during or after the apprenticeship training. For many, an apprenticeship also forms the basis for a self-employed career. Almost 40% of managers in the business sphere have completed an apprenticeship.

The increasing tendency for young people to want to acquire a professional qualification, preferably in apprenticeship training, combined with the fact that the willingness of companies to train apprentices has decreased, has led to the expansion of supra-company training (ÜBA, Überbetriebliche Berufsausbildung). Originally conceived as a temporary education offer until entry to a regular, company-based apprenticeship, ÜBA was incorporated as an equivalent part of dual VET in 2008. Now it is possible for young people who do not find a company-based apprenticeship post or have not been accepted by a VET school to spend the entire duration of the training in an ÜBA, which is funded publicly through Public Employment Service Austria. The school-based part of apprenticeship training is provided at the regular vocational school.

The heterogeneity of people interested in dual VET has also resulted in the establishment of inclusive VET in 2003. Inclusive VET is mainly intended for young people who, at the end of compulsory schooling, have special educational needs and have not graduated from lower secondary level. It can be implemented in two variants, either the training period can be extended by one or two years, or only selected competences of an apprenticeship are taught (partial qualifications). Partial qualifications are supported by vocational training assistance (Berufsausbildungsassistenz). This advises and supports the training companies and young people before and during the training.

A relevant apprenticeship training scheme has also been set up for especially talented young people who find learning easy: in 2008 the ‘apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate’ scheme (Lehre und Matura) was introduced; this enables apprentices to acquire the Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) parallel to their apprenticeship training and to attend preparatory courses and complete partial exams free of charge. Since 1997 they have also had the option to complete the entire BRP after obtaining their apprenticeship diploma ([32]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf).

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from Cedefop’s European database on apprenticeship schemes: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

The responsibilities for VET at the upper secondary level are widespread: pre-vocational schools and most of the mainly school-based VET programmes are under the responsibility of the education ministry. This ministry is responsible for tasks such as preparing important school legislation, elaborating framework curricula, selecting, paying and providing further training for teaching staff, and maintaining schools.

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for building and maintaining five-year school-based VET programmes in agriculture and forestry and for selecting and paying teachers at these schools. The costs for teachers at three- to four-year VET schools of agriculture and forestry are shared equally by the Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces.

The education directorates in the provinces are responsible for enforcing school legislation, including quality assurance, school supervision and education control.

The competences for dual VET are within the spheres of the Ministry of Economy, which is responsible for the legal bases and content of the company-based part, and the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the complementary school-based training (curricula, selection of staff).

The social partners are also involved significantly in the governance structure of apprenticeship training (designing the training regulations, carrying out the assessment procedures).

The funding of the company-based part of apprenticeship training is taken on by the training companies; State subsidies are also available. The school-based part is funded by the Ministry of Education. The costs of paying teachers are shared with the provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces are responsible for dual VET in agriculture and forestry.

The health ministry is responsible for the legal basis of programmes in the healthcare sector. The provinces pay the teachers who are employed in these training establishments. Their construction and maintenance is also largely taken on by the provinces on behalf of the Federation.

For VET ([33]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
) at the upper secondary level, the education ministry is responsible for paying teachers and providing further training for teaching staff, and maintaining schools.

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for building and maintaining five-year school-based VET programmes in agriculture and forestry and for selecting and paying teachers at these schools. The costs for teachers at schools of agriculture and forestry are shared equally by the Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces.

The funding of the company-based part of apprenticeship training is taken on by the training companies; State subsidies are also available. The school-based part is funded by the Ministry of Education. The costs of the paying teachers are shared with the provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces are responsible for dual VET in agriculture and forestry.

Teachers in programmes in the healthcare sector are payed by the provinces. The construction and maintenance of the training establishments is also largely taken on by the provinces on behalf of the Federation.

The funding of CVET depends on what type of training is attended. In most cases, the costs of CET are borne by the participants and/or companies. There are, however, a number of measures (such as educational leave) and financial subsidies (in the form of grants and tax relief) in order to (partially) cover expenses. All these initiatives aim to serve as incentives to take part in CET in order to improve the companies’ economic situation and strengthen the CET participants’ position in the labour market.

Model calculation: Comparison of the public expenditure for IVET, per learner/apprentice for one year (2016)

Programme

Costs per person/apprenticeship place and year (in EUR)

Total public expenses per person/ apprenticeship place and year (in EUR)

Dual VET (company and VET school)

VET school: 4 927

State subsidies: 1 548

6 475

Supra-company training (training in a state-funded workshop and at VET school)

VET school: 4 927

PES: 12 018

Province: 1 148

18 092

School-based VET programmes

10 660

10 660

Source: Dornmayr/Nowak 2018 ([34]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 - Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/. For more information on the model calculation, see p. 95ff.
).

VET has the following types of teacher:

  • general subject teachers (in school-based VET programmes, including VET schools of apprenticeship training);
  • VET-subject teachers (in school-based VET programmes, including VET schools of apprenticeship training;
  • IVET trainers (in-company trainer in apprenticeship training);
  • trainers (in adult learning centres).

Teachers

The training of teachers ([35]For detailed information about the training of teachers and trainers in Austria, see Eurypedia:
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/teachers-and-education-staff-1_en and
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
) changed when the Federal Act on the New Teacher Training Scheme came into force in July 2013. Since then, all teachers have been trained as part of tertiary bachelor and master programmes (ISCED 6 and 7) at universities and university colleges of teacher education.

The study offer for teachers at secondary level comprises the following two programmes:

  • teacher training programme for secondary general education programmes (ISCED 2 to 5): this programme qualifies graduates to teach learners aged between 10 and 19 years old in the general education subjects offered at a secondary level programme;
  • teacher training programme for secondary VET (ISCED 2 to 5): this programme qualifies graduates to teach learners aged between 14 and 19 years old in the VET subjects or packages of subjects of secondary VET chosen in the study programme.

 

All teacher training programmes require a one-semester introductory and orientation period (Studieneingangs- und Orientierungsphase or StEOP).

The master programme can be completed immediately after the bachelor programme. In any case, new teachers are accompanied by a mentor in their first year of service (one-year induction year). From 2029 it will no longer be possible to complete the master programme on a part-time basis.

IVET trainers:

As well as having a minimum age of 18 years, an IVET trainer needs to furnish proof of certain qualifications. This proof can take the form of the IVET trainer exam, the IVET trainer course, or a substitute for exam or course attendance (such as the master craftsperson exam, or completion of the industrial master college). Most IVET trainers carry out their training as part of their main work but larger companies often have full-time trainers.

IVET trainer courses are offered by the adult education establishments of the social partners. In 40 periods of instruction completed with an expert interview, they aim to impart the necessary pedagogical, psychological, training plan-related and training method-specific as well as legal knowledge and skills required for the training of apprentices. The course contents are the same as those of the IVET trainer exam.

CVET trainers:

There are no regulations on the required qualifications of trainers in adult learning centres/CVET provider institutions, though relevant know-how in the subject they teach is essential. In many cases these are individuals who practise a profession and impart relevant specialisations. Commercial and technological courses, for example, are taught by practitioners from business, and language classes by native speakers. Didactic skills are not required, but people with teaching practice are preferred. Trainers mainly exercise their profession in a self-employed capacity.

CPD for teachers:

According to the new Service Code (Dienst- und Besoldungsrecht) ([36]See
https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokument.wxe?Abfrage=BgblAuth&Dokumentnummer=BGBLA_2013_I_211
), all teachers – irrespective of the school at which they teach and which subject they teach – are obliged to undergo further development measures to improve their profession-oriented competences. By order they are required to attend in-service training events for up to 15 hours per school year while there are no lessons. In-service training programmes may be connected with absence from teaching only if in the significant interest of the service.

CPD events are primarily offered by university colleges of teacher education (PHs). Teachers can register for these events via the system ‘PH-Online’ in order (depending on the duration of the event) to be granted leave by the school management or the school supervision to attend this event.

CPD measures are financed by provincial funds. These funds are provided directly to the provider establishment so that participation is free of charge for the teachers.

CPD for trainers:

There is no CPD obligation for IVET trainers. However, CPD programmes are offered at adult education establishments; in some cases, in-house CET programmes are also available. In recent years so-called IVET trainer colleges (Ausbilderakademien) and IVET trainer forums have been set up in most Austrian provinces with the aim of providing CPD specifically for IVET trainers. For the most part they are coordinated by the regional economic chambers in cooperation with the respective chamber’s CET institution. Most of them offer certification in various stages. They also promote experience exchange and networking between IVET trainers. The latter is also the goal of regional and sector-specific get-togethers for IVET trainers.

The Economic Chamber funds measures related to the CPD of IVET trainers in their interaction with apprentices, such as pedagogy, didactics, personal development, diversity. A prerequisite for support is minimum participation of eight hours. The funding covers 75% of the course fees but no more than € 1 000 per trainer and calendar year.

Existing VET programmes are regularly developed, updated and adjusted to guarantee that VET is business- and labour-market-oriented. One major goal of this adjustment process is to achieve congruency between VET and employment as well as between qualification supply and demand, attempting to appraise future developments at an early stage and respond to them. In Austrian VET there are different anticipation processes that lead to curriculum adjustments. Major stakeholders in this process include the social partners, which can frequently support coordination between educational provision and qualification requirements and/or make statements on curriculum drafts. The outcomes of various analyses of qualification requirements are also considered in this process.

Mechanisms and processes to anticipate qualification requirements

The most important include:

  • skill needs studies: these are mostly conducted for specific sectors and industries (e.g. timber, IT), but also for regions (such as federal provinces) and education programmes (certain specialisations of colleges for higher vocational education, dual VET, etc.). The main beneficiaries of these studies are stakeholders in these sectoral/regional areas as well as staff responsible for the curriculum and other areas in the VET pathways that are of relevance for the specialisations;
  • skills barometer of PES Austria (AMS-QB) ([37]See
    http://www.ams.at/qualifikationsbarometer
    ): this online system, which was set up in 2002, summarises current and foreseeable labour market trends and qualification requirements and makes them accessible to the general public in a structured format via the internet. The AMS-QB uses existing written data (e.g. from skill needs studies) and information gathered in interviews with experts from the various occupational areas. Contents refer to the whole of Austria, and they are complemented by summary information presented for every province and analyses of job ads;
  • ’New skills’ activities: in 2009 a standing committee on news skills was founded at PES Austria. This committee, in which relevant ministries, the social partners and their CET provider establishments are represented, functions as advisory board for PES Austria in questions concerning the design of education offers within active labour market policy and the activities to be undertaken to identify future skills needs. Since the committee’s foundation, roundtable discussions have been held in which company experts from various vocational areas (such as HR) and education experts (e.g. representatives of providers) have discussed and exchanged information about current and future skills needs/trends. This should give providers a first-hand picture on skills requirements of the economy to be able to design or adjust their offers adequately. Besides these roundtable (group) discussions, one-to-one/in-depth expert interviews (mainly with key companies of a vocational area) have also been conducted. Other New skills activities have included presentations and information events, to inform learners, employers and CET interested people about skills requirements and trends. Since 2018 the New skills activities have focussed on the subjects ’digitalisation’ and ’Industry 4.0’.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([38]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([39]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

In the following, the processes during the development of curricula are presented for various VET programmes.

School-based VET

The educational objectives and content of VET schools at the upper secondary level are laid down in framework curricula. They are issued by the education ministry. Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012 as a result of the development of the national qualifications framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes. The competence-oriented curricula specify the knowledge and skills that learners have acquired by the end of their training and which qualify them to act appropriately in different situations at work. As well as subject-related competences, interdisciplinary competences are also listed as they are considered of major importance in Austrian VET.

Initiatives towards curriculum reforms and/or the introduction of new subjects/area specialisations are launched by the education establishments themselves or by the Ministry of Education. In so-called curriculum steering groups and working groups, teachers and experts of the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with representatives of the economy, prepare draft curricula for the respective subjects. As well as a number of other institutions, the social partners also receive the drafts to issue their statements. In the implementation of the framework curricula, schools are entitled to change the number of lessons of individual sub-jects autonomously within a given framework or develop their own focuses, taking account of (regional) economic requirements.

Special curricula can be established for individual school locations as school pilot projects to be able to respond swiftly and flexibly to current developments such as in technology, society or on the labour market.

Dual VET (apprenticeship)

The training content for every apprenticeship occupation is laid down in training regulations (for the company-based part) and curricula (for the school-based part). The Ministry of Economy issues the in-company curriculum and the competence profile (the activity description formulating the competences which apprentices need to have acquired by the end of their training at the company and vocational school) as part of the training regulation. The initiative to modernise existing and develop new in-company curricula/competence profiles (new apprenticeship occupations) is usually launched by companies or the social partners. The Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeship (BABB) – which comprises social partner representatives and advises the Ministry of Economy in dual VET issues – also introduces proposals or prepares expert opinions about possible reforms. The specific designing of in-company curricula/competence profiles, and the orientation towards current and future qualification requirements, is generally conducted by BBAB subcommittees or the education research institutes of the social partners, mainly ibw Austria – Research & Development in VET. Framework curricula for vocational schools within the framework of apprenticeship training are designed in a similar way to those for school-based VET. Framework curricula are laid down in analogy to company-based training.

Programmes at universities of applied sciences (UAS)

The initiative to modify existing or introduce new fields of study at UAS frequently comes from the business sphere. For the curriculum, which is prepared by a development team, an application for accreditation needs to be submitted to the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria). An important part of this application is proof that the economy has a demand for graduates and the planned degree programme can expect demand from potential participants. This proof can be furnished, for example, in the form of needs and acceptance analyses. The accreditation of a degree programme is granted for a maximum of six years by the Ministry of Education following a decision by AQ Austria. During that time it is possible to make necessary adaptations by submitting change applications. Upon expiry of this period, it is necessary to submit an application for reaccreditation, which follows the same rules as the initial accreditation.

Continuing vocational education and training (CVET)

CVET finds it easiest to adjust programmes to skills requirements and to respond to the economy’s needs most quickly. Providers often cooperate with professional organisations and companies to tailor their offers to needs. They also use the information from skills needs analyses and the results of the New skills activities.

Quality assurance in VET is a highly differentiated and permanent process.

The regular updating of curricula and training plans is a major part of quality assurance and many other measures are taken to maintain the attractiveness of VET among learners and companies and to safeguard the recognition of the qualifications.

The VET Quality Initiative (QIBB) for school-based VET ([40]See
http://www.qibb.at
) was introduced in 2004, setting up the framework conditions in a way that successful teaching and learning is guaranteed. For this purpose, processes have been defined and instruments introduced which enable systematic planning, observation, documentation, evaluation of and reflection on the quality of procedures and results ([41]With the Education Reform Act (Federal Law Gazette, I No 138/2017
https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2017_I_138/BGBLA_2017_I_138.pdfsig), in force since autumn 2017, new regulations regarding quality assurance at schools have been introduced. This act foresees the establishment of a monitoring system which comprises quality management and resource controlling. QIBB is to be merged with SQA, the quality management system of general education schools, and further developed. First results of this extensive reform are to be expected for 2020.
).

Another major element of quality assurance at five-year school-based VET programmes is the partly standardised final examination, which was introduced in the school year 2015/16. It consists of standardised exams in the language of instruction (most often German, but also Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian), in applied mathematics and in a foreign language (English, French, Italian or Spanish). The assignments for these exams, as well as the duration and time of their implementation, are laid down centrally for the whole of Austria. The uniformly defined exam assignments and assessment criteria mainly aim to ensure the objectivity and reliability of the exam results and promote the transparency and comparability of the final exam.

In dual VET, many quality-assuring measures are carried out in addition to the regular adjustment of apprenticeship occupations to economic and technological developments. These measures include the accreditation of training companies: every company that wants to train apprentices is obliged to undergo an accreditation process. This consists of an examination by the apprenticeship office with the cooperation of the Chamber of Labour to check if the company meets the legal and corporate prerequisites for apprenticeship training to teach the knowledge and skills foreseen in the competence profile.

In 2013 the Ministry of Economy set up a clearing office for apprenticeship-leaving examinations at ibw Austria – Research and Development in VET ([42]See
http://www.ibw.at [accessed 23.4.2019].
). This office’s main task is to safeguard a uniform quality standard by examining the assignments of the apprenticeship-leaving examination, the evaluation guidelines and proposed solutions for compliance with the respective examination regulation, subject-related correctness, practical relevance and didactic quality. The apprenticeship-leaving examination is organised by the apprenticeship offices and is taken before a board of examiners. This ensures that training and validation are separated, which significantly contributes to objectivity and quality assurance.

Also in 2013 the quality management in apprenticeship training initiative (QML) was launched by the social partners with the objective of reducing the number of apprenticeship dropouts and increasing the success rate in apprenticeship-leaving examinations. The QML builds on annually evaluated indicators of apprenticeship dropouts, the number of those who (do not) attempt to take the apprenticeship-leaving examination as well as (un)successful apprenticeship-leaving exams. In the case of apprenticeship occupations where the dropout rate or the failure rate in the apprenticeship-leaving examination are relatively high, more in-depth analyses are carried out jointly with the competent sectoral representations to find the reasons as far as possible and take related measures (such as adapting the in-company curricula, improving career guidance, and measures to support apprentices including private tutoring or coaching, IVET trainer courses, and supporting materials for training companies).

Quality-assurance measures are also taken in the post-secondary and tertiary sectors, as in the definition and implementation of master craftsperson and proof of competence examinations. The main basis for this is formed by the European guidelines on quality assurance in higher VET ([43]UEAPME (ed.) (2018). European guidelines on quality assurance in higher VET.
https://www.ibw.at/bibliothek/id/356/
), which have been developed in analogy to the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European higher education area (ESG) with substantial involvement of Austria.

Validation of non-formal and informal (prior) learning is a topic gaining international importance. In Austria, major importance is traditionally attached to formal education qualifications from the school-based, dual and higher education sectors. However, learning also increasingly takes place outside formal education in adult learning institutions, on the job, and within the framework of voluntary activities. Rapid changes on the labour market – due to technology and globalisation – require a formal pathway to be followed by the need to learn, brush up and deepen existing knowledge. To promote competence acquisition outside the formal education context and encourage lifelong learning, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, published a strategy to validate non-formal and informal learning in 2017 ([44]See
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/euint/eubildung/vnfil.PDF [accessed 20.4.2019].
). This strategy introduces a framework for the further development, coordination and network formation of existing validation approaches. The goal is to promote quality and foster trust as well as enhance visibility and access to validation offers.

There are various incentives for VET learners (or their families) irrespective of the type of education and training they have chosen ([45]For more information about funding in education, see Eurypedia:
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/funding-education-1_en
):

  • for learners who have reached full legal age and attend a school or HE institution, family allowance is prolonged and still granted until their 24th birthday; in certain cases this entitlement can be further prolonged;
  • learners for whom family allowance is received may apply to a public transport authority for free transport on the route between their home and school/training company (Schülerfreifahrt); in this case, they need to pay a flat-rate contribution of EUR 19.60 a year. Where no public means of transport is available, they may apply for a school or home commuting grant;
  • required school textbooks are provided to learners free of charge;
  • the Schooling Allowances Act (Schülerbeihilfengesetz) ([46]See
    https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10009531
    ) provides for the following three types of allowance:
  • school allowance is granted to learners from grade 10 onwards who attend an upper secondary programme and are in need of financial support;
  • boarding school and travel allowance (Heim- und Fahrtenbeihilfe) are offered to learners from grade 9 onwards, in case that they cannot stay in their parents’ house because the school location is too far away. Financial need must also be proven. The basic amounts of school allowance and boarding school allowance are EUR 1130 and EUR 1380 per year; they can be increased or reduced depending on financial needs. Travel allowance is EUR 105 per year. A further extraordinary allowance may be granted in cases of ‘social hardship’;
  • special allowance is granted to learners, who have been working for at least one year and for the last six months before their final exam, where they stop working to prepare for the exam.

In IVET, the following financial incentives are available for apprentices ([47]See
https://www.wko.at/service/bildung-lehre/Lehrlinge.html
):

  • apprentices can apply for state funding for attending a preparatory course for the apprenticeship-leaving examination (up to 100 % of the course fees);
  • the second or third attempt to sit the apprenticeship-leaving examination is free of charge (no examination fees or material costs);
  • language courses and foreign work placements organised within the Erasmus+ programme are part-funded by the state (EUR 15 per day).

Attending CVET programmes is financially supported (directly and indirectly) by the state, the provinces or municipalities. The social partners provide the following funding as do individual companies:

  • provinces and municipalities, as well as social partners, provide funding for course fees in various forms (education cheques, educational accounts, education vouchers). Preferred funding target groups are employees, young people, and those at a disadvantage on their respective regional labour markets;
  • companies often partly fund the CVET activities of their employers by providing direct funding or allowing their employers to attend courses during paid working hours;
  • PES Austria finances skills training and retraining measures within the framework of active labour market policies;
  • PES Austria is also responsible for the education leave scheme. Any employee who has been employed within the last twelve months for a minimum period of six months may take educational leave. During this, IVET or CVET as well as language courses may be attended, resumed or completed both in Austria and abroad. Written proof must be furnished that education measures of at least 16 to 20 weekly hours have been taken. During the leave period, subsidies are granted to the level of the unemployment benefit that the employee would get in the event of unemployment. There is a minimum and a maximum daily rate, depending on prior earnings;
  • employees have the possibility to write off costs as expenses for occupationally relevant CVET measures when filing their tax returns at the end of each year.

In 2008 a new funding scheme was introduced for training companies offering apprenticeship posts. This scheme is not only intended to increase the number of apprenticeship posts offered but also improve the quality of training. Within this funding scheme, there are various types of support ([48]See
https://www.wko.at/service/bildung-lehre/Gesamtuebersicht_Foerderarten_lehre.html
):

  • basic support (Basisförderung): every training company is entitled to basic support. This comprises three gross apprenticeship remunerations in line with the collective agreement in the first apprenticeship year, two in the second year, and one each in the third and fourth years. The training company can apply for basic support at the end of the respective apprenticeship year;
  • training alliances and additional VET courses: subsidies also cover inter-company and supra-company VET measures and the acquisition of competences which go beyond the in-company curriculum. Attending a preparatory course for the apprenticeship-leaving exam can also be funded;
  • apprenticeship for adults: the training of adults (18+) is funded if they are paid as unskilled workers, i.e. more than apprenticeship remuneration.
  • companies where apprentices pass the apprenticeship-leaving exam with good results or distinction can also apply for grants;
  • subsidies are also available for CET measures for IVET trainers;
  • financial means are also available for measures taken for apprentices with learning difficulties (such as tutoring courses).

Other benefits cover non-wage labour costs:

  • there are reduced rates for the company’s health insurance contribution for apprentices (3.35 % instead of 7.65 %) and for the unemployment insurance contribution (2.4 % instead of 6 %);
  • the contribution to accident insurance for apprentices is waived throughout the entire apprenticeship.

Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) also runs apprenticeship post support schemes designed to integrate problem groups into the labour market. Companies receive a flat-rate grant towards the costs of an apprenticeship. The grant includes the following categories of apprentice:

  • young women in apprenticeships with a low proportion of women (below 40%)
  • disadvantaged apprenticeship post seekers (young people who have mental or physical disabilities or emotional problems, learning deficits, or who are socially maladjusted)
  • adult apprentices (18+) with qualification/employment problems (e.g. dropouts)

In CVET, training providers can also receive subsidies in order to be able to offer courses free of charge. Two initiatives are relevant in connection to vocational training:

  • adult learning initiative ([49]See
    https://www.initiative-erwachsenenbildung.at/initiative-erwachsenenbildung/was-ist-das/
    ): financed by national and ESF means, the aim is to enable young people and adults to acquire basic skills (reading skills, basic skills in German or in another language, mathematical and digital skills) and the compulsory schooling qualification free of charge.
  • apprenticeship training and HE entrance exam ([50]See
    https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/bm/index.html
    ): from autumn 2008 apprentices can attend preparatory courses for the Berufsreifeprüfung (HE entrance examination for graduates of NQF level 4 VET qualifications) and take the four partial exams free of charge.

There is considerable diversity of institutions, providers and initiatives in the field of information, counselling and guidance on learning and occupations. The main providers are the education institutions, the public employment service and the social partners. Counselling and guidance is offered at the following levels in education institutions:

(a) all schools of lower and upper secondary level offer counselling and guidance from the fifth school grade through counsellors and career guidance officers. They are available for schoolchildren and parents and provide information about possible education paths, access requirements, as well as the qualifications and entitlements to be acquired. They also give young people a basic overview of continuing education and training options. Guidance is conducted by teachers who have the relevant qualifications and who are termed, depending on the school type, school counsellor (Schülerberater/in) or education counsellor (Bildungsberater/in) and provide their counselling services in addition to their teaching activity. In the final two years of lower secondary level, career guidance is a compulsory subject totalling 32 hours a year. The aim of these lessons includes improving the learners’ decision-making competence, social skills, determination and perseverance. Short periods of work placement at companies and personal contacts with people from different occupations aim to help learners examine their career aspirations and take independent decisions;

(b) career guidance plays a particularly important role at prevocational schools as this school type is at the interface between obligatory and further schooling. Career guidance aims to inform learners and parents about regional possibilities in apprenticeship training and, in vocational guidance classes, prepares them for so-called real-life encounters (such as days of practical work experience) as well as important information events and job information fairs;

(c) in school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level (BMS and BHS) ([51]BMS (Berufsbildende mittlere Schule): school for intermediate vocational education; BHS (Berufsbildende höhere Schule): college for higher vocational education.) teachers with specialist qualifications also work as career guidance officers. Learners at BMS and BHS have already taken their first decision about their professional career. But, thanks to the good level of general education provided at schools, the entire range of professional development options is also open to them;

(d) most universities offer both psychological counselling offices and career planning centres, bodies which are within the sphere of responsibility of the science ministry. The psychological student counselling services at universities and university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) offer general course guidance, psychological counselling, psychotherapy, aptitude diagnostics, coaching, and supervision, etc. to holders of the upper secondary school-leaving certificate and HE students. Career planning centres at universities support students on their entry into the world of work by offering one-to-one counselling, information events on topics such as job applications and CVs, as well as individualised career planning. The centres also organise seminars on areas such as presentation techniques, rhetoric and IT, as well as events such as careers fairs and company presentations;

(e) in the CET sector education counselling and career guidance is becoming increasingly important. This is particularly evident in the establishment of comprehensive education databases ([52]http://www.erwachsenenbildung.at ;
http://www.eduvista.com
), an Austria-wide platform for education counselling, and the merger of institutions to guarantee independent and supra-institutional information and guidance services. Major adult learning establishments, such as the institutions run by the social partners frequently offer their own guidance services. More than 60 career guidance centres (BIZ) of AMS offer comprehensive information about occupations, their contents and requirements, about initial education and training, CET paths, the labour market and employment options across Austria. Apart from information material in the form of brochures, information leaflets and videos, The Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) also develops information databases on occupations and on initial and continuing education and training programmes for different target groups ([53]Accessible online at
http://www.ams.at/berufsinfo
). For apprenticeship post seekers, AMS operates the online apprenticeship post platform http://www.ams.at/lehrstellen jointly with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

EURES (European job mobility portal) advisors who are employed at AMS provide information about job offers and working conditions in other countries of the European Economic Area. Anyone who is interested can use the information and service offers provided by BIZ free of charge. Print media, videos and online databases are available for customers to obtain information themselves. For young people in need of career guidance there is a selection of tools (e.g. the compass for apprenticeship occupations, interest test). The advisors working at BIZ provide support in information search and are available for one-on-one counselling talks to assist in career and education decisions. BIZ also provides services for specific target groups (learners, teachers, parents) and on specific topics (career guidance, presentations of occupations, job applications, days of technology for girls). AMS offers one-on-one counselling talks for people registered as unemployed. These talks aim to match the jobseekers’ personal requirements, strengths and intentions with the situation on the labour market. There is also the possibility to take part in training programmes and courses (vocational guidance courses, training for job applications, job trials, skills training and qualification courses). In special cases, (young) women can take advantage of assistance in career choice, skills training and qualification. AMS also supports school-based information activities by means of a large number of brochures, career guidance films, occupational information and CET databases on the internet, and by organising events and trade fairs.

The different chambers offer education counselling and career guidance. The chambers of labour and trade unions provide these services mainly via their joint adult learning institutions: the vocational training institutes (bfi). They publish information material and organise information events. The counselling services of the economic chambers and their adult education institutions, the institutes for economic promotion (WIFIs), focus on IVET and CVET. These services are offered across Austria at several locations in the BIZ. With the career guidance tool ([54]http://www.bic.at) the economic chambers have their own web portal where job descriptions, VET and CVET options, tips on career choice and job applications, as well as a large variety of service materials, are offered, in some cases in several languages. The career guidance centres of the Economic Chambers provide comprehensive information material on a self-service basis and organise events geared towards the world of work, such as sector presentations, school and information events, as well as training for job applications. As well as information for groups (such as school classes), one-on-one counselling talks are also offered. The institutes for economic promotion’s career guidance officers offer individualised counselling services on the basis of comprehensive psychological testing procedures ([55]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf
).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Add-on VET programmes

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Add-on VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Aufbaulehrgänge) Add-on VET programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20 to 21

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 to (mostly) 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

To access this programme, learners need to have an IVET qualification.

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programme is accessible to adults with relevant IVET or professional experience.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y School programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

For schools of private provider organisations tuition fees need to be paid.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Add-on programmes lead graduates of intermediate (EQF 4) VET programmes (school-based and dual VET programmes) to the same qualification as obtained in five-year school-based VET programmes (berufsbildende höhere Schulen, BHS)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • practice-oriented
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements (except for programmes for people in employment)
  • project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam (often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration)([121]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Most schools offering these post-secondary programmes are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([122]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main target groups

These programmes are mainly targeted at adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements are:

  • successful completion of initial VET (school-based or dual VET programme in the respective field);
  • VET graduates with a non-field related qualification have to attend a bridge course prior to entering an add-on course.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • HE entrance examination

If learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis, i.e. HE entrance qualification and higher VET qualification (= double qualification)

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

After successfully completing an add-on programme, graduates can carry out higher-level tasks in the vocational field which the programme was about (i.e. in engineering, in management and service industries, in agriculture and forestry, in administration, etc.). Add-on programmes do not lead to specific professions. The qualification (Abschlusszeugnis) opens up a broad range of activities in a specific vocational field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • obtain general access to tertiary education (studies at universities, universities of applied science and universities of teacher training);
  • can enter a range of CVET options;
  • can directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([123]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Post-secVET

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Post-secondary VET school programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Kollegs). Post-secondary school programmes provide high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20 to 21

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 (mostly) to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programmes are accessible to adults with a higher education entrance qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Kolleg programmes are financed by the public, attendance is free of charge for learners.

For programmes of private provider organisations tuition fees need to be paid.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Post-secondary VET school programmes lead graduates of general education programmes to the same qualification as obtained in five-year school-based VET programmes (berufsbildende höhere Schulen, BHS)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • practice-oriented
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements (except for programmes for people in employment)
  • project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam (often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration)([124]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Most schools offering these tertiary programmes are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([125]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main target groups

These programmes are mainly targeted at adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Higher education entrance qualification

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • diploma examination (Diplomprüfung)

If learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Diplomprüfungszeugnis

In combination with the higher education entrance qualification (Reifeprüfung), graduates of the post-secondary VET school programmes have the same qualification as graduates from five-year school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level (berufsbildende höhere Schule, BHS).

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

After successfully completing a post-secondary VET school programme, graduates can carry out higher-level tasks in the vocational field which the programme was about (i.e. in engineering, in management and service industries, in agriculture and forestry, in administration, etc.). Post-secondary VET school programmes do not lead to specific professions. The qualification (Abschlusszeugnis) opens up a broad range of activities in a specific vocational field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of post-secondary VET school programmes

  • obtain general access to tertiary education (studies at university, universities of applied science, universities of teacher training);
  • can enter a range of CVET options and
  • can directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria. ([126]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Master craftsperson et al.

programmes

and qualifications

ISCED 554

Master craftsperson et al. programmes and qualifications offered at ISCED level 554. There are various programmes subsumed under this category: master craftsperson programme (Meisterschule); industrial master programme (Werkmeisterschule, WMS); building craftsperson programme (Bauhandwerkerschule).
EQF level
EQF: 6 (master craftsperson qualification); the other qualification in this VET programme category are not yet classified
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13 to 14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

19 to 20

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years

Duration varies among the different specific programmes:

  • master craftsperson programmes: 1 to 2 years
  • industrial master programme: mostly 2 years
  • building craftsperson programme: mostly 2 years
  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • special tuition in theory and practice
  • instruction by experts from the specific professions/fields
  • some programmes are full-time, some are part-time
Main providers
  • CET providers of the social partners (e.g. WIFI, bfi)
  • public schools (offering also school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • focus on learning from real-work situations
Main target groups

These programmes target adults with relevant IVET qualifications plus professional practise and the intention of acquiring intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship competences.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • minimum age of 18 years
  • successful completion of an initial VET path at upper secondary level
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • in industrial and building craftsperson programmes: final examination
  • graduates of master craftsperson programmes can sit the master craftsperson examination offered by Master Craftsperson Authorities
Diplomas/certificates provided

Final certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The qualifications are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications
  • industrial master
  • building craftsperson
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can

  • directly enter the labour market (asset for improving in-company career options or changing companies);
  • set up one’s own company or take over a business;
  • can enter a range of CVET options;
  • on certain conditions can obtain access to a bachelor degree programmes at a University of Applied Science;
  • have access to the Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) which grants access to higher education institutions.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([127]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Bachelor programmes

(FH)

3-4 years

ISCED 665

Bachelor programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, FH) leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 665
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Yes and no

depending on the qualification obtained before entering a bachelor programme

Is it continuing VET?

Yes and no

depending on the qualification obtained before entering a bachelor programme

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In general, bachelor programmes offered at Universities of Applied Sciences are financed by the public, so attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Providers of study programmes are, however, entitled by law to charge tuition fees (2019: 363.36 EUR per semester) ([130]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Bachelor programmes are research- and practice-oriented
  • a period of work placement is a mandatory part of the curriculum.
  • some are based on the dual principle, where theory and practice in enterprises alternate ([131]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Universities of Applied Sciences

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40 %

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • mandatory work placements
  • bachelor thesis is often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Main target groups

Bachelor programmes target adults with a higher entrance qualification (Matura). However, also graduates of intermediate VET programmes, which do not end with a HE entrance examination, can – under certain conditions (work experience, entrance examination) – enter bachelor programmes at UAS.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • HE entrance qualification
  • work experience, if required
  • entrance examination, if required
Assessment of learning outcomes

A failed course or bachelor exam can be repeated twice. A single repetition of a study year is possible ([133]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf [accessed 15.5.2019].).

Diplomas/certificates provided

A bachelor degree is given to learners who successfully completed their bachelor thesis and passed the bachelor examination.

The bachelor qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities so graduates can follow further studies or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications in accordance to the specific study field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to a master programme offered at ISCED level 767.

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Master programmes

(FH)

1-2 years

ISCED 767

Master programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences (Master-Studiengänge an Fachhochschulen) leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 767
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

767

Usual entry grade

16+

Usual completion grade

17+

Usual entry age

21+

Usual completion age

22+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years:

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In general, master programmes offered at Universities of Applied Sciences are financed by the public, so attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Providers of study programmes are, however, entitled by law to charge tuition fees (2019: 363.36 EUR per semester) ([136]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Master programmes are research-oriented.
  • some programmes are based on the dual principle, where theory and practice in enterprises alternate ([137]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Universities of Applied Sciences

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20 %

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • master thesis is often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Assessment of learning outcomes

A failed course or master exam can be repeated twice. A single repetition of a study year is possible ([139]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master thesis followed by a master examination before an exam commission/diploma

The Master qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications in accordance to the specific study field ([140]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to doctoral programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Apprenticeships

WBL 80%

2-4 years

ISCED 354

Apprenticeship training leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Lehrlingsausbildung)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11 to 13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17 to 19

Length of a programme (years)

From two to four years, usually three years (two thirds of apprenticeship professions)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Apprenticeship starts after compulsory education. A prerequisite for taking up apprenticeship training is completion of nine years of compulsory schooling. About one third of apprentices complete this period by attending a one-year prevocational school.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Attendance at a vocational school for apprentices is free of charge. The training company is obliged to grant leave of absence to the apprentice for attending the programme offered at the vocational school while continuing to pay the apprenticeship remuneration. As compensation the company has the possibility to apply for public subsidies (‘basic funding’).

The training at the company is funded by the companies themselves. The young people are paid an apprenticeship remuneration by their employer; this is usually regulated in the (sectoral or company) collective agreement. As support for training companies, however, a number of public subsidies are available.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Around 23% start an apprenticeship at age 18 and above ([69]See statistics on page 23 of Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 [Apprenticeship overview, 2018]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual programmes consist of 80% workplace training in a company, 20% training in a vocational school
Main providers

Training companies (enterprises, free professions such as lawyers, and supra-company training providers on behalf of Public Employment Service Austria)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Apprenticeships as dual track training combine:

  • company-based training (80%);
  • attendance of VET school for apprentices (20%).
Main target groups

Apprenticeship training is accessible to young people and adults.

Apprenticeship training is also available for learners with special educational needs either by:

  • prolongation of the apprenticeship period by one or at maximum two years;
  • acquisition of a partial qualification.

Young people who are trained in a prolonged apprenticeship period are also obliged to attend a vocational school. The training is completed with the apprenticeship-leaving examination.

The acquisition of partial qualifications is restricted to selected competences of an in-company curriculum. There is also an obligation to follow a programme offered at a vocational school, the extent being adjusted to the individual situation of the apprentice. The final examination covers the previously determined competences. The level achieved is determined by professional experts and one member of the vocational training assistance. The partial qualification is accompanied by vocational training assistance; this aims to advise and support the training companies as well as the young people before and during the training.

Both forms of training are offered by training companies. (Young) people who do not find an apprenticeship post in a company, can complete apprenticeship training at supra-company training providers (überbetriebliche Berufsausbildung, ÜBA), which offer company-like conditions in workshops on behalf of the Public Employment Service Austria as part of active labour market policy. As for the school part, ÜBA-apprentices attend the regular VET school for apprentices.

People with migrant background made up less than 11% of all apprentices in 2017 ([70]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018, Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/
).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The only entry requirement to enrol in apprenticeship training is the fulfilment of compulsory schooling (nine school years).

Assessment of learning outcomes

After fulfilling the apprenticeship period, apprentices normally register for the apprenticeship-leaving examination (Lehrabschlussprüfung / LAP).

This exam aims to establish whether the candidate has acquired the skills and competences required for the respective apprenticeship occupation and is able to carry out the activities specific to the occupation himself or herself in an appropriate manner.

The exam consists of a practical and a theoretical examination. Provided that the apprentice has met the education objectives of the last year of the programme offered at the vocational school, he is only required to do the practical part of the exam.

The subjects the exam covers are laid down in the national exam regulation (Prüfungsordnung) for each apprenticeship occupation ([71]See
https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrberufeInOesterreich/ListeDerLehrberufe/Seiten/liste.aspx [accessed 20.4.2019].
). If the candidate fails parts of his exam, he can retake these parts.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After passing the apprenticeship-leaving examination (Lehrabschlussprüfung / LAP) the graduate receives the apprenticeship diploma (Lehrabschlussprüfungszeugnis / LAP-Zeugnis).

It certifies that the holder has the skills and competences required for the respective apprenticeship occupation and is able to carry out the activities particular to the occupation himself or herself in an appropriate manner ([72]BMWFW (2014). Apprenticeship: dual vocational education and training in Austria: modern training with a future.
https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrlingsUndBerufsausbildung/Documents/HP_Die%20Lehre%20Englisch_2014_27%208.pdf
).

Apprenticeship diplomas are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated in the labour market and economy.

All apprenticeship-leaving exams are assigned to EQF level 4 ([73]For more details, see the Austrian qualifications register:
https://www.qualifikationsregister.at/nqr-register/nqr-zuordnungen/
).

Examples of qualifications

In 2018, there were 218 state-recognised apprenticeship occupations ([74]Including 15 agricultural and forestry apprenticeships occupations. See: BMDW; WKO (2018). Lehrberufe in Österreich – Ausbildungen mit Zukunft. [Apprenticeship in Austria: training with a future ].
https://www.bic.at/downloads/de/broschueren/lehrberufe_in_oesterreich_2018.pdf
See also: ibw (2019). Lehrberufsbezeichnungen Deutsch-Englisch [Dual VET qualifications German-English].
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/278/
), such as brick layer, bank clerk, hotel and catering assistant or dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After passing the apprenticeship-leaving examination, graduates can either remain in the labour market or acquire further qualifications:

  • master craftsperson or aptitude examination;
  • add-on courses (ISCED 554) (Aufbaulehrgänge) with a duration of three years that lead to the qualification of a five-year school-based VET programme (BHS);
  • higher entrance exam (Berufsreifeprüfung, BRP), which grants access to higher education programmes.
Destination of graduates

Apprenticeship training focusing on different specialist areas (construction, electronic engineering, information technology, wholesale and retail trade, etc.) aims at the acquisition of a vocational qualification at intermediate level.

For many, apprenticeship training is also the basis for a career as an entrepreneur. Around 35% of executives in business have completed apprenticeship training.

The education-related employment career monitoring (Erwerbskarrierenmonitoring, BibEr) of Statistics Austria done for the graduation year 2013/14([75]The aim of this project is to render the employment career statistically evaluable of all persons living in Austria after their leaving a formal educational institution. Especially the transition from education to the labour market represents an important chapter in the employment biography. The variety of attributes allows for analyses of various aspects of those careers at the start as well as during their further development on the labour market.
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/PeopleSociety/education_culture/monitoring_education_related_employment_behaviour/index.html
), analysed labour market status 18 months after graduation. Results show that graduates are primarily orientated to the labour market entry (compared to other education pathways):

  • 73% of the apprenticeship graduates were employed and only 5% continued in (formal) education;
  • approximately 12% were registered as jobseekers at the public employment service (AMS) ([76]For the remaining 10% no data are available. Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018: Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193.
    https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/See also http://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bil...
    ).

This can be considered as positive indication of the job mobility of apprenticeship graduates due to a high labour demand for skilled workers and qualified specialists.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Training Act (Berufsausbildungsgesetz, BAG) ([77]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10006276) also opens access to the apprenticeship-leaving exam to those who have not completed any formal training (apprenticeship or school), providing them with the possibility of acquiring a formal professional qualification. In concrete terms, they must meet the following conditions:

  • be above 18 years old;
  • furnish evidence that they have acquired the knowledge and skills required for the respective apprenticeship occupation, such as by exercising a relevant semi-skilled or other practical activity of appropriate length or by attending a relevant course event;
  • completion of at least half of the period stipulated for the respective apprenticeship occupation is accepted as evidence if there is no other possibility of entering into an apprenticeship contract for the remaining apprenticeship period.

The 2011 amendment to the Vocational Training Act has extended access to the apprenticeship-leaving exam. The new regulation specifies that apprenticeship offices can arrange for the practical apprenticeship-leaving examination to be taken in two parts. The first part comprises identification of the exam candidate’s existing qualifications while in the second part he/she is required to prove the remaining skills. This provision applies if exam candidates

General education subjects

Y

The focus of education at vocational schools is on occupation-oriented specialist instruction (with about 65%), which also includes practical training in workshops and/or laboratories. The rest covers general subjects (such as German, mathematics) ([79]https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrlingsUndBerufsausbildung/Documents/HP_Die%20Lehre%20Englisch_2014_27%208.pdf).

Key competences

Y

The competence-oriented curricula specify the knowledge and skills that learners need to have acquired by the end of their training and which qualify them to act appropriately in different situations at work. As well as subject-related competences, related key competences are also listed which vary according to the specific apprenticeship training (e.g. team work, digital and entrepreneurial sills). At least one foreign language is mandatory in all programmes. Key competences are considered of major importance in the VET sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The competence profile (Berufsprofil), which is also part of the training regulation, formulates in a learning outcome-oriented manner the competences apprentices acquire by the end of their training in both learning sites. Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012; this is a result of the development of the national qualifications framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes ([80]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf
).

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([81]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeship programmes;

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level);

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level);

24%: general education programme.

School-based VET programmes

1-2 years

ISCED 351

School-based VET programmes (berufsbildende mittlere Schulen, BMS), leading to ISCED 351. These programmes are offered as one- to two-year programmes, which primarily aim to provide pre-professional qualifications rather than a full VET qualification. These programmes focus on areas such as hospitality services, agriculture, nutrition, social activities, etc. They serve as preparation for certain apprenticeship trades or as bridge courses to VET programmes which require a certain entry age (e.g. health programmes which can only be accessed at the age of 17).
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9 to 10

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

15-16

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory schooling covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). One- to two-year school-based pre-VET programmes are usually attended by 14 to 16-year old learners.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

These programmes include general education, basic vocational competences and key competences which prepare learners for more specific VET pathways (at upper secondary schools or in dual training) and for simple tasks on the labour market.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

These programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

These programmes can also be attended by adults. However, most of the learners are between 14 and 16 when they attend these schools ([65]Statistics Austria:
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

One- to two-year pre-VET programmes are

  • full-time and
  • practice-oriented.
Main providers

Public schools (and a few private schools)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practice-oriented tuition (e.g. in workshops at school, in school kitchens etc.)
  • practical experiences (e.g. work shadowing, company tours, company-based practical days)
Main target groups

Most learners enter these programmes at the age of 14. However, they are also open for adults.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 27% of all school-based VET programmes learners (one to two-year programmes plus three to four-year programmes) in the school year 2016/17. ([66]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
)

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements are

  • positive completion of the eight grade,
  • a minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The certificates of the one- to two-year pre-VET programmes are recognised by VET and labour authorities, i.e. graduates can enter further education programmes or the labour market for carrying out simple tasks.

Examples of qualifications

These one- and two-year school-based VET programmes prepare learners for carrying out simple tasks on the labour market in different areas such as hospitality services, agriculture, nutrition, social activities, etc. The programmes take place in respective schools such as Schools of Social Care Professions (Schulen für Sozialbetreuungsberufe) ([67]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates may progress to

  • dual VET programmes;
  • school-based VET programmes (three- to four-year programmes and five-year programmes);
  • postsecondary/tertiary VET programmes (e.g. healthcare);
  • CVET programmes;
  • training programmes within the ‘training obligation until 18’;
  • labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas.

Key competences

Y

One of the key aims of these programmes is to develop and foster key competences in all subjects and through various teaching methods (project work, open forms of teaching, etc.).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all VET programmes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17): ([68]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
)

36%: dual VET programmes

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

Pre-VET (PTS)

1 year

ISCED 341

Pre-VET programme (Polytechnische Schule, PTS), leading to ISCED 341
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

341

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

15

Length of a programme (years)

1 year

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory schooling covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). The pre-VET programme is accessible to learners from age 14.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

The pre-VET programme offers both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas. Every learner is obliged to choose one specialist area from all areas offered at the respective school location. In principle, there are six specialist areas (metal, electronic engineering, construction, wood, wholesale and retail trade/office, services/tourism), with every school being entitled to offer other specialist areas autonomously while taking the needs of the local economy into account (e.g. mechatronics, healthcare and social affairs). A mix of theoretical information and practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes) aims to help learners to become familiar with the world of work and additionally provide them with targeted orientation and preparation for their future profession, which they still need to choose.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

However, 96 % (2017) are 14 when they start the pre-VET programme ([58]Statistics Austria:
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • one-year full-time school-based programme
  • covers theoretical teaching and practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes);
  • career guidance plays a particularly important role be-cause this school type is at the interface between obligatory and further schooling
Main providers

Public schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • a mix of theoretical teaching and
  • practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes)
Main target groups

Programme is accessible to young people and adults. People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 33% of all learners who followed this pre-VET programme in the school year 2016/17 ([59]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For entering this programme learners need to have completed eight school years.

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • if a learner fails a subject (i.e. receives a ‘not sufficient’ in the end-of-term report, i.e. performance does not meet minimum pass level) he can (voluntarily) repeat the school year to get a positive certificate. In case the learner does not repeat the school year, he has to attend another training programme until the age of 18 (training obligation until 18)
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

On successful completion of this programme, learners receive the certificate, which is recognised by VET and labour market authorities as graduates can enter further education programmes or the labour market for carrying out simple tasks.

Examples of qualifications

With a certificate of this pre-VET programme holders can enter the labour market to carry out simple tasks.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to

  • further education programmes at upper secondary level (general education and VET);
  • CVET programmes;
  • training programmes within the ‘training obligation until 18;
  • labour market (for carrying out unskilled work).
Destination of graduates

According to Statistics Austria (2016/17) ([60]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
), graduates choose the following options:

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It offers both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas.

Key competences

Y

One of the key aims of the programme is to develop and foster key competences in all subjects and through teaching methods (project work, open forms of teaching, etc.) ([63]See curriculum of PTS:
https://pts.schule.at/fileadmin/Polytechnische_Schule/Lehrplan_Fachbereichsinfos/PTS_Lehrplan-2012_Auflage_2018.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The curriculum is currently under revision. One aim of this curriculum reform is to introduce learning outcomes. However, also the present curriculum foresees competences which learners should acquire. Nevertheless, as a result of the development of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which was formally introduced in 2016, competences/learning outcomes have to be defined explicitly in all new curricula.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 9th school grade (2016/17) ([64]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

17%: pre VET programme 16%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes at intermediate level

37%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

28%: general education

2%: special needs school/inclusive education

School-based VET (BMS)

WBL 40%

3-4 years

ISCED 354

School-based VET programmes offered at intermediate vocational schools (berufsbildende mittlere Schulen, BMS) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354. The three- to four-year VET programmes offered at intermediate vocational schools aim to impart full VET qualifications that entitle graduates to immediately exercise professional activities at intermediate qualification level/skilled worker’s level. These programmes are offered in different specialist areas, including in technology, the business sphere, fashion, tourism, agriculture and forestry and in the social sphere.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11 to 12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

17 to 18

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory education covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). Learners can start the three- to four-year BMS programmes at age 14, so in this case it still covers compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

These programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

These programmes can also be attended by adults. However, most of the learners are between 14 and 17 when they enter these programmes. ([82]Statistics Austria: https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Three- to four-year VET programmes at intermediate level are:

  • offered full-time at VET schools;
  • practice-oriented tuition (e.g. learning in workshops and labs) in some fields;
  • obligatory work placements during the summer months,
  • in technical three and a half-year programmes; (Fachschulen mit Betriebspraktikum): obligatory work placement in the last semester ([83]BMBWF - The educational offer of technical, commerce, arts and crafts schools:
    https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/bbs/tgkg.html
    ).
Main providers

Most of these intermediate vocational schools are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • work placements during the summer months and in some fields also during the tuition period
Main target groups

These school-based VET programmes are accessible to young people and adults. For people in employment programmes are organised in the evening.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 27% of all BMS learners (one to two years programme plus three- to four-year programmes) in school year 2016/17 ([84]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements are

  • positive completion of the eight grade;
  • depending on previous qualifications (e.g. obtained at new secondary school or the lower cycle of academic secondary school), the desired programme type and places on offer, previous educational performance (i.e. the marks achieved in the main subjects) or an entrance examination are additional selection criteria;
  • minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • qualification exam
  • if learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the qualification exam, they can re-do it.
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The school leaving certificates are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Three- and four-year programmes for intermediate vocational education providing professional education in different specialist areas (business, technology, agriculture, social affairs, tourism, etc.) lead to professional qualifications at the intermediate level. Programmes can be offered, e.g.at :

  • Schools of Engineering, Arts and Crafts (Technische, gewerbliche und kunstgewerbliche Fachschulen)
  • Schools of Agriculture and Forestry (Land- und forstwirtschaftliche Fachschulen)
  • Schools of Business Administration (Handelsschule)
  • Schools of Management and Services Industries (Fachschule für wirtschaftliche Berufe)
  • Schools of Tourism (Fachschulen für Tourismus) ([85]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/
    )
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates have the following progression possibilities:

  • add-on programmes
  • post-secondary VET courses
  • Berufsreifeprüfung: exam for people whose initial VET does not automatically qualify them for entry into higher education
  • dual VET programmes
  • subject specific CVET options (e.g. master craftsperson examination, aptitude examination, industrial master school etc.)
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The curricula and training contents focus on deepening of general education and VET at intermediate qualification level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all programme types of the VET sector in Austria ([86]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series. https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET in Austria, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012 – which is a result of the development of the National Qualifications Framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([87]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeships

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

School based (BHS)

WBL 30%

5 years

ISCED 354/554

School based VET programmes offered at colleges for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS), leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 354/554. Programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy. This programme type belongs to the upper secondary level. In ISCED, however, it is divided between two levels: the first three years are classified as ISCED 354 (no interim qualification is offered at this level), year four and five are classified as ISCED 554.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

ISCED 354 (programme duration 1-3 years)

ISCED 554 (programme duration 4-5 years)

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory education covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). These school-based VET programmes are usually attended by learners between 14 and 19.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

These five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The degree obtained at a college for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS) can, as an alternative to the five-year day form, also be acquired by way of three other education programmes:

  • add-on courses (ISCED 554, Aufbaulehrgang): these modular courses usually cover three years and lead graduates of intermediate VET tracks (from schools and dual VET) to the BHS qualification. Learners with non-subject-specific VET qualifications have to attend a one- to two-semester bridge course (Vorbereitungslehrgang) before entering an add-on course;
  • post-secondary VET courses (ISCED 554, Kollegs): Kollegs mainly target graduates of general education schools, i.e. people who have not completed an initial VET pathway. A prerequisite for admission to Kollegs is successful completion of the HE entrance examination. Kollegs are provided in a modular two-year day form or a three-year evening form and are completed with a qualification examination;
  • courses offered at colleges for higher vocational education for people in employment (ISCED 554, BHS for professionals): this programme type, which is organised in the evening, leads to a BHS-qualification. Access requirements are a minimum age of 17 years and active employment.
ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification:

  • are full-time and practice-oriented,
  • include learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms,
  • are complemented by mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months,
  • comprise project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([88]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    ).
Main providers

Most colleges for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS) are public schools, some are private school with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Main target groups

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are accessible to young people and adults (e.g. for people in employment organised in the evening.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up nearly 19% of all school-based higher VET programmes learners in school year 2016/17 ([89]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements are:

  • positive completion of the eight grade;
  • depending on previous qualifications (e.g. programmes offered at new secondary school or at the lower cycle of academic secondary school), the desired programme type and places on offer, previous educational performance (i.e. the marks achieved in the main subjects) or an entrance examination are additional selection criteria;
  • a minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • higher education entrance examination ([90]See https://www.refernet.at/images/02_News_AT_RDP_neu_05_2016_EN.pdf [accessed 8.5.2019].
    )
  • if learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it
Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduation with a Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis, i.e. HE entrance qualification and higher VET qualification (= double qualification).

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are available in different areas which are offered by different providers, e.g.:

  • Colleges of Engineering, Arts and Crafts (Höhere technische, kunstgewerbliche und gewerbliche Lehranstalten)
  • Colleges of Business Administration (Handelsakademien)
  • Colleges of Management and Service Industries (Höhere Lehranstalten für wirtschaftliche Berufe)
  • Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry (Höhere Land- und Forstwirtschaftliche Schulen)
  • Colleges for Elementary Pedagogy (Bildungsanstalten für Elementarpädagogik) ([91]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/
    )
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • graduates obtain general access to postsecondary and tertiary education (studies at university, UAS, universities of teacher training).
  • they can also enter a range of CVET options.
  • they can also directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all programme types of the VET sector in Austria ([92]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series. https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all VET programmes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([93]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeship

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

Healthcare

1-3 years

ISCED 351, 353

Healthcare programmes leading to ISCED 351, 353. Following specific programmes are offered in the field of healthcare: Care assistance programmes: care assistance programme, level 1 (Pflegeassistenz); care assistance programme, level 2 (Pflegefachassistenz). Medical assistance programmes: disinfection assistance (Desinfektionsassistenz); plastering assistance (Gipsassistenz); laboratory assistance (Laborassistenz); mortuary assistance (Obduktionsassistenz); operating theatre assistance (Operationsassistenz); surgery assistance (Ordinationsassistenz); radiology assistance (Röntgenassistenz); medical assistance (Medizinische Fachassistenz)
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

Care assistance programmes: 351

Medical assistance programmes: 353

Usual entry grade

10 to 11

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistance programme, level 1: 10
  • care assistance programme, level 2: 11

Medical assistance programmes: 10

Usual completion grade

10 to12

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistance programme, level 1: 10
  • care assistance programme, level 2: 12

Medical assistance programmes: 10-12

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Care assistance programme, level 1: 16

Care assistance programme, level 2: 17

Medical assistance programmes: 16

Usual completion age

18 to 19

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 3 years

Care assistance programmes:

Medical assistance programmes:

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

concerning the care assistance programme, level 1

Yes and no, concerning the care assistance programme, level 2 and the medical assistance programme.

Is it continuing VET?

Yes and no, concerning the care assistance programme, level 2 and the medical assistance programmes.

Is it offered free of charge?
  • programmes offered in public schools are financed by the public, attendance is free of charge for the learners
  • training courses for adults offered by different providers are fee-based with different funding opportunities
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Theoretical instruction in schools/training courses and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main providers

Care assistance programmes:

  • public schools for healthcare (mostly at hospitals);
  • public schools for social professions;
  • different providers offering training courses for adults (also upskilling programmes).

Medical assistance programmes:

  • public schools for medical assistant professions;
  • different providers offering training courses for adults.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Theoretical instruction in schools/training courses and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main target groups

Programmes are open to young people, adults and unemployed (training courses financed by the Public Employment Service).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements differ among the specific programmes:

Care assistance, level 1:

Care assistance, level 2:

Medical assistance programmes:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Ongoing und regular assessment during the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Care assistance, level 1:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

Care assistance, level 2:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

Medical assistance programmes:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

The qualifications are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistant (Pflegeassistent/in)
  • (special) care assistant (Pflegefachassistent/in)

Medical assistance programmes:

  • disinfection assistance (Desinfektionsassistenz)
  • plastering assistance (Gipsassistenz)
  • laboratory assistance (Laborassistenz)
  • mortuary assistance (Obduktionsassistenz)
  • operating theatre assistance (Operationsassistenz)
  • surgery assistance (Ordinationsassistenz)
  • radiology assistance (Röntgenassistenz)
  • medical assistance (Medizinische Fachassistenz)
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of care and medical assistance programmes can progress to:

Graduates of level 2 of the care assistance programme can additionally take the:

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Competences acquired non-formally or informally must be validated by the principle of the school or the head of the training provider offering care/medical assistance programmes by way of procedures accepted by the health ministry ([106]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung and https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/site/attachments/0/8/1/CH4043/CMS1538051085664/gesundheitsberufe_2019.pdf/Bundesnormen/20009672/PA-PFA-AV%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2009.05.2019.pdf).

For care assistance programmes, level 1: the duration of the training course is reduced for persons who successfully completed studies of human medicine or dental medicine: 680 hours ([107]https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/9/0/5/CH4138/CMS1411979671365/healthcareprofessions_in_austria_2017.pdf).

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([108]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Nursing

3 years

ISCED level 454

Nursing programme leading to ISCED level 454 (Diplomierte/r Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger/in, GuK)
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

This programme is being upgraded at the moment. Until the end of 2023 this secondary-level programme will be transferred into a tertiary bachelor’s programme offered at universities of applied sciences ([109]https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/9/0/5/CH4138/CMS1411979671365/healthcareprofessions_in_austria_2017.pdf)

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

3 years (4 600 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

(for adults with relevant IVET or professional experience)

Is it offered free of charge?

School programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Theoretical instruction in schools and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main providers
  • public schools for nurses ([110]As from 1.1.2014 it is foreseen that this programme will be provided only by universities of applied sciences (UAS) and not any longer by public schools for nurses.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Theoretical instruction in schools and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main target groups

Programmes are accessible to young people and adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Schools for nurses (until 31.12.2023):

UAS bachelor programmes:

  • general university entrance qualifications or relevant professional qualifications;
  • professional aptitude and medical fitness.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Ongoing und regular assessment during the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Schools for nurses (until 31.12.2019):

  • written thesis, diploma examination before an examination commission/diploma

UAS bachelor programmes:

  • bachelor examination

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Qualified nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

  • short training course for care assistants, level 2: 2 years
General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([118]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2016/17 19 598 learners were registered in healthcare schools. Data on the allocation of learners to different programmes are not available ([119]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
).

At the UAS in the study year 2018 2 767 learners were registered in bachelor nursing programmes ([120]https://suasprod.noc-science.at/XLCubedWeb/WebForm/ShowReport.aspx?rep=004+studierende%2f002a+fachhochschulen%2f010+ordentliche+studierende+an+fhs+-+zeitreihe+wintersemester.xml&toolbar=true).

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Bulgaria comprises the following main features:

  • VET governance is multi-layered (national, regional, local);
  • there are four  VET qualification levels (ranging from EQF [1]European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is a common European reference framework whose purpose is to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems. Covering qualifications at all levels and in all sub-systems of education and training, it provides a comprehensive overview over qualifications in the 39 European countries currently involved in its implementation. The core of the European qualifications framework. is its eight reference levels defined in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. knowledge, skills and autonomy-responsibility. Learning outcomes express what individuals know, understand and are able to do at the end of a learning process. Countries develop national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to implement the European qualifications framework. The implementation of the European qualifications framework was based on the Recommendation on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2008(EC 111/01/2008). A revised and strengthened Recommendation on the European qualifications framework (EC/189/03/2017) was adopted on 22 May 2017 by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council. The purpose of this revised recommendation is to ensure the continuity as well as a further deepening of the European qualifications framework.
    level 2 to EQF level 5);
  • dual VET (introduced in 2014) remains a major challenge for the country;
  • state educational standards play a major role in shaping qualifications and curricula.

Distinctive features [2]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

VET is provided at secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) levels. There are more learners in VET compared with general education: 51.7% of the total secondary education population in 2017 and 54,5 % in 2018. Secondary general education schools may also open VET classes by a special order of the Education Minister. This option is popular in small towns and rural areas.

Since 2016/17, secondary education has been offered in two stages. This improves access to VET, as learners may now choose their education path also after completing grade 10.

In the national context, the term initial VET is only used to refer to programmes leading learners to their first qualification, such as textile worker qualification at EQF levels 2 or its part.

VET programmes are pursued afterwards; for example, textile production operator and textile technician qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4 are considered continuing VET.

According to the pre-school and school education act and the VET act, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by State educational standards. These standards exist for most VET qualifications. VET qualifications at all levels (EQF 2 to 5) are learning outcomes based.

Following the European credit system for VET (ECVET) [3]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
principles, recent qualifications comprise units of learning outcomes, although a credit system is not yet fully established.

The legal basis for validation of non-formal and informal learning in VET has been in place since 2015 and procedures and quality assurance criteria have been developed. Implementation of the Bulgarian qualifications framework will ease putting validation arrangements in place.

 

To make VET more responsive to labour market needs, the pre-school and school education act (2015), which covers VET, increased the responsibility of local and regional authorities.

The reform increased their role in planning VET intake and defining occupations, funding staff salaries, organising vocational training for the unemployed, and equipping VET schools.

Employer organisations are also becoming more actively involved in implementing VET. Since the 2016 amendments to the VET act, they can propose changes to the list of VET qualifications.

Since the introduction in 2015/16, some schools have started offering dual VET programmes. Several pilot projects supporting dual training aim at expanding the training offer in cooperation with business and public authorities from Bulgaria and abroad. Measures, including specialised forums, media campaigns and events, help attract learners and motivate employers to become involved in dual VET that is still mostly project-based.

To address quality concerns, the Ministry of Education and Science is adopting the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET). The 2015 quality assurance regulation mandates VET providers for adult training to organise self-assessment based on a set of indicators.

The government is strengthening initial training and continuing professional development opportunities for VET teachers and trainers to motivate more young people to enter the profession. The new system helps them to keep up with technological innovation and modern teaching methods, and allows for faster career advancement linked to performance.

The 2015-17 VET strategy action plan proposes ways to address the challenges: modularisation, more flexible VET provision, and better and more easily accessible career guidance services. Its implementation is also likely to contribute to raising adult participation in learning, which is currently among the lowest in the EU.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. According to the NSI business inquiries in March 2019 37.0% of the industrial enterprises pointed out the labour shortages a factor limiting their activity. In comparison with the same period of previous year (March 2018) the value of the indicator increased by 4 p.p. to 33.3%.

Data from VET in Bulgaria Spotlight 2018 [4]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

Population in 2018: 7 050 034 [5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 28.1.2019

It decreased by 3.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and migration [6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].
.

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 63 in 2060.

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 24.01.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET). Participation in secondary education has been decreasing. This has led to optimisation of a school network aiming at better efficiency while safeguarding the quality. Since the academic year 2013/14, the number of VET schools has decreased by 11.9% up to 2018/19. However the number of VET centres has increased by 12.4% for the same period. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

 

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • construction;
  • public administration;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • transportation and storage.

Export comprises mainly manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, food and live animals, chemical and mineral fuel, beverages and tobacco.

Not many occupations/professions are regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment [7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.
(2018): 4.9% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 0.1 percentage point since 2008 [8]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019]. 
.

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased after the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. People with low qualifications are more likely to be unemployed. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is back to the levels of the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from from 77.6% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018.

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

The increase (+7 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates is lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.7 pp) in the same period in Bulgaria [9]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education; Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019]. 
.

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (28.2%) places Bulgaria below the EU28 average. The share of those with low or without qualifications places Bulgaria (17.4%) almost in the middle of EU-28 Member States.

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for "No response" in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019]

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary upper secondary post-secondary
3.7% 50.7% 100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019]

Traditionally there are more females (53.2% for 2018) in VET [10]http://www.nsi.bg/en/content/4921/persons-who-attained-professional-qualification-level-vocational-training
. Females enrol more often in economics and administration programmes (the most popular options), services (tourism, hotels and restaurants) as well as design and clothing industry. Males prefer programmes related to computer systems and coding (the most popular options), transport, agriculture, economy, construction. 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.7% in 2009 to 12.7% in 2018. It is 2.1 pp above the EU-28 average and also above 11.0%, the national country target.

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

Dropout rate from VET (%)

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for young people and adults.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019]

Participation in lifelong learning in Bulgaria has slightly increased in the past decade. However, it is well below the EU28 average (with 2.5% participation in lifelong learning in 2018). Increasing participation is one of the biggest challenges that the country faces.

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary and lower secondary education (1, 2 and 3);
  • secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successful passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate;
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8);
  • apprenticeships, internships and dual VET (range of VET qualifications ranging from  ISCED 351 to 454).

Primary and lower secondary education (grades 1-7) is compulsory [11]Education is compulsory till the age of 16.  
. Primary education starts at age seven and is provided by State, municipal and private schools. There are no VET programmes at this level. Graduates may continue to general or vocational secondary education. In 2016/17, all general secondary education programmes became ‘profiled’, i.e. they specialise on a selected subject, for example, mathematics, natural sciences or foreign languages.

Secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successfully passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with a general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate.

Higher education comprises the following programmes:

  • professional bachelor (ISCED 655, EQF level 6; NQF level 6a);
  • bachelor (ISCED 645, EQF level 6; NQF level 6b);
  • master’s (ISCED 766, 767, EQF/ NQF level 7);​
  • PhD (ISCED 864, EQF/ NQF level 8). 

School based VET is provided only at a secondary level. Until August 2016, the lowest level of qualification could also be acquired in lower secondary education programmes. Out-of-school adults (16+) can still acquire the lowest VET qualification level (VET qualification level 1, EQF level 2) before secondary education.

Secondary VET aims at obtaining a vocational qualification but also comprises a general education part that is required to acquire a secondary education diploma.
Vocational education and training complies with the requirements of the State educational standards and consists of theory and (study and production) practice.

Post-secondary, non-tertiary vocational qualifications (ISCED 2011 level 4, EQF level 5) can be acquired only by people with completed secondary education. The acquired qualification at this level provides access to the labour market.

Examples of such qualifications are company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications.

Training in real work environment: apprenticeships, internships, dual VET

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training.

For adult learners the following options are available in order to acquire a VET qualification:

  • 300 hours for EQF level 2;
  • 660 hours for EQF level 3;
  • 960 hours for EQF level 4;
  • 1 260 hours for EQF level 5.

The legal framework distinguishes six types of initial and continuing VET (IVET and CVET) programmes, defines age and entry requirements, and regulates content and duration.

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training. They are required to have a VET or higher education qualification and at least three years of professional experience.

More information for Bulgaria is available at: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/country-fiches/bulgaria

Learn more about  apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

VET stakeholders are the following:

  • the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria – implements the legislative activity in the field of VET;
  • the Council of Ministers sets out the government policy in the field of VET;
  • the education ministry manages, coordinates and implements the VET policy;
  • the labour ministry participates in the implementation of the national VET policy;
  • the culture ministry implements the VET policy in art schools;
  • the sports ministry implements the VET policy in sports schools;
  • the health ministry participates in the coordination of the list of professions;
  • the sectoral ministries are involved in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications; in the development, coordination and updating of the list of professions; in coordinating the admission plan for schools, funded by them;
  • the employers’ representatives participate in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications, the legislative framework and policy documents, as well as in the updating of the list of professions and in organising and conducting qualification examinations;
  • the Economic and Social Council discusses and makes proposals with regard to issues, related to education, including VET in the context of lifelong learning;
  • the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinions on draft legislation regarding employment and vocational qualification and thus participates in the formulation of VET policy. The Council is composed on the tripartite principle. It is a body for consultations and cooperation at a national level for labour, social insurance and living standard issues, consisting of two representatives of the government (of whom one is the Vice Prime Minister), two representatives of trade unions and two representatives of employers’ organisations;
  • the National Council for Vocational Qualifications at the labour ministry coordinates the development of national policies and strategies for training for unemployed and employees, leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications;
  • the National Council for the Promotion of Employment at the labour ministry is also constituted on the tripartite principle. Its functions are to discuss and give opinions regarding the development and implementation of the employment policy and the national action plan for employment.
  • the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) is a specialised body within the Council of Ministers. The Agency develops the State educational standards for the acquisition of VET qualifications; it maintains the list of professions according to the needs of the labour market; it licenses and exercises further control over the activities of VET institutions for people over 16 years of age and over the activities of vocational guidance providers;
  • the Employment Agency implements the State policy on promoting employment and provides career information, counselling and training for employees and unemployed;
  • the Human Resource Development Centre is a national agency, which coordinates the management and administration of the EU Erasmus+ Programme;
  • the National Inspectorate of Education is a new structure (2018). The Inspectorate does not exercise control over the activities of directors and teachers in schools and kindergartens. In fact, the inspection, performed by the inspectorate, is the process of preparing a comprehensive independent assessment of the quality of services provided by kindergarten or school education at some point of their Activities, based on criteria and indicators, grouped into fields.

At regional level:

  • the regional administration participates in the implementation of the government policy for employment and acquisition of VET qualifications;
  • the Regional Employment Service Directorates implement the government policy for training of unemployed and employed adults for acquiring a vocational qualification; they offer training measures and projects; provide coordination and support in the field of vocational training, consultancy of and guidance for the local employment offices;
  • the regional management units of the education ministry (territorial administrative units of the education ministry, situated in the 28 district centres) implement the State policy in the field of VET at a regional level through projects, programmes and strategies for development, functioning and improvement of VET at a district level;
  • the permanent and temporary employment committees to the Regional Councils for regional development identify, organise and control the implementation of the State policy on the promotion of employment and training for acquiring a vocational qualification at a regional level.

At local level:

  • the municipalities participate in the development of a VET policy within their territories regarding: the employment needs for vocational guidance and training of students, unemployed and other groups; the necessary equipment of schools, vocational training providers and centres for information and guidance through funds from the municipal budget;
  • the Labour Offices of the Employment Agency provide career services: career information; advice and guidance for inclusion in the appropriate program/measure for employment and training;
  • the Cooperation Councils at the Labour Office Directorates monitor the implementation of programmes and measures included in the national action plan for employment.

According to the VET Act, sources of financing for State and municipal schools, vocational training centres for information and vocational guidance and training centres for trainers are:

  • the State budget;
  • the municipal budget;
  • donations;
  • own revenue;
  • national and international programmes;
  • other sources.

Funding mechanism for secondary VET schools is based on financial resources delegated to schools per student and varies between EUR 1 000 and 1 500 per year per student depending on the specifics of the VET programmes delivered.

The financing of vocational training offered after secondary education is provided by individuals under the terms and conditions set by the education minister. The training is financed by:

  • learners;
  • employers;
  • the State budget (active labour market policy);
  • EU programmes (mainly ESF).

Secondary VET is mostly State-financed. Private VET schools may also apply for State funding. However, only 11 out of 350 VET schools were private in 2017/18. 

Most (over 90%) adult VET providers are private. They may also receive public financing. In 2016, self-financing of training courses by learners was the most common source (53.49%) followed by employer financing (29.14%) and funding through national or European public resources (16.83%).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers who work in vocational centres;
  • mentors for training that takes place at enterprises.

The qualification requirements are set by the relevant legislation. Strategic documents also contain provisions for teachers and trainers.

The required qualification of teachers in general studies subjects is a Master's, Bachelor's or Specialist /Professional Bachelor (national qualifications framework level 6A, European qualifications framework level 6) higher education degree acquired in:

  • a specialty of a professional field corresponding to the relevant school subject with a professional qualification in teaching;
  • a specialty of another professional field and additional professional qualification in teaching in the relevant school subject.

There is no special training provided to teachers in general studies subjects in respect of their work at vocational schools, since the mandatory general education background for a certain educational level is the same for all types of schools in the country.

Teachers in a vocational training subject must hold a Master, Bachelor or Specialist higher education degree in:

  • specialties of vocational fields corresponding to the professions on the list of professions for vocational education and training taught at the relevant school and an additional professional qualification in teaching;
  • specialties of a professional field corresponding to the professions taught at the relevant school. This is applied in cases where specialists working in companies or prominent experts in the respective field are invited to participate in vocational training at VET institutions, with the aim to provide up to date specialised knowledge and improve the link with practice and increase the attractiveness of VET.

The required qualification of trainers at vocational training centres is laid down in the State educational requirements by professions in the ‘Requirements to trainers’. A trainer is required to be a university graduate with a Master or Bachelor educational degree in a specialty corresponding to the professional field out of the list of professions for vocational education and training wherein the profession to be taught has been classified. There is no requirement for additional pedagogical qualifications for trainers at vocational training centres.

The conditions for professional development of staff within the public education system (in-service training) and also the procedures for acquiring professional qualification levels are set by Regulation No 5 (1996) [12]Ordinance No 12, active as of 1.9.2016: https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
.

There are five professional qualification levels (highest being level one) and three types of teachers positions that depend on the experience and qualifications. These are: a teacher, a senior teacher and a head teacher- . The Ordinance No 12 (2016) sets the terms and conditions for acquisition of such position, the conditions for continuing teachers' qualification on the base of credit points. Training is provided by the approved training providers which are registered in the teachers training programmes informational system of the education ministry [13]http://iropk.mon.bg/

VET teacher's profession isn’t attractive in Bulgaria.
The decrease of VET teachers aged up to 34, the fact that the profession was amongst those with high demand (12 420 vacancies), together with the steady increase of the relative share of older VET teachers (aged 60+) poses a risk of staff shortage in the next 20 years.

The 2016 Ordinance No 12 [14]https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
 regulates the statute and the professional development of the teachers, school headmasters and pedagogical staff. According to the ordinance, teachers (including VET teachers) are required to improve their competences continuously.

Teachers receive a certificate for continuing training or specialisation credit points. Sixteen training hours (academic) equals to one credit point. At least three credit points in acquired in external programmes are compulsory for each period of appraisal in addition to one credit point per year acquired in the institution they work. The credit system ensures opportunities for accumulation, recognition and transfer of credits (for the forthcoming periods, or in case of change of school, in application for higher qualification level). Teachers, headmasters and other pedagogical staff now have to create and maintain their professional portfolio.

According to the State requirements (Ordinance 162/1997), the basic training of teachers (10 hours) is designed so as to include obligatory practical training, which is carried out through doing teacher observation (60 hours), ongoing teaching practice (60 hours) and an internship (100 hours).

The ongoing teaching practice relates to participation in the organisation of the educational process under the direct supervision of a teacher at the higher education institution. The internship for people who would like to work as teachers is carried out under the supervision of a mentoring secondary education teacher and a teacher at the higher education institution.

European funds have been used for continuing vocational training of teachers.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [15]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The demand for qualifications is forecasted based on the macro-economic model (for medium and long-term forecasts) and the annual employer skill needs survey (for short-term forecasts).

The labour ministry is responsible for skills forecasting for medium and long term forecasts and the Employment Agency – for short term forecasts which are based on the employer skill needs survey provided twice in the year in accordance with the Employment Promotion Act.

Medium- and long-term forecasts take into account the demographic trends and changes in the educational attainment of the labour force and in the structure of the economy.

They provide information on labour demand and supply by:

  • level of education (basic, secondary or higher); 
  • economic activity;
  • profession;
  • structural shortage/surplus of labour by education level.

Since 2018, the Employment Committees of the Regional Development Councils biannually collect, process and submit to the Employment Agency information on the employers' demand for the labour force.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [16]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [17]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

VET qualifications are classified in the list of professions by education field, vocational area, occupation and specialty.

According to the Pre-school and School Education Act [18]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
 and the VET Act [19]https://www.navet.government.bg/bg/media/ZPOO-2018-1.pdf
, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by the State educational standards. The national agency for VET designs the standards in coordination with the relevant ministries and departments, and the education minister endorses them. The standards are by occupation (profession).

State educational standards are developed in units of learning outcomes. They include:

  • requirements for the candidates – minimum entry level qualification and education requirements for pupils and adults;
  • option for validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences;
  • opportunities for continuing vocational training;
  • description of profession – with core working activities, responsibilities, job conditions specification, used equipment and tools, special requirements etc.
  • opportunities for professional development according to the national classification of professions and occupations;
  • units of learning outcomes for general, sectoral and specific vocational training– with defined knowledge, skills and expected competences;
  • defined assessment tools for theoretical and practical skills;
  • execution of the examination conditions;
  • assessment criteria;
  • requirements for training facilities;
  • requirements for trainers.

The approach for development of State educational standard in units of learning outcomes implements the principles of the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) recommendation since 2016. The standards are mandatory for VET programmes leading to nationally recognised qualifications, also for adults.

In the beginning of 2019 NAVET’s methodology guidelines for development of State educational standards were revised. In addition of core development process there were included two more options:

  • collecting information for the profession from employers' organisations by online questionnaires
  • consultation with branch employers ( before the final acceptance), according to development or updating the standards

The up-to-date State educational standards are available for free use on the websites of the education ministry and the national agency for VET [20]http://www.mon.bg and http://www.navet.government.bg
.

Each time that the State educational standards are amended, vocational training centres are obliged to update the relevant training programmes and curricula.

The curricula are based on framework programmes [21]Framework programmes include: general provisions, including the regulatory basis, the aim and purpose of the programme; requirements: entry (age, medical, previous education and qualification level), career and education pathways, form(s) of training (day full time, evening, part-time,  individual, distance, dual, self-learning); curriculum; training module content (theoretical and practical); graduation requirements (State examinations for full qualifications and final examinations for partial qualifications).
 and on the State educational standards for VET.

The education ministry develops the compulsory part of the VET curricula for new professions or forms of learning in VET schools.

VET teachers and employers support designing the curricula.

School-specific curricula part is designed by VET providers for each programme in order to reflect the specificities of the local labour market.

Curricula for VET schools comprise a training schedule, subject distribution between general and vocational parts, graduation requirements, explanatory notes, etc. to ensure the achievement of the learning outcomes.

Vocational training centres develop their own training programmes that take account also of prior learning. These programmes are evaluated (licenced) by the national agency for VET.

Since 2018, in the amended VET Act, the requirement to update modules in VET curriculum once every five years was added.

The Pre-school and School Education Act (2015, in force since August 2016) and the VET Act (2014)) establish the process of quality management, including VET. The quality management is a continuous process of organisational development based on its analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The evaluation is performed through self-assessment and inspection. It aims at preparing the internal evaluation of the quality of provided education through operations, procedures and criteria set by schools. It is carried out under terms and conditions determined by the State educational standard for quality management in the institutions.

The process follows these steps:

  • establishing a working group;
  • defining activities, procedures, criteria, indicators and tools;
  • contacting learners, teachers and parents;
  • performing self-assessment and analysing the results that may lead to recommendations;
  • preparing and validating the report.

The inspection is a process of preparing an overall independent expert evaluation of the education quality in schools at a given moment and guidelines for improvement. At least one inspection should be carried out in each school every five years.

All VET providers have to introduce an internal system for quality assurance to meet the requirement of the standards.

This system comprises:

  • policy and goals for quality assurance;
  • quality management responsibilities;
  • rules for the system’s implementation;
  • annual schedule for self-assessment;
  • rules and procedures for measuring the quality achieved through self-assessment.

A significant role is given to the improvement of the working environment, learning outcomes, interaction with the local community stakeholders, social partners, employers' organisations and universities, and staff training. The education ministry supports and monitors the implementation of quality assurance in VET schools and the national agency for VET in vocational training centres.

In 2014, the validation of informal and non-formal learning outcomes was introduced by the amendments to the VET Act [22]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
.

The validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning is regulated by Ordinance No 2/2014 (in force since 1.1.2015) [23]https://www.mon.bg/bg/59
, approved by the minister of education and science.

VET providers organise the validation for professions and specialties that are included in the list of professions for VET [24]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100053
.

Introducing a new approach for the development of State educational standards, based on units of learning outcomes in 2015 [25]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100305
, made the validation process more transparent.

Applicants present the evidence for the learning outcomes they possess in order to acquire a full or partial qualification allowing their access to vocational training and/or to the labour market.

The methods for assessing the learning outcomes are essentially identical to those for assessing knowledge, skills and competences applied in formal education and training.

Two types of certificates can be issued as a result of the validation:

  • a certificate validating a full qualification. By means of examination it certifies that all units of learning outcomes defined in the State educational standard have been achieved;
  • a certificate validating a part of vocational qualification (partial qualification). It certifies through an examination that one or several units of learning outcomes included in the State educational standard have been achieved.

Holders of these certificates have the same rights as those who have attained corresponding certificates through the formal education system.

Validation procedures are monitored by the regional education authorities and national agency for VET.

They also consult and guide providers methodologically.

Validation procedures can be funded by beneficiaries (individuals), companies and projects.

Validation fee for individuals cannot exceed the actual expenditure incurred by a provider.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [26]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_BG.pdf
.

VET is attractive because after graduation learners receive both a diploma for secondary education (giving access to higher education) and a certificate for vocational qualification.

Allowances, grants, vouchers and travel subsidy

Secondary VET learners may receive grants:

  • performance scholarships are awarded to learners with high learning achievements;
  • social allowances support access to education and prevent early leaving from VET of disadvantaged learners, e.g. with special education needs or orphans.

The grants are offered on a monthly basis and vary between 5% and 15% from the minimal national salary.

Learners in dual VET receive monthly remuneration from the companies they are trained in based on their contract. In addition, secondary VET learners can participate in ESF projects for work-based learning where they can also receive an additional grant of EUR 150.

A person (employed or unemployed) may have only one training voucher for key competences and one for VET training during the implementation of the programme:

  • at EQF level 2 – EUR 300;
  • at EQF level 3 – EUR 600;
  • at EQF level 4 – EUR 900.

All secondary VET learners are entitled to receive discounts when using public transport, including trains and in-city public transport. The discount can be up to 60% and is decided by each municipality.

According to the VET Act, provision of training is free of value added tax for companies.

Financial support for offering dual VET

Employment Promotion Act foresees financial benefits for employers for creating training places (jobs) for the unemployed. State budget pays remuneration, social security and health insurance for apprentices for up to 36 months. It also covers the costs of the training institution that provides theoretical lessons to an apprentice and mentoring costs.

According to the VET Act the system of vocational education and training includes vocational guidance, vocational education and vocational training.

The institutions, which provide vocational guidance for students are structured on regional principle for 28 regions.

The responsible institution for licensing centres for information and vocational guidance for adults is NAVET.

Up to 31.12. 2018, 48 centres for information and vocational guidance for adults were licensed.

The regional employment service directorates, which are part of the employment agency, provide vocational guidance to the unemployed individuals and for those, who wish to change their current job.

The employment service directorates provide  vocational guidance services in the form of:

  • in person vocational consultation;
  • vocational consultation in groups.

The main goals of these services are to support individuals in making the right choice in terms of entering the labour market or choosing a suitable VET programme, the level of vocational qualification – initial or continuous and the options for acquiring the desired qualification.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary VET,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: D (Г)

 

 ISCED 453

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Г за професионално обучение с придобиване на четвърта степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships.
Main providers
  • Schools
  • Enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

This type of VET is available only for people who have completed secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a vocational qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 4 СПК).

The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate.

The document is recognised by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications [43]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

3 years,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

This framework programme is only for initial VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own base for practical training
  • in-company practice - when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

This VET programme is appropriate for those learners who wish an early entry to the labour market.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is :

  • 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools;
  • 16 for vocational training centres.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Minimum entry requirements for VET learners:

  • for current learners - grade 6;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016) -basic education, secondary education, stage 1, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.

Minimum entry requirements for individuals above the age of 16:

  • for current learners: primary education or literacy course,  grade 7 for learners with special educational needs;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016): primary education or literacy course, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State qualification examination: (for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exam, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for completed first stage of secondary education (Удостоверение за завършен първи гимназиален етап на средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, turner, worker in the food industry [30]As described in national context
.

These three qualifications are included in the list of specialties from professions with expected shortage of specialists on the labour market, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

This type of VET programme includes modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<=5% [31]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

4 years, 

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

13 - Minimum age of the candidate in the year of application

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education till the age of 16 is mandatory.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

It is available for adult learners who cover minimum entry requirements.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily 
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools;
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its premises for practical training
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

This VET programme is appropriate for learners who wish to enter the labour market holding a recognised professional qualification and also for those who wish to continue their studies at EQF level 4.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

There is no limitation for maximum age.

Completed basic education is also a prerequisite for this type of programme for current learners.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examinations: for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Waiter, cook, hair dresser [32]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies at second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are subjects for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP:B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

It is part of formal education and training system.

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises
  • vocational training centres
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60% - Min 60% - The share of practical training for these qualifications that require the performance of a complex set of activities (NQF/ EQF level 3) is no less than 60%.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own premises for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for individuals above the age 16.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular programme stage 1 of secondary education and VET qualification level 2 is a prerequisite for admission – for newly enrolled learners (after 2016).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examination: The examination is both theoretical and practical and is relevant to the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examination. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant trainer in sports, system programmer, tourist guide [33]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme. 

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to reach the learning outcomes that are included in the State Educational Standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old in order to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission at this VET programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electric fitter, cook, wood processing operator [34]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

=20% [35]2018/19. Share of learners compared with the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depend on the learner's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners, vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission to this VET programme.

For the particular VET programme completion of secondary education stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [36]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

- continue their studies at tertiary education;

- continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;

- enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for learners with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the third degree of professional qualification (EQF 4) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old (when they apply) to enrol.

For this type of VET programme the completion of basic education is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The secondary VET is completed with State matriculation examinations in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [37]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

>=75% [38]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete the program learners need to pass a matriculation exam and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [39]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of programme the completion of secondary education, stage 1 is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The students may also ask for receiving Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [40]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 3 (VET) or in general education stage 2. However, progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of upper secondary stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programme [41]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships  for ages after 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system (for continuation of the education) and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [42]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available