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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 Poland comprises the following main features:

  • high decrease in participation in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels (35.6% during 2005-2017 period) mainly due to demographic challenges and reduced interest in VET among young learners. However, during last several years a small increase in the share of students in vocational education can be observed;
  • participation in VET programmes at the upper secondary level remains slightly higher than in general education;
  • the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women, is much higher than the EU average;
  • early leaving from education and training is significantly below the EU-28 average and has remained stable over the last decade;
  • participation in lifelong learning remains well below the EU-28 average and has been stable in the past decade;
  • the VET system has been under continuous reform over the last few years aiming to improve its quality and effectiveness.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf.
)([1a]Information on the Polish VET system is also partially based on: Chłoń-Domińczak, A. et al. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Poland. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
):

Over the past three decades, Poland’s education system has undergone several profound changes in its structure, forms of organisation and management, as well as of the core curriculum. As a result of these changes, distinctive VET features were developed:

  • a flexible VET system allows changing pathways at any point;
  • the classification of occupations for vocational education includes a list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Each occupation comprises one to two qualifications that can be acquired in IVET and CVET. A VET qualification diploma can be issued only when all qualifications required for an occupation have been acquired (via State vocational examinations), together with a school leaving certificate;
  • core curricula for all VET occupations included in the classification of occupations. Separate VET qualifications within specific occupations are described in the core curricula as a set of expected learning outcomes: knowledge, occupational skills, and personal and social competences allowing learners to handle their occupational tasks independently. Learning outcomes are linked to detailed assessment criteria;
  • autonomy of VET schools in developing their teaching programmes, based on VET core curricula, and in choosing either subject-centred or modular programmes, which can be easily modified, depending on labour market needs;
  • uniform external vocational examinations, centrally organised;
  • vocational qualification courses allowing adults to acquire qualifications faster than IVET learners;
  • validation of competences acquired in different learning contexts, including professional experience, by taking external examinations.

The main challenges for VET are:

  • raising attractiveness of VET in society;
  • continuous adaptation of core curricula to the challenges and current needs of the labour market;
  • increasing employer engagement in organising practical training, identifying and forecasting skills and qualification needs in the labour market, and in reviewing VET curricula;
  • adjusting VET teachers’ qualifications and competences by easing access to traineeships in enterprises;
  • assuring a suitable number of VET teachers and trainers with adequate competences through the professional development of teachers and attracting young people to the profession;
  • encouraging adult learners to LLL;
  • encouraging sustainable cooperation between VET schools and higher education institutions (HEI) aimed at transferring HEI good practices in teaching, training and developing teachers’ competences;
  • assuring high quality guidance and counselling for all age groups;
  • providing high quality infrastructure for VET schools to ensure teaching and training in line with labour market needs.

Several recent initiatives undertaken by the education ministry address these challenges:

  • new measures in the VET system were introduced by the education ministry in November 2018 ([2]The Act of 22 November 2018 amending the Act on the Education Law, the School Education Act and other acts:
    http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20180002245.
    ) focusing on strengthening the mechanisms of including employers in the development of VET in all its stages and the systematic adaptation of vocational education to the needs of the labour market, in particular:

    •  strengthening cooperation between employers and schools mainly in relation to practical training and teacher professional development in enterprises;
    •  expanding the implementation of work-based learning in VET, introducing a new form of apprenticeship;
    •  introducing an annual forecast of the demand for employees in VET occupations and directing more funds to occupations of special demand on the labour market;
    •  strengthening different quality assurance mechanisms e.g. introducing a requirement for all VET learners to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination, enhancing the accreditation system for institutions providing CVET;
    •  allowing VET schools to organise shorter forms of vocational courses of special importance for adult learners.
  • the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (2016) has brought together the qualifications framework, register of qualifications that can be attained, quality assurance and validation principles. General and higher education level qualifications are included in the register;
  • non-statutory qualifications linked to CVET have been registered based on the initiative of VET providers or other stakeholders;
  • new regulations strengthening guidance and counselling in schools were developed and are being implemented; 
  • new core curricula for vocational education were developed by the education ministry together with the Centre for Education Development (ORE), employers and other stakeholders;
  • new sectoral skills councils have been established under the umbrella of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency, giving voice to sectoral stakeholders regarding the demand for competences at sectoral level to improve education and labour market matching; 
  • numerous initiatives addressing the above-mentioned challenges in VET were developed with ESF co-funding, including projects supporting: cooperation among VET schools and HEI, development of counselling and guidance in schools, development of programmes for vocational courses for adults, enhancing employers’ involvement in different stages of VET development and in organising practical training.

Based on VET in Poland Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publication Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf .
)

Population in 2018: 37 976 687 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.2% due to negative natural growth ([5]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 22 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([6]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).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

Since 2005, the overall number of enrolments in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels decreased by 35.6%, which represents over half a million learners. The decrease was highest (40% or more than 350 000) in vocational upper secondary programmes.

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

Source: ReferNet Poland calculations based on data from the Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start and Statistics Poland (2018b) [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

However, this phenomenon is also related to the reduced interest in VET among young people. Over the last three decades, the share of students in VET has decreased from 78% to almost 60%. During the last several years the proportion of learners in general upper secondary vs. vocational upper secondary and vocational post-secondary education has remained at approximately 40:60. Since the mid-2010s, a small increase in the share of students in vocational education is observed.

Poland is rather homogeneous country in terms of nationality and language. According to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census ([7]Statistics Poland (2015). Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski [The national-ethnic, linguistic and religious structure of the Polish population]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.
https://stat.gov.pl/files/gfx/portalinformacyjny/pl/defaultaktualnosci/5670/22/1/1/struktura_narodowo-etniczna.pdf .
) 97,09% of people declared Polish nationality and 98,2% declared  that they use the Polish language at home. However, due to the increased migration to Poland in recent years, changes in these percentages in the next census may be expected.

The Act on national and ethnic minorities distinguishes 9 official national minorities and 4 national ethnic minorities in the country. The constitution guarantees these groups the freedom to preserve their own language, customs and traditions, and develop their own culture. There are special forms of support provided to learners from national and ethnic minorities:

  • inclusion of the minority language and the regional language into the educational activities required of the student, the course of one’s own history and culture to additional educational activities for the student (at the request of the student’s parent) ([8]Ministry of the Interior and Administration: Polish legislation and solutions regarding the protection of languages of minorities [Ustawodawstwo i rozwiązania polskie w zakresie ochrony języków mniejszości].
    http://mniejszosci.narodowe.mswia.gov.pl/mne/oswiata/informacje-dotyczace-o/8302,Ustawodawstwo-i-rozwiazania-polskie-w-zakresie-ochrony-jezykow-mniejszosci.html [accessed 30.4.2019].
    );
  • learning of a minority language and a regional language can be conducted in schools in various ways; the number of teaching hours depends on the way it is taught;
  • external examination regulations are adjusted for learners of the language of the national minority, ethnic minority and the regional language.

According to SIO data, 809 learners in 29 VET schools (first stage sectoral schools and vocational upper secondary schools) were learning national/ethnic minority or regional languages in line with above-mentioned regulations in the 2018/2019 school year.

As far as foreign learners in Poland are concerned, the following forms of support are available to foreigners subject to compulsory education:

  • education and care in all types of public schools and kindergartens provided up to the age of 18 or age of graduating from school at the secondary and post-secondary level on the same terms applicable to Polish citizens ([9]Ministry of National Education: information on the education of foreigners in the Polish education system [Informacja o kształceniu cudzoziemców w polskim systemie oświaty]. https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/informacja-o-ksztalceniu-cudzoziemcow-w-... [accessed 30.4.2019].);
  • admission to schools on the basis of diplomas which does not have to be formally recognised;
  • free-of-charge Polish language classes, additional compensatory classes in a given subject, preparatory classes (oddziały przygotowawcze) set up at schools,
  • additional classes of the language and culture of the country of origin, organised at school by the diplomatic/consular mission or a cultural/ educational association;
  • assistance to the learner provided by a person who speaks the language of the country of origin, employed as a teacher's assistant;
  • different ways of facilitating external examinations taken by foreign students.

Also, certain groups of foreign adult learners (e.g. EU nationals, persons with different types of permits granted in Poland, selected scholarship holders, etc.) can benefit from education in public schools for adults, public post-secondary schools, public art schools, public colleges of social work and different forms of lifelong learning in the form of vocational courses, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

In the 2018/2019 school year, there were approximately 44,000 foreigners in Polish schools and pre-schools ([10]Ministry of National Education: education of children coming from abroad in the Polish education system [Nauka dzieci przybywających z zagranicy w polskim systemie edukacji].
https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/nauka-dzieci-przybywajacych-z-zagranicy-w-polskim-systemie-edukacji [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

The enterprise sector in Poland is dominated by microenterprises. In Poland, 96.2% of enterprises are microenterprises ([11]PARP (2018). Małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa w Polsce 2018 [Small and medium enterprises in Poland]. Warsaw: PARP.
https://www.parp.gov.pl/storage/publications/pdf/male%20i%20srednie%20przedsiebiorstwa%20w%20polsce%20w%202018%20r.pdf .
). They produce 31% of GDP and significantly affect the labor market - they generate 40% of the jobs in the enterprise sector. The number of micro-enterprises has increased in recent years.

Small-sized companies account for 2.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 8% GDP and generate 12% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Medium-sized companies account for 0.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 11% GDP and generate 17 % of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Large-sized enterprises in Poland account only for 0.2% of the enterprise sector produce 24% GDP and generate 31% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

The main economic sectors in Poland are wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities, industry (except construction) and manufacturing.

Share of economic sectors in gross value added and income in 2017 (%)

Sector

2017

Wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

Public administration, defense, education, human health and social work activities

14.6

Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of household and extra-territorial organisations and bodies

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

The following sectors have the largest share of Polish exports ([12]SITC nomenclature: sections.):

  • machinery and transport equipment (34.8%);
  • manufactured goods (17.7%); and
  • chemicals and related products (14.5%) ([13]Statistics Poland, Yearbook Trade of Foreign Statistics of Poland 2018; Table 7 and 24.).

The employment structure in Poland has not undergone any significant changes over the last few years. The share of services in total employment increased slightly and in 2017 reached around 58%, which is still far below the EU28 average of around 74%. The employment share in industry is rather stable in Poland at around 30-32% and the share in agriculture decreased from 13.1% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2017.

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

Source: The Local Data Bank of Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 23.12.2018].

Most employed women are in services (73.9%), while the share of employment in services and industry of men is very similar, 45.3% and 43.4% respectively.

The labour market tends to be deregulated in Poland. However, in some cases access to and practice of some occupations/professions are subject to the possession of a specific professional qualification. The EC Regulated professions database ([14]European Commission - Regulated professions database [accessed 4.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/
) lists 360 regulated professions in Poland.

The rules of access to professions are determined by the ministers responsible for specific fields.

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

  • sectoral system occupations, which are automatically recognised in all EU member states (e.g. attorney, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, architect); and
  • general system occupations – more numerous – in the case of which additional requirements for a given profession in given country must be met (e.g. teacher, sworn translator, tourist guide, customs agent, etc.).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table 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.
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 during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. In the past five years, there was an overall decrease of unemployment in all age groups and by all types of education levels.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old recent VET graduates increased from 72.7% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 and still remains below the EU-28 level.

 

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 (+6.4 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment from 75.2% to 80.0% (+4.8pp) of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same period ([17]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Poland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Poland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/poland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Participation in tertiary education in Poland has significantly increased over the last three decades, which is connected to an increase in the perceived value of education and higher educational aspirations. From 2009 to 2018, the share of the population with tertiary education increased from 21.2% to 30.9% but remains slightly below the EU average (32.2%).

For the last several years, the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women has been slowly decreasing, from 66.8% in 2009 to 61.5% in 2018, but is still much higher than the EU average (45.7%).

Poland has the third lowest share (far below the EU average) of people with no or low education level attained (7.6% in 2018). This indicator has been gradually decreasing in the last few years (12% in 2009).

 

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

Not applicable

51.7%

100%

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

 

Share of initial VET students over all upper-secondary students (ISCED level 3), 2017

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

 

In 2017/2018 school year females constituted 46% of all learners in VET programmes, however the share differs depending on the type of programme - in post-secondary programmes, females are the majority (71,1%), in programmes at the upper secondary level, there are many more males than females, with the lowest share of females in the first stage sectoral programmes (31,5%).

Share of female learners in VET programmes in the 2017/2018 school year (%)

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

Source: Statistics Poland - Education in the 2017/18 school year.

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

  • in post-secondary programmes: hygiene and work safety, personal services, business and administration, medical study;
  • in first stage sectoral programmes: personal services, business and administration and manufacturing and processing;
  • in vocational upper secondary programmes: personal services, business and administration, social and behavioural science.

The share of early leavers from education and training in 2018 was 4.8%, which is much lower than the EU-28 average of 10.6%. The share is slightly lower than in 2009 (5.3%). Despite high attainment rates, it is still slightly above the national target for 2020 of not more than 4.5%.

 

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].

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Poland has remained at a very low level (4.0%) till 2017, while in 2018 reached 5.7%. However, it remains 5.4 percentage points below the EU-28 average.

Education level, age and labour market activity are the factors differentiating the rate of participation in training; persons who are unemployed and have a low level of education often do not participate in educational activities. Age is also a strong determinant of participation in education; people in older age groups not only participate in training less often, but also study less on their own (informal learning).

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

NB: Participants of vocational qualification courses not included.
Includes basic vocational/first stage sectoral programmes, upper secondary vocational programmes, special job-training and post-secondary programmes.
Source: own calculations based on data from the School Information System (SIO).

 

Young learners constitute the majority in VET schools – with only post-secondary schools intended for adult learners. This is connected with the establishment of vocational qualifications courses for adult learners which replaced VET schools for adults at the upper secondary level. Vocational qualifications courses were introduced in 2012 as a quicker way of obtaining vocational qualification. Data on the age of participants of vocational qualifications courses is not available and was not included in the chart.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • eight-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa); a programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level) (ISCED levels 1 and 2)
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education including colleges of social work (ISCED levels 5 to 8).

The education system in Poland is currently undergoing structural transformation. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced reforms aimed to prolong the time children spend within one educational programme and to develop a vocational education system that is responsive to the needs of a modern economy. Key elements of the reform included:

  • phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum);
  • restructuring six-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa) into an eight-year programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level);
  • extending the general upper secondary programme (liceum ogólnokształcące) to four years instead of three, and the vocational upper secondary programme (technika) to five years instead of four;
  • introducing two-stage sectoral programmes (dwustopniowa szkoła branżowa); the first stage sectoral school has replaced the basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa) as of 2017/18, while the second stage sectoral schools will begin to operate in 2020/21.

Changes in the school structure are accompanied by the gradual development of new core curricula. The school system will be transitioning until 2022/23. During this period, some previous programmes will be functioning alongside the new ones until they are completely phased out.

Education is compulsory up to 18 years of age, while full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15. Full-time compulsory education lasts 9 years (the last year of pre-school education and 8 years of primary school education). Compulsory education for 15-18 year olds can take place as part-time education, both in and out of school, e.g. in the form of short qualifications courses or vocational training for juvenile workers.

Pre-school education is provided in pre-schools (przedszkole) for two-and-a-half to six-year-old learners.

Primary and lower secondary education is provided in primary schools (szkoła policealna) and lasts typically eight years from age 7 to 15. Work preparation classes for SEN learners are available in the last two years of primary school. A three-year special job-training programme for SEN learners is available for primary school graduates.

Upper secondary education can be provided by different types of schools and take the form of a general upper secondary four-year programme (licea ogólnokształcące), a vocational upper secondary five-year programme (technika) or a three-year first stage sectoral programme (branżowa szkoła pierwszego stopnia), which can be followed by a two-year second stage sectoral programme. Upper secondary education is typically available to primary school graduates (usually 15 year-olds), apart from the second stage sectoral programme, which will be available to graduates of the first stage programmes (18 year-olds).

Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes are provided by post-secondary schools (szkoły policealne) and can be attained in one- to two-and-a-half years. They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes, as well as in the future – of second stage sectoral programmes (usually 19-20 year-olds).

A special form of education is provided by colleges of social work (kolegium pracowników służb społecznych), offering programmes at the ISCED 5 level. These colleges provide three-year programmes for the occupation of social worker.

Completing any type of VET programme and obtaining a school leaving certificate is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. Learners in the formal VET system can be awarded two types of documents confirming attained learning outcomes:

  • vocational certificates (certificate of a vocational qualification in an occupation); and
  • vocational diplomas (vocational qualifications diploma).

Learners can obtain a vocational diploma only by obtaining both all the qualifications distinguished in an occupation (vocational certificate/s) and a school leaving certificate. Vocational qualifications can only be attained by passing an external State vocational examination.

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curricula for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes ([18]For vocational upper secondary programmes, it also defines the learning outcomes that must be achieved by a person in the process of attaining the qualification of the matura certificate.).

Adults aged 18 and older can be awarded a vocational certificate after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. By taking extramural exams, adults may also acquire certificates of completion of general education schools.

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

The VET system comprises initial and continuing education. It can be offered as:

  • school-based programmes with obligatory work-based learning (WBL differing in scope and form, also including dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment (apprenticeship scheme – with practical training with employer and theoretical training in school or in out-of-school forms, based on a contract between the learner and the employer)([19]An additional new form – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and first stage sectoral programmes as of September 2019.);
  • out-of-school forms – different types of courses based on the core curricula.

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

  • juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) dedicated to young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or 8-year primary education. It is based on a work contract between the learner and employer. In case of theoretical education taking place in school, arrangements between the school and employer regarding scope and organisation of training provided by both parties constitute an annex to the contract. Juvenile worker has a status of an employee and in case of theoretical training taking place in school – also of a student. During the training period, a juvenile worker is entitled to a salary (from 4 to 6 percent of the national average salary, depending on the subsequent year of training), social security benefits and holiday leave. Juvenile workers carry out their apprenticeship usually in SMEs, mainly in the craft sector.

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

  • training for a profession (nauka zawodu) - apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at school (first stage sectoral programme) or in an out-of-school form (e.g. courses) and the practical training organised by the employer. Training for a profession lasts up to 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination or Journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy). In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools.
  • training for a specific job (przyuczenie do wykonywania określonej pracy) - a rare form limited to a small group of youth, prepares a learner to perform specific tasks in a profession. It lasts from 3 to 6 months and is finalised with a verifying examination. 

 

  • student apprenticeship (staż uczniowski). New form of apprenticeship which will be available as of September 2019. It will be open to learners in vocational upper secondary programmes and first-stage sectoral programmes, who are not juvenile workers. Student apprenticeship is based on the work contract between the learner and employer, with arrangements between the school and employer in the annex to this contract. Student apprenticeship covers all elements of the teaching programme and chosen elements or elements connected with a given occupation but not included in the programme. Students are entitled to a salary unless the contract says otherwise. 
  • dual training as a form of practical training. Apart from above-mentioned schemes apprenticeship might be arranged by school in cooperation with employers as one of the ways of organisation of practical training. In general, practical training (obligatory for all VET programmes) can be organised in different forms and venues - including also apprenticeship – alternate training/dual training with structured alternation of learning in an education and training setting with learning and working at a workplace. This form of organisation of practical training could be considered an apprenticeship however it is based on the contract between the school and employer not between employer and learner.

Apprenticeships for adult learners are also available. It is a form of support provided by Labour Offices and financed from the Labour Fund dedicated to unemployed and job seekers.

Apprenticeships for adults are carried out on the basis of a contract between a Labour Office, an employer and an institution responsible for conducting exams. Apprenticeships are provided in a form of occupational training and a training aimed at preparation for performing a specific job. In 2017, apprenticeships for adult learners attracted over 140 000 participants.

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 has three governance levels: national (ministries), regional (school superintendents, mainly in pedagogical supervision) and county (powiat – managing schools). The education ministry is in charge of VET policies at secondary level, supported by other ministries responsible for particular occupations. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is responsible for higher VET. Social partners advise policy makers on necessary changes in VET.

The majority of public education institutions in Poland are managed by local government units. Counties (powiaty) are responsible for upper secondary schools, including vocational schools, and schools for children with special needs; the regions (województwa) are responsible for schools of regional and trans-regional significance (e.g. groups of schools or vocational schools important for the regional economy).

Central government units (usually ministries) often manage vocational and fine arts schools. All types of schools can also be established and managed by non-public institutions, such as religious and social associations. Generally, in Poland, the higher the education level, the higher the share of non-public institutions. The chart below presents the structure of vocational schools by type and management institution in 2016.

 

The structure of VET schools by type and managing institution in 2016

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In the 2017/18 school year, there were 6 071 VET schools in Poland. The majority (36%) of them were post-secondary vocational schools, followed by vocational upper secondary schools (31%), 25% constituted the first stage sectoral schools and 8% special job-training schools ([20]Statistics Poland (2018). Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2018. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.).The decision to provide education for a particular occupation listed in the classification of occupations for vocational education is made at local level by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (county level) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Teaching programmes can be developed individually by schools. The school principal is responsible for incorporating the learning outcomes in the teaching programme and providing the organisational requirements as defined in the core curricula.

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

  • the education part of the State budget’s general subsidy for local government units;
  • central government targeted grants;
  • the local government unit’s own income;
  • foreign funds (mainly EU funds).

The education part of the general subsidy from the State budget is the major source of funding of the education system in Poland. The amount of this part of the general subsidy for local government is defined annually in the Budgetary Act, and then the education ministry prepares an algorithm to distribute the educational funds among the local government units, based on the responsibilities ascribed to the different levels of local government (basically the number of students in each type of school) ([21]Number of adjustment weights are ascribed to different groups of students (e.g. SEN students, ethnic minorities, students in small schools, in rural regions, in sport classes); teacher qualifications are also included in the algorithm.). Since January 2018, the weights for vocational secondary schools have been different for four sets of categories of occupations; the distinction is based on the cost of the vocational part of the education. Additional weights were added for students of post-secondary programmes who obtained a vocational qualifications diploma and for participants of vocational qualification courses who passed the State vocational examination ([22]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 December 2017 on the distribution of the school education part of the general subsidy for local government units in 2018. Journal of Laws 2017, item 2395.).

Further modifications of VET financing (increased state subsidies for learners of special demand occupations in VET schools indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations; increased subsidies for employers involved in training juvenile employees in those occupations) will be introduced as of 2020.

Local governments have the power to decide how to use the subsidy; they can decide not only how to allocate the funds to respective schools, but also to use them for other things than educational expenditures. As the chart below illustrates, municipalities and regions spend more on education than they receive as subsidy, but counties, which are mainly responsible for vocational schools, do not use the entire amount on education expenditures. The visible increase in expenditures in 2017 on all local government levels may be due to the structural reforms of the education system.

 

The ratio between educational expenditures and the State general subsidy for education by type of local government in the period of 2006-2017

The higher the ratio the greater the share of local spending. Value over 100 means that local government spends more than it receives from the central government.
Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

 

The structure of the educational expenditures of counties in 2017 by school type

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In addition to the subsidy, local government units can apply for targeted grants to implement specific public tasks, which usually require co-funding by the unit.

Non-public schools with a public school status are entitled to public funding equal to public schools.

In 2017, public (local and central government) expenditures for the education system reached PLN 71.9 billion (around EUR 16.8 billion), of which 10.4% was spent on vocational schools. Public spending on education as a share of GDP was 3.6%, which is slightly lower than in previous years ([23]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • theoretical vocational subject teachers;
  • practical vocational training teachers;
  • teachers/pedagogues providing educational support to learners;
  • teachers/psychologists providing psychological support to learners, teachers and parents;
  • teachers/methodological advisers providing support to teachers;
  • teachers/consultants who develop teaching materials, design and deliver in-service training courses for teachers and education managers, etc.;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as practical vocational training instructors);
  • specialist in-company trainers (various groups of practitioners providing training as their primary or additional activity).

Teachers in public schools and pre-schools comprise 87% of all teachers and are employed on the basis of the Teacher’s Charter ([24]Act of 26 January 1982 - Teacher's Charter. Journal of Laws 1982, No 3, item 19 with further amendments.), which specifies working conditions, duties, rights, professional development requirements, and teachers’ salaries. In non-public schools, teachers are employed only on the basis of labour and civil law regulations.

General subject teachers should have at least a master’s degree.

Theoretical vocational subject teachers are required to have at least a master’s or bachelor’s degree, including pedagogical training.

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

  • have the same qualifications as required for teachers of vocational theoretical subjects or the title of master in a craft or a pedagogical technical college (currently non-existing) diploma or a matura examination together with a vocational qualifications certificate and two years of work experience;
  • have a pedagogical qualification.

In-company trainers (practical vocational training instructors) can be employers or employees who are not teachers; they are required to have both the defined by the regulation combination of formal qualifications and years of work experience in a given occupation and the adequate pedagogical qualification ([25]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 22 February 2019 on practical vocational training. Journal of Laws 2019, item 391.).

As regulated by the Teachers’ Charter, teachers have the right to participate in all forms of continuing professional development (CPD) and are obliged to follow CPD in line with the school’s needs. CPD is required from teachers on the path to higher advancement levels.

Teacher CPD is funded by local/regional budgets. School heads are responsible for assessing teacher CPD needs and preparing school professional development plans.

There are different public teacher training institutions at the national, regional and local levels, as well as numerous non-public teacher training institutions. The Centre for Education Development teacher training institution operates at the national level and covers both general and VET teacher CPD. In general, the main tasks of these institutions consist of developing teacher CPD programmes and educational materials, indicating CPD priorities, and implementing CPD programmes. Teacher training is also provided by higher education institutions.

Another form of CPD is offered by teachers/methodological advisers, who provide direct subject-oriented and methods assistance; support teachers in their professional development; organise conferences, seminars and workshops; and identify teachers' needs for counselling and vocational training. CPD is also provided at the school level via internal systems of professional development, including e.g. self-development teachers’ councils meetings, lessons, observations, study visits and others. Other forms of CPD include internships in enterprises for VET teachers. From September 2019 all VET teachers are obliged to participate in professional training in companies relating to the occupation they teach. Numerous educational resources (open bases) and CPD opportunities are available through ESF co-funded initiatives.

The Teacher’s Charter specifies four categories of job positions in the profession of teaching:

  • trainee teacher – first stage in a teacher’s career,
  • contractual teacher – awarded after one year and nine months of internship and passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • appointed teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship and after passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • chartered teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship, after having their professional achievement accepted by a qualification commission, and an interview.

These categories have direct impact on a teacher’s basic salary level. Teachers with outstanding performance may also be awarded the title of honorary school education professor.

In 2017/18, 55% of teachers were chartered teachers. In VET schools on upper secondary level, the share of chartered teachers was higher than 60%, however in post-secondary schools, it was only 23% ([26]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

Practical training institutions are involved in improving the competence of in-company trainers by offering a broad range of thematic training. The most common training refers to methodology of vocational education and the use of standards for examination requirements.

System of sector skills councils

The system of sector skills councils, launched in 2016, consists of three components:

  • The programme Council on competences (Rada Programowa ds. Kompetencji – RPK) consists of representatives of ministries, training institutions, social partners, universities, non-governmental agencies, as well as labour market stakeholders. The RPK mainly focuses on building cooperation between the education community and entrepreneurs; it also encourages the development of sector councils and implements recommendations in the areas of science and education.
  • The sector skills councils are the central part of the system. Currently, there are seven active councils in the following sectors: health and social care; construction; finances; tourism; motorisation and electromobility; fashion and innovative textiles; ICT. Their main aims are:
    • to collect information from various labour market stakeholders and recommend systemic solutions and changes in the area of education;
    • to stimulate cooperation between education providers and employers;
    • to provide support in identifying and anticipating competency needs in a given sector.
  • The human capital study aims to increase knowledge about current needs in various sectors and enable the demand for competences and qualifications to be anticipated. The information collected in the study provides, among others, deeper insight about the skills gaps in the economy.

Integrated skills strategy

In 2017, the education ministry initiated the development of a national skills strategy. The strategy covers the whole area of education and training, i.e. general education, vocational education, higher education and adult learning. It takes into account both the demand side (demand for specific competences and qualifications) and supply (availability of qualifications and competences in society). The general part of the strategy was developed ([27]Ministry of National Education (2018). Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności – część ogólna [Integrated skills strategy: general part].
https://bip.men.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/08/zintegrowana-strategia-umiejetnosci-do-uzgodnien-i-konsultacji.pdf.
) and adopted by the government in January 2019. This will be followed by the development of the more detailed part of the strategy and strategy implementation.

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

Since 2005, the Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring survey (MZDiN) has been conducted by county and regional labour offices as well as the labour ministry. In 2015, a new methodology was applied – the survey is based mainly on the IT systems’ data of employment offices (on unemployed persons, reported vacancies, providers offering professional activation services), studies of online job offers, information obtained from employers in a questionnaire study, data from the Statistics Poland and the School Information System. Since 2015, the ‘Occupational barometer’, previously implemented in the Małopolska region, also started to be implemented in the whole country, conducted by the regional labour offices. It is a qualitative short-term (annual) forecast providing information on deficit and surplus occupations ([28]Regional Labour Office in Cracow (2017). Occupational barometer 2018: summary survey report for Poland.
https://wupkrakow.praca.gov.pl/documents/67976/5945701/Occupational%20barometer%202018.%20Summary%20Survey%20Report%20for%20Poland/ab63839e-e605-44eb-a904-92af5974d996?t=1531291708000 [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

New forecast of the demand for employees

The forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations was introduced in 2018 as a new tool to help shape the vocational education and training offer. Starting with 2019, this forecast will be developed annually and published in the form of an announcement by the Ministry of National Education. The forecast will be based on analyses conducted by the Educational Research Institute using various data sources. The forecast will impact VET financing.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

The VET programmes available at the national level are developed on the basis of three regulations of the education ministry:

  • the classification of occupations for vocational education ([30]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 February 2019 on the goals and tasks of education in vocational education occupations and classification of occupations for vocational education. Journal of Laws 2019, item 316.);
  • the core curricula for vocational education ([31]Regulation of the Minister of National Education on the core curricula for training in VET occupations and additional vocational skills in chosen VET occupations – regulation signed on 16 May 2019, awaiting for publication in Journal of Laws.);
  • the core curriculum for general education ([32]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curriculum for pre-school education and the core curriculum for general education in primary schools, including pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, and for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools. Journal of Laws 2017, item 356.).

The classification includes the list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Qualifications ([33]The term ‘qualification’ is defined in the School Education Act, as in the European qualifications framework Recommendation 2008.) are distinguished within occupations; each occupation can be made up of either one or two qualifications. Currently, there are 215 vocational education occupations, including so-called ancillary occupations for people with minor intellectual disabilities.

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

The introduction of new occupations to the classification is regulated by the Education Law. The classification of occupations is determined by the education minister in cooperation with the relevant ministers responsible for a given sector of the economy, who can submit their requests to include particular occupations in the classification. To anticipate labour market needs, representatives of employers and employees are consulted during the development stage of the classification.

Professional associations, organisations of employers, sector skills councils, social partners and other stakeholders’ organisations can submit their proposals to the relevant minister to establish a new occupation; in this way they shape the educational offer of the formal VET system. After the proposal has been approved, the education minister includes the occupation into the classification and appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

After the proposal has been approved, the education minister appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

The working group contacts the institution which submitted the proposal for the new occupation to determine the learning outcomes, and then undertakes consultations with other experts in the field. At this stage, occupational standards, which are developed by the labour ministry, are considered.

The decision on the occupations offered by a given VET school is made by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (at the county level of government) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Regional labour market councils shall take into the account the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations.

Modernising VET curricula

In order to improve the labour market relevance of VET education, the education ministry together with the Education Development Centre, has implemented an ESF co-funded project ‘Partnership for VET’ focusing on developing partnerships in vocational education and training in cooperation with employers and other social partners.

In the first phase of the project, a social partner forum was established - 25 sectoral teams of social partners were set up to better adjust VET to labour market needs, and particularly to recommend changes in the vocational core curricula and classification of occupations. In the following years, stakeholders prepared changes in numerous VET curricula and developed new curricula. Numerous teaching plans and programmes, career development paths together with diplomas and qualification supplements in Polish and English were also designed. By February 2018, 1048 employers actively participated in the project.

All VET schools are included in external and internal quality assurance systems. External quality assurance is provided through pedagogical supervision; it is conducted by the Regional Education Authorities (kurator oświaty) overseen by the education ministry. Pedagogical supervision covers four aspects: evaluation, an audit of legal compliance ([34]Legal compliance auditing aims to check whether the activities of schools comply with legislation.), monitoring and support.

The external evaluation of schools is conducted according to certain uniform procedures and requirements set in the legislation concerning:

  • the organisation of educational processes;
  • acquiring by students' skills and knowledge defined in the national core curriculum;
  • active participation of students;
  • shaping social attitudes, and respect for social norms;
  • support to students' development taking into account their individual circumstances;
  • cooperation with parents;
  • cooperation with local community;
  • including of findings from analyses of external exams’ results as well as external and internal evaluations;
  • school management.

It includes various research techniques (e.g. interviews, surveys, observation, document analysis) and takes into account the opinions of different stakeholders.

Reports from the external evaluations performed in schools are publicly available on a dedicated internet website ([35]System Ewaluacji Oświaty. Nadzór Pedagogiczny [Education evaluation system: pedagogical supervision]:
www.npseo.pl
).

The Head of the Regional Education Authority prepares an annual report on the results of the educational supervision conducted and presents it to the Minister for Education.

School principals are obliged by law to design and implement an internal quality assurance system. They should do this in cooperation with their teachers. School principals are relatively free in how they design and implement these systems, but are obliged to include the four aspects of pedagogical supervision mentioned above. Internal evaluation is conducted annually and needs to include issues important for each particular school. Its results are taken into consideration in the external evaluation. In order to help school principals in developing and implementing internal quality assurance procedures, the National Centre for Supporting Vocational and Continuing Education (KOWEZiU) prepared ‘Quality Standards for VET’ (2013), a document covering ten thematic areas ([36]The ten thematic areas of the quality standards are: (1) teaching programmes; (2) school staff; (3) school material resources; (4) organisation of teaching; (5) students with special needs; (6) cooperation with employers: (7) cooperation with domestic and international partners; (8) assessment and validation of learning outcomes; (9) counselling; (10) strategic management of the school.) related to quality assurance in VET, which are in line with the 2009 EQARF/EQAVET recommendation.

In the case of non-statutory qualifications included in the Integrated Qualifications Register (ZRK), quality assurance is provided by external quality assurance entities (Podmioty Zewnętrznego Zapewniania Jakości – PZZJ). The external quality assurance entity for a qualification is assigned by the relevant minister from the list of institutions selected for a given area of qualifications. There are also internal quality assurance mechanisms for institutions awarding qualifications; they are required to perform internal evaluations.

The system of external examinations

The system of external examinations is a key element for ensuring and improving the quality of education and qualifications attained in schools. The central examination board and eight regional examination boards are responsible for organising external examinations. The external examination system is supervised by the education ministry. In the external examination system, all examinees solve the same tasks and assignments to verify whether they have achieved the learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum. Trained examiners registered at the regional examination boards assess examination results. The central examination board analyses aggregate test and examination results and initiates research in the field of assessment. The results of external examinations are taken into consideration in both external and internal quality assurance as part of pedagogical supervision.

Starting in 2019, all students will be obliged to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination as a condition for school graduation; up till now, this has been optional. This change aims to strengthen the role of the exam as a quality assurance mechanism.

School Information System

The collection and dissemination of information on the formal general and vocational education system by the School Information System (SIO) is an important element in ensuring the quality of qualifications. The system is maintained in electronic form and uses internet to provide information collected. Every school and education institution has to submit data regarding students, teachers, facilities, expenses, etc. Schools submit data through a web application. Information is collected regionally and then exported by regional education authorities to the education ministry. Each user group (ministries, Central Statistical Office, local authorities, etc.) has access to its relevant part of the data base, and some of this information is available to the public. The system was set up in 2004 but has functioned in this way since 2012 and has been continuously modernised. In 2017, a new regulation on the SIO was introduced ([37]The Act of 21 April 2017 r. on changes in the Act on the School Information System and some other acts:
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20170000949
) relating mainly to changes in the scope of the data gathered within the system.

The VET system allows learners to attain qualifications (vocational certificates) through the validation of non-formal education and informal learning ([38]By taking extramural exams adults might also acquire certificate of completion of the general education schools (primary and secondary).). Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([39]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). As of September 2018, the curriculum of the KKZ is based on the new curriculum for VET. Completion of a vocational qualification course entitles students to take the State vocational examination.

After successfully passing the State vocational examination, learners obtain the same vocational certificate as regular VET students. The fee paid by the applicant for the extramural examination is rather low, in 2019 approximately 45 EUR (15 EUR for the written part and 30 EUR for the practical part).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([40]European database on validation of non-formal and informal learning:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
).

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

In 2018, school scholarships range from PLN 99.20 to PLN 248 (from EUR 23 to EUR 57) per month depending on the decision of local authorities. The period of receiving a scholarship can range from one to ten months per school year. VET students can receive financial support when studying away from their community or when their family income is below the threshold for receiving social assistance benefits combined with social problems that the family is facing. Scholarships for good grades can also be granted to VET learners. Apart from the country level, there are also regional initiatives aiming to promote participation in VET. Some regional scholarships have been financed within EU-funded projects.

  • Salary for juvenile workers

Students who are juvenile workers are entitled to a salary. The amount of their salary cannot be less than 4% (in the 1st year of training) 5% (in the 2nd year of training) and 6% (in the 3rd year of training) of the average monthly salary (ranging from EUR 42 to EUR 68). Employers also pay mandatory social insurance on the basis of the salary paid to the juvenile worker.

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

The Voluntary Labour Corps ([41]Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP),
http://www.ohp.pl.
) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy − OHP) is an organisation specialised in supporting youth at risk of social exclusion and unemployed under 25 years old, overseen by the labour ministry. The organisation offers young people over 15 years old without lower secondary education, the possibility to attain vocational qualifications and/or to supplement their education. Currently it has over 214 Corps agencies (2019) providing young people with the opportunity to complete their education and acquire professional qualifications before entering adult life. The Voluntary Labour Corps provide training in 64 professions, both in their own workshops or as on-the-job training with an employer. All students with low/no income receive free meals and accommodation during the education period. Students also receive guidance and pedagogical support. Each year, over 800,000 young people receive various forms of help from Corps agencies including individual psychological support, group workshops for active job-seeking, vocational courses, vocational courses offering certified qualifications, language courses, European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, driving course, entrepreneurship course, assistance in finding jobs and organising traineeships, as well as traineeships offered by employers.

In the area of continuing VET (CVET), support is organised mainly through the employment services and financed from the Labour Fund ([42]The Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy) is a State special purpose fund operating under the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2004, No 99, item 1001 and later amendments).), as well as from the European Social Fund (ESF). This support includes:

  • vocational training;
  • loans for financing of the cost of training;
  • training vouchers;
  • vocational practice vouchers;
  • scholarships for youth from low income families for the period of education;
  • financial support for examination fees and vocational licence fees;
  • statutory training leave for employees.

The Labour Fund plays an important role in delivering state support for VET. It promotes participation by granting resources for vocational training initiatives. The training is mainly offered to unemployed people, but it can also be provided to other job seekers, such as, for example, people with disabilities. The participants of group training have the right to receive a monthly training grant that amounts to 120% of the unemployment benefit. The number of training hours per month should exceed 150. The cost of individual training cannot exceed 300% of the national average monthly salary. In 2017, more than 49 000 unemployed and other eligible individuals participated in various forms of training. The most popular form of training (more than 12 000 participants) was driver’s licence courses. The number of participants has declined mainly due to lower unemployment rate.

 

Participants in various forms of training support offered by the Labour Fund

Source: Warsaw: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (2018). Bezrobocie w Polsce w 2017 r. Raport tabelaryczny [Unemployment in Poland in 2017]. See also earlier editions.

 

Labour Offices support the organisation of vocational training for employees, but only at the initiative of employers (only when the employer has a special training fund). Up to 50% of the costs of the training can be refunded from the Labour Fund, but not more than the amount of the average monthly salary per participant. In the case of people over 45 years of age, the limit of the refund is 80% of the training costs, but not more than 300% of the average salary.

Labour Offices also fund apprenticeships organised in companies. Apprenticeships are nowadays available to all unemployed. In 2017, over 140 000 people participated in an apprenticeship scheme, including 46 000 youth under 25 years of age (33%). The number of participants in apprenticeship schemes, as well as the share of youth in all forms of training declined significantly between 2015 and 2017.

Training leave is provided to an employee. The leave (from six to 21 days) can be used to prepare for and take an examination or defend a thesis. Training leave can be paid (to cover lost income) to an employee if an employer requires or agrees to the need for the training before it starts.

Employers who provide VET training to students of vocational programmes can receive the following support:

  • refund of trainers’ salaries;
  • refund of the extra salary paid to instructors;
  • refund of the cost of work clothes and necessary protective measures;
  • training allowance for work placement supervisors;
  • refund of the bonus for work placement supervisors;
  • subsidy for the salary and social security contribution for the juvenile worker for the period of vocational training from the Labour Fund. The financial limits on the refund are set each year. As of 2020, the employers training juvenile employees in the professions indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations will receive increased subsidies.

Employers believe that the financial support offered is not fully adequate to the resources devoted to such training. The period of vocational practice is seen as being too short, which means that students are not providing added value to the company’s performance ([43]Fila J.; Rybińska; A.; Trzciński R. (2014). Współpraca szkół zawodowych z przedsiębiorcami na przykładzie Działania 9.2 PO KL [Cooperation of vocational schools and entrepreneurs based on the Action 9.2 of the Human Capital Operational Programme]. Warsaw: Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych.).

Since 2014, employers have been able to use the National Training Fund (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy), part of the Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy), to finance their employees’ training. It mainly finances courses and post-graduate studies attended by employees at the request of the employer; examinations enabling the attainment of vocational qualifications; medical and psychological examinations required for a job position; and personal accident insurance. In the case of microenterprises, the funding can cover 100% of the costs of continuing education, whereas in other types of enterprises, the employer covers 20% of the training cost. The training cost per employee cannot exceed 300% of the average salary in a given year. In 2017, 18 715 employers received support from the National Training Fund, resulting in training or other forms of assistance for 105,300 employees, which is an increase by around one-third compared to 2015.

A regulation concerning occupational/career guidance and counselling was introduced in September 2018 ([44]Regulation of the education ministry on vocational/career guidance in Polish schools entered into force on 1 September 2018.). Previously, occupational/career guidance/counselling had been implemented only on the basis of the provisions of the regulation on the principles of providing and organising psychological and pedagogical assistance.

According to the new regulation, occupational guidance is to be implemented in a planned and systematic way, in all types of schools, including VET schools. The regulation defines the goals as well as the terms and manner of implementing and organising guidance/counselling, including possible forms and detailed programme content, which vary depending on the school level.

The basic goal of guidance is to support students in the process of making independent and responsible decisions concerning their educational and professional life, based on learning about their own resources, the education system and the labour market.

Vocational guidance is to be conducted at all school levels, including:

  • Pre-schools [ISCED 0] - vocational pre-orientation
  • Primary school classes 1-6 [ISCED 1] - vocational orientation
  • 7th and 8th grades of primary school [ISCED 2] and secondary schools [ISCED 3] - vocational guidance activities.

Schools are required to develop their own programme to implement the intra-school guidance system for each new school year. This programme should include:

  • activities to implement occupational guidance (including the content of the activities, methods and forms of implementation, timeframe of implementation, persons responsible for implementation);
  • entities with which the school cooperates in this field.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

Colleges of social work leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (kolegia pracowników służb społecznych)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Colleges conduct a day, evening or extramural form of education.

Learning forms:

  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning – in-company training;
  • self-learning (allocation of hours is not specified).

The form, place and timetable of in-company training is determined by the director of the college in cooperation with the governing body, after consulting the Programme Council and the learners council.

Every college operates under academic and didactic supervision of selected HEIs.

Main providers

Colleges:

  • public colleges operated by regional authorities;
  • non-public colleges – operated by legal persons ([74]Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 15 September 2016 on colleges of social work. Journal of Laws 2016, item 1543.).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

around 24%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • general in-practice training in a social welfare centre;
  • general in-practice training in a 24-hour service;
  • specialist and graduate professional in-practice training.
Main target groups

Programmes intended for adults interested in obtaining the qualification of social worker.

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

Matura certificate is required to enroll. A medical certificate stating that the learner is able to practice as a social worker is also needed.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a college programme, learners must pass a final internal exam carried out by the examination board appointed by the head of the college. The diploma confirms that the learner has attained the qualification of social worker.

In selected colleges, operating under given HEIs didactic care, participation in the programme leads also to BA exam and BA degree. However this option is not compulsory.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The learner receives a diploma confirming the completion of a college of social work, certifying the qualification of social worker.

The graduation diploma is issued on the basis of documentation of the course of study conducted by the college.

BA certificate is also offered to programme graduates of selected colleges.

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

Colleges can also provide specialised training in the field of social welfare, in a field of specialisation in the profession of social worker and social work supervisors.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

College learners can enter the labour market or continue their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes.

In some colleges graduates who are interested in continuing their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes are offered recognition of the college curriculum.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

In some colleges it is possible to acquire validation of prior learning gained within programmes provided by HEIs.

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

<1% ([75]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Four colleges with 234 students.)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

Post-secondary school-based programmes leading to ISCED 453 (szkoła policealna)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
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

There are public schools offering education free of charge but also numerous non-public schools charging fees for education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. They are mostly school-based. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education.

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

  • public schools operated by local and regional authorities, associations, national companies;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations, companies, HEIs);
  • non-public schools without public school accreditation operated by different providers (companies- natural persons, commercial-law companies).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

≥ 48.5% for programme in stationary or extramural form ([69]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf .
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([70]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([71]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

On-the-job training, a distinctive form of practical training, is mandatory for learners of post-secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and (in the future) second stage sectoral programmes.

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

Learners should have a secondary education or secondary sectoral education (graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and second stage sectoral programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held.
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma (issued when a learner has obtained all qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Administration technician (technik administracji), cosmetics services technician (technik usług kosmetycznych), optician technician (technik optyk), numerous medical qualifications: e.g. dental hygienist (higienistka stomatologiczna), pharmaceutical technician (technik farmaceutyczny), electrocardiograph technician (technik elektrokardiolog).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Post-secondary programme graduates can enter the labour market. Those who have matura exam are eligible to continue on to tertiary education, however the programme does not provide such direct access.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([72]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

N

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<26% ([73]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/2018 school year].)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

Work preparation classes for SEN learners leading to EQF level 2 (oddziały przysposabiające do pracy)
EQF level
2
Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

15 ([47]This is a special programme for students at risk of early school leaving; in current legislation it is for 15-year-olds.)

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Classes combine general education and work preparation – both adapted to the individual learner’s needs and capabilities.

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Different forms of practical training available:

  • practical training in school;
  • practical training in VET schools (school workshops), continuing education centres ([48]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([49]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • in-company training.
Main target groups

For learners over 15 years old with special education needs (SEN), at risk of early school leaving.

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

For learners over 15 years old at risk of not completing primary school in the usual mode, who:

  • received promotion to grade VII; or
  • did not receive promotion to grade VIII.

Enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Primary school leaving certificate is issued to those who completed the programme (with a special note with information on completion of work preparation classes).

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete work preparation classes for SEN learners can enter the labour market or continue their education at the next EQF level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([50]Work preparation classes are not included in the statistics due to limited number of participants.)

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

Vocational upper secondary programme (technikum) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 ([51a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for upper secondary vocational programmes combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Vocational schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both practical and theoretical training).

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) and regional authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥16.4% ([51]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([52]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([53]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses – enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training - on-the-job training - is mandatory for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate. Primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • school leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniform secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary education;
  • vocational qualifications (vocational certificates) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are two-qualification occupations, for example: electrical technician (technik elektryk), automation technician (technik automatyk), multimedia and photography technician (technik fotografii i multimediów), construction technician (technik budownictwa), accountancy technician (technik rachunkowości), salesman technician (technik handlowiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of these programmes, after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura), are eligible to continue to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in the 1st quarter of 2017 the employment rate of recent vocational upper secondary programme graduates (one year after completing education) was 55.8%.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by the regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([54]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

56% ([55]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

First stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (branżowa szkoła I stopnia)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([56]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age; full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15.

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

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 60% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities and associations;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 33.7% for programme for graduates of phasing out lower secondary school gimnazjum

≥ 31.8% for programme for graduates of 8-year primary school ([57]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania].
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([58]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([59]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment.

A special type of work-based learning is provided through juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) for young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or primary education. In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools. Juvenile employment is based on a contract between the learner and employer. Juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training most often takes the form of training for a profession (nauka zawodu) – this is an apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at a first stage sectoral school (or in out-of-school forms) and the practical training organised by the employer on the basis of a work contract. It lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination. Practical training can also be organised by an employer in the craft trades, on the basis of a work contract. It also lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy).

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a basic sectoral education. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes; 
  • State vocational examination – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held; 
  • journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy) – exam for learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades. It has two parts: practical and theoretical. The practical part consists of tasks individually performed by a candidate. The theoretical part is both written and oral. Tasks are based on common examination requirements and the curriculum of the occupation.

As of September 2019, taking the State vocational examination or journeyman’s examination is obligatory for all learners as a condition for school graduation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a basic sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for a single-qualification occupation (after passing the State vocational examination and obtaining a school leaving certificate).

Learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades obtain a Journeyman’s certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are single-qualification occupations, for example: electromechanical worker (elektromechanik), locksmith (ślusarz), car tinsmith (blacharz samochodowy), gardener (ogrodnik), tailor (krawiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completion of this programme provides access to further education: at the second year of general upper secondary programmes for adults or in the two-year second stage sectoral programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([60]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

17% ([61]Own calculation based on
Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].
)

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

Second stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (branżowa szkoła II stopnia)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

19 ([62]Usually, the starting age of learners is 18, while the age of graduating first grade is 19.)

Usual completion age

20

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year. The curriculum of the second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects.

General education in this programme is planned to be limited, with the main focus placed on the vocational training to be conducted in the form of vocational qualification courses. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([63]Percentage of the hours foreseen for vocational education.)

Calculations of % WBL for second stage sectoral programme vary depending on the following criteria: a) form of teaching, b) type of profession, c) type of learner i.e. phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum) graduate or primary school graduate. Number of hours for vocational education (both theoretical and practical) is provided in the Core curriculum for education in the profession of sectoral education (Podstawa programowa kształcenia w zawodzie szkolnictwa branżowego; 215 professions in 32 industries) and according to the Teaching Programme totals not less than 50% of the total number of hours for a given form of teaching.

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([64]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.), vocational training centres ([65]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).) and with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training is on-the-job training, which will be mandatory for learners of second stage sectoral programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

This second stage sectoral programme aims at further developing the vocational qualifications attained in the first stage sectoral programme. The programme will be available to the graduates of the first stage sectoral programmes who obtained a qualification that constitutes part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school. This programme will be open to adult learners who want to expand their qualifications.

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

Learners should have a first stage sectoral school leaving certificate and a vocational certificate of a qualification constituting part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school.

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a secondary sectoral education, however, this is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • shool leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniformed secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Chemical technology technician (technik technologii chemicznej), hospitality technician (technik hotelarstwa), telecomunications technician (technik telekomunikacji).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Second stage sectoral programme graduates will be eligible to continue to tertiary education after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([66]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

Not applicable ([67]Second stage sectoral programmes will start operating from 1 September 2020.)

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

Special job-training programme leading to ISCED 243 (szkoła specjalna przysposabiająca do pracy)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([68a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

18

Learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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

Is it available for adults?

N

This is not intended for adults, but learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

It provides educational activities (personal and social functioning classes; communication skills development classes, creativity development classes, physical education and job training classes), revalidation activities, and job training classes.

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning is not specified by the regulations. Job training classes constitute over half of the hours foreseen for the educational activities. The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

This programme is intended for young learners with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.

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

Learners should have a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old. Additional enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education (certificate recommending special education or rehabilitation-and-education classes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

This programme leads to a job-readiness certificate (based on the teacher’s assessment) to perform specific tasks and not to a vocational qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive school leaving certificate and a job-readiness certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme can perform some tasks in certain labour market occupations.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

It provides educational activities such as (personal and social functioning classes, communication skills development classes and physical education).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The core curriculum for this programme includes the aims of training, school assignments, forms of classes and detailed teaching content.

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

1% ([68]Own calculations based on data from Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available