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General themes

VET in Belgium comprises the following main features:

  • compulsory education concerns learners until 18 years of age. At secondary level, dual learning or apprenticeship (alternating work-based learning and school-based education) is available for youngsters aged 15 and up [1]School attendance is required until 15-16 years old full-time and up to 18-part time.
    ;
  • education, training and employment are federated matters involving a great number of actors, including ministers for education and ministers for training and employment at each federated level.
  • formal certification is the dominant model in the VET field;
  • small territory and its geographic position;
  • three linguistic communities and migration flows result in linguistic challenges.

Distinctive features [2]Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Belgium. Luxembourg: Publications Office.  http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8091_en.pdf
:

VET providers in the education system are part of school networks (public and subsidised private education). They pursue common objectives (defined by minimum attainment targets), including common certification, and use common occupation profiles and VET standards, but enjoy some autonomy. This results in, and promotes, freedom of education choice for learners and their parents.

Strategy, policies and all measures involving employment and VET are negotiated with social partners, leading to formal sectoral agreements. Social partners are directly involved in organising programmes of alternating work and education, and continuous vocational training through framework agreements.

Different socioeconomic realities in the regions mean that Flanders, Wallonia, the German-speaking Community and the Brussels-Capital Region have different objectives and priorities. These are formalised in government strategies and plans which deal with, for example, language learning, new technologies, sustainable employment, training for young people or matching workforce skills to labour market needs. To address this issue, the concept of ‘school basin’ was created and developed in BE-FR; ten basins corresponding to ten geographical areas face specific socio-economic and educational realities inside the Community. In BE-FL, the concept of ‘Flemish partnership of dual learning’ has been developed, and throughout different phases of the organisation of VET, social partners are involved.

The coexistence of three official languages in Belgium remains a key challenge in all regions. Especially for a better integration of newcomers, knowledge of the language of instruction is an important matter within the VET (for instance, in Brussels, jobseekers are offered language job vouchers to improve their language skills and employment chances). Furthermore, this coexistence between the different government levels and divides, sometimes makes cooperation between partners difficult. Different legislative frameworks due to policy choices, can cause complications for pupils, students, or employers who are seeking interregional educational mobility.

Particularly in Brussels with its specific, tertiary economy and labour market, there is an important discrepancy between workers’ qualifications which results in high levels of unemployment amongst the low-skilled people. In response, governments are investing in VET but also coordinating interregional mobility. However, the coexistence of different government levels and divides in Belgium, sometimes makes cooperation between partners difficult. Different legislative frameworks due to policy choices, can cause difficulties for pupils, students, or employers who are seeking interregional educational mobility.

Participation in continuing training is set as an economic lever. Currently, low participation and low involvement of companies in training result in a lack of qualified work force amongst the already employed people to respond to the evolution of needs. This particularly happens in ICT jobs; companies are not properly prepared to the digitalisation of the workplace. Measures like the ‘Chèques TIC’ offer allow a jobseeker in Brussels to follow a complementary training. Efforts are also made to expand the offer of adult education, literacy and language learning. Policies aim at increasing synergy between the world of work and education. For example until 2017, companies were obliged to allocate 1.9% of wage costs to support lifelong learning programmes; a new inter-professional agreement signed by social partners from the private sector has since then set as rule that each employee has the right to five days of training per year [3]http://www.emploi.belgique.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=45772
. Some measures have also been implemented to increase or maintain the number of employees aged 45+ in companies [4]http://www.emploi.belgique.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=37939
.

Youth unemployment is a major concern for Belgian authorities. While there is a long tradition of dual learning in the German-speaking Community, this trend is being promoted in other regions and communities as a measure to avoid inactivity among young people. In BE-FR, the French-language Office for Dual Training [5]Office francophone pour la formation en alternance (OFFA).
 was created to coordinate and promote the dual training. In BE-FL, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training ‘SYNTRA Vlaanderen’ is in charge of a new system of dual-learning allowing secondary learners aged 15 and older to combine their studies with training at a company. Different tools and campaigns are developed in order to ‘market’ this new method of work-based learning, as a qualitative track on secondary level and, in the future, also in higher and adult education.

Data from VET in Belgium Spotlight 2017 and VET in Belgium 2018 Report [6]Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Belgium. Luxembourg: Publications Office.  http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8091_en.pdf ; Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

Population in 2018: 11 398 589.

Population increased since 2013 by 2.3% due to a positive natural balance (more births than deaths) and the growing immigration.

The population in Belgium is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to steadily increase from 28 in 2015 to 44 in 2060 [7]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 on 16.05.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

The population has increased at a rate of 9.42% between 2004 and 2018 in Belgium and 19.8% in Brussels – this number correlates with the high number of foreigners living in Brussels. In this context, the education system, including VET, accommodates more and more young people, often from various origins, also by establishing special VET providers for specific target groups [8]Source: Statbel.be
.

To tackle the coexistence of three official languages in Belgium, the emphasis is put on offering language learning at all education levels. Each Community/region organise language courses (French, Dutch or German, also as a foreign language targeting newcomers and migrants to facilitate social and economic integration including the access to vocational training).

Small and medium enterprises (SME) generate almost 70% of employment in Belgium. More than 99% of Belgian enterprises can be considered as SME (having less than 250 persons employed). Those are active mainly in branches like sales, car and motorbike repair, construction and specialised, technical and scientific activities.

Belgian economy, just like any modern industrialised economy, is characterised by the growing importance of services: the share of market services (including wholesale and retail, financial activities, insurance and energy) in the total gross value added represented 57.3% in 2017, while this share amounted to only 14.4% for industry and 5.2% for construction. The balance is distributed between non-market services (including healthcare) and agriculture [9]https://economie.fgov.be/fr/publications/apercu-de-leconomie-belge-note
.

The most common occupations in Belgium are office employees (general functions), store salespersons, office maintenance workers, hotels and other establishments, home helpers and general course teachers (secondary education) [10]https://statbel.fgov.be/fr/themes/emploi-formation/marche-du-travail/les-professions-en-belgique
.

The labour market is regulated for almost all matters at a regional level in Belgium (except for a small portion of territory in Wallonia where the labour market is under the German-speaking Community competence). Jobs within the public service are highly regulated and require specific level of diploma for almost all positions as well as a certificate of good conduct. Some professions are protected by specific  rules or require specific diplomas, patents or skills to run a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Those requirements concern jobs in the construction sector, car mechanics, body care services, food services and textile cleaning. A certificate of good conduct is also required for some intellectual professions such as estate agents, accountants, psychologists, architects and others.

Total unemployment (2018): 5.2% (EU28: 6%); it decreased by 0.74 percentage points since 2008. Further evolution is positive. In 2018, the unemployment rate reached its lowest point in decades.

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

NB: Data data based on ISCED 2011.
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 16.05.2019]

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. Unemployment among low qualified people aged 15-24 is significantly higher than in the other categories, however the trend has been diminishing in the past years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 80.3% in 2014 to 83.1% in 2018.

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.

ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.05.2019]

The increase (+1.8 pp) in employment of 20-34-year-old VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) in 2014-18 was almost the same as the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+1.9 pp) in the same period in Belgium. [11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

The share of people aged up to 64 with higher education is higher in Belgium than in other countries with rates similar to the United Kingdom or The Netherlands. However, the share of low educated people is also high compared to other EU countries. Belgium faces thus an important discrepancy in its citizens’ education.

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 on 16.05.2019].

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary (vocational)

upper secondary (vocational)

post-secondary non tertiary education (vocational)

20%

57.8%

93.1%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.05.2019].

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted on 16.05.2019].

In Belgium, the difference in participation in VET between male and female is less than 10% at each of the three levels (lower secondary, upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary vocational education). Usually, there are more males in VET with the exception of the upper secondary vocational education where females outnumber the males by 9.1%.

More males are following study fields like construction, heavy car or machines drivers, mechanics, while females more often enrol in services or personal care [12]Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07
.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.1% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2018. Comparatively, Belgium has better results than EU28 countries where the share decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 10.6% in 2018. The 2020 target was set at 9.5% and was thus already achieved though more ambitious than the overall EU objective (10%).

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18 (in percentage)

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 8.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2019-european-semester-national-reform-programme-belgium_en.pdf  [accessed 8.5.2019].

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18 (in percentage)

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

Participation in lifelong learning in Belgium has slowly increased in the past few years. In 2018, it reached 8.5% which is however still less than the EU28 average at 11.1%.

Education attainment in VET learners by age (in percentage)

Source: Eurostat, trng_lfs_15 [extracted 15.5.2019].

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education (ISCED levels 1);
  • secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Early childhood education is not compulsory and is generally provided at childcare institutions for children up to age six (the Ministry of Education is responsible for education starting at three).

Compulsory education starts at the age of 6 and lasts until 18 years of age. Those twelve years include six years of  primary education and six years of secondary education. Policies regarding learners subjected to compulsory education are under the supervision of the education ministry in each of the Community (Flemish, French and German-speaking Communities).

Primary school programme lasts six years, on successful completion learners acquire the Certificate of Basic Education (Certificat d’Etudes de Base, CEB) giving them access to secondary education.

General secondary education is a six-year programme divided into three degrees, each lasting two years. The achievement of each degree gives access to the next level. At the end of the first degree, learners have the possibility to remain in the general education stream (nationally referred as transition education) or to switch to the VET stream (nationally referred to as qualification education). Programmes at this level are offered as technical or artistic qualification programmes or as vocational qualification programmes. Programmes can be offered full-time, as dual learning or part-time. After having successfully accomplished the sixth year of general secondary education, learners obtain a certificate of upper secondary education (Certificat de l’enseignement secondaire supérieur, CESS).

Schooling institutions in Belgium are organised into networks: formal non-denominational education (organised by Communities, the French Community Commission, provinces and municipalities) and private education (non-denominational or denominational, organised by non-profit associations, religious congregations, etc.) thus offering parents the choice of the type of education they want for their children.

VET learning options in Belgium are available from a number of providers, each depending on one of the three linguistic Communities and delivering the learning in one of the three Regions.

The general pattern of VET learning options is similar in  every Community. They can be organised in four groups, according to the education level at which they are available: secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary, tertiary level and adult education.

Secondary level (ISCED 3)

At secondary level, four types of VET options can be distinguished.

  • Technical secondary education

Technical education is a school-based programme for learners who are interested in following more ‘technical’ subject courses (computer science, applied sciences, economics, etc. – in general secondary education, this time is devoted to more general subjects like languages, mathematics, etc.). At the end of the sixth year, the students receive a qualification certificate and a certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) which gives them the possibility to continue their education at a higher level.

  • Vocational secondary education

Vocational education at secondary level is a school-based programme targeting learners who wish to prepare for working life. Vocational education programmes are taught in various sectors like agronomy, industry, construction, HORECA, economy, etc. Basically, this type of education is organised in the second and/or third degrees (years four to six). A vocational certificate (nationally referred to as qualification certificate) is delivered at the end of the sixth year. An additional seventh-year allows students to obtain the CESS which gives them access to higher education.

  • Apprenticeships or dual programmes

This type of education is accessible to learners aged 15 if they have completed the first degree of secondary education or learners aged 16 and up without conditions. Apprenticeship can be either organised in schools or in training centres (IFAPME, SFPME, [13]IFAPME: Institut wallon de Formation en Alternance et des indépendants et Petites et Moyennes Entreprises – The Walloon Institute for dual training and self-employment in small and medium-sized enterprises.

SFPME: Le Service de la formation des petites et moyennes entreprise – The training service for small and medium-sized enterprises.

EFP: Espace Formation des PME (SMEs) – Training Place for small and medium-sized enterprises in Brussels.
​ EFP  for French-speakers in Wallonia and Brussels; SYNTRA for Dutch-speakers in Flanders [14]SYNTRA: Vlaanderen The Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
 and Brussels and the IAWM [15]Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for Vocational and Educational Training. 
is managing the​ ZAWM [16]Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung.
 training centres in the German-speaking Community) and are mainly work-orientated.

During the week, one or two days are devoted to theoretical learning at school or in the training centres and three or four days are devoted to training within an enterprise. A regulatory framework exists for apprenticeships: a signed contract stating the rights and duties of all parties involved (remuneration, holidays, etc.). A qualification certificate is delivered at the end of the sixth year (equivalent to the certificate received in the school-based system). An additional seventh-year allows students to obtain the CESS which gives them access to higher education.

  • VET for SEN learners

Special VET programmes are offered to learners with physical or mental difficulties in each Community. Learners receive a qualification certificate or, in some programmes, a CESS.

Post-secondary non-tertiary level (ISCED 4)

Post-secondary education includes follow-up programmes to technical and vocational secondary education and a graduate programme in nursing.

Tertiary level (ISCED 5 and 6)

Tertiary level in VET concerns professional bachelor programmes offering to acquire plenty of practical experience or dual bachelor and master programmes which offer theoretical courses and training within a company (40-60% time-division).

Adult education (starting at ISCED 1)

Adult education concerns all levels of education; diplomas and certificates can also be acquired by adults who did not have the opportunity to do it in the traditional pathway. Specific training programmes can be offered to jobseekers and workers by employment agencies (linguistic, computing trainings, etc.).

Training centres for apprenticeships presented above are also open to adults. They offer multiple programmes in  entrepreneurial, leading and coordinating trainings and are accessible for people aged 18 and up. People wishing to open their own business can acquire the necessary certificates in those centres. In Wallonia and Brussels, [17]Socio-professional Integration Centres – Centres d’insertion socioprofessionnelle.
​ CISP  and OISP [18]Socio-professional Integration Organisations – Organismes d’insertion socioprofessionnelle.
offer practical training in a business or in workshops to unemployed and vulnerable groups.

Specific associations are available for NEETS people. Their focus is to offer the opportunity for vulnerable groups to integrate the job-market more easily.

Specific features

There are many variations inside this system depending on the Community/Regions we are focusing on. Those variations concern the access modalities, the sector and programme availabilities, the costs, the duration of the training, etc.

Other forms of VET training are also organised by sectorial funds and unsubsidised private partners.

In Belgium, apprenticeships are offered to learners above 15 years old and takes place in the company (three to four days) and in a training centre (one to two days) where learners receive general, technical, theoretical and practical courses. The programme is based on a jointly agreed training plan and a training contract is signed by the employer and the apprentice; apprentices receive remuneration. These alternating trainings are organised by regional training providers [19]Information are based on following publication where you can find also further information on this topic:
Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
:

BE-FL

Apprenticeship programmes in the Flemish community is organized either by:

  • schools (Centra voor deeltijds onderwijs, CDO) or
  • SYNTRA training centres, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, which provides training in both the Brussels and the Flemish Regions.

In the part-time secondary education (Deeltijds Beroepsecundaironderwijs, DBSO) system offered by the CDO schools, the class council decides whether the learner has passed both the learning part and workplace learning. They also determine how he/she will be evaluated. In modular education: evaluation of a module/course can be done at any time of the school year (the dates are decided by the school). In linear education the examination takes place on 30th June.

In the apprenticeship scheme offered by SYNTRA training centres, the apprenticeship evaluation is permanent, both in the company and within the training centre. During the school year, account is taken of attitudes, evolution in the study results, tests, previous advices from the class council, evaluations from company mentor, to decide whether the learner has achieved the learning objectives. Both parts of the training are evaluated once per year. A final examination is organised at the end of the programme and is assessed by two jury member.

A framework for the roles and responsibilities of every partner involved is in place. During the time at school, the education provider is fully responsible for learners, whilst the time at the workplace is the responsibility of the company. SYNTRA Vlaanderen is the ‘manager’ for workplace training and has a focus on the quality and extension of workplaces. Education providers are responsible for certification. Since 1st September 2016 a special decree [20]http://data-onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/edulex/document.aspx?docid=14994
 determines the rights and duties of the parties involved, liability, remunerations, holidays and the way in which an agreement can be terminated.

In September 2018, SYNTRA Vlaanderen signed an international cooperation agreement with the Dutch Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education and the Labour Market to enable and encourage cross-border learning paths for apprenticeships [21]ReferNet Belgium (2018). The future of learning is dual, digital and international, 2018. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/belgium-future-learning-dual-digital-and-international
.

A new apprenticeship pathway called ‘dual learning’ has been formally adopted and will be fully implemented in Flanders from September 2019 [22]See also: Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

BE-FR

The apprenticeship programme in French-speaking Belgium, is organised by the following two regional organisations who are the responsibility of the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training in Brussels and the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training in Wallonia:

  • the IFAPME network in Wallonia;
  • SFPME/EFP in Brussels.

SFPME is responsible for guidance of apprentices and trainees, ensuring that traineeship agreements and dual training contracts are properly carried out in the companies. Furthermore, this organisation is also in charge of developing training standards and teaching tools, as well as managing the ‘EFP’ training centre and approval of the training businesses. Training centres all work closely with sectoral and professional representatives to stay in contact with the business world.

Since 2015, learners can enter the system without a dual training contract with an employer. However, they must take courses and are supported in their further search for enterprises or their reorientation if there is a shortage of businesses in the sector chosen or for other reasons.

There are examinations on general and vocational theoretical knowledge at the end of each academic year. The vocational accomplishments are continuously evaluated during the apprenticeship, and a practical test before a jury of professionals is organised at the end of the programme.

At the end of his/her training, an apprentice who successfully passes all the examinations obtains an apprenticeship certificate approved by the French Community. This certificate meets the requirements of the law on professional access in the case of a regulated profession and gives access to further training (‘entrepreneur’ as well as coordination and leadership training). It also provides sectoral recognition.

In certain occupations, the apprenticeship certificate is considered equivalent to the VET (nationally referred to as qualifying education) certifications (CQ6 + CQ7) and allows direct access to the 7th years of vocational education, providing access to higher education.

BE-DE

This apprenticeship programme in the German-speaking Community is organised by the IAWM [23]Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium sized enterprises.
  which is responsible for the general organisation, the management and the teaching methods. It manages two training centres (ZAWM), in Eupen and Saint Vith, and works actively together with all of the economic forces in BE-DE. The dual system in BE-DE relies on the active participation of sectors, local entrepreneurial workforce and professional associations, all involved in the management committee of IAWM. Consequently, the system is actually supported by the enterprises themselves and has close ties with the business world. IAWM also works with the employment office to integrate labour market trends into its training provision. This system is particularly popular and successful in BE-DE where it has nearly 10 times the number of apprentices found in the other regions (25% of the secondary technical and vocational learners opt for this pathway). It provides the certificate of completion of secondary vocational education at the end of the apprenticeship period as in BE-FL.

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

Due to the specific institutional system in Belgium, where competences are distributed between Communities and Regions, different actors are involved in VET governance depending on the linguistic and regional grounds [24]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

A major part of competences was transferred to the federated entities; however, in matters related to VET, the federal level is still responsible for the determination of the duration of compulsory education, the minimum conditions for the award of the education diploma and the pensions of teachers. Social security, to which VET learners are subjected to when they are no longer under parental care, is also governed by the federal institutions. It is also important to state that in Belgium, social partners are involved in the VET governance at all levels and in all federated entities.

VET governance at federated entities will be presented by linguistic groups.

BE-FL

For Dutch-speaking learners, VET is governed by the Flemish Government in Flanders and for learners in Brussels both the Flemish Government and Brussels’ regional authorities are responsible.

In Flanders, within the Flemish Government, both the Minister of Education and Training and the Minister of Work and Social Economy are in charge of VET.

  • Minister of education and training:

he or she is responsible for the formal education system, including initial secondary VET. A special department within the ministry cooperates with several agencies to implement policies:

  1. AGODI: the agency for education services;
  2. AHOVOKS: the agency for higher education, adult education, qualifications and study grants;
  3. VLOR: a strategic advisory council for education and training policies providing advices, practical implementation support to new governmental educational initiatives. Minister of Work and Social Economy.

He or she is responsible for VET for job-seekers and workers, as well as entrepreneurial training. Similarly, a special department within the ministry works with agencies that implement policies:

  1. VDAB [25]Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding – Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training.
    and
  2. SYNTRA Vlaanderen [26]SYNTRA Vlaanderen: The Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
    .

Advisory bodies participate in policy debates, they are the Flemish Economic Social Consultative Committee (VESOC) and the Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV). SERV is the advisory body on work, economy, energy and (vocational) education and training. It is also in charge of organising the secretariat of VESOC which is thus an ongoing forum for policy debates between social partners and the government; the meetings can result in official agreements.

BE-FR

For French-speaking leaners, three main bodies are responsible for VET governance:

  • the French Community Government,
  • the Walloon Region and
  • the COCOF [27]Commission communautaire française, French Community Commission, responsible for some competences for French-speakers in Brussels.  
    , responsible for VET competences.

Within each body, the education minister and/or the training minister [28]Minister of Vocational Training and Minister of Education at the COCOF; Minister of Higher Education and Adult Learning and Minister of Education at the French Community; Minister of Vocational Training and Employment at the Walloon Region. New governments decide about the distribution of tasks within its ministries (there can thus be one, two or three ministers involved).
are in charge of policy orientation, allocation of public resources and the legislation about VET organisation. Their administrations operationalise the education or training offer, determine the programmes and implement the profiles specified by the SFMQ [29]Service francophone des métiers et qualifications - the French-language Service for Jobs and Qualifications.
. The four training operators are also involved in the administrative decisions (Bruxelles Formation, le Forem, IFAPME and SFPME) [30]VDAB:  Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency. Bruxelles Formation: The Brussels Institute for Vocational Training. SFPME: Service Formation PME: the training service for small and medium-sized entreprises, in Brussels. EFP (Espace Formation des Petites et Moyennes entreprises: the training centre in Brussels for SME’s).
.

Specific case of Brussels (due to its bilingual status)

Thus, VET governance in Brussels is particular, involving actors from both the Flemish Government and the French Community Commission. They are acting through two public providers: VDAB and Bruxelles Formation (but also the SFPME and EFP for apprenticeships and entrepreneurs training and SYNTRA Vlaanderen for the dual learning).

BE-DE

The German-speaking Community is in charge of both the education and training system and the employment governance which allows them to organise their VET policy. Two ministers are responsible for these matters: the education minister and the employment minister. However, due to the small size of the Community, they rely on partnerships and are interdependent for financial, personal and strategic resources.

VET governance involves many actors and so is the financing, depending on the level, different institutions are responsible for the subsidies. Within the framework of the inter-professional agreements negotiated at federal level, the social partners have set as a new objective five days of training per full-time employed person per year.

BE-FL [31]See also: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-funding-3_en

VDAB (Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency): the work of the VDAB is largely funded by the Flemish Government, European Union and from invoicing to employers.

SYNTRA: SYNTRA centres are subsidised by the Flemish Government through the agency SYNTRA Vlaanderen (work policy area) [32]The Flemish Government comprises both the regional and communitarian competence.
and they receive European and Flemish contributions for specific projects. The SYNTRA centres receive: an operating subsidy for apprenticeships and certified programmes, and extra subsidies in case they deploy innovative or flexible programmes. The SYNTRA centres must supplement its subsidies out of its own resources, mainly derived from trainees’ registration fees.

The Centres for Adult Basic Education (CABEs) and Centres for Adult Education (CAEs) are subsidised/funded by the government. They receive their funding/subsidisation on the basis of the quantity of teaching provided expressed in trainee teaching hours. CABEs receive an operational allowance of EUR 1.90 per trainee teacher hour whereas CAEs only EUR 0.75 and thus covers their operating funds from registration fees (which can be reimbursed by the state for exempted learners).

The adult education consortia together receive a subsidy budget for personnel costs, operating costs and investments.

VOCVO, the Flemish Support Centre for Adult Education, receives an annual subsidy budget for personnel costs, operating costs and investments.

BE-FR [33]See also: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-funding-5_nl

Training for job-seekers and workers in the two regions.

Le Forem (the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement) is financed by subsidies provided out of the Walloon Region’s budget, contributions from the European Social Fund, companies’ contributions to training costs, promoters’ contribution in connection with the Unemployment Abatement Programme, contributions of the Federal Public Service for Employment, Work and Social Dialogue within the framework of cooperation agreements or conventions and various forms of income.

The Walloon government also finances socio-occupational integration operators, who provide basic training (OISPs and EFTs).

Bruxelles Formation (the Brussels Institute for vocational training) is financed by the federal state (under the terms of cooperation agreements) and by the ESF. The agency also receives subsidies from the French Community Commission, regional actors (Regional Government and the Brussels Public Employment Service, Actiris) and may receive bequests and donations. Some activities, such as worker training, also contribute to the revenues, albeit marginal.

Forty-one socio-occupational integration operators and nine local missions are currently authorised and financed by the French Community Commission. These bodies also receive support from Actiris (the Brussels Regional Employment Office) for the counselling and job search components of its work, and are cofinanced by the ESF.

IFAPME (Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia) receives subsidies from the Walloon Region. At European level, it receives subsidies mainly from the ESF and the ERDF. These cover the institute’s running costs, training activities and the centres’ property-related expenses.

SFPME-EFP (the training service for SME, in Brussels - the training centre for SME’s in Brussels) is subsided by the French Community Commission and receives funding from the ESF. A part of its budget originates also from the adult tuition fees.

Adult education (social advancement education, etc.): training sections and units are approved for subsidies by decision of the general responsible for social advancement education on the advice of the inspection service.

For institutions in the French Community network, a financial grant (also calculated on the basis of the number of learners) is allocated by the administration for management purposes. Learners’ attendance is also taken into account as subsidies are calculated in the basis of the number and category of periods attended (a deduction of the amount of registration fees paid by learners is made) – the grant depends on the level at which the courses are given (lower secondary, upper secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary education or higher level).

Partnerships: the controlling authorities of social advancement education may also form agreements with other education institutions, organisations, bodies, companies, persons or associations. Partners may cofinance all or part of the training. A rate for the cost of the teaching period, per level of education and per course category, is published whenever there is a change in the consumer price index. Non financed periods are deducted from the institutions’ periods endowment. Partners may also provide the institution with material resources needed for training, or make its premises available.

BE-DE

On its territory, VET centres are funded by the German-speaking Community according to the number of learners and the duration of the training. The education system also receives funding from the Province of Luxembourg, particularly for special education needs (SEN) [34]http://www.oecd.org/education/Education-Policy-Outlook-Country-Profile-Belgium.pdf 
. Apprenticeship organised by the IAWM and the ADG is financed by same system as le FOREM, VDAB, Bruxelles Formation and Actiris [35]IAWM: Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand und in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen / Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium seized companies in BE-DE. ADG: Arbeitsamt der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, Public Employment Service of the German-speaking Community. Le Forem: Office wallon de la Formation professionnelle et de l'Emploi/ The Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement. VDAB: Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding/ Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency. Bruxelles Formation: Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for Vocational Training. Actiris : Brussels Public Employment Service.
.

In Belgium, the VET system reflects itself in the type of existing teachers. The following types exist:

  • general subjects teachers;
  • vocational theory teachers (teaching vocational theoretical subjects);
  • vocational teachers of technical or occupational practice courses (e.g. in workshops).

The types are similar in the three Communities with some differences regarding the necessary qualifications. A certificate of good conduct is required for teachers and trainers at all levels.

Teachers

General subjects teachers have either a bachelor's degree (which give them the possibility to teach in the lower degree) or a master degree (for the upper degree). They are in charge of subjects such as mathematics, physics, languages, etc. In BE-FR, a recent reform (2018) of the teacher training system implemented a new system in which access to the teaching of each field is more regulated (priority is given to teachers in possession of the required subject title and the teaching certificate). The priority to teachers with required certification is also given in schools in BE-FL.

Vocational teachers of technical or occupational practice courses are required to hold an upper secondary education certificate (CESS), a validated professional experience and a CAP (teaching certificate). In Flanders, following the reform, experts from the professional sectors have access to an educational associate degree programme at university colleges (short cycle degree) if they have at least three years of professional experience. Experts already in possession of a diploma, will have the possibility to follow a shorter bachelor or master programme which will allow them to obtain a teaching diploma in only one year.

Trainers

We distinguish between the following trainers:

  • trainers (teaching general and vocational courses in apprenticeship programmes that were not implemented by schools);
  • practical training instructors (accompanying learners during their workplace practical training);
  • in-company trainers (tutors, supervisors/advisors).

A trainer must have at least two years of professional experience plus a diploma. The years of necessary experience increase the lower the level of the diploma (two to five years for bachelor's and master's degree; five to six years for the certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) or 10-12 years of professional experience with no diploma).

In Flanders, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training SYNTRA Vlaanderen started a project with several partners in mentor/tutor training. Those partners receive funding for the development of a mentor training programme, which can be used and implemented in various sectors. There is no legislative obligation for using these programmes though they are intended to strengthen the quality of the dual training system. However, starting in September 2019, the trainers in the workplace will be obliged to follow an ‘mentor training’.

Within the French-speaking Belgium, trainers of the four VET operators (IFAPME, Bruxelles Formation, SFPME and le Forem) [36]IFAPME: Institut wallon de Formation en Alternance et des indépendants et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises / Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia. Bruxelles Formation : Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for Vocational Training. SFPME : Service Formation PME / the training service for small and medium-sized entreprises, in Brussels. Le Forem : Office wallon de la Formation professionnelle et de l'Emploi / The Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement.
are, in general, professionals in the sector in which they give courses. This is compulsory in the dual training sector (IFAPME and SFPME).

In the German-speaking Community, all trainers are professionals in their sector. They run a business or are qualified employees. Their remuneration is higher if they are in possession of a teaching certificate.

Continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers at secondary level is mandatory. In the Communities the following approaches are applied:

  • in the French Community, teachers have to follow six half-days of training per year. They can also take courses on a voluntary basis;
  • every year, the Flemish Community grants a training budget for schools which will be spend according to a yearly training plan. Therefore, each school will train its teachers in subjects they consider to be needed;
  • in the German-speaking Community, teachers choose their courses freely from a list of courses established on the basis of the pedagogical plan defined by the ministry. They also may participate in training courses offered by the organising authority or the educational network to which they are affiliated. Each school can also organise up to three days (or six half days) of training per year. These may be educational conferences or trainings related to the school project. Finally, with the agreement of the head teacher, teachers may take other courses on a personal basis.

CPD of trainers is organised at internetworks or networks levels of training providers. Each establishment can also offer training options to its staff.

In the French Community training providers created FormaForm [37]https://www.formaform.be/
which is a joint initial and continuing training organisation, co-financed by the ESF. They transformed their initial training programme into a multimodal personalised programme lasting five days, including various learning processes and teaching tools (mainly digital). The programme is called FormaGo.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [38]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The labour market in Belgium is under regional competence and several actors are involved in anticipating skill needs, each working on its territorial entity.

In Flanders, at the regional level, a team from the Employment and Vocational Training Agency VDAB is in charge of the main tool concerning the definition of professional profiles: the web-based database ‘Competent’ [39]Competent’ can be freely accessed at the following website: SERV. Sterk door overleg. https://www.serv.be/serv
, which is thus the base used in the anticipation of skill needs. The employment service publishes each year a report on developments in the employment market, inadequacies between supply and demand in jobs and which certified qualifications are available. At sub-regional level, the Recognised Regional Collaboration Associations and the Regional Economic and Social Consultation Committees collect various data to study the specificities of the employment market and its requirements. Moreover, the Steunpunt Werk Survey Institute [40]https://www.steunpuntwerk.be/
is responsible for quantitative and qualitative supervision of the employment market and is set up to direct Flemish labour market policy.

Regarding the Walloon and Brussels Regions, two types of bodies work towards the anticipation of labour needs. First, the Basins of Qualifying Education – Training – Labour (IBEFE) [41]Bassins de l’Enseignement qualifiant – Formation – Emploi, IBEFE. 
were established through a cooperation agreement concluded between Wallonia, the French-speaking Community and the French-speaking Community Commission which are a link between all entities involved and allow a better development of VET offer. Second, at regional level, Wallonia and Brussels each have their own bodies responsible for collecting data on the labour market and needs.

  • Wallonia: the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement ‘le Forem’ is in charge of detecting future labour needs through its labour market watching, analysing and forecasting service. The Walloon Institute publishes analyses labour market needs.
  • Brussels: View.brussels [42]Previously Brussels Observatory of Employment and Training.
     is in charge of tracking the labour market and unemployment evolutions. They are also in charge of creating new methods of competence and needs anticipation in Brussels on which they later collaborate with the Brussels Institute for vocational training ‘Bruxelles Formation’ [43]Bruxelles Formation : Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for vocational training.
    .

Within the German-speaking Community (in charge of its own labour market), the public employment service ‘ADG’ collects, analyses and distributes information concerning supply and demand of the local labour market.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [44]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [45]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

In each Community, the government sets out the framework within which educational institutions can organise their programmes. The framework for provision of formal education system is set out in different acts or circulars, per educational level (secondary education, adult education and higher education). Alongside this general principle, each community/region has developed its own approach of defining or reviewing skills and qualifications in VET and assesses local needs [46]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

BE-FL

The Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency (VDAB) uses a web-based system called ‘Competent’ [47]The Social Economical Committee has been in charge of the database from 2012 to 2017, it was then transferred to the VDAB, the Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training.
 which is a database containing all professional profiles (with a description of activities, necessary knowledge, skills, etc.). This database is used for the creation of ‘qualification dossiers’ which are next organised into the Flemish Qualification Structure (related to the EQS’ 8 levels). These dossiers are validated by VDAB’s social partners, responsible for the development of professional and educational qualification standards. The first five levels, once they are revised by the Flemish Government, form the basis for educational qualifications and the standard references for education providers and dual learning programmes.

BE-FR

The ​SFMQ [48]Service francophone des métiers et des qualifications – the French-speaking Agency for Professions and Qualifications.
gathers Public Employment Services, social partners, all VET providers from the French-speaking Community and the Skills Validation Consortium. The agency is responsible for:

  • creating profession profiles reflecting the reality of the job;
  • creating training profiles based on professions needs and thus assure the consistency between the training offered and the job-market needs;
  • establishing the link between profiles and structures of public employment services and improving the legibility of qualifying education systems, trainings, skills validation and job offers;
  • setting common references and language for all partners.

Practically:

  • trades profiles are elaborated within a Professions Profiles Commission and then validated by the Chamber of Trades;
  • training profiles are developed within a Training Profiles Commission and validated by the Teaching-Training Chamber;
  • the Chamber of Trades provide a matching notice between professions and training profiles;
  • lastly, an opinion is formulated on the notice between first the professions profiles and the Skills Validation Consortium productions and second, between the training profiles from the SFMQ and training programmes from education and training providers.

BE-DE

Designing qualifications in the German-speaking Community is the responsibility of the Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises ‘IAWM’ [49]IAWM: Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand und in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen / Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises.
. The Institute works in close cooperation with the professional sectors, companies and professional associations. Whilst updating training programmes and developing new programmes, it continues to take due consideration of commercial opinions, socio-economic requirements and the working environment. These programmes take general and professional skills into account in addition to operational skills.

The pedagogical service of the Ministry of the German-speaking Community has the same role in the secondary VET schools as the IAWM has for the apprenticeship. Integration and training programmes offered by the Employment and Vocational Training Agency ‘ADG’ [50]ADG: Arbeitsamt der Deutschprachigen Gemeinschaft Belgiens / Employment and Vocational Training Agency in the German-speaking Community.
are designed in line with the situation on the employment market. Social partners, members of management committees, and the Employment Office are all involved in the decision-making. Moreover, the ADG is certified to issue training in the cleaning, office and construction sector.

BE-FR

Between 2015-18, French-speaking Belgium did not have a quality assurance national reference point (QANRP) in place, only a contact and dissemination point located in the education ministry. There was an inspectorate, carrying out mandatory external inspection of VET providers. Self-assessment was also in place, as most VET providers had their own quality assurance approaches.

A team had been appointed within the Ministry of Education to coordinate the ‘cross-diagnostics of schools, training centres and validation of skills providers’. A team of ’diagnosticians’ from education, training or validation of skills evaluate jointly the assessment processes of VET providers. This is an external evaluation in accordance with the reference framework set by EQAVET. Among the items under revision are the evaluation of the command of learning outcomes, the material resources, the monitoring of quality of the assessment of learning outcomes and of the staff who evaluates the learning outcomes.

Both Bruxelles Formation and the IFAPME are in possession of the ISO 9001 certification.

BE-FL

The Decree on quality in education of 8 May 2009 had stipulated that primary and secondary schools were responsible for their own quality and it was part of the school’s autonomy to decide how to conduct their self-evaluation. The quality assurance approach thus comprised internal reviews at VET provider level, however, external reviews could also be carried out by the inspectorate. Pedagogical support services assisted schools in strengthening internal quality assurance and their ability to implement policies. As with providers of IVET, CVET providers had to monitor their own quality systematically and had room in deciding on the procedure for it.

On the 14th of March 2019 the Flemish Parliament approved a new decree on common principles about the quality assurance in VET offered outside formal education but based on a professional qualification description that is formally linked to the Flemish Qualifications Framework (Vlaamse kwalificatiestructuur). The decree prescribes the terms for certifying professional qualifications by regulating the conditions for quality control. Every policy area can develop a quality assurance system for vocational training programmes that should respect the common conditions. Those are:

  • use the jointly defined quality assurance framework;
  • create an objective and neutral quality control organisation and procedure;
  • visit every training at least once every six years.

The quality assurance framework is in development and will be ready for use by Summer 2019. The first vocational training programmes based on professional qualifications will be organised by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

The scope of the decree is covering all the vocational training programmes offered outside formal education but relying on the professional qualifications standard. Vocational education is subject to the quality control by the Education Inspectorate. The jointly defined quality assurance framework will be aligned with the quality assurance framework of the Education Inspectorate.

BE-DE

There is limited information on quality assurance arrangements in the German-speaking Community. An external evaluation agency for VET schools and VET competence centres is in place. VET schools also apply to ISO compatible quality management systems (ISO 9001, ISO 14001).

In Belgium there are several mechanisms which take into account non-formal and informal training programmes. It is, however, necessary to distinguish the concepts of skills validation and the recognition of skills [51]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
:

  • validation of non-formal and informal learning leads directly to certification which may be used either on the employment market or to enter an education programme in inter-operator transfers.
  • recognition of non-formal and informal learning allows an individual to promote a certain previous pathway (experience, training) when joining a public VET provider or Adult education schools. There is thus no need to repeat the pathway in its entirety; the learner continues its training to obtain certification with the same provider.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning

In the French-speaking Belgium, the Validation Skills Consortium grants skills credentials on behalf of the three governments. They can be used on the job market and are recognised by public services for employment and adult education schools. It allows to navigate between all the vocational training providers as long as they are members of the Consortium.

In the Flemish Community, there is an equivalent mechanism, developed by the SERV and organised by the Flemish Government with approved centres. Despite the differences (concerning how awards are designed and how they operate), both skills validation systems are communicable.

In the German-speaking Community, a skills validation system is under development. A steering group is going to be set in place at the end of this year to elaborate a concept for a validation system.

Recognition of non-formal and informal learning

In BE-FR, universities, adult education and VET providers recognise previous acquired competences and skills of learners, which can have been acquired in any teaching and training or through professional and personal experience. There is thus no need for respective learners to follow the programme in its entirety; however they must still take the final examination.

IN BE-FL, the immediate result of a successful recognition process is a proof of competences, which then in turn may lead to access to higher education programmes, or to the award of credits or a full degree (on the basis of an exemption). Providers of adult education pay great attention to approving acquired competences, both with regard to dispensations and the certification of acquired competences. A distinction is made between the measuring and testing of acquired competences to benefit from courses exemptions applied by training centres and the assessment of professional competences. Adult education centres may act as assessment bodies for the delivery of the Title of Professional Competence. The recognition of acquired competences in the context of dispensations from course components is the responsibility of the director of an educational institution.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [52]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
.

Measures taken in all federated entities

  • Paid educational leave – employees are entitled to follow an official training programme of up to 120 hours per year with remuneration (125 hours in Flanders as from September 2019 and up to 180 hours in Brussels in some cases, such as for trainings linked to bottleneck occupations).
  • Within the framework of a recognised vocational training programme, jobseekers receive free training, continue to receive unemployment benefits, and in certain instance a training allowance, reimbursement of travel and child care costs during the training period.
  • Individual vocational training agreements within a company are targeted at jobseekers. By signing a tripartite agreement, they benefit from practical training within a company followed by a job contract of the length of the training at least. The employment office pays the trainee an allowance, a productivity bonus and a reimbursement for his travel expenses.

Incentives for learners are also offered by regional authorities as well as the German-speaking Community.

Brussels

  • Matching language cheque: available to the learner who has taken a language test before signing the employment contract, the individual language lessons costs are paid by the Brussels Public Employment Service (Actiris). These courses are aimed at improving knowledge of Dutch, English or French in order to better carry out one's work.
  • Professional project language cheque: enables jobseekers to benefit from specific language training specially geared towards anything that can be useful in finding a job.
  • TIC-job cheque: intended to facilitate the hiring of jobseekers who need to improve their computer skills. Actiris offers beneficiaries to follow a free IT training programme related to their job: 69 checks of this type were distributed in 2015.
  • Young jobseekers are offered training opportunities in the workplace if they sign an employment contract with a Brussels public interest body. This measure aims to encourage the social integration of young jobseekers and help them to better position themselves on the labour market through a combination of training and employment experience. The number of positions available under this programme has been increased as new occupations have been funded under the Youth Guarantee mechanism.
  • Availability waiver measure: allows a compensated unemployed person to be released from job search obligations in order to enrol in training, internship or to return to school. Therefore, refuse a job offer or pause in applying is allowed.
  • Youth work-study bonus: awarded to young people (under 18) who carry out practical training in companies for at least 4 months as part of their work-study programme (CEFA / CDO or SFPME). The amount of this premium varies between EUR 500 and 750.

Wallonia

  • Experiencing a professional situation: 3 to 15 days in a work environment, the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement (le Forem) offers reimbursement of transport costs and an all-risk insurance cover. This project is offered to jobseekers registered at le Forem and living in Wallonia.
  • EUR 750 are granted to learners having successfully completed their dual training contracts.
  • Outplacement check: it covers an outplacement fee of EUR 1 500, granted to any person over 45 years of age, who has been dismissed from the private sector and whose employer has not provided the outplacement measures (or when considered inadequate). Those measures are a set of services and guidance provided on behalf of the employer for the benefit of the worker to enable him to find a new job rapidly or to develop a professional activity. The first six months, 60 hours are devoted to guidance and help to find a job. These services are provided by a professional outplacement office.
  • EUR 350 are granted to job-seekers being registered at le Forem and having successfully completed a training in a bottleneck occupation.

Flanders

  • Professional transition programme: aims to recruit long-term unemployed people who are under-qualified, allowing them to gain experience and enter the job-market.
  • Training vouchers for employees and temps: aimed at employees in the Flemish or Brussels regions. Any employee without a secondary education diploma may benefit from a second voucher throughout the year. The total amount of vouchers issued per person is payable up to 50% by the employer and 50% by the Flemish authority. 91 597 vouchers were issued in 2014, 43 891 in 2015, 33 391 in 2016 and 28 507 in 2017.
  • Training bonus: for jobseekers who have been unemployed for at least 12 months and begin an educational training.
  • Financial benefits from the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency (VDAB): a jobseeker who follows training courses recognised by the agency will receive a refund of his registration fee and the cost of the learning material. She or he is also entitled to additional premiums.

German-speaking Community

  • Young people can do a company familiarisation placement which allows them to prepare for work, acquire professional experience, and gain a better understanding of the world of work. The recipients receive a small allowance in addition to their travel expenses.
  • The BRAWO project covers an employee’s training expenses up to one third with a maximal amount of EUR 1 000 per year.

Incentives for enterprises are offered by regional authorities as well as the German-speaking Community [53]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

Brussels

  • Work Training Bonus: intended to encourage the employer to train newly hired infra-skilled workers during the activation grant period. The bonus, with a maximum value of EUR 5 000, is granted in the case of a contract with an indefinite duration. It must make it possible to increase workers' skills in relation to the professional experience they develop.
  • Tutor premium: aimed at approved companies in Brussels which are involved in the dual training of a young person 15-25 years of age. The training must have a minimum duration of six months within the company. A tutor, who can supervise a maximum of 4 learners at the same time, is designated to transmit his skills. This premium amounts to EUR 1 000 per year and per tutor (and an additional of EUR 1 000 if the learner is from Brussels).
  • Aid for external training: depending on the size of the company and the sector of activity, the Region grants a premium to companies wishing to improve their activities and their competitiveness through training in the fields of day-to-day management and knowledge of business. The financial aid amounts to 50% of the costs, and ranges from EUR 500 to 5 000 maximum.
  • Material assistance for training programs through the availability of buildings and tools. This measure is aimed at companies in the manufacturing industry that wish to make available their facilities or tools for training or education purposes. These companies can obtain reimbursement of their costs through daily grants corresponding to the actual cost of the provisioning.

Wallonia

  • Training voucher: form of financial aid for continuing training, mainly of employees or self-employed, for companies employing less than 250 workers. The check is worth one hour of approved training; it is bought at the price of EUR 15 but has a face value of EUR 30. Depending on its size, the company can receive a number of training vouchers ranging from 100 to 800. In 2015, employees in the Walloon Region benefited from 684 827 training checks (533 354 hours of training).
  • Adaptation credit is a mechanism to promote training within companies, covering part of the costs of employee training. The training is supposed to lead to accreditation, whether specific or collective.
  • Adaptive credit - tutoring component is a mechanism similar to the one described above, but in which an experienced employee of the company agrees to be the guardian of another employee in order to train them.
  • Employers receive EUR 750 per young person trained within their company. To receive this grant, the training must be based on a contract of a minimum duration of 270 days (nine months), include an officially approved tutor and the young person needs to succeed in his year.
  • Self-employed workers who decide to train a young person for the first time receive a bonus of € 750 (once). This covers administrative expenses arising from social legislation.

Flanders

  • Through the ‘KMO’ (SMEs) portfolio, liberal professions, and private companies can receive 50% of funding (capped at EUR 15 000) for any initiative in the following areas: training, management consultancy, consultancy on internationalisation and innovation, in order to optimise management of SMEs.
  • Diversity in the work environment: companies, bodies, labour organisations in the commercial and non-commercial sectors and local administrations may request subsidies for a diversity plan they offer for disadvantaged groups. The priority target groups are immigrants, senior employees (50 years old and over) and disabled persons. Financial support is granted according to the type of plan and it varies between EUR 2 500 and EUR 10 000.
  • Admission training contract promotes the recruitment of jobseekers under favourable financial conditions. Jobseekers should be new graduates (secondary education at most) or have recently completed a training programme. The admission training is following by fixed-term recruitment or recent completion of a training programme.
  • Internship bonus: premium for companies that train learners in learning and working or dual learning with an alternating training agreement, an alternating training internship agreement or a part-time employment contract. The bonus is paid once per school year with a maximum of three times per learner (EUR 500 the first two times and 750 for the third).
  • ‘Target group reduction’ for mentors: companies can receive this reduction if they use one or more experienced employees as a supervisor / trainer for learners in dual training education. Reduction of a maximum of EUR 800 per quarter on the employer's social security contribution which companies pay for the employee who trains the learner). The company can only receive the target group reduction once (for one mentor) per started group of five learners.

German-speaking Community

  • An amount is allocated per hour of training within fixed limits of allowance and training time per employee. For companies, a total of EUR 9 (EUR 6 for large companies) is allocated per hour of training. The aid stands at a total of EUR 15 000 per annum for SMEs and EUR 20 000 per annum for larger companies. The training period may not exceed 150 hours per employee over a maximum period of 18 months.
  • Vocational training contracts can be offered to disabled persons by the Agency for a self-determined life [54]Dienststelle für Selbstbestimmtes Leben (DSL).
    . This measure grants the employer professional consultancy and a certain amount per month as a subsidy on the social security contributions for a tutor assisting young people with or without a disability during the training within their company.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

BE-DE

BE-FL

BE-FR

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Professional bachelor programmes

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-DE)

Professional bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Dual learning: school-based learning (20%) with in-company training (80%)
Main providers

Autonomous College AHS (Autonome Hochschule in der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft) in collaboration with the Vocational training centres ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Certificate of upper secondary education and a successful internship in the appropriate field of occupational activity.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Entrepreneur certificate and a bachelor’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Financial services and accounting, public and business administration

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Short cycle graduate degree programmes, 33% WBL

2 years

 

ISCED 5

(BE-FL)

Short cycle graduate degree (Graduaatsopleidingen)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

5

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

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

Graduate courses of 90 or 120 credits.

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

Focus is put on the workplace learning (learning and applying competence in real work situations), the programme is less theoretical than professional bachelor programmes.

Main providers

University colleges (Hogescholen)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=33%

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

Practical training in a company

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must possess the Certificate of upper secondary education or an equivalent certificate. Learners aged 18 without the required certificate, have the possibility to take an admission test.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduate degree (in a specific field)

Examples of qualifications

Architecture, Nursing, Education, Biotechnology, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the short cycle graduate degree have direct access to the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional bachelor programmes

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FL)

 

Professional bachelor (Professionele bachelor)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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

180 credits (60 per school year).

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

School-based learning with internships

Main providers

University colleges (Hogescholen)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training in a company

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must have obtained the Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year; it may involve a practical part. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Agrotechnology, digital arts and entertainment, hotel management, international journalism, music management, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a Ba-n-Ba programme (bridging programme) allowing them access to the Master level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional bachelor prog.

3-4 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

Professional bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

180 to 240 credits depending on the programme (each year counts for 60 credits).

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

School-based learning with traineeships offering practical experience in a work environment

Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • practice at the work place (end-of-studies traineeship).
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed the secondary level of education.

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

The certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur) is required to enrol in a professional bachelor programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised twice a year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Business management, accounting, account manager, marketing, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies on a master level. They may be required to follow a one-year bridging programme to do so.

Learners can also access a supplementary one-year bachelor programme (ISCED 6).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each professional bachelor programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Dual bachelor prog.

WBL 40-60%

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

 

Dual bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

180 credits

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

School-based learning combined with work-based learning (proportions are 40%/60% both ways)

Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Universities

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40-60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (learning by doing system);
  • practical training within the education facility.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed the secondary level of education.

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

Learners must hold a certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised twice a year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Dual Bachelor in mechatronics and robotics

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the dual bachelor programme are ready to enter the labour market. They can, if they choose, continue their studies at a higher level, either with a dual master or a master programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competencies are specific to each study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Bachelor special.

1 year

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

Bachelor specialisation
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

60 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • traineeship
Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Traineeship (practical training at the work place)

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed a professional bachelor programme.

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

Learners must hold a professional bachelor's degree.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Mediation, distribution management

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed their one-year specialisation can enter the market labour directly or continue their studies at a master level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Dual master prog.

WBL 40-60%

2 years

 

ISCED 7

(BE-FR)

Dual master programmes
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

7

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

120 credits

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

School-based learning combined with work-based learning (proportions are 40%/60% both ways).

Main providers
  • University colleges (Hautes Ecoles),
  • Universities.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40-60%

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

Programmes are available for adults having completed a bachelor programme.

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

Learners must hold a bachelor's degree (traditional, dual or professional bachelor).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised during the school year, they can be theoretical and practical.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master's degree

Examples of qualifications
  • master's degree in analytical engineering biochemistry;
  • master in production management;
  • master's degree in general service management;
  • master's degree in construction site management specialising in sustainable construction;
  • master in electromechanical maintenance management;
  • business analyst.
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed a dual master’s programme can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Nursing programme

3 years

 

ISCED 4

(BE-DE)

Nursing programme
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

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

The programme leads to a formal, officially recognized diploma which grants access to the reglemented profession of nurse responsible for general care.

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based programme for theoretical lessons and clinical practice for practical training
Main providers

Autonomous Higher Education Institution (Autonom Hochschule in der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, AHS)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

To enrol in the nursing programme, learners must meet one of the following requirements:

  • successfully complete the sixth year of vocational secondary education;
  • pass the board examination of the German-speaking Community;
  • provide a training certificate from the employment office of the German-speaking community (covering at least 1 300 hours of training).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Theoretical and practical examinations are organised throughout the programme. Learners are also required to write a thesis during their last year of studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Health and Nursing Certificate meeting the requirements of the European directive 2005/36/CE.

Examples of qualifications

Nurse responsible for general care

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market. The nursing programme gives also access to tertiary education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing programme in line with national legislation.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Master craftsperson

programme, 2-3 years

 

ISCED 4-6

(BE-DE)

Master craftsperson programme (Meister)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4 to 6

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

as it leads to formal, officially recognised diplomas.

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Training centre-based learning (theoretical knowledge) and practical lessons
Main providers

Vocational training centres ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company training
  • theoretical lessons at training centre
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults who wish to become a qualified entrepreneur or open their own enterprise.

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

Access to the master craftsperson programmes is reserved to people who already have basic vocational training in the profession or who have demonstrable experience with a definite business project.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The master craftsperson exam consists of three parts: the management, the subject (theory), the subject (practical examination). To receive the master craftsman certificate, learners must succeed in all three parts of the examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master craftsman certificate

Examples of qualifications

Food related qualifications: butcher, baker; commercial qualifications: designer for visual marketing, etc. [62]For more information, see: https://www.zawm.be/fileadmin/user_upload/Meisterkurse_2018-2019_Angebote_Version_1.04.18.pdf

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Graduate degree programme in nursing

(HB05)

3 years

 

ISCED 5

(BE-FL)

Graduate degree in nursing (HBO5, hoger beroepsonderwijs, Verpleegkunde)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

5

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with internships (practical learning)
Main providers

Schools for full-time secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Internship in a work environment (hospital), clinical training

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Learners aged 18 can access the programme with the following qualifications:

  • certificate of secondary education;
  • 3rd degree certificate (BSO) – no age requirements;
  • certificate of secondary adult education (at least 900 lessons).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • partial certificate after successfully completing a module;
  • graduate in nursing after successfully completing all the modules.
Examples of qualifications

Nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies in tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Follow-up technical programme,

1 year 

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FL)

Follow-up programme to technical secondary education (Secundair-na-secundair onderwijs, Se-n-Se)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning combined with workplace-based learning

Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training within a company

Main target groups

This programme is available to young learners who want to follow an education allowing them the choice between entering the job market or continuing into tertiary education.

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

Learners must have successfully completed their 6th year of technical secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised during the school year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate

Examples of qualifications

Pharmacy assistant, agriculture, chemistry, computer technology, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners may enter the labour market directly or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Complementary degree in nursing

3 years

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FR)

Complementary degree in nursing (Brevet infirmier hospitalier)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (theoretical and practical courses specific to the field);
  • traineeships (regular practice in clinical environment).
Main providers

Schools for post-secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

The Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) is not a mandatory condition for entrance; however, students who did not yet hold it, obtain it at the end of the first year (if they succeed). It is also accessible to those who hold certain adult education certifications.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass final examinations (both theoretical and practical).

Diplomas/certificates provided

hospital nursing licence;

hospital nursing licence - mental health and psychiatry orientation;

learners who accessed the training without the CESS (Certificate of upper secondary education), obtain it at the end of the first year.

Examples of qualifications
  • Degree in nursing,
  • Degree in nursing – mental health and psychiatry. 
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing studies.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical and vocational follow-up prog.

(school-based; or dual with 60% WBL)

1 year

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FR)

Technical and vocational follow-up programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is available to adult through adult education.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical and practical lessons);
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Secondary Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people having completed a vocational programme.

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

Learners must be in possession of a certificate issued by a vocational programme or technical ones (Qualification Certificate 6, level ISCED 3).

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners may receive two certificates simultaneously: the Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) and/or a Qualification Certificate (CQ7, ISCED 4).

Examples of qualifications

Management of small businesses.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this VET programme can enter the labour market directly. This special 7th year also gives learners from qualification education access to the tertiary level of education:

  • Bachelor programmes,
  • Dual bachelor programmes,
  • Professional bachelor programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the VET sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

Technical VET programme [57] (Technischer Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3 [58]

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical-theoretical lessons)
  • practical learning
Main providers

Schools for technical secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

This depends on the chosen track.

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners within the compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Accessible to learners aged 15 having successfully completed the first degree of education (and thus met the full-time education requirement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme.

After successfully completing nine years of education, learners obtain the certificate of lower secondary education (Abschlusszeugnis der Unterstufe).

Examples of qualifications

Education, office assistant.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this VET programme can continue their studies within the same stream to achieve the complete technical programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress in one of the following programmes: 

  • general programme;
  • vocational programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive both a general and a technical education.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Technical VET programme [59] (Technischer Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical-theoretical lessons)
  • practical learning
Main providers

Schools for technical secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It depends on the chosen track.

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Accessible to learners having successfully completed the first degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the technical option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Abschlusszeugnis der Oberstufe des Sekundarunterrichts)

Examples of qualifications

Education, office assistant.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the technical programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies in a bachelor or professional bachelor programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive general and technical education and thus have access to the labour market directly or can continue their education at tertiary level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

Vocational programme (Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It depends on the chosen track.

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

practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to young learners up to 18 years old and also to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

To access vocational education at school, learners must either be aged 15 and have completed the first degree of secondary education or aged 16 without any further conditions.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised throughout the programme and learners need to succeed them to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme. After successfully completing year 10, learners receive the certificate of lower secondary education (Abschlusszeugnis der Unterstufe).

Examples of qualifications

Family assistant (services to persons), nursing assistant, sales and clothing, administration and management.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completing this VET programme allows learners to continue their education within the programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress in one of the following programmes: 

  • general programme;
  • technical programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive a general and a vocational education. 

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Vocational programme (Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

This programme is offered to learners who successfully completed the second degree of vocational training.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to receive their certificate of 6th year vocational education. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of 6th year vocational secondary education

Examples of qualifications

Family assistant (services to persons), nursing assistant, sales and clothing, administration and management.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a 7th year of vocational education allowing them to obtain the Certificate of upper secondary education. They can also enrol in a nursing programme of three years.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18), access to and from all

other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

 

Vocational education and training for special education needs (SEN) learners (Förderschule)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

12

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

6

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Information not available

Main providers

Centre for Special Education (Zentrum für Förderpädagogik)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school-based learning
  • dual learning (school-based and work-based training available to allow a better social integration)
Main target groups

The programme targets SEN learners aged 12 but not older than 21. The special needs must have officially been determined in accordance with the procedure fixed by law (Article 93.7 of the decree of 31 August 1998).

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

Information not available

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeship

80% WBL

2-3 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Apprenticeship (Lehre)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

10 - The programme is offered by training providers, not at school.

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual learning programme: training centre-based learning (1/2 days/week) and practical training within a company (3/4 days/week)
Main providers

IAWM (Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium sized enterprises) manages the programme. The learning is provided by ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstands) centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (3/4 days in a company and 1/2 days at the training centre)
Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. Also available to young people to 25 years of age with conditions.

The programme is available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

To access the apprenticeship programme, learners must be at least 15 years old and have completed the second year of general education or the third year of secondary vocational education, or they must be 16 years old without any further conditions. IAWM, the Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises in BE-DE, also organises entrance examination for learners who don’t meet these requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised for all courses and some are specific to the vocational programme. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a qualification certificate at the end of the last year of the programme which allows them to start their professional life immediately.

Examples of qualifications

Bakery, butcher, metal, cooking, mechanics.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete an apprenticeship can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary level by directly accessing the Master Craftsperson (Meister).programme or following the nursing programme. Learners who want to continue their studies at tertiary level need to continue their secondary education with a 7th complementary year.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

General subjects such as mathematics, French, German are part of the VET programme.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Programme for HE access, 1 year

 

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Programme for higher education access (7. Jahr Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education 

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is aimed at learners aged 18+. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Learners must have completed the sixth year of vocational education or an apprenticeship to access the 7th-year.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of the year, they may combine theoretical and practical knowledge. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners are granted a certificate of upper secondary education.

Examples of qualifications

Digitally controlled machine tools, nursing assistant, children’s caregiver, etc. [61]For more information, see: https://www.ostbelgienbildung.be/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-2240/4392_read-31714/

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can access the labour market with their certificates or they can continue their education in tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Technical secondary education (Technisch secundair onderwijs, TSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education applies to learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning with technical-theoretical classes and practical lessons

Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access technical secondary education after having completed two years in general secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations in the general courses and technical option are organised throughout the programme. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of this VET programme allows access to the next education level within this and other programmes.

Upon successfully completing the two years of this programme, learners receive a certificate of the second degree of secondary education (getuigschrift van de tweede graad).

Examples of qualifications

Construction techniques, fashion, electromechanics, electrical engineering, photography, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies on the next level within the same programme.

Besides, they also can progress at the next education level one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme;
  • vocational programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Technical secondary education (Technisch secundair onderwijs, TSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with technical-theoretical classes and practical lessons
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners must have completed four years of secondary education to enter the programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations in the general courses and technical option are organised throughout the programme. A practical part may also be organised. Learners need to succeed to receive their certificate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs)

Examples of qualifications

Construction techniques, fashion, electromechanics, electrical engineering, photography, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary or tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Vocational secondary education (Beroepssecundair Onderwijs, BSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with theoretical subjects supporting the practical learning
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access the vocational programme after having completed the first two years of general secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme.

Upon successfully completing the two years of this programme, learners receive a certificate of the second degree of secondary education (getuigschrift van de tweede graad).

Examples of qualifications

Basic mechanics, construction, accounting, retail, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this VET programme can continue their studies within the same stream to achieve the complete vocational programme.

Besides they also can progress at the next education level one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme;
  • technical programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Vocational secondary education (Beroepssecundair Onderwijs, BSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with theoretical subjects supporting the practical learning
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access the vocational programme after having completed four years of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised. Learners need to succeed to obtain their certificate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate

Examples of qualifications

Basic mechanics, construction, accounting, retail, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a one year follow-up programme granting them a Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs) (and giving them access to tertiary education) or continue their studies at post-secondary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeships organised by SYNTRA centres (80% WBL)

or by vocational prog. schools (60% WBL)

2-3 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FL)

Apprenticeship programmes (Leren en werken, Duaal leren in deeltijds beroepssecundair onderwijs, DBSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Leren en werken (organised by schools): general, technical, theoretical and practical courses for two days/week at school and in-company training during three days/week.​
  • Duaal leren (organised by training centres): general, technical, theoretical and practical courses for one day/week at the training centre and in-company training during four days/week.
Main providers
  • Schools (Centra voor deeltijds onderwijs; CDO);
  • training centres of SYNTRA, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school/in the training centre;
  • in-company practice (three or four days/week).
Main target groups

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Available to young persons between 16 and 25 years old.

Every 15-year-old who has completed at least the first two years of full-time secondary education is admissible. At the end of the school year (30 June) in which the young person turns 25, the apprenticeship ends.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Depending on the programme, learners can obtain a:

  • certificate of acquired competences;
  • partial certificate for a module;
  • certificate of a course;
  • 2nd degree secondary education certificate;
  • study certificate from the 2nd year of the 3rd stage of secondary education;
  • secondary education diploma;
  • certificate about the basic knowledge of business management.
Examples of qualifications

Hairdresser, waiter, childcare supervisor, sports coach, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary level or, if they have obtained their Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs), learners can access tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18),

access to and from all other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FL)

VET for SEN learners (Buitengewoon secundair onderwijs, BUSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

6

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning

Main providers

Schools for special education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

VET for SEN learners is offered to youngsters with special needs aged 12 to 21 years old.

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

Learners can register in a school for special education once they have received a report for special education. This report is prepared and delivered by the Centre for Student Guidance (CLB) and integrates a certificate and a protocol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

After following the common curriculum, learners obtain the same certificates as the other students.

After following an individually adapted curriculum, learners obtain a certificate of acquired competences.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who have completed a SEN VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Adult education prog. equivalent

to secondary level prog.

(16+ and 18+)

incl. follow-up prog.

 

ISCED 2-4

(BE-FL)

 

Adult education programme equivalent to secondary level programmes (Secundair Volwassenenonderwijs, SVO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Yes and No

Courses are free for jobseekers but workers (or their employers) have to pay to attend specific courses.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/distance-learning: a form of learning which consists in learning the subject matter individually, either at home or at work;
  • E-learning (digital platform);
  • practical learning in a training centre: ‘group learning' or 'centre learning' offered [by the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency ‘VDAB’ as well as by external training providers];
  • open learning: a form of learning the subject matter individually and at your own pace in a competence centre (organised by VDAB);
  • blended learning: a combination of learning methods e.g. combination group learning & online learning or group learning & open learning;
  • part-time working and VDAB Dual learning (depending on the chosen form of learning, young people may have to register with VDAB);
  • workplace learning: the jobseeker learns a job on the ‘work floor’.
Main providers

Centres for Adult Education (Centra voor volwassenenonderwijs, CVO)

Training centres of SYNTRA (the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training)

VDAB centres (Public Employment Service)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • practical training in a training centre;
  • learning at a workplace: the focus is on customization, the jobseeker learns a job 'on the work floor';
  • apprenticeship training.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults, unemployed people who want to obtain a certificate but also to workers who wish to gain more knowledge.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol (or 15 if they have completed the first two years of secondary education). Specific conditions may apply depending on the programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous evaluation is organised during the school year. Some centres organise additional exams, others do not (e.g. when a module is completed).

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • partial certificate for a module;
  • certificate for a complete module;
  • certificate of upper secondary education;
  • certificate in Business Management.
Examples of qualifications

Bus driver, tourism related qualifications (guide, travel agent), electrician, languages qualifications, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or, if they have obtained the certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs), continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical or artistic prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual for 15+ with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Technical or artistic VET programme (enseignement technique ou artistique de qualification) [63]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education applies to learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

The programme is offered to adults through the adult education system.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/e-learning;
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • technical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 14/15, having completed the first degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. At the end of the programme, examinations are organised in the general courses and in the chosen grouped basic subject option. Examinations also include a practical part. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

After this programme, learners obtain an official certificate giving them access to the next education level within the same programme or to continue in a different system of education. 

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, office employee, retail employee, electrician, mechanic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After this programme, learners can access the next education level within the same programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress to one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme (nationally referred to as transition education);
  • vocational qualification programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical or artistic prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Technical or artistic VET programme (enseignement technique ou artistique de qualification) [64]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/e-learning;
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Schools for qualification education [65]VET is nationally referred to as qualification education.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • technical training at school;
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training.
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 16, having completed the second degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. At the end of the programme, examinations are organised in the general courses and in the chosen grouped basic subject option. The examination also includes a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification Certificate (CQ6) Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur)

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, office employee, retail employee, electrician, mechanic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market with the qualification certificate. The certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) allows learners to continue their studies in post-secondary and tertiary education:

  • Bachelor programmes (ISCED 6);
  • Dual bachelor programmes (VET, ISCED 6);
  • Professional bachelor programmes (VET, ISCED 6);
  • Entrepreneurial & leading and coordination training (Adult Learning, ISCED 4 & 5);
  • Nursing (ISCED 4);
  • Technical and vocational follow-up programme (ISCED 4).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual for 15+ with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Vocational programme (enseignement professionnel de qualification) [66]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

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?

Y

This programme is offered to adults through the adult education system.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning/dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company)

Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training.
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Available to learners aged 14 and up.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations also include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After this programme, learners obtain an official certificate giving them access to the next education level within the same programme or to continue in a different system of education.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant in animal care, jeweller, butcher, baker, truck driver.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After this programme, learners can access the next education level within the same programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress to one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme (nationally referred to as transition education);
  • technical or artistic programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Vocational programme (enseignement professionnel de qualification) [67]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

Y

This programme is offered to adults through the adult 

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • self-learning/e-learning
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company)
Main providers

Secondary Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical and technical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 16, having completed the second degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Practical examination may be organised. To complete this VET programme, a final examination is organised at the end of the last school year, it must include a practical examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification Certificate (CQ6)

Examples of qualifications

Assistant in animal care, jeweller, butcher, baker, truck driver.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at the post-secondary level:

  • technical and vocational follow-up programme (1 year, ISCED 4),
  • complementary degree in nursing (3 years, ISCED 4).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18),

access to and from all other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FR)

VET programmes for SEN learners (enseignement professionnel au sein de l’enseignement spécialisé)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

12

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

6 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • dual learning (school-based and work-based training available to allow a better social integration).
Main providers

Schools for special education needs

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people aged 12-18 in need of special education.

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

No minimum entry requirements, dual training education system is available from 15 years of age. Enrolling require specific administration procedures (from the medical point of view).

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET for SEN is offered in four different streams, which each lead to a different certificate of completion:
1) social adjustment;
2) social adjustment and training in work skills;
3) vocational education;
4) general, vocational, art and technical education.

SEN of stream 2 and 3 leads to the Qualification Certificate.

SEN of stream 4 awards the same diploma/certificate as normal education of the same type: qualification certificate and/or certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur).

Examples of qualifications

Personal care, HORECA, administrative work, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners from stream 4 (in some cases also from stream 3) can access upper secondary VET programmes.

Furthermore, those who complete VET under stream 4, can also enter the labour market or continue their studies:

  • Bachelor programmes (3 years, ISCED 6),
  • Dual bachelor programmes (3 years, ISCED 6),
  • Professional bachelor programmes (3-4 years, ISCED 6).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeship offered by

regional training providers 80% WBL

3 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Apprenticeship programme (formation en alternance)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is offered to adults up to age 25.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual learning (one day at school and four days within a company)
Main providers
  • centres for dual education and training, CEFA
  • training providers for small and medium enterprises, SFPME/EFP, IFAPME
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (learning by doing system)
  • practical training within the training facility
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults (up to 25 years of age).

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

There are examinations on general and vocational theoretical knowledge at the end of each academic year. The vocational accomplishments are continuously evaluated during the apprenticeship, and a practical test before a jury of professionals is organised at the end of the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeship certificate approved by the French Community.

In some occupations, the apprenticeship certificate is considered equivalent to the certifications of qualifying education (CQ6 + CQ7) and allows direct access to the 7th years of vocational education. In this way a transition from dual training to higher education is possible (higher education is also accessible via adult education or the juries of the French Community).

Examples of qualifications

Baker, hairdresser, florist, electrician, builder, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies:

  • adult learning (entrepreneurial & leading and coordinating training, ISCED 4 & 5).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Adult education prog. at

primary, secondary and tertiary levels

(age 18+ and partly for 15+)

 

ISCED 1-7

(BE-FR)

Adult education programmes at primary, secondary and tertiary levels
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

1 to 7

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+ (partly for 15+)

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

This programme is specifically designed for adults.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet at primary or secondary levels.

Tertiary education: 180 credits (bachelor programmes) or 120 (master programmes).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • modular approach with flexible schedule – theoretical and practical learning within an adult centre, and an traineeship;
  • self-learning/e-learning.
Main providers

Adult Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical learning within the adult centre and a traineeship

Main target groups

These programmes are targeted at adult wishing to obtain a degree or certificate for primary education, secondary education, specific qualifications for teachers (CAP and CAPAES) and higher education qualifications, including professional Bachelors and Masters for certain professions.

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

Anyone who is no longer subject to compulsory education (18 years of age) can be admitted unconditionally to adult education, except in special cases in which access can be authorised as of 15 years of age (they have to be registered in a school or a training centre to access this programme).

Assessment of learning outcomes

A finale examination is organised to obtain the certification.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • Alpha Certificate (certificate for reading and writing skills);
  • basic education certificate (CEB);
  • adult education qualification certificates (CQ6 + CQ7), adult education Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS);
  • teaching certificate (CAP);
  • higher education teaching certificate (CAPAES);
  • bachelor's diploma;
  • master's diploma.
Examples of qualifications

The adult education learning system offers the same qualifications as the ‘regular’ system.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The Alpha Certificate is a basic education tool which gives access to the Basic education certificate (CEB).

The CEB allows learner to continue their education at secondary level (either in general, technical or professional secondary education).

Obtaining the certificate of upper secondary education through adult education gives access to the tertiary level education.

With a qualification certificate, learners may also choose to enter the labour market immediately without pursuing to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Adult education programmes

(15+ and 18+ olds)

 

ISCED 2-5

(BE-DE)

Adult education programmes (Erwachsenenbildung)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-5

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

15+, 18+

Usual completion age

15+, 18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Information not available

Main providers

13 recognised and subsidised adult education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Adults can obtain formal certificates of secondary education. 

Examples of qualifications

Electrical engineering and maintenance; housekeeping, cooking and sewing; nutrition professionals; etc. [60]For more information, see : https://www.weiterbildungsdatenbank.be/

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who obtain their Certificate of upper secondary education can enrol in tertiary education. Adults obtaining a qualification certificate can enter the labour market immediately.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

CVET for employees

(sectoral training funds)

 

 

(BE-FR)

 

 

Continuing VET for employees (formation continue pour adultes)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

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)
  • dual training (theoretical courses at a training centre combined with in-company practice);
  • training centres courses.
Main providers

Training providers:

  • Bruxelles Formation, the French-language public service for vocational training in Brussels;
  • Le Forem, the Employment and Vocational Training Agency in Wallonia.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning depends on the programme.

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive a certification of accomplished training.

Examples of qualifications

Enhancement of social, linguistic and digital skills in particular, but also short training courses related to their occupations.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

This programme aims at giving the opportunity of enhancement of skills for workers.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 4 & 5

Entrepreneurial & leading

and coordinating training

 

ISCED 4, 5

(BE-FR)

Entrepreneurial & leading and coordinating training (formation en chef d’entreprise, formation de coordination et d’encadrement)
EQF level
4 & 5
ISCED-P 2011 level

4 & 5

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

Information not available

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

Dual learning programme (work-based with theoretical courses at the training centre)

Main providers

Training providers:

  • IFAPME, the Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia;​
  • SFPME/EFP, the training service and the training centre for small and medium-sized enterprises, in Brussels.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning provided by training centre and companies depends on the programme and the training provider.

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

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

The courses are open under conditions to participants over 18 years of age who have completed the compulsory education requirement. For some professions the access conditions are stricter, for example by requiring the CESS, as for estate agents or accountants.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Entrepreneurship training degree

Examples of qualifications

Commercial agent, estate agent, accountant, financial advisor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners that have completed the training can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Publicly subsidised training

for unemployed and other vulnerable groups

 

 

(BE-FR)

Publicly subsidised training for unemployed and other vulnerable groups (Formation subsidiée par l’autorité publique pour les sans emploi et autres groupes vulnérables)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

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)
  • school-type learning within the training facility;
  • practical training (workshops within the facility) and in-company training.
Main providers

Socio-professional Integration Centres

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in a business;
  • practical training in workshops within the training facility.
Main target groups

Most vulnerable target groups, inadequately qualified and estranged from the job market.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Literacy programmes, basic training, pre-qualifying training, workplace training and training for disabled job seekers

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completing this VET programme allows learners to continue their training at a higher level within the VET.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Not applicable

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 2 to 4

Public employment/

training services

 

ISCED 2, 3, 4

(BE-FR)

 

 

Public employment/training services
EQF level
2 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

2 to 4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

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)
  • dual training (theoretical courses at a training centre combined with in-company practice);
  • training centres courses.
Main providers

Training providers :

  • Bruxelles Formation, French-speaking Brussels Institute for Vocational Training;
  • Le Forem, the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Employment.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training centres practices,
  • work-based practice.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

No requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certification of acquired skills 

Examples of qualifications

Administrative assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 in 2060 ([7]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 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 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; 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 is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Finland 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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) in the EU.

 

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].

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

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].

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

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].

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available