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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 Ireland comprises the following main features:

  • most VET is offered by the State, although private providers also play a role;
  • there are four sectors within the education system: (primary, secondary, further education and training (FET) and higher education. VET occurs mostly within the FET sector, meaning that it is offered mostly at post-secondary level;
  • in 2016, a reform of the apprenticeship system led to the provision of apprenticeships within higher education. VET at tertiary level was introduced in 2016 in the form of apprenticeships;
  • vocational programmes are also offered for second chance education and training (in the form of vocational training for the unemployed).

Distinctive features ([1]As there’s no edition of a spotlight on vocational education and training in Ireland for 2017, distinctive features are provided by ReferNet Ireland.):

VET in Ireland is not usually offered within the second level system (neither lower secondary (NFQ 3, EQF 2, ISCED 244) nor upper secondary (NFQ 4/5, EQF3/4 ISCED 343/344). Therefore, most learners are aged at least 16 or over; since the majority of new entrants to VET have already completed upper secondary education, they tend to be at least 18 years of age.

Until the reform in 2016, almost all apprenticeships were in the construction and, to a lesser extent, engineering sectors. The number of occupations now available for apprenticeship training has since grown and includes areas such as ICT, finance and hospitality.

Employer consultation and labour market intelligence played a key role in informing the development of new VET programmes with a view to addressing identified skills needs, including occupations in short supply, in Ireland’s economy.

The attractiveness of VET: traditionally, the number of VET learners in Ireland has been small, which is due in part to the fact that the preference for many learners on leaving compulsory education is for higher education. While major policy documents (e.g. National Skills Strategy 2025 and the Further Education and Training Strategy, both published by the Department of Education and Skills) outline ambitions to address and increase the standing of VET in Ireland, such changes take time to implement as they often involve shifts in culture and values.

Participation in lifelong learning: although improving, the lifelong learning rate in Ireland (at 13%) remains lower than the EU 2020 target of 15%. Particular challenges, which are not unique to Ireland, include encouraging participation among older workers and those with low education attainment. Those with lower secondary education attainment or below, had a lifelong learning participation rate of 4%, compared to 26% for those with postgraduate qualifications (i.e. ISCED level 6/EQF 7-8). Similarly, those aged 55-64 had a participation rate of 9% compared to 19% for those aged 25-34.

New programmes in the FET system (not including apprenticeship) aim to attract learners into employment in low skill occupations/sectors and to engage in learning activities aimed at upskilling/reskilling (e.g. Skills to Advance programme), although the full impact of these new programmes has yet to be reflected in the data.

Data from VET in Ireland Spotlight (2017) ([2]As there’s no edition of a spotlight on vocational education and training in Ireland for 2017, information on main challenges and policy responses is provided by ReferNet Ireland.)

Population in 2018: 4 830 392 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 4.8% since 2013 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). This is due to an increase in inward migration, as well as a growth in the number of births in recent years (which was greater than the number of deaths).

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

The old-age-dependency ratio is expected to increase from 20 in 2015 to 45 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 ). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The cohort of those aged 5 to 19 increased from 2012 to 2017 due mainly to an increase in the number of births in recent years. As many learners enter the VET system from the age of 18 onwards, it is likely that the increase in this cohort will impact on the number of upper secondary school completers entering the VET system, and increase the demand for places across all sectors of the education and training system, including VET.

Not applicable

In Ireland, 99% of enterprises are micro enterprises (fewer than 10 employees). However, in terms of the number of persons engaged, 27% are in micro enterprises, 22% are in small enterprises, 20% are in medium enterprises, and 32% are in large enterprises ([6]Central Statistics Office: business demography (latest data: 2016):
https://cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/bd/businessdemography2016/
).

The main economic sectors in terms of employment are:

  • wholesale and retail;
  • human health;
  • industry;
  • education;
  • accommodation and food;
  • professional activities, etc.;
  • construction;
  • agriculture;
  • public administration and defence;
  • transportation;
  • ICT;
  • administrative activities.

 

Employment by sector (000s), quarter 4 2017

Source: SLMRU (SOLAS) analysis of CSO data.

 

These sectors are not linked to VET qualifications.

The main sectors associated with VET qualifications are construction, industry, and more recently and to a lesser extent, ICT, transportation, accommodation and food (i.e. hospitality), and finance.

In terms of labour market regulation ([7]In terms of the FET sector as a whole (general and VET), 84% of employers have indicated that they are happy with the quality of FET graduates. Source: HEA; SOLAS; QQI (2019). Irish national employer survey: final report, January 2019.
https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2019/01/21-01-19-J8961-Irish-National-Employer-Survey-Final-Report.pdf
), Ireland’s regulatory framework has more in common with other flexible labour markets such as those of the United Kingdom or Denmark than with labour markets such as France and Germany. There are comparatively few occupations for which a VET qualification is a prerequisite for employment (notable exceptions include electrician, gas installer). Based on a set of labour regulation indicators (e.g. hiring, working hours, redundancy rules and costs), Ireland was ranked in 2018 by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) ([8]Lithuanian Free Market Institute (2017). Employment flexibility index 2018: EU and OECD countries.
https://en.llri.lt/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Employment-Flexibility-Index-2018_-LFMI.pdf
) employment flexibility index as one of the most flexible labour markets in the EU. This is illustrated in a number of indicators, including, among others, the fact that in Ireland:

  • there are no restrictions on the duration of fixed-term contracts, except for minimum wage contracts;
  • there is no restriction on overtime, night work and work on a weekly holiday;
  • there are no restrictions on redundancy rules; although redundancy dismissals are allowed by law, there is a requirement to notify and consult a third party before dismissing a group of nine redundant employees.

Ireland however has a minimum statutory minimum wage.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 4.7% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 0.6 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

At 14%, those with post-secondary non-tertiary education attainment (where most VET graduates are classified) are one of the smallest groups in Ireland’s labour force, as the figure below demonstrates ([11]Source: CSO (QNHS) supplementary tables. In Ireland, there are two types of bachelor degree: an honours bachelor degree (NFQ 8) or an ordinary bachelor degree (NFQ 7). Both honours and ordinary bachelor degrees have been referenced to the European qualifications framework at EQF level 6.). Almost half (47%) of the labour force holds a tertiary (or third) level qualification (NFQ 6-10/EQF5-8, ISCED 544-864).

 

Ireland’s labour force (000s) by highest level of education

Source: CSO (QNHS) supplementary tables.

 

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 69.0% in 2014 to 78.1% 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 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+9.1 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old upper secondary/post-secondary graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+5.3 pp) in the same period in Ireland ([12]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].).

Education is highly valued in Ireland. The share of population aged up to 64 with higher education (45.6%) is higher than in most EU member stated and above the EU-28 average. The share of those with a low qualification, or without a qualification, is 16.3%, placing Ireland almost in the middle of EU Member States in this category.

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

10.3%

100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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

 

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

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

 

Information not available

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.8% in 2009 to 5% in 2018. This places Ireland below the EU-28 average of 10.6% and marks a success as this percentage is also below the national objective for 2020 (no 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; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Dropout rate from VET (%)

Information not available

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; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning has increased since 2014 (7.0%). In 2018, it is above the EU-28 average by 1.4 percentage points (12.5% Ireland, 11.1% EU-28).

Information on VET learners, as distinct from other further education and training learners, is not available. However, the share of post-secondary non-tertiary learners in the population is slightly larger in the younger age cohorts.

 

Population (15+) by age group and education attainment level, quarter 3 2018.

Source: SLMRU analysis of labour force survey data.

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary education;
  • secondary education, divided into lower secondary education (EQF2) and upper secondary (EQF 3-4);
  • further education and training (FET) non-tertiary education;
  • tertiary education.

Primary education is compulsory from the age of 6 years, although the vast majority of pupils enrol between the ages of 4 and 5 years. It consists of an eight year cycle: junior infants, senior infants, and first to sixth classes. Most learners have completed primary education by the age of 12.

Secondary education usually lasts five to six years and is divided into lower secondary education (3 years) and upper secondary (2 years). Some pupils may also undertake the Transition Year Programme: a one-year programme that acts as a bridge between lower and upper secondary education.

Lower secondary education: the junior cycle is a generally oriented programme of approximately three years’ duration and leads to the Junior Certificate examination, which students usually take at the age of 15 or 16.

Upper secondary: the senior cycle (i.e. upper secondary education) takes two years and leads to the leaving certificate examination which students usually sit at the age of 17 or 18.

Further education and training in Ireland comprises post-secondary non-tertiary education, as well as second chance education/training. The sector is characterised by a high degree of diversity in terms of the type of programme, level and learner:

  • further education and training programmes can be general, vocational or mixed;
  • they lead to awards across several levels on the EQF (levels 1-5 on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), or levels 1-6 on Ireland’s National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ));
  • target groups include young people who have recently completed upper secondary education, adult learners, early school leavers, the employed, the unemployed, asylum seekers, learners with special needs;
  • post leaving certificate (PLC) programmes are aimed primarily at those completing upper secondary education, but are also open to older learners; programmes are often general in nature, but also include VET programmes such as motor technology;
  • second chance learning opportunities within the further education and training sector.

Over a half of those who complete upper secondary school transfer directly to third level education on completing upper secondary education ([13]Department of Education and Skills: annual statistical reports 2016.
https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Statistical-Reports/
). Students can opt for higher education in a university, institute of technology or college of education (EQF levels 5-6, ISCED levels 544-554, 665). There are also a small number of private, independent providers of tertiary (or third) level education (mostly business and related disciplines).

Undergraduate higher education courses are of various durations, ranging from two years for a higher certificate (NFQ 6; EQF 5, ISCED 665) to three/four years for an honours bachelor degree (NFQ 8; EQF 6; ISCED 666). Some programmes, such as medicine or architecture, require up to five years. Postgraduate programmes range from one year (e.g. taught masters (NFQ 9; EQF 7; ISCED 667)) to three years or more for doctoral programmes (NFQ 10; EQF 8; ISCED 864).

VET is provided primarily within the further education and training sector (comprising post-secondary non-tertiary and second chance education). However, since 2016, the apprenticeship system has been expanded and includes new programmes which are delivered not only within the further education and training sector, but also in tertiary level institutions. Graduates, however, have yet to emerge from these programmes.

Like the apprenticeship system, the traineeship system has undergone substantial change in recent years in Ireland. Traineeships, unlike apprenticeships, are not regulated by law (there is no occupation profile); they tend to be developed in response to local employers’ needs, and curriculum content may vary according to local demand. Traineeships must have a work-based learning component of at least 30%.

Most of the development of the traineeship system has been the result of recognising the need to develop the skills of the employed, as outlined in the national skills strategy. Consequently, while most traineeships programmes had previously been available only to the unemployed, they have, since 2017, also been open to school leavers and the employed. There are no age restrictions for trainees, and they are free of charge to participants. Some unemployed trainees may also receive a training allowance.

Specific skills training courses allow people who have lost their job to learn new job-related skills. The courses on offer vary from year to year with different levels of certification. The training content and occupational standards are based on the consultation process involving employers. Certification achieved on course completion ranges from levels 3-5 on the national framework of qualifications (or levels 2-4 on the EQF). The courses differ from traineeships in that they tend to be shorter (four to five months), with a shorter on-the-job phase; in addition, the employer does not play a role in recruitment.

Post leaving certificate courses are aimed at learners who have completed the leaving certificate examination at the end of upper secondary education. They are full-time courses which last between one and two years. These courses provide integrated general education, vocational training and work experience for young people; however, post leaving certificate courses are also an option for mature learners (in 2015, 47% of those enrolled on post leaving certificate programmes in 2015 were aged 21 or over). They provide, therefore, important lifelong learning opportunities for adult learners.

While some post leaving certificate courses are vocational in nature (e.g. training in beauty therapy, healthcare, security studies), others are general (e.g. general studies, art, design, etc.). Most post leaving certificate courses have a work experience component, although there is no prescribed minimum duration for most courses.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) courses consist of a range of full-time courses (EQF 2-5, ISCED 353) designed to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people aged 21 or over. It is offered by the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) throughout the country. Participation in vocational training opportunities scheme courses is in two modes as follows:

  • as a ‘core’ vocational training opportunities scheme; students participate in a group of up to twenty other vocational training opportunities scheme students in a vocational training opportunities scheme centre or adult education centre;
  • as a ‘dispersed’ vocational training opportunities scheme; students participate in a group of students, some of whom may be vocational training opportunities scheme students and some of whom will be studying through other schemes/programmes (e.g. post leaving certificate course).

Vocational training opportunities scheme programmes offer a wide choice of subjects and learning activities. Certification is available at a range of levels.

Traditionally, programmes at tertiary level are not officially designated as being VET or General, although many programmes at higher education level are designed to qualify learners for work in specific occupations (e.g. teacher, architect, doctor, engineer). In this regard, tertiary education in Ireland does lead to VET related qualifications. However, in 2016, for the first time in Ireland, an apprenticeship programme became available at higher education level (insurance studies). Learners must hold an upper secondary education qualification and be in employment. Nonetheless, apprenticeship training at tertiary level is currently not a typical feature of the sector.

Until 2016, formal apprenticeship training was restricted to 27 trades, mostly concentrated in the construction and engineering sectors. However, following a review of the apprenticeship system by the education ministry in 2013, a decision was made to expand the apprenticeship system to other sectors of the economy. The qualifications, duration and economic sectors of the new apprenticeships differ somewhat to the earlier apprenticeships, and, as a result, formal apprenticeship training falls into two programme types: (a) pre-2016 craft apprenticeship and (b) post-2016 apprenticeship.

In both apprenticeship programme types, apprentices are considered to be part of the employed population and pay the appropriate level of employment insurance. They sign an employment contract with the employer and, therefore, have the legal status (and associated rights and responsibilities) of employees.

A national apprenticeship council oversees apprenticeship in Ireland. SOLAS (Ireland’s further education and training (FET) authority) is the lead agency responsible for apprenticeship on behalf of the government. It collaborates with the Higher Education Authority (responsible for tertiary education), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (industry and education) and training providers across both the FET and third level education system. It is the responsibility of SOLAS to maintain a national register of employers approved to take on apprentices and a national register of apprentices.

The national apprenticeship system is funded through the national training fund and from the exchequer.

In 2016, Ireland’s national skills strategy 2025 set a target to significantly expand the apprenticeship system, both in terms of the numbers of learners and the occupations and sectors in which apprenticeships would be available. The action plan to expand apprenticeship outlines the plan to increase the number of apprenticeship places over the period 2016-20 to 31 000 (up from approximately 12 000), and to increase the number of apprenticeship programmes to more than 70 (up from 27). These increases are expected to be rolled out incrementally to 2020.

Pre-2016 craft apprenticeship

The apprenticeship system in Ireland is governed by the 1967 Industrial Training Act and is organised by SOLAS (FET funding and planning authority) in cooperation with the education ministry, employers and unions. The pre-2016 craft-based apprenticeship programmes normally consist of seven phases: three off-the-job and four on-the-job. Phases 1, 3, 5 and 7 take place with the employer, while Phases 2, 4 and 6 take place at an education and training board (phase 2) or an institute of technology (phases 4 and 6). The total duration of off-the-job phases is approximately 40 weeks. The employer pays the apprentice for the on-the-job phases, while the State pays a training allowance to apprentices during the off-the-job phases. On completion of apprenticeship training, a qualified apprentice receives a craft certificate (NFQ 6 or EQF 5, ISCED 544, 554).

For pre-2016 craft apprenticeship training, the formal minimum entry requirement in Ireland is the junior certificate or equivalent (NFQ 3 or EQF 2) qualification. In practice, however, the vast majority (three-quarters) of new apprentices hold higher levels of education, typically a leaving certificate (NFQ level 4/5 or EQF level 3/4). Learners who do not meet the minimum education entry requirements may be registered as apprentices by an employer if they have either successfully completed an approved pre-apprenticeship course or if they are over 16 years old and have at least three years’ approved work experience. Some apprenticeships also require applicants to pass a SOLAS-approved colour vision test (e.g. electrical apprenticeship, painter and decorator apprenticeship).

In order to register as an apprentice, a learner must first secure employment in the trade s/he wishes to undertake.

Post-2016 apprenticeship

Since the expansion of the apprenticeship system in 2016, several new apprenticeship programmes have become available. As of August 2018, there were 23 additional formal apprenticeship programmes being run, many of which are delivered at tertiary level institutions; they span a range of sectors, including hospitality (e.g. chef de partie), finance (e.g. insurance practice) and engineering (e.g. polymer processing technology). These new apprenticeships must be a minimum of two years in duration; they lead to awards spanning levels 5-8 on the national framework for qualifications (EQF levels 4-6).

In addition, there are a number of apprenticeships at various stages of development; the proposed national framework for qualifications levels for these apprenticeships range from national framework for qualifications levels 5-10 (EQF levels 4-8), and have proposed durations of two to four years. They include retail practice, arboriculture and HGV driver.

The employer pays the apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship.

For post-2016 apprenticeships, the entry requirements vary, depending on the specific apprenticeship programme, although a leaving certificate is generally the minimum requirement. For entry to apprenticeship programmes at third level, learners often need to meet certain academic requirements (e.g. for the insurance practice apprenticeship, learners must hold minimum grades in at least six subjects (including mathematics and English or Irish)).

Generally an apprentice does not pay fees. However, a student contribution is levied on all students (including apprentices) attending institutes of technology (i.e. phases 4 and 6 of apprenticeship training). The maximum rate of the student contribution for the academic year 2016/17 was EUR 3 000, although in practice the amount was typically lower than this. (Student contributions only apply to learners on apprenticeship programmes delivered at an institute of technology; some apprenticeships, such as accounting technician or commis chef are not delivered at an institute of technology, and so are not subject to the student contribution.)

In order to register as an apprentice, a learner must first secure employment in the trade s/he wishes to undertake. Apprentices are not eligible for a student grant.

The number of apprentices was extremely low during the economic recession but has now increased to 15 500 (in 2018) compared to the 3 273 observed earlier in the decade, (Q 16 on the website).

Additionally, apprenticeship is not considered a second chance route (Q 10 on the website), although it is not a typical education route for most of those graduating from upper secondary education.

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

Responsibility for taking decisions and implementing further education and training, which includes most VET provision in Ireland, lies with SOLAS, a government agency, in conjunction with 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs), who are the VET providers. Both SOLAS and the education and training boards are agencies of the education ministry. This remit was established under the Further Education and Training Act 2013, which was signed into law in July 2013 ([14]http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2013/act/25/enacted/en/print.html). The Act required SOLAS to submit a five-year strategy for further education and training provision in Ireland. The further education and training strategy ([15]Department for Education and Skills; SOLAS (2014). Further education and training strategy, 2014-19. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Further-Educatio...) guides the provision of further education and training in Ireland (including VET, such as apprenticeship and upskilling initiatives for the employed,).

The further education and training strategy complements other government strategies such as the National Skill Strategy ([16]Department for Education and Skills (2016). Ireland’s skills strategy 2025: Ireland’s future. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/pub_national_ski...) and the Action Plan for Jobs ([17]Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (2017). Action plans for jobs. https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Action-Plan-for-Jo...).

Since 2016, and the reform of apprenticeship, Ireland’s higher education authority also plays a role in the oversight of VET programmes that are delivered in higher education institutions (namely institutes of technology).

In 2018, the further education and training services plan provided for a total budget allocation of EUR 647.6 million to the further education and training authority (SOLAS) for the provision of further education and training programmes. Included within the funding allocated for further education and training is the funding for VET programmes. The funding is received from two main sources, the Exchequer and the national training fund. Most of the funding is allocated through SOLAS to the education and training boards. Of the EUR 647.6 million allocated to SOLAS, EUR 366.8 million comes from Exchequer funding and EUR 277.5 million comes from the national training fund; the remaining EUR 3.3 million comes from SOLAS-generated income.

  • EUR per student per year
  • % from GDP
  • % from government spending
  • historical trends

Information not available

Given the diverse nature of further education and training and VET programmes offered to learners in Ireland, there are several categories of teaching and training professionals working in VET.

In general, VET teacher/trainer categories are distinguished by the programmes they deliver, their technical and pedagogical qualifications required, and the funding mechanisms.

  • Teachers work in education and training boards in schools or colleges of further education that deliver post leaving certificate courses and/or vocational training opportunities scheme programmes. Although further education and training teachers deliver their programmes (including VET) at ISCED level 4 (leading to awards at national framework of qualifications levels 5-6 and European qualifications framework levels 4-5), they are registered with the teaching council as second level teachers. To register, teachers must hold an honours bachelor degree (at national framework of qualifications level 8; European qualifications framework level 6; ISCED 665, 666) and an approved initial teacher education qualification (postgraduate diploma at national framework of qualifications levels 8 or 9 (European qualifications framework levels 6 or 7); alternatively, a teacher may hold a concurrent degree qualification in post-primary initial teacher education (national framework of qualifications level 8; European qualifications framework level 6), which combines the study of one or more curricular subjects with teacher education studies.
  • Apprenticeship instructors work in education and training boards in training centres which deliver the first off-the-job phase of apprenticeship (phase 2). At present, there is no requirement for instructors on classroom based apprenticeship programmes to hold a pedagogical qualification, but they must hold a craft certificate (national framework of qualifications level 6; European qualifications framework level 5), plus 5 years experience.
  • Apprenticeship lecturers work in institutes of technology, which are third level institutions, delivering training on the remaining two phases (4 and 7) of the apprenticeship programme. Apprenticeship lecturers must hold a degree (national framework of qualifications levels 7-8; European qualifications framework level 6) or equivalent in the subject area, or hold a craft certificate (European qualifications framework level 5) and have three years’ postgraduate experience.
  • Work based tutors are employed, in both private and public sectors, in craft occupations. They are responsible for overseeing the work and training of apprentices during the on-the-job phases of the apprenticeship programme (phases 1, 3, 5 and 7).

Employers must employ a suitably qualified and relevant craftsperson who has been approved by the further education and training authority (SOLAS) to act as:

  • workplace assessor. The assessor must have completed the SOLAS assessor and verifier programme provided by the education and training boards. This course lasts approximately one day and is not aligned with the national framework of qualifications;
  • workplace tutor. The tutor must be competent and qualified (a holder of a national craft certificate (European qualifications framework level 5) to train apprentices.

The tutor and assessor can be the same person provided they hold the relevant qualification.

Tutors/trainers work on VET programmes or on general learning programmes in education and training boards. They deliver training (other than apprenticeship) or education (e.g. adult literacy), often on programmes aimed at the unemployed (e.g. specific skills training or other VET programmes), or early school leavers (general education).

For other types of VET training in the further education and training sector the qualifications and professional standards of trainers vary. In general, programmes leading to a Quality and Qualifications Ireland award require a subject matter qualification (usually one level higher than that of the course being taught), a pedagogical qualification (usually at third level) and 5 years’ industry experience. For all other training, such as computing or accounting, trainer profiles tend to vary depending on the awarding body, the subject matter being taught and the provider. However pedagogical qualifications are increasingly in demand for these types of courses.

Trainers in other types of training programmes are generally required to hold a technical qualification at a level that is one step above the programme being delivered. In addition, they must also hold a minimum amount of relevant work experience. Increasingly, however, there is a demand for these trainers to hold a pedagogical qualification.

Other trainers work in a variety of further education and training settings, including education and training boards, Skillnets ([18]Skillnet Ireland is a national agency dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning in Ireland. The organisation was established in 1999 and works with businesses and their employees to address their current and future skills needs by providing high quality, subsidised training through a series of enterprise-led training networks which operate across a range of sectors and regions. Skillnet Ireland receives public funding through the National Training Fund (NTF) (a dedicated fund to support the training of those in employment, and those seeking employment). In addition to NTF funding, Skillnet Ireland channels funding into its training programmes via matching funding provided by its network member enterprises. Skillnets training interventions comprise mostly short courses (days rather than weeks or months). More information available at:
https://www.skillnetireland.ie/
) (mostly providing training, although not exclusively, to the employed) and private sector providers.

With the exception of apprenticeships, continuing professional development (CPD) for further education and training professionals in Ireland has, until recently, been taking place mostly on an ad-hoc basis and has lacked a strategic focus at national level.

This situation is expected to change in the future as the further education and training strategy ([19]Department for Education and Skills; SOLAS (2014). Further education and training strategy, 2014-19. https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Further-Educatio...) has emphasised the importance of a ‘clear and consistent professional and competency skill roadmap for those entering into and those (already) involved in the further education and training sector in its broadest sense’. The strategy also recognises the need for a continuing professional development requirement for those employed in the further education and training sector in addition to the professional qualifications. The Skills Profile ([20]The Skills Profile is an IT-based tool designed to capture information that will facilitate the on-going review of skills and qualification profile of personnel in the sector. It is anticipated that the outputs from the skills profile project will assist SOLAS and its education and training boards’ (ETBs) partners in developing an overall Continuous professional development strategy and appropriate responses to identified priority needs to assist with future workforce and personnel development planning.) will also help address the information deficit on continuing professional development participation in further education and training.

The continuing professional development strategy will be developed by SOLAS in an evidence-based manner.

Evidence will be drawn from both primary and secondary sources, nationally and internationally, and will be both qualitative and quantitative in nature. In addition to the data from the skills profile reports, it is expected that other sources of data will be analysed as part of the continuing professional development strategy development process, including sector activity information, as well as reports on labour market and future skills needs. A key element of the development process is extensive consultation with key further education and training sector stakeholders to develop a comprehensive view of further education and training professional development issues from a wide perspective.

The continuing professional development strategy will be the first agreed articulation of national policy for the professional development of staff in the newly integrated further education and training sector.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([21]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Following publication of the national skills strategy 2025 (in 2016), the system for the identification of skills needs in Ireland was reconfigured. Skills needs identification is now overseen by a National Skills Council, which was established in 2017. The National Skills Council is chaired by Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills and is made up of representatives (usually senior civil servants or chief executive officers) from a number of government departments (ministries), their agencies and employers.

More specifically the National Skills Council includes representatives from the following:

  • Department of education and skills;
  • Department of business, enterprise and innovation;
  • Department of public expenditure and reform;
  • Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection;
  • employers.

The figure below depicts the composition of the National Skills Council ([22]Source: SOLAS.).

 

 

 

The National Skills Council oversees the process of skills needs identification in Ireland. It is informed by the work of:

  • an expert group on future skills needs, which provides advice on sectoral developments in terms of employment;
  • regional skills fora: a network of nine fora that forms a direct link between education and training providers and employers at local level;
  • The Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU), which monitors the supply and demand for skills and occupational labour. Every year, the skills and labour market research unit publishes the national skills bulletin, a summary of the various supply and demand indicators for skills and labour in Ireland ([23]http://www.solas.ie/SkillsToAdvance/Documents/National%20Skills%20Bulletin%202018.pdf). The national skills bulletin also provides a list of the occupations for which a shortage has been identified, distinguishing between a skills shortage, a labour shortage, or a possible future (within the next five years) shortage. Every five years (or when the data permits), the skills and labour market research unit carries out a medium-term forecasting project, which looks at the demand for skills at occupational level ([24]http://www.solas.ie/SolasPdfLibrary/OccupationalEmploymentForecasts2013.pdf).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([25]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([26]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 ([27]Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2012/act/28/enacted/en/print.html), the government established Quality and Qualifications Ireland ([28]https://www.qqi.ie/). Quality and Qualifications Ireland operates under the Department of Education and Skills. It is both an awarding and a quality assurance body. While the remit of Quality and Qualifications Ireland extends to both general and vocational education and training awards, it plays a key role in setting standards and qualifications in VET (a significant share of VET-related awards are made by Quality and Qualifications Ireland).

 

The specific statutory functions of Quality and Qualifications Ireland include, for example:

  • establishing the standards of knowledge, skills or competences to be acquired by learners before an award can be made by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, or by an education and training provider to which authority to make an award has been delegated;
  • making awards or delegating authority to make an award where it considers it appropriate; reviewing and monitoring the operation of the authority so delegated.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland sets standards for further education and training awards (including VET) and tertiary education awards made outside the university sector ([29]The awards at tertiary level are made to learners at a variety of tertiary institutions including private independent colleges. Third level institutions such as most institutes of technology have received delegated authority from Quality and Qualifications Ireland make their own awards. Universities and Dublin Institute of Technology act as their own awarding bodies.).

Quality and Qualifications Ireland awards’ standards are determined within the National Framework of Qualifications, which comprises a grid of indicators, award-type descriptors and other policies, criteria, standards and guidelines that may be issued to support it. Quality and Qualifications Ireland determines awards’ standards for the education and training awards that it makes itself and that are made by providers to whom it has delegated authority to make an award. Such standards are determined to be consistent with the national framework of qualifications award types.

Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, Quality and Qualifications Ireland is required to develop and publish guidelines for providers for the quality assurance of their programmes and services. Providers are required by legislation to have regard to Quality and Qualifications Ireland guidelines in developing their own procedures for quality assurance. In some instances, such as programme validation, providers’ quality assurance procedures must be approved by Quality and Qualifications Ireland as fit for purpose.

Therefore, providers are responsible for assuring the quality of their own programmes with reference to the guidelines and criteria issued by Quality and Qualifications Ireland. Given the variety of providers in Ireland, Quality and Qualifications Ireland has developed guidelines for a number of sectors, including the further education and training sector. Quality and Qualifications Ireland guidelines for further education and training providers are directed to the EQAVET Framework, the European initiative for quality assurance in VET, designed to provide tools for the management of quality in vocational education and training. Quality and Qualifications Ireland is an active contributor to EQAVET’s work on a European level and these guidelines are designed to complement EQAVET guidelines.

Programme validation is a key quality assurance process that Quality and Qualifications Ireland uses to approve new programmes proposed by providers of education and training. Validation in this context means that a programme meets minimum standards in terms of learning outcomes and national framework of qualifications levels. Programme validation, therefore, can assure providers and learners that successful completion of a programme validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland will lead to a specific national framework of qualifications awards.

Programme validation is a two-stage process:

  • approval of the provider’s ability to quality assure its programmes;
  • validation by Quality and Qualifications Ireland of a specific programme(s). Quality and Qualifications Ireland does this by appointing independent expert(s) to compare provider proposals against the requirements of the particular national framework of qualifications award(s).

If the proposed programme meets Quality and Qualifications Ireland criteria, it can be validated for up to five years. If the criteria are not met then the programme cannot be offered as proposed.

Under an EU Council recommendation ([30]Council of the European Union (2012). Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Official Journal of the European Union, C 398, 22.12.2012, p.1-5.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2012:398:0001:0005:EN:PDF
), Member States should have arrangements in place for the validation of non-formal and informal learning no later than 2018. Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, Quality and Qualifications Ireland is required to establish policies on recognition of prior learning within the policies and criteria for Access, Transfer and Progression (ATP).

While the legal basis for the development of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policies was established in the Qualifications Act 1999, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) published principles and operational guidelines in 2005 ([31]https://www.qqi.ie/Downloads/Principles%20and%20Operational%20Guidelines...). Recognition of prior learning policy is currently being revised by Quality and Qualifications Ireland. Quality and Qualifications Ireland has consulted widely with relevant stakeholders to achieve a more cohesive approach to delivering recognition of prior learning nationally. Quality and Qualifications Ireland aims to develop comprehensive policy and operational procedures in line with legislation on the basis of national collaboration, consideration of the current arrangements and identification of best practice nationally and internationally.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([32]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Funding

In common with other sections of the Irish education sector, the provision of public vocational and education training is largely funded by the Exchequer and consequently VET programmes are provided free or at a minimal charge. As an example, the post leaving certificate programme is an important element of VET provision to young people who have completed their leaving certificate and to adults returning to education.

Since the 2011/12 academic year, students on post leaving certificate courses have paid a participant contribution of EUR 200 (prior to this, students did not have to pay any fees). There may be other minimal costs, i.e. registration and exam fees, which may vary according to the different colleges. Certain categories of post leaving certificate students are exempted from this participant contribution: for example, learners who qualify for a student grant do not have to pay the participant contribution. Colleges offering post leaving certificate courses may, however, levy a 'course charge' to cover such expenses as books, uniforms, student services, professional registration fees and examination fees.

The cost of taking up further education and training courses is much less expensive than attending higher education courses in Ireland.

Grants, allowances, support

There are numerous grants and incentives available to support individuals intending to take up courses in the further education and training sector:

  • the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is available to carers, people with disabilities, unemployed people and lone parents. This allowance provides these individuals with the opportunity to study at second level (both lower secondary (NFQ 3/EQF 2, ISCED 244) and upper secondary (NFQ 4/5, EQF 3/4, ISCED 343, 344) or further (NFQ 1-6/EQF 1-5) and tertiary (third level) (NFQ 6-10, EQF 5-8, ISCED 544-864) education, while keeping their existing social welfare payments;
  • the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) is targeted at people over the age of 16 who have not completed their leaving certificate and allows participants to combine family and work with a part-time further education programme;
  • the CETS (Childcare Employment and Training Support) scheme provides subsidised childcare places for some applicants to further education and training courses including VET (specific skills training, vocational training opportunities scheme, and traineeships).

 

Other initiatives available to trainees include:

  • a training allowance which may be paid for the duration of the course;
  • an accommodation allowance should the individual live away from home in order to attend the course;
  • a travel allowance should the trainee live more than three miles from the education and training board ([33]The allowances paid depend on a number of factors including the programme type. Depending on the programme, the allowances paid to trainees can be the equivalent of the payment made to the unemployed. Travel and accommodation allowances depend on the programme and the distance the learner lives from the training centre (e.g. EUR 32.60 per week for somebody living at a distance of 64 kilometres or more. An accommodation allowance is typically EUR 69.90 per week.).

Positive employability outcomes

The first goal in the corporate plan 2017-19 of the further education and training authority (SOLAS) is for further education and training provision to align with labour market and learners’ employability and lifelong learning needs. By striving to ensure positive employability outcomes for those undertaking further education and training (including VET) programmes, SOLAS aims to increase the attractiveness of further education and training among school leavers and other learners in Ireland. To this end, monitoring learner outcomes from further education and training courses is a key function of SOLAS. This data, along with local labour market intelligence (also provided by SOLAS), informs the further education and training planning agreements SOLAS makes with education and training boards as the basis for receipt of funding. These activities help to ensure that courses provided by education and training boards are up-to-date and in conjunction with employers’ needs and that learners from VET-oriented courses will be job ready. Currently, most monitoring is carried out through regular surveys. However, administrative data sets will be increasingly used to monitor learner outcomes. Initial steps were taken in pilot programmes in 2016, with further work currently ongoing.

Further education and training development framework for employees

In October 2018, the further education and training authority (SOLAS) published its further education and training employee development framework, which aims to upskill and reskill vulnerable workers. Further education and training provision for these workers includes digital skills training, technical, socio-emotional and cognitive training. The target cohorts are older workers, those with low education attainment (less than national framework of qualifications level 5/European qualifications framework level 4), those working in vulnerable occupations/sectors (e.g. elementary and operatives working in some low tech manufacturing). Currently, briefing sessions are being held at education and training board level, with efforts concentrating on developing education and training board capacity, rolling out a promotional campaign and monitoring metrics. This is a dedicated initiative, with dedicated funding allocated to it, and builds on existing programmes by embedding the policy in this area ([34]Enterprises don’t receive any direct funding. The funding goes to the provider.).

The policy also supports small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in investing in their workforces. While responsibility for skills development of employees will continue to remain with employers, this policy aims to complement existing employer-based and State initiatives through targeted support and investment by government. It is planned that, by 2021, over 40 000 workers will be engaging in State-supported upskilling; 4 500 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) will be supported through this initiative.

Guidance and counselling takes different forms throughout the VET sector. Learners generally access courses and services through self‐referral or having been referred to courses and services through the department of social protection. For example, with regard to post leaving certificate courses, school leavers or adults generally choose the course and apply directly by letter or online to the school or college offering that course. In some instances they will be called for an interview before final selection. Post leaving certificate courses’ participants may receive in-house education and career guidance on the issue of vocational area choice, on progression to work and progression through a special links programme to an institute of technology.

For young learners who join the youthreach programme on leaving school at the age of 16 (or younger), counselling and psychological services are available as well as a guidance service, in recognition of the social and personal challenges experienced by many youthreach participants. The National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) has a role in the support and development of guidance in youthreach and similar programmes. The remit of the national centre for guidance in education, which is an agency of the education ministry, is to develop and support quality guidance provision in the education sector as part of lifelong learning in accordance with national and international best practice. The national centre for guidance in education has collaborated with the youthreach programme in the development of the web wheel model ([35]More information on the WebWheel model can be found at the Youthreach website:
http://www.youthreach.ie/web-wheel/
), a core element of which includes the use of mentoring techniques to develop and guide one-to-one relationships between students and staff. This process uses a specific profiling tool, the wheel, to assess student needs, to structure and guide the mentoring conversations and to review and monitor progress.

SOLAS is working with the national centre for guidance in education to coordinate the adult education guidance initiative within the education and training boards, which provides nationwide guidance for learners before and after they participate in vocational training opportunities schemes programmes.

The institutes of technology provide higher education and some VET and further education and training programmes. The majority of the institutes of technology offer a careers service to students. The main provision is targeted at final year students and recent graduates, though some careers services have started to provide careers education in the curriculum of undergraduate courses. The careers advisory/appointments office provides information on education and employment opportunities. Universities and the institutes of technology are not statutorily required to offer careers services and the provision can differ across the sector. At present many of the careers services are involved in programmes promoting student retention in higher education and training.

With regard to apprenticeship, each person must first obtain employment as an apprentice in their chosen trade. The employer must be approved to train apprentices and must register the person with SOLAS as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment. The registered apprentice is then called for training by SOLAS.

Further education and training practitioners require reskilling throughout their careers to meet the changing needs of learners in further education and training. There are a number of organisations and agencies that are already providing development opportunities to further education and training practitioners: the further education and support service in programme development and quality assurance; the national centre for guidance in education for further education and training guidance personnel; the National Learning Network and the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) for disability awareness, etc.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher certificate

programme,

2 years

ISCED 544, 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5,ISCED 544, 554.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

544, 554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

In so far as VET is offered at this level (it’s a very small component), it is part of initial VET.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

All students, unless in receipt of a means tested grant, must pay fees.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Usually 120 ECTs are earned on completion of the two years ([46]Credits are decided individually by the higher education institutions.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School based learning
Main providers
  • Schools (institutes of technology, universities, colleges of 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

The main target group are school leavers, but increasingly older learners are being encouraged to take up opportunities at this level.

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

Upper secondary certificate

For some lifelong learning focussed programmes, however, formal education requirements may differ and work experience may be sufficient.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete programmes at this level, learners need to pass a final examination (part of the grade may be earned through continuous assessment). Assessment is typically based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive a higher certificate on completion of their studies.

Examples of qualifications

Higher certificate in business studies,

marketing associate professional ([47]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression to the next level (EQF 6) of tertiary education. Learners may also enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 6

Undergraduate

Programmes,

3 years

ISCED 665

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 665
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Not all programmes at this level are VET, but some engineering/science, can be considered to be VET, and in this instance, they would be IVET.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

All learners in tertiary education, unless in receipt of a means-tested grant, must pay fees.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Typically 180 credits (ECTS) ([48]Credits are decided individually by the higher education institutions.)

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

Schools (Institutes of technology, universities, colleges of 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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

A leaving certificate award is the minimum entry requirement.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete programmes at this level, learners need to pass a final examination (part of the grade may be earned through continuous assessment). Assessment is typically based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive a diploma (undergraduate).

Examples of qualifications

Ordinary bachelor degree in business studies ([49]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market of continue their studie to EQF level 6 (honours degree).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 5-6

Undergraduate

programmes,

3-5 years

ISCED 665, 666

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF levels 5- 6, ISCED 665, 666.
EQF level
5-6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665, 666

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

3-5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Third level fees apply to all learners, with the exception of those in receipt of a means-tested grant

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 – 240 ECTS, depending on the programme ([50]Credits are decided individually by the higher education institutions.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • mostly school based learning
Main providers
  • universities;
  • institutes of technology
  • colleges of 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

Programmes are predominantly targeted at young people, but are available to adults also.

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

A leaving certificate award is the minimum requirement.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete VET programmes at this level, learners need pass a final examination (which may also include continuous assessment component as part of the final grade)

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive an honours bachelor degree.

Examples of qualifications

Bachelor of arts (hons) degree), bachelor of science (hons) degree ([51]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete education/training at this level can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF 7.

Destination of graduates

75% of graduates in 2017 had either started or were about to start a job, although this share varies by field of learning ([52]As reported in: Higher Education Authority (2017). Graduate outcomes survey: class of 2017.
https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2019/02/HEA-Graduate-Outcomes-Survey.pdf
), 18% were engaged in further study,4% were employed,3% were engaged in other activities.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

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 6-7

Post-graduate

programmes,

1-2 years

ISCED 667,767

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF levels 6-7, ISCED 667,767
EQF level
6-7
ISCED-P 2011 level

667,767

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
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?

N

learners must pay fees in most instances

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS credits depending on the programme ([53]Credits are decided individually by the higher education institutions.)

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

Information not available

Main providers
  • Schools (universities, institutes of technology, colleges of 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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The minimum requirement for entry to postgraduate education is an honours bachelor degree (EQF 6) or equivalent.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme at this level, learners need to pass a final examination (part of the final grade may be composed of continuous assessment). Also, depending on the programme, submission of a thesis may also be required.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Depending on the programme a learner may receive a higher diploma, a postgraduate certificate, a postgraduate diploma or a masters degree.

Examples of qualifications

Master’s in education ([54]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete education and training at this level may enter the labour market or continue their studies at the same or higher level (EQF 7 or EQF 8).

Destination of graduates

86% of graduates in 2017 had either started or were about to start a job, although this share varies by field of learning([55]As reported in: Higher Education Authority (2017). Graduate outcomes survey: class of 2017.
https://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2019/02/HEA-Graduate-Outcomes-Survey.pdf
), 4% were engaged in further study,5% were employed,5% were engaged in other activities.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4-5

Post-leaving

certificate courses,

1-2 years

ISCED 443/453

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF levels 4-5, ISCED 443/453
EQF level
4-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

443/453

Usual entry grade

not applicable

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

In so far as part of the course content is VET in nature, it is considered initial education.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable ([38]Credits accumulated, if any, on the basis of certifying bodies, which can vary.)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • component of work-based learning is small, usually with no minimum duration required; it is usually carried out in the context of work experience with a local employer.
Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<30% ([39]For post leaving certificate courses with a work-based learning component.)

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

No formal requirements

Work experience, when part of the curriculum, typically occurs with a company.

Main target groups

Young people who have completed the upper secondary cycle, adults.

The main target group for post leaving certificate courses is learners who have completed the leaving certificate, which is the examination held at the end of upper secondary education. The aim is to provide education/training in a range of subject areas (e.g. business, art, healthcare, social care, among others).

However, older learners may also enrol on post leaving certificate courses.

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

The usual requirement is that the applicant holds a leaving certificate qualification or equivalent (i.e. qualifications at levels EQF3/4). Adults without a leaving certificate may access these courses if they have sufficient work experience.

Assessment of learning outcomes

On completion of a post leaving certificate programme, learners undergo a number of assessments (continuous assessment and written examination). For programmes that lead to an awards made by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, the assessments are based on learning outcomes. Not all programmes lead to an award made by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (industry certification or other awarding bodies may be used).

Diplomas/certificates provided

The certification received depends on the course followed. Usually, courses lead to awards that have been placed at level 4 or 5 on the EQF and they are recognised for progression and employment opportunities. Progression can be to other further education and training courses, or indeed to third level colleges either in Ireland or the UK.

Examples of qualifications

Teachers' aides ([40]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete a post leaving certificate course may progress to tertiary education (though a very small number of learners decides to do so). Primarily, the post leaving certificate courses aim to prepare learners to enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

According to an evaluation of the post leaving certificate sector published in 2018 ([41]http://www.solas.ie/SolasPdfLibrary/PLC/ESRI_PLC_evaluation.pdf)

  • 33% of post leaving certificate course completers progressed to employment (a breakdown of VET versus general learning is not possible);
  • Almost 21% progressed to further studies within the further education and training (FET) system;
  • 27% progressed to higher education;
  • 12% were unemployed.
Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Most of these courses are general or a mix of general and VET.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are part of the assessment procedure.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3-5

Traineeship

various durations,

WBL min. 30%

ISCED 253, 353, 453

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF levels 3-5, ISCED 253, 353, 453
EQF level
3-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

253, 353, 453

Usual entry grade

not applicable

Usual completion grade

not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

from 6 months to 2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

In the past, traineeships were part of second chance education/training and open only to the employed. Since 2016 they are also open to school leavers, the employed and adult learners.

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

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • on- the-job training
  • school based learning
Main providers
  • Schools (Education and Training Board’s training centre)
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=30%

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

Unemployed, employed, school leavers (either young people or adults).

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

A qualification at EQF level 2 is usually the minimum. In addition for those opting for qualifications at childcare and/or healthcare sectors (especially when they will be dealing with children or adults with disabilities) a police vetting ([42]The police vetting process is about criminal history checks and other relevant information on potential and current employees, volunteers and vocational trainees to approved agencies that provide care to children and vulnerable members of society.) is also required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is via exams and continuous assessment methods. They are typically based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners may receive a full or partial award (with partial awards being recognised as part fulfilment of the requirements for a full award). Awards span levels 3-5 on the EQF.

Examples of qualifications

Healthcare support assistant ([43]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete a traineeship can enter the labour market or progress to further studies within the further education and training system.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

For traineeships that lead to awards on the national framework of qualifications (made by Quality Qualifications Ireland), a learning outcomes approach is applied.

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

Information not available

EQF 4-5

Apprenticeship

up to 4 years,

WBL ca. 80%

ISCED 453.

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF levels 4-5, ISCED 453.
EQF level
4-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

4 (up to)

  
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

In the initial phases. However, any part of the training that takes place in a higher education institution will incur fees.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning; (contact studies either at an education/training provider or a higher education institution)
  • in-company practice (practical training in a company).
Main providers
  • Enterprises
  • schools (education and training boards’training Centre or an institute of technology)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at a college of further education and training
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults. Since apprentices are part of the employed, they must be at least 16 years of age. There is no formal upper age limit.

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

There are two types of programmes at this level (box):

  • pre-2106 craft apprenticeship training for which the formal minimum entry requirement is the junior certificate or equivalent (EQF 2 qualification). In practice, however, the vast majority (three quarters) of new apprentices hold higher levels of education, typically a Leaving Certificate (EQF level 3/4);
  • post 2016 apprenticeship for which the entry requirements vary, depending on the specific apprenticeship programme, although a leaving certificate (EQF level 3/4) is generally the minimum.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete apprenticeship training, apprentices are assessed at various stages of the programme, both on and off the job. They are based on learning outcomes and include a practical component.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners who complete the traditional pre-2016 type apprenticeships receive a craft certificate. For the post 2016 apprenticeship, there are different possibilities depending on the apprenticeship. Once learners begin to emerge from these programmes, they may receive: a level 5 certificate, an advanced certificate, a higher certificate, an ordinary degree, an honours bachelor degree or a masters degree.

Examples of qualifications

Pre-2016 apprenticeships: carpentry and joinery, electrical, instrumentation, plastering([44]As described in national context.)

post-2016 apprenticeship: accounting technician, insurance practice, ICT associate network engineer, retail practice, arboriculture, and HGV driver([45]As described in national context.);

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners completing programmes in VET typically have a number of options: they may continue their studies in VET, progress to tertiary level education (in an institute of technology) or enter the labour market).

Destination of graduates

All apprentices must hold an employment contract prior to commencing the apprenticeship programme. Therefore destination is by default to employment.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

General subjects such as mathematics are taught for some apprenticeships, although not all.

Key competences

Y

Competences such as digital skills are taught.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All apprenticeship awards are on the national framework of qualifications, so a learning outcomes approach is applied.

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

Information not available

Secondary

Programme Types
Not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available