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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 Poland comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

The main challenges for VET are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

It decreased since 2013 by 0.2% due to negative natural growth ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 22 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

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

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sector

2017

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

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

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

14.6

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

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

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

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

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

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

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

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

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

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

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

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

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

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

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. In the past five years, there was an overall decrease of unemployment in all age groups and by all types of education levels.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

51.7%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

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

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

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

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

In VET there are:

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

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

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

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

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

System of sector skills councils

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

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

Integrated skills strategy

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

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

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

New forecast of the demand for employees

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

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

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

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

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

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

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

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

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

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

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

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

Modernising VET curricula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The system of external examinations

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

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

School Information System

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

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

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

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

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

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

  • Salary for juvenile workers

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

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Learning forms:

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

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

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

Main providers

Colleges:

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

around 24%

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

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

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

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

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

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

General education subjects

N

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

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

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

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

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

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

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

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

Different forms of practical training available:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

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

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

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

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

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

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

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

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

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

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

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

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

18

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

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

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

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

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

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

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

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

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

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available