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General themes

VET in Cyprus comprises the following main features:

  • a strong cultural trend towards general secondary education followed by a demand for tertiary education qualifications;
  • the enhancement of lifelong guidance and counselling services as a mean to increase VET attractiveness;
  • a shift to the learning outcomes approach (which can be considered at an early stage) followed by a strong commitment to establish their use.

Distinctive features ([1]Adapted from Cedefop (2016) Vocational education and training in Cyprus: Spotlight. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf):

Cyprus has a long-standing tradition of tripartite consultation (government, trade unions and employers’ organisations) and social dialogue. The social partners are involved in:

  • planning in an advisory and consultative capacity;
  • education reform promoted by the government;
  • boards of directors of institutions dealing with human resource issues;
  • identifying education and training needs and setting priorities in education and training.

Vocational education and training in Cyprus is mainly public. Provision of secondary VET including evening technical schools, the apprenticeship system and post upper secondary VET is free of charge, while various adult vocational training programmes are offered for a limited fee.

Financial incentives for participation in adult vocational training are provided by the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) ([2]In Greek: Αρχή Ανάπτυξης Ανθρώπινου Δυναμικού Κύπρου (ΑνΑΔ).
http://www.anad.org.cy
), a semi-government organisation. The Human Resource Development Authority reports to the government through the competent minister who is the minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. It is governed by a 13-strong tripartite board of directors, comprising government, employer and trade union representatives.

Funding provided by the Human Resource Development Authority has encouraged enterprises and their employees to participate in training and development activities.

Cyprus has a high level of educational attainment. There is a strong cultural trend among Cypriots in favour of general secondary education followed by higher education. The economic crisis that Cyprus faced in 2012-15, together with the efforts to increase VET attractiveness, have contributed to a significant increase in the number of students who enrol in technical schools. In 2014, VET attracted 15.1% of the upper secondary learners compared to 12.7% in 2011.

The recent economic crisis, and its adverse effects on the labour market, has been a critical challenge for education and training.

Training has been redirected to respond flexibly and effectively to the crisis, with targeted actions for the unemployed, economically inactive, and the employed.

A major challenge is to address the young as well as long-term unemployment. Actions are being taken to promote employability of young persons and the long-term unemployed, through individualised guidance, training and work placements.

Another challenge for education and training, which features prominently in the current education reform, is to encourage adult participation in lifelong learning activities and increase VET participation among the young. A comprehensive, attractive, flexible and high quality VET system is being developed to respond better to the needs of the economy. Core measures are promoting tertiary non-university programmes offered by institutes for technical and vocational education, which were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (DIPAE) as public schools of higher vocational education and training, upgrading secondary technical and vocational education curricula and raising the quality and competences of secondary technical and vocational education teachers. There are also actions to upgrade the apprenticeship, designed to constitute a viable, alternative form of training for young people.

These measures are included in the strategic plan for technical and vocational education 2015-20 and the proposal of the education ministry for upgrading the apprenticeship, approved by the

government in 2015.

EU tools for validating acquired skills, such as the Cyprus qualifications framework (CyQF) ([3]http://www.cyqf.gov.cy/index.php/el/), will improve horizontal and vertical permeability of education and training systems. The development of a competence-based system of vocational qualifications by the Human Resource Development Authority which is an integral part of the national qualifications framework is expected to strengthen the ties between VET for young people and vocational training for adults, improving their knowledge and skills.

Data from VET in Cyprus Spotlight 2016 ([4]Adapted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Cyprus. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf).

Population in 2018: 864 236 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 0.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted on 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 21 in 2015 to 55 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

 

Participation at upper secondary VET has been increasing since 2013, despite the decreasing birth rate in the early 2000s.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs10 & demo_gind [extracted 14.5.2019].

 

Not applicable

Most companies are micro-sized. According to social insurance data ([7]Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (2018). General statistics 2018. http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/sid/sidv2.nsf/page21_en/page21_en?OpenDocument) for 2017, 92.6% of enterprises employed 1-9 persons, while 6.2% employed 10-49 persons. Only 1.1% employed over 50 persons.

Main economic sectors:

  • financial and insurance activities;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • real estate activities;
  • public administration and defence;
  • professional, scientific and technical activities;
  • tourism;
  • construction.

With the exception of tourism and construction sectors, these sectors are not strongly linked to VET qualifications.

In general, there are few limitations/restrictions in the labour market, especially in occupations where health and safety is of concern.

For some occupations/professions, it is compulsory to hold specific certificates/diplomas or to be registered at the appropriate professional body.

For example, it is required by law that all engineers are registered members of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber ([8]In Greek: Επιστημονικό Τεχνικό Επιμελητήριο Κύπρου:
https://www.etek.org.cy/
) the statutory technical advisor to the State and the umbrella organisation for all Cypriot engineers. The chamber issues relevant certificates and licenses.

Also, the department of electrical and mechanical services of the transport ministry is the competent authority for the implementation of the legislation in fields of electrical installations and auto-mechanical repairs such as the law which regulates the profession of automobile technicians.

Furthermore, according to a recent regulation, it will become compulsory for plumbing, heating and cooling systems technicians to hold the appropriate vocational qualification issued by the Human Resource Development Authority through the system of vocational qualifications, in order to practice the profession.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old) (2018): 7.3% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [Extracted on 20.05.2019]).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased 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) is still higher than in the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20-34 year old VET graduates increased from 72.4% in 2014 to 76.6% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

The increase (+4.2 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+6.2 pp) in the same period in Cyprus ([11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education traditionally has high value in Cyprus. The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education is 44.1%. The share of those with low or without qualification is 17.7% that is below the EU28 average (21.8%).

 

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

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

16.7%

100%

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

In upper secondary VET, the share has increased by 3.2 percentage points since 2013.

 

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

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

 

There are more males in VET. Based on data provided by the education ministry, for the school year 2018/19, the 78.1% of learners in all VET programmes at upper Secondary level are males. Also, in tertiary (non-university) programmes offered by the education ministry (MIEEK), approximately 60% of the learners are males.

At upper secondary level, for the 2018/19 school year, the most popular field of study and specialisations among males were Cooks and waiters and Automobile engineering and car electrics and electronics. Among females the most popular fields were also ‘cooks and waiters’ and ‘hairdressing’([12]These are the names of the relevant specialisations.).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.7% in 2009 to 7.8% in 2018. The result is below the national target of not more than 10% and the EU28 average of 10.6%.

 

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].

 

Drop-out rate from VET: Information not available

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

According to Eurostat (Labour Force Survey([13]The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) is conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, four candidate countries and three countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998. At the moment, the LFS microdata for scientific purposes contain data for all Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The EU Labour Force Survey is a large household sample survey providing quarterly results on labour participation of people aged 15 and over as well as on persons outside the labour force. All definitions apply to persons aged 15 years and over living in private households. Persons carrying out obligatory military or community service are not included in the target group of the survey, as is also the case for persons in institutions/collective households.
The data collection covers the years from 1983 onwards. In general, data for individual countries are available depending on their accession date. The Labour Force Surveys are conducted by the national statistical institutes across Europe and are centrally processed by Eurostat. The national statistical institutes are responsible for selecting the sample, preparing the questionnaires, conducting the direct interviews among households, and forwarding the results to Eurostat in accordance with the requirements of the regulation. Thus, it is possible to make available harmonised data at European level. More information available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-labour-force-...
)), the share of 25-64 year-olds participating in education and training over the four weeks prior to the survey was 6.7% in 2018, which is lower than the EU average of 11.1% in 2018 and the national target for 2020 of 12%.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: CYSTAT and Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs05 [extracted 24.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-primary education(ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, ISCED 244) (hereafter basic education which is compulsory till the age of 15);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 4 and 3 for apprenticeship-learners who leave formal education between grades 8-10) (EQF 4 (ISCED 344, 354)and respectively 3);
  • post-secondary not tertiary education (EQF 5, ISCED 554, 454);
  • higher education (EQF 6-8, ISCED 655, 766 and 767 for post-graduate studies at master level (1-2 years)), ISCED 864 for PhD programmes).

Education in Cyprus is available from the pre-primary to the postgraduate levels. It is compulsory at the pre-primary, primary (grades 1 to 6), and lower secondary (grades seven to nine) levels, until the student reaches the age of 15.

In upper secondary education, which lasts for three years (grades 10 to 12) there are two types of schools: the unified lyceum and technical schools.

The number of higher education places in Cyprus is rather limited as there are only three public and five private universities. A large proportion of young people continuing to higher education enrol in educational institutions abroad.

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

European qualifications framework levels 2-3 VET qualifications are only offered in the form of apprenticeship ([14]New modern apprenticeship (NMA) is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the NMA is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The new modern apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of learners:
(a) learners who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by gradually introducing them to the labour market, giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
(b) learners who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.
).

There are several VET learning options:

  • at upper secondary level VET is provided at technical schools for students aged 15-18 and evening technical schools, as well as in the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools for adults;
  • the education ministry also offers formal education programmes free of charge, in both the theoretical and practical directions, through the two evening technical schools, one in Nicosia and another in Limassol, to further promote participation in secondary vocational education and support the integration of school dropouts in the workplace and in society in general;
  • also three-year programmes are provided in the context of the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools, which are administered by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET). They offer a variety of courses such as plumbing, electrical installations, engineering, computers, car mechanics, cooking and graphic design.

VET at tertiary level

VET at tertiary, non-university level is provided at public and private institutes/colleges offering people the opportunity to acquire, improve, or upgrade their qualifications and skills. Successful completion of these accredited programmes, which may last for two-to-three years, lead to a diploma or higher diploma awarded by the institution (European qualifications framework level 5). The public post-secondary institutes of VET ([15]In 2012, the education ministry in cooperation with the labour ministry and other stakeholders established, within the context of the education reform, post-secondary institutes of VET, co-financed by the ESF, which offered further technical specialisation as of the academic year 2012/13. These were in April 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education granted them tertiary non-university level status.) were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) ([16]Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA). In Greek: Φορέας Διασφάλισης και Πιστοποίησης της Ποιότητας της Ανώτερης Εκπαίδευσης (
http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/ )
) as public schools of higher vocational education and training. They offer two-year accredited programmes that lead to the acquisition of a diploma ([17]Private institutions of tertiary education offer a wide range of academic as well as vocational programmes of study at various levels (one- or two years diploma, three years higher diploma, four-years bachelor degree and one- or two-years master’s degree) in secretarial studies, aesthetics, food preparation, music, arts and drama, graphic design, hotel and tourism management, computer science, social sciences, education, business studies, management and engineering. English is the language of instruction for most programmes of studies offered, which attracts students from other countries. Furthermore, several private institutions of tertiary education offer academic programmes of study based on validation or franchised agreements with more than 10 European universities and following the provisions of the competent Law of the Republic of Cyprus.
Since 1996, the establishment and operation of all private institutions of tertiary education is regulated by law. Each institution sets its own internal regulations, student entry requirements and evaluation, qualifications awarded, tuition fees and teachers’ qualifications, which are published in an annual prospectus.
).

There are four public institutions of tertiary education (non-university level) offering programmes in forestry, culinary arts and other vocations.

Training for employees

The main bodies promoting training provision for the employed are the Human Resource Development Authority, the education ministry, the labour ministry, and other ministries and public institutions. Moreover, private institutions such as colleges, training institutions, consultancy firms and enterprises offer a variety of courses for adults, including many that are not subsidised by the Human Resource Development Authority.

Other ministries offer, usually relative to their mandate training:

  • the Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC) offers upgrading courses to employees in the hotel and restaurant sector([19]Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC). In Greek: Ανώτερο Ξενοδοχειακό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
    http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/hhic/hhic.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument&lang=el
    );
  • the agriculture ministry is offering training to farmers, foresters and forestry graduates. These courses are offered mostly by the agricultural educational centres;
  • the Cyprus academy of public administration is training civil servants;
  • the health ministry is responsible for the planning and coordination of continuing professional development of public sector nurses;
  • the justice and public order ministry promotes the training of police officers and sergeants provided by the Cyprus police academy. The police academy also offers part-time training in the use of computers for police members.

Training for the unemployed

The main bodies promoting training provision for the unemployed are the Human Resource Development Authority in cooperation with the labour ministry and the education ministry. The Human Resource Development Authority offers the following training activities:

  • training programmes for the unemployed aim at the participation of the unemployed who are registered with the public employment services in training programmes for specific occupations/themes that the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus defines after consultation;
  • employment and training of tertiary education graduates;
  • training of the long-term unemployed in enterprises/organisations;
  • multi-company training programmes.

The apprenticeship system was a two-year initial VET programme providing practical and theoretical training to young people who had not successfully completed their secondary compulsory education and wished to be trained and employed in technical occupations. This was terminated with the graduation of the last intake of apprentices in June 2013 and was replaced by the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) which started its operation in the school year 2012/13.

In 2007, the council of ministers approved the proposal for the establishment of the New Modern Apprenticeship, which provides an alternative pathway for education, training and development for young people who withdraw from the formal education system and is geared towards meeting the needs of the labour market. As of September of 2015 the council of ministers, assigned full responsibility for the operation of the apprenticeship to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) ([20]In Greek: Διεύθυνση μέσης τεχνικής και επαγγελματικής εκπαίδευσης και κατάρτισης.) of the education ministry. The improvement of the quality of the apprenticeship and the enhancement of its relevance to labour market needs is implemented as approved by the council of ministers in August 2015.

The apprenticeship, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the government of Cyprus, is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the apprenticeship is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of students:

  • students who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
  • students who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.

Preparatory apprenticeship does not involve employment but constitutes an alternative form of education and training for students between 14 and 16 years of age who have the opportunity through this programme to develop their numeracy, literacy and digital skills, to explore their talents and abilities through creative arts, and to take part in workshops related to technical occupations. Such workshops include carpentry, plumbing and mechanics. The curricula are developed by the trainers. Participation in these workshops is part of the programme and does not lead to individual qualifications. Students also receive individual counselling from psychologists according to their needs. Students who complete preparatory apprenticeship (ISCED 2, EQF level 2) may proceed to the core apprenticeship level or, if they wish and provided they succeed in a special set of exams, they may re-enter the formal education system.

Core apprenticeship lasts three years and involves both training at school and practical training in enterprises. Apprentices sign a contract with their employer which mainly regulates their terms of employment. Apprentices follow practical training in enterprises for three days per week where they are remunerated for their work and receive theoretical training for two days per week by attending classes at technical schools.

New curricula have been developed for car mechanics, plumbing/central heating, welding/metal constructions, bakery/confectionery, carpentry/furniture making, electrical installations, and home appliances technicians by trainers chosen through a competitive process. The curricula have been developed for the theoretical subjects of the core apprenticeship, such as Greek, maths, physics, English, information technology, and technical specialisations. The curricula of technical specialisations incorporate the standards of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority). The content of training in enterprises is based on a training plan developed by the school trainer and the enterprise trainer working together and agreed by the employer. The enterprise training of the apprentice is monitored by regular visits of the school trainer to the enterprise and a monthly report prepared and submitted to the apprenticeship officer.

Teachers of the theoretical training that takes place at school are teachers of secondary technical and vocational education. Following the development of new curricula, a training of trainers programme has been implemented for preparatory apprenticeship trainers.

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

The education ministry has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of educational policy, while labour ministry has overall responsibility for labour and social policy.

As of September 2015, the government assigned full responsibility for the operation of the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) of the education ministry.

The Directorate General for European programmes, Coordination and Development ([21]In Greek: Γενική Διεύθυνση Ευρωπαϊκών Προγραμμάτων, Συντονισμού και Ανάπτυξης (ΓΔ ΕΠΣΑ):
http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument
) is responsible for European funds and programmes, coordination of government work, research, technological development and innovation, lifelong learning and the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.

The Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus has an important role in vocational training. It is a semi-government organisation whose mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of the human resources of Cyprus.

Public funds administered mainly by the education ministry are the primary source for financing VET.

The financing provided by European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Expenditure on Education (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

Public expenditure on education

7.2

6.4

6.6

6.5

6.5

6.5

Total expenditure on education

9.4

8.7

8.8

8.8

8.8

n.a.

NB. *: provisional. n.a.: not available

Source: CYSTAT (2018a).

Expenditure on VET (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public expenditure on VET

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

Source: CYSTAT.

 

Expenditure per student in 2010-16 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data.
Source: CYSTAT.

 

As far as VET for adults is concerned, the Human Resource Development Authority subsidises a variety of training activities, implemented by public and private institutions and enterprises, which are addressed to employed and unemployed persons.

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government. Enterprises and vocational training centres are directly involved in training activities and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers about 80% of the eligible total costs.

In VET there are:

  • teachers of the theoretical part;
  • apprentice tutors;
  • trainers of vocational training.

Teachers of the theoretical part teach in upper secondary vocational schools, in the school-based component of apprenticeships and in VET Higher education (non-tertiary) institutes. Teachers at all levels of school education are university graduates with a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification. A very small number of VET teachers employed at technical schools hold a diploma or similar qualification from colleges or other similar educational establishments of tertiary (non-higher) education in courses of at least three years duration and were appointed at a lower salary scale.

Apprentice tutors are employees of the enterprise where the in-company training component takes place. No specific training is needed to perform these duties.

Upgrading the continuous professional development of teachers and the enhancement of the quality, attractiveness and efficiency of VET and new modern apprenticeship are important challenges for the education system of Cyprus. This is reflected in the education reform, which is a long process involving all VET stakeholders, as well as in the strategies and policies of the education ministry.

People who want to become trainers of vocational training must successfully go through the assessment and certification procedure following the system of vocational qualifications and acquire the trainer of vocational training qualification (European qualifications framework/Cyprus qualifications framework level 5, system of vocational qualifications level 5). Through the multi-company training programmes scheme, train the trainer programmes are offered to prepare trainers for assessment and certification.

Certified trainers of vocational training, deliver approved and subsidised courses, by the Human Resource Development Authority, both at vocational training centres as well as in companies for in-house training.

The Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute ([22]Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute(CPI). In Greek: Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
http://www.pi.ac.cy/pi/index.php?lang=el
) (CPI), according to a council of ministers decision (August 2015), is the official department of the education ministry which runs teachers’ professional learning. It offers a variety of free-of-charge training programmes that are repetitive and compulsory for teachers, mainly because they are provided by the education laws or their service plans or because these programmes are developed with reference to the current needs and the context of schools.

For example, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute provides compulsory courses for newly appointed VET head teachers and deputy head teachers. These courses are offered once a week, during a school year, from October to May.

In addition, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute in collaboration with the directorate of secondary technical and vocational education offers training programmes on various subjects of the curricula to all teachers. Optional seminars on instruction and pedagogy are also offered by the institute during the afternoons and they are open and free for all teachers.

Based on the new decision of the council of ministers (July 2017) emphasis is given on schools-based professional learning which is closely related to the annual school improvement plan.

The technical schools have the opportunity to receive systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute on an annual basis. At the beginning of the school year, schools are expected to utilise a needs assessment procedure in order to define their specific needs and target a single priority theme. Then, according to their needs, each school has to organise its own training programme for the teachers, making use of plethora of training programmes offered by the Institute or elsewhere. Based on its training, each school designed its own action plan.

Some technical schools participated in this programme of systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and followed the methodology of action research as well as other methodologies for teachers’ professional learning, like lesson studies or teachers’ rounds. Teacher rounds is a collaborative form of lesson planning, peer observation and occurs in the classroom, in real-time. It entails intentional reflection, observation, inquiry and collaboration. Every member of the group of teachers are reflective partners and take-away something from the lesson.

At the same time, a legislative framework for professional learning at an individual level is currently being discussed in the negotiations on the new teachers’ evaluation framework.

For trainers of vocational training, the Human Resource Development Authority offers programmes through the multi-company training programmes scheme to prepare trainers for assessment and certification or further enhance their training skills in ad hoc subjects.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers([23]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The assessment of skill needs is operated by the Human Resource Development Authority. The finance ministry provides projections for the growth of the economy. The education ministry is responsible for the identification of educational and special skill needs.

For the systematic employment forecasting and the identification of skills gaps, the Human Resource Development Authority conducts the following research studies:

  • long-term employment trends and forecasting in Cyprus.

The Human Resource Development Authority provides 10-year employment forecasts on a regular basis every two to three years. The latest study of employment forecasts for Cyprus was completed in 2017, covers the period 2017-27 and provides forecasts for employment needs in all economic sectors (three broad sectors, 21 main sectors and 52 sectors) and in all occupations, 309 in total (173 high level occupations, 130 middle level occupations and 6 low level occupations), covering the whole spectrum of the Cyprus labour market ([24]Human Resource Development Authority (2017a). Προβλέψεις Απασχόλησης στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-27 [Forecasts of employment needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/404);

This study provides annual estimates for the number of persons needed for specific occupations and the needs for specific skills. On the basis of these estimates, suggestions are put forward for the implementation of training programmes. In the study, the views of enterprises, social partners and other stakeholders are collected and analysed through specially designed questionnaires;

  • studies on specific sectors.

There are two recent such studies. The first one is the Identification of blue skills in the Cyprus economy, a study which examines and analyses the blue economy and blue occupations, maps out the blue economy of Cyprus and identifies blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2016-26 ([26]Human Resource Development Authority (2016). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Γαλάζιες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2016-2026 [Identification of blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2016-26 ].
http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/311
). It provides forecasts for employment demand in economic sectors and occupations which are part of the blue economy. The second one is the Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy ([27]Human Resource Development Authority (2018). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Πράσινες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-2027 [Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/471). This study examines and analyses the green economy and green occupations, mapping out the green economy of Cyprus and identifying green skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2017-27;

  • the finance ministry, provides projections for the growth of the economy, which include forecasts of value added, productivity and employment, and submits proposals for the required policy changes.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([28]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([29]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

In Cyprus until recently there has been relatively limited implementation of frameworks and mechanisms regarding the transparency of qualifications and systems for the recognition of competences and qualifications so the development of a competence-based system is a high priority. The system of vocational qualifications is in place for the assessment of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions.

The system of vocational qualifications is designed for the assessment and certification of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions. The system of vocational qualifications is based on Vocational Qualifications Standards (VQS) developed by the Human Resource Development Authority. The vocational qualifications standards define the tasks and the required knowledge, skills and competences for each vocational qualification. At the same time, the vocational qualifications standards define the framework for the training and development of the candidates to be prepared for a successful assessment, in order to obtain the certification of their vocational qualifications. The system of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority is integrated, at levels 2 to 7, within the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The standards that are developed are discussed by technical committees of vocational qualifications and approved by the board of directors of the Human Resource Development Authority.

To date, seventy two vocational qualifications have been developed by the Human Resource Development Authority with the contribution of technical committees comprising representatives of industry, employers and workers and education and training institutions.

The system of vocational qualifications has adopted the four phases of the validation procedure according to the European Recommendation on Validation of non-Formal and Informal Learning ([30]Council of the European Union (2012). Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Official Journal of the European Union, C 398, 22.12.2012, pp. 1-5.).

The description of the four phases follows:

  • Identification

Identification involves the determination of the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority the Centres for Assessment of Vocational Qualifications (CAVQ).

At first, information is provided to the candidates about the system of vocational qualifications requirements. The identification arises from an interview in which the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications obtains information from the candidates related to their education and work experience, in particular to the learning outcomes. Then the candidates are advised to choose a specific qualification standard according to their knowledge, skills and competence. The results of this phase are written down in the identification and documentation report.

  • Documentation

Documentation entails sufficient proof of the knowledge, skills and competences, which have been identified during the previous phase. The candidates submit to the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications any relevant documents proving the acquisition of the learning outcomes through formal, non-formal and informal learning. i.e. educational and vocational qualifications, employment experience confirmation, social insurance statements. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report.

If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of vocational qualification they have to fill in and sign the application form. The application form should be accompanied by the identification and documentation report and all the relevant documents.

When a group of up to three candidates is formed the director/manager of centres for assessment of vocational qualifications submits to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval the application forms attached with the identification and documentation report and the relevant documents.

  • Assessment

The Human Resource Development Authority approves the candidates’ applications, provided they are compatible with the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications. In this case, the candidates can proceed for assessment.

The assessment of learning outcomes is carried out by two approved assessors for every team of up to three candidates, in two to five meetings, of three-hour duration each, in an approved centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications. The centres for assessment of vocational qualifications may be public or private training centres, which are certified by the Human Resource Development Authority as vocational training centres and have certified training facilities.

The assessment is based on the vocational qualification standard and the main assessment method is the observation of candidates in real or simulated working conditions. The assessment of vocational qualifications may also include, depending on each standard, interview, oral exam, written exam and project. The results of the assessment are depicted on the report of candidate’s assessment.

The assessors are independent experts, certified trainers and should comply with specific academic and professional criteria. The assessors are trained by the Human Resource Development Authority and sign a contract regarding the terms of reference as assessors of the system of vocational qualifications.

As far as the quality assurance is concerned, every centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications is obliged to carry out at least one internal audit during each team’s assessment, to provide internal quality assurance for each assessment. Additionally, each assessment is externally verified through an on the spot visit by an independent verifier authorised by Human Resource Development Authority. The results of the checks’ verifications are depicted in separate reports.

  • Certification

Candidates’ assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, which validates the results of the assessments. Τhe successful assessment of the candidates in all task areas constituting the vocational qualification standard and all methods of assessment is the necessary condition for the certification of the candidates.

The Human Resource Development Authority being the awarding body approves the assessment through the relevant documentation and proceeds to the certification of the candidate. If a candidate has succeeded in only a part of the qualification task areas, an affirmation (partial certification) is provided only for these task areas. In these cases, the candidate is given the opportunity of reassessment in the failed tasks and/or methods of assessment.

Also accredited vocational training centres offer training programmes which are based on the vocational qualifications standards and prepare participants for assessment and certification.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([31]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework:

  • for the secondary VET (IVET) ([32]It does not apply in the case of preparatory apprenticeship.) the respective inspector of each field of study ([33]The term ‘field of study’ (κλάδος) is broader than the term ‘specialisation’ (ειδικότητα), as it includes several specialisations.
    In these terms the field of study ‘mechanical engineering’ includes four specialisations: ‘mechanical engineering’, ‘vehicle technology’, ‘building services engineering’, and ‘natural gas transmission and distribution’.
    ) is responsible for the proper implementation of the IVET curricula and ensures that the teaching material is adequately covered by using effective teaching methods. The constant assessment of the progress of learners, alongside with a final examination are instrumental for the evaluation of an educator’s work;
  • for tertiary education there are two bodies responsible for Quality assurance, one is the Cyprus council for the recognition of higher education qualifications, an independent body responsible for the recognition of diplomas awarded by higher education institutions and the other is the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education ([34]Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) was established on the basis of the ‘Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Higher Education and the Establishment and Operation of an Agency on Related Matters Law, of 2015,’ and is responsible is to ensure the quality of higher education in Cyprus and to support, through the procedures provided by the relevant legislation for the continuous improvement and upgrading of higher education institutions and their programs of study. More information available at: http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/en/cyqaa), an independent body responsible for the external evaluation and accreditation of all higher education institutions;
  • for continuing VET (CVET) the body responsible is the Human Resource Development Authority. Quality is assured by checking the programmes that a training provider wishes to implement and by accreditation of these providers (a vocational training centre status is granted). Also, accreditation of vocational training facilities and trainers for vocational training (system of vocational qualifications/Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework level 5) is granted after appropriate qualitative assessment.

In 2013, the education ministry set up an interdepartmental committee with the task to develop and monitor the implementation of a comprehensive action plan for the validation of non-formal and informal learning, in line with the Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01). The action plan was successfully developed.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([35]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The education ministry coordinates the implementation of the project ‘Establishing a mechanism for the validation of non-formal and informal learning’. The project is co-funded by the European social fund and the Republic of Cyprus.

This project has supported a mapping study of the current situation in Cyprus regarding the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Based on the results of the study, an overall national action plan for the establishment of mechanisms for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in Cyprus was developed in early 2018. This was put into public consultation in May 2018. In October 2018, the council of ministers, with Decision No 85.959, dated 16 October 2018, approved the national action plan, which foresees setting up a validation mechanism and its pilot implementation. The first results from the pilot operation of the mechanism in the fields of adult education, youth and volunteering are estimated to be available at the end of 2019.

In the system of vocational qualifications a validation procedure consisted of four phaseshas been developed. The procedure is aligned with the European Recommendation on Validation of non-formal and informal learning ([36]Council Recommendation 2012/C398/01.).

The four phases are:

  • identification: at this stage the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning are determined. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority centres for assessment of vocational qualifications. As first step information on the system of vocational qualifications is provided to the candidate and through an interview they are advised to choose a specific qualification standard, relevant to their set of knowledge, skills, competence. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report;
  • documentation: This phase entails sufficient proof of the previously identified knowledge, skills, competence. The results are recorded in the identification and documentation report. If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of the vocational qualification they have to fill and sign an application form. When a group of three candidates is formed the director/manager of the centre for assessment of vocational qualifications submits the application forms and all paperwork to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval;
  • assessment: if the Human Resource Development Authority approves the applications which are examined against the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications the candidates may proceed with assessment. This is carried out by two approved assessors in 2 to 5 meetings and is based on the relevant vocational qualification standard. The results are depicted in the assessment report. The assessors are trained by Human Resource Development Authority;
  • certification. The assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, the results are validated, and full or partial certification is given.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([37]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_CY.pdf)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

  • the provision of secondary technical vocational education including evening technical education, the apprenticeship system and public tertiary vocational education are free of charge;

Study leave for employees

  • educational leave schemes, which are applied in the public sector in Cyprus, provide public-sector employees with the opportunity to take educational leave for studies which are relevant to their job provided that they are awarded a scholarship from, through or with the approval of the government or any other authority approved by the Council of Ministers;
  • in some sectors, leave of absence for education and training purposes is included in the collective agreements, thereby ensuring a certain level of education and training. Such sectors are the hotel industry, banking sector, cabinet making and carpentry industry and private clinics.

Incentives for the unemployed

The VET programmes for adults which are implemented by public and private institutions, are provided free of charge and participants receive training allowances which are paid by the Human Resource Development Authority. The amount of the allowance varies depending on the programme.

The financing provided by the European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by the European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government.

Enterprises are directly involved in vocational training for adults and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers 80% of the eligible total costs. The Human Resource Development Authority provides subsidies to the employers. In the case of single-company initial and continuing training programmes ([40]The single-company training programmes in Cyprus provide incentives to employers to design and organise in-company training programmes, implemented by internal or external trainers, to meet the specific needs of the enterprise for the effective utilisation of its personnel. The single-company training programmes abroad provide incentives employers to participate with their personnel in training programmes abroad to transfer specialised knowledge and skills in areas related to the introduction of innovation, new technology and technical know-how;), eligible costs include the cost of trainers, the personnel cost for trainees, administrative expenses and cost of training materials.

As regards the multi-company continuing training programmes ([41]The training programmes are implemented by accredited vocational training centres, at accredited vocational training facilities by certified trainers of vocational training. The programmes are subsidised by the Human Resource Development authority:
- multi-company training programmes provide continuing training for meeting the training needs of employed and unemployed persons through their participation in training programmes implemented by public or private training institutions and organisations. They cover a broad range of issues in all operations of the enterprise and in all occupations;
- high-priority multi-company training programmes provide continuing training to meet the training needs of employed persons through their participation in training programmes in specific high-priority issues.
Employees from different companies attend these programmes.
), the Human Resource Development Authority provides the subsidies directly to the training providers and the employer covers the remaining cost.

Enhancing the provision of guidance and counselling services to all population groups is a policy priority for Cyprus. The main bodies delivering guidance and counselling in Cyprus are the Counselling and Career Education Service (CCES) of the education ministry, the employment service, and the Euroguidance centre Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority, the youth board of Cyprus and certain private organisations. Guidance is provided to students in secondary and tertiary education, to both the unemployed and employed as well as to the economically inactive.

An important development with regard to guidance was the establishment in March 2012 of the national forum on lifelong guidance, which was a basic step in the upgrading of all guidance and counselling services in Cyprus. Its mission is to act as an advisory body to the government policy makers in the field of lifelong guidance. All major stakeholders, such as the education ministry, the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority the youth board of Cyprus and the social partners are represented in the Forum.

Guidance and counselling for students is provided mainly by the education ministry, the Euroguidance centre in Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority and the youth board of Cyprus.

The counselling service provides counselling to students which aims at the development of their personal awareness related to their needs, interests, abilities, and skills. In this way they can take informed decisions about their personal lives, education and careers.

The whole process of achieving personal awareness is facilitated through educational and vocational guidance/counselling throughout upper secondary education. In addition, to become acquainted with the world of work, the students have the opportunity to attend presentations given by professionals in different fields and visit workplaces. Each school organises career days where professionals and staff from higher education institutions give lectures to students. Personal and group counselling, administration and analysis of psychometric tests along with presentations to classes of all levels, are provided to students by qualified guidance school counsellors. Also, school counsellors give lectures to parents to inform them about the educational options of their children.

The counsellors have undergone post-graduate education in counselling and/or career education/guidance. They are placed in schools of secondary education as well as at the central and regional offices of the counselling service offices of the education ministry. The counsellors at the central offices give support to the counsellors placed in schools and they are also responsible for many publications that address the needs of the counselling and career education service. They also provide counselling and career guidance services to the public.

An open school day, organised by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET), has been established to raise public awareness and increase initial VET attractiveness. During the open school day, students of the third year of lower secondary education and their parents are given the opportunity to visit a technical school of their choice and be guided by teachers and students to the various facilities of the school. Moreover, an exhibition of the students’ achievements is organised at each technical school, to further promote awareness of the career possibilities provided by initial VET programmes.

Additionally, students attending technical schools receive traineeships in the specialisation of their choice as part of their curriculum. Furthermore, the third year of studies in the practical direction of technical schools combines a school-based environment with a real workplace as final-year students are placed in industry for one day per week, where they follow a practical training programme.

Each year, the education ministry organises the international education fair where the students and other interested parties receive educational information about universities´ study programmes, entrance requirements, fees and scholarships. Over 200 higher education institutions and universities from 35 countries, as well as the national universities and colleges usually attend the fair.

The Cyprus guidance and counsellors association, member of the Organisation of secondary school teachers of Cyprus, also organises an annual careers fair and more than 150 organised professional bodies and organisations participate.

The British Council and the education USA, a USA Department of State network, with the participation of different universities and colleges from the UK and the USA respectively, also organise education fairs, to provide information to prospective students for further studies in these countries. In recent years, education fairs are also organised by institutions of other countries.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher professional

Programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

only for Cypriot and EU students and only in public institutions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Each accredited two–year programme of study offered at the formerly known as post-secondary institutes (MIIEK) of VET awards 120 ECTS ([51]The formerly known as post-secondary institutes of VET (MIEEK), as public schools of higher VET (since 2017), offer two-year accredited programmes (European qualifications framework level 5), leading to the acquisition of a diploma of higher VET, which can be recognised by universities in the case of graduates who wish to pursue university studies in a relevant field. In Cyprus the standard formula used for each credit point per year is 25-30 of work load hours per credit point. The Cyprus law [Law 136 (Ι)/2015]) states that programmes should be designed according to the guidelines of ECTS and ECVET as they were declared in Ministerial meetings in the context of the European Higher Education Area. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/archeia/nomothesia/nomothesia_2015_peri_diasfalisis_pistopoiisis_poiotitas_anoteris_ekpaidefsis_el.pdf
Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education issued a statement clarifying the number of hours per ECTS and the number of ECTS per programme. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/nea-ekdiloseis/anakoinoseis-el/102-2017-03-06-ects-2
).

The accredited programmes of study are the following ([52]Text in apostrophes refers to the specialisation fields.
):

  • 'bakery – confectionery'
  • 'computer and communication networks'
  • 'electromechanical and industrial refrigeration installations'
  • 'CNC technology – woodworking industry'
  • 'dairy technology – cheese making'
  • 'organic vegetable crops'
  • 'purchasing and supply management – shipping'
  • 'industrial and residential automation'
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • in-company practice
  • practical training at schools

In-company practice, i.e. work based learning (industrial placements) lasts for six weeks per academic year. Suitable enterprises and industrial units are selected on the basis that they have the capacity to provide learners with the necessary skills and competences required for their chosen programme of study.

Practical training at schools is provided at the workshops of the technical and vocational schools of education and training where the institutes operate.

Main providers

Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available ([53]There is work-based-learning enterprises as part of the programme however information on the share of work-based learning is not available .)

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for people (adults) with upper secondary level (EQF4) certificate (either from general education or VET). Higher education places are rather limited in Cyprus so many young Cypriots enrol to institutions abroad.

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

Learners must hold an upper secondary level certificate (EQF4) (general education or VET).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • semester, and often mid-term examinations;
  • workshop and laboratory assignments;
  • project work and industrial training are also assessed and taken into consideration when assigning final marks;
  • In addition to the course modules, participants may be expected to prepare and submit a final project.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Tourist guide, police chief constable, police commissioner, cook, graphic designer ([54]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or they can continue their studies at EQF level 6 (only in a specialisation relevant to their diploma).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Preparatory level),

1-2 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3 (Apprenticeship (preparatory level)) (Προπαρασκευαστική Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

It is considered IVET

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Preparatory apprenticeship is not available to adults

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work practice in enterprises
  • participation in workshops
Main providers

The main provider is the education ministry.

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 practice
  • workshops
Main target groups

Young people aged 14-16 who have withdrawn from the formal education system.

They receive individual counselling according to their needs.

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

Learners must be at least 14 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of preparatory apprenticeship students is a combination of their attendance and conduct record throughout the year, their individual project work throughout the year and their performance at final exams in Greek language and mathematics.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας).

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete preparatory apprenticeship can enrol to core apprenticeship (EQF 3) or continue their studies to EQF 4 (upper secondary technical and vocational education or upper secondary general education) provided they succeed in a special set of exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

General education programmes constitute the main part of this programme, since learners attending preparatory apprenticeship are taught maths, modern Greek, English, computers, music, theatre, art, physical education and technology.

Key competences

Y

Numeracy skills (maths), mother tongue (Greek language), digital skills

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 ([44]In the academic year 2018/19 about 71 learners were enrolled onto preparatory apprenticeship. However, this number is not included in VET statistics.)

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Core-level),

WBL ca. 70%,

3 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, apprenticeship (core-level) (Νέα Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Maximum completion age is 21 (however adults cannot enrol into core apprenticeship).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • apprenticeships
  • work practice
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for early leavers from education (i.e. young people, including adults, up to the age of 18 years old, who have either completed a lower secondary program (EQF2) or preparatory apprenticeship or dropped out of upper secondary programmes.

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

Learners must be between 15-18 years old to enrol.

  • minimum age: 15
  • maximum age: 18
  • previously acquired qualification/education level: lower secondary education leaving certificate ([45]In Greek: Απολυτήριο Γυμνασίου.) or Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate ([46]In Greek: Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας.)
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of apprentices for the theoretical training they receive in technical schools follows the rules of the education system with regular tests and final examinations. During the practical training, apprentices are assessed by their supervisors and their grades appear on the apprenticeship certificate (EQF level 3).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeship certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Μαθητείας)

It allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Currently, the apprenticeship system in Cyprus offers the following specialisations ([47]Text in apostrophes refers to the names of specialisations in the national context.
):

  • 'car mechanics'
  • 'plumbing/central heating'
  • 'welding/metal constructions'
  • 'bakery/confectionery'
  • 'carpentry/furniture making'
  • 'electrical installations'
  • 'home appliances technicians'
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 (only in evening schools which they can complete in two years instead of four).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

2.6% ([48]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in upper secondary VET programmes)

EQF 4

School-based and

mainly school-based programmes,

incl. WBL,

3 years

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Μέση Δευτεροβάθμια τεχνική και επαγγελματική εκπαίδευση)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (4 for evening schools)

  
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

The three year programmes offer, at limited fees, continuing education and training to employed or unemployed adults, to respond more efficiently to the contemporary demands of the labour market and achieve re-integration in the labour market in areas where there is shortage of skilled workers.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice)
Main providers
  • 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)
  • in-company practice (for learners of the practical direction)
  • workshops at schools

For the theoretical direction, the percentage of general education subjects is 70%, while the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 30%. For the practical direction, the percentage of general education subjects and the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 50% respectively.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people but also for adutls.

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

Learners must hold a lower secondary certificate (EQF2) or a new apprenticeship certificate, or pass special exams (for learners of the preparatory apprenticeship (EQF2).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The criteria used to assess students include class participation, workshop and laboratory work, written assignments, projects, tests and a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificates (απολυτήρια) are awarded upon successful completion and also provide access to regulated occupations, provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, hairdresser, bartender ([49]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 5 and EQF level 6.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Both two directions, theoretical (θεωρητική) and practical (πρακτική), of formal upper secondary VET combine general education subjects with technological and workshop subjects.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

96.0% ([50]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in Upper Secondary VET programmes.
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Sweden comprises the following main features:

  • a highly decentralised system in which education providers are fully responsible for the provision of VET programmes;
  • the high number of recently arrived migrants caused the introduction many new VET study paths, allowing for partial qualifications;
  • participation in lifelong learning was above 30%

in 2017, making it the highest in the European

Union (Eurostat). It is provided in many forms and

learners can also acquire an upper secondary

vocational diploma.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8095_en.pdf
):

Modularised structure of upper secondary education

Modularised programmes allow learners in upper secondary school to transfer one or more courses to another programme, for example when changing study route. Municipal adult education at upper secondary level provides the same courses as secondary school, with a few exceptions, allowing learners to build on their earlier studies and, for example, gain higher education access.

Validation in adult education

Validation is possible in all municipal adult education courses at upper secondary level. A learner who has validation for part of a course does not have to attend classes in that part of the course. Even within higher vocational education, knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may be validated and recognised for part of a programme. Education providers are responsible for the process.

National programme councils with strong social partner involvement

To strengthen cooperation between education and the world of work, national programme councils include social partners for each of the national vocational programmes in upper secondary schools. The councils are a permanent platform for dialogue on quality, content and organisation of VET between national agencies and stakeholders.

Social partners and representatives from the public employment service are members of the Labour Market Council ([2]The role of the council is defined in the ordinance for HVET:
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-20111162-med-instruktion-for_sfs-2011-1162
), an advisory body linked to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education.

Sweden must strengthen efforts to ease the transition from education to the labour market

It is important to provide support for those furthest from the labour market. The government has focused on strengthening the link between education and the world of work, within both upper secondary and tertiary VET. An apprenticeship centre has been established to promote and increase provision of apprenticeships. The government has also adopted regulations on a professional introductory period of employment, including vocational training and the possibility of having an apprenticeship contract when in upper secondary school. Education contracts, agreements between young people, the employment services and the home municipality were introduced in 2015; these encourage unemployed young people aged 20 to 24 to start or return to studies to acquire an upper secondary qualification. Studies within the contract can be combined with work or practical work experience.

Investments for quicker introduction of newly arrived immigrants

Many newly arrived immigrants have training and experience in occupations in which there is a shortage of trained and experienced labour in Sweden. To reduce the time from arrival to first job entry, the government has started consultations with the social partners, the Swedish public employment service and other relevant government agencies on measures for creating ‘fast tracks’ into the labour market. The initiatives may include, for example, Swedish language training specific to the vocational field, quicker validation of skills and competences, assessment of foreign qualifications, and supplementary training.

Data from VET in Sweden Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8095_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 10 120 242 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 5.9% since 2013 due to high natural growth and migration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in other parts of Europe, Sweden has an increasing proportion of elderly people in the population. The 15-64 age group made up 63.1% of the population in 2015. By 2060 this proportion is anticipated by Eurostat to fall to 57.8%. In 2015 the elderly (65+) already outnumbered those under the age of 14 by 2.3 percentage points This difference is foreseen to increase further until 2060, when the elderly will make up 24.6% and the young 17.6% of the population.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 43 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 changes have an impact on VET. Since 2000, the population has increased by more than one million or 13.9% ([7]Statistics Sweden:
https://www.scb.se/hitta-statistik/statistik-efter-amne/befolkning/befolkningens-sammansattning/befolkningsstatistik/pong/tabell-och-diagram/helarsstatistik--riket/befolkningsutveckling-fodda-doda-in--och-utvandring-gifta-skilda/
), due to high nativity rates and immigration (see table below).

The high number of immigrants required introduction of measures to integrate them into society. Some of these measures were an increased offer of the Swedish language introduction programme (Språkintroduktion), as well as introduction of study paths leading to partial VET qualification.

 

Net population change 2000-17

Source: Statistics Sweden.

 

The country is multicultural and has a high number of immigrants asking for an increase in the offer of Swedish language classes and for VET qualification programmes. The importance of recognising prior learning has also increased. The National Agency for Education launched in March 2018 a skills mapping web-based tool ([8]https://kartlaggningsverktyget.skolverket.se/start) for people who have professional work experience from other countries. The tool assists individuals to become aware of their skills, which can shorten their study time and contribute to improved integration through access to the labour market ([9]Information is based on: Skolverket; ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Most companies are small in Sweden. One-person enterprises without any employees dominate with almost one quarter of all enterprises. Only 0.1% of all Swedish enterprises are large, having 250 employees or more ([10]https://www.ekonomifakta.se/fakta/foretagande/naringslivet/naringslivets-struktur/).

Sweden has a long and successful industrial tradition and is an export-dependent country that competes in a global market. Manufacturing industry is dominant, with products like machinery, telecommunications, electronics, vehicles, medications, as well as iron, steel and paper products. Another important part of the Swedish export market is knowledge-intensive services such as research and development, ICT-services and intellectual property like patents or licences.

The labour market is considered flexible and only 41 professions are regulated in 2018, mostly in education and medicine.

Total unemployment ([11]Percentage of active population aged 25 to 74.) (2018): 5.0% (6.0% in EU-28); it has increased by 0.9 percentage points since 2008 ([12]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].

 

The unemployment rate for graduates aged 25-64 with ISCED level 5-8 qualifications, has been below 5% from 2008-18. Graduates with medium-level qualifications (ISCED levels 3 and 4), including most VET graduates, faced a slightly higher risk of unemployment but also had in 2018 only a risk of 3.6% of being unemployed. However, the unemployment rates of graduates at ISCED level 0-2 was much higher, and reached its peak in 2018 at 16.1%.

A characteristic feature of Swedish working life is that many professions are skills-intensive, requiring constant upskilling and lifelong learning. The unemployment rate is higher among persons born outside of Sweden, than among Swedish-born, and the increase among low-skilled adults is partly due to the large migration flows that peaked in late 2015.

The employment rate of VET graduates aged 20 to 34 increased from 88.0% in 2014 to 92.3% in 2018 and was always higher than the EU average (2014: 76.9% and 2018: 80.5%).

 

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 in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+4.3 pp), was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.3 pp) in the same period in Sweden ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education traditionally has high value in Sweden. In 2018 the share of the population aged 25 to 64 with higher education (43.1%) was higher than in most EU Member States (32.2%). The share of those with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED 3-4) was 42.2%, lower than the EU average of 45.7%. The same applies also to the percentage of those holding an ISCED 0-2 level qualification (14.3%), which was lower than the EU average (21.8%).

 

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

34.1%

71.4%

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

 

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

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

 

The vocational programmes which most applicants put as their first choice in 2017 were building and construction, electricity and engineering and vehicle and transport. These programmes are highly male-dominated, which means that VET-programmes as a whole had a larger proportion of male than female applicants, 60 and 40 % respectively (see figure below) ([14]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

 

Number of applicants, and gender distribution of VET programmes in 2017

Source: Skolverket (2017). Sökande och antagna till gymnasieskolan läsåret 2017/18.

 

The percentage of early leavers fell slightly from 2009 to 2018 from 7.0% to 9.3%; this is still above the national target of no more than 7%. However, throughout the years it was always better than the EU average, which decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 10.6% in 2018.

According to the Education Act ([15]https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/skollag-2010800_sfs-2010-800) the municipalities are responsible for tracking and engaging early school leavers in activities. They mainly target young people under 20 without a completed upper secondary school diploma. Statistical data show that more than 106 000 learners reported by municipalities 2017/18 but that also more than 45 000 learners were deregistered the same year. One third of the deregistered learners had resumed or completed their studies ([16]https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=4005).

 

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.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning was already at a high level in 2014, at 29.2%, and came back to this level in 2018 after a slight increase in between. It is the highest participation rate in the European Union; the EU-28 average in 2014-18, was close to 11%.

Lifelong learning is provided in many forms. Municipalities offer formal adult education where learners can also acquire an upper secondary vocational diploma. Individual modularised pathways for adults, set up according to specific needs, are the most common way to gain a qualification in a new field or study the courses required to access higher vocational or higher general education. At a non-formal level, folk high schools and private training providers offer various courses for adults. Several active labour market policy programmes (ALMP) for the unemployed are also vocationally oriented or feature different forms of work placement. Courses and programmes are financed through fees or by companies and organisations, with public grants also provided.

The Swedish Government has been implementing a major education initiative for lifelong learning and higher employment since 2015. The initiative involves state-funded training places in vocational adult education programmes at upper secondary level, higher vocational education, education at folk high schools and at universities and colleges. The objective of the initiative is mainly reskilling and upskilling the unemployed and reaching out to adults lacking upper secondary education, or with secondary vocational education needing completion ([17]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Learners in municipal adult education study courses which can be combined in various ways. Therefore, the data for adult VET is not comparable to that of upper secondary school and, due to a lag in official data, the latest analytical report on adult learners’ becoming established on the labour market is based on data for courses in 2011-13 ([18]Skolverket (2017). Uppdrag om uppföljning av sysselsättning efter avslutade studier inom kommunal vuxenutbildning [Employment following municipal adult educaiton]. Report 2017:01587.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=3872
).

The data available provide information on the number of learners who have studied vocational courses of more than 800 credits, which corresponds to one year in upper secondary education. Of all learners in municipal adult education that completed their studies in 2013, nearly 16% (9 745 individuals), studied more than one year of VET courses, and nearly 10% studied between six months and one year. In comparison, there were almost 106 000 learners enrolled in one of the three years of upper secondary VET education for the youth.

The education and training system comprises:

• preschool education (ISCED level 0);

• primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, EQF level 2);

• upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, EQF level 4);

• post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4, EQF levels 5-6);

• higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8, EQF levels 6-8);

• municipal adult education.

From 2018/19, attending pre-school is mandatory for all children from the year they turn six. Compulsory school begins then at age seven and lasts nine years. VET starts after compulsory education before the age of 20. Learners can choose among one of the 12 vocational programmes (yrkesprogram) or six general preparatory programmes for higher education (högskoleförberedande program) in the upper secondary school (gymnasieskola). A diploma from completed upper secondary education is placed at EQF level 4.

Adults aged 20 and older, without upper secondary education who wish to change career paths can enrol in upper secondary VET courses in municipal adult education institutions (kommunal vuxenutbildning). If an upper secondary education diploma is achieved, the qualification is placed at EQF level 4.

At tertiary level, there are higher vocational education programmes (yrkeshögskoleutbildningar) leading to first or second cycle VET qualifications placed at EQF levels 5 and 6. This applies to education for professions requiring specific knowledge or certification to work in the profession. Many of these programmes are in health care and agriculture as well as in the education sectors ([19]Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_SE.pdf
).

There are several VET learning options:

Initial VET at upper secondary level leading to EQF 4 is available in the formal education system as:

  • school-based learning for the young and adults;
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice) is mandatory in VET for the young, and encouraged through state grants in municipal adult VET;
  • distance learning, which is available in municipal adult VET-education.

Municipal adult education is flexible and based on the individual's needs as part- or full-time studies. Learners aged 20 or older can enter municipal adult education directly after graduating from upper secondary education, e.g. to study for eligibility to access tertiary education. A learner may also resume studies after being employed. For some, municipal adult education may be a CVET path; for others, it may be a continuation of the upper secondary IVET or GE-programme.

Formal VET is offered at EQF level 4 to 5. Apart from formal education, Sweden has a long tradition of liberal adult education (folkbildning), a type of non-formal learning which is typified by being ‘free and voluntary’, offered outside the school system. Liberal adult education covers education in folk high schools (folkhögskolor) and adult education associations (studieförbund) that are not restricted to state-determined curricula or syllabuses. Each folk high school or adult education association decides on the content and organisation of their own educational offerings. The folk high schools provide shorter and longer special courses. One- to three-year VET programmes are special courses for specific professions, e.g. journalist, recreation leader, treatment assistant, cantor or sign language interpreter. Both shorter and longer courses in crafts as well as art, music and drama are also common. Some vocational education is at post-secondary level and has special admission requirements, while some is at upper secondary level. ([20]Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_SE.pdf
)

Apprenticeship is, next to school based education, a possible pathway to studying a vocational programme at upper secondary school, aiming to prepare learners for the labour market. Upper secondary apprenticeship education can start in the first, second or the third year. From the moment apprenticeship education starts, half of it should consist of work-based learning (WBL). An education contract or learning agreement is obligatory for every apprentice; this should specify the content and scope of the WBL. The apprentice, the education organiser and the workplace should sign the contract and a contact person and/or a trainer/supervisor should be appointed. The school is responsible for the establishment of an education contract or learning agreement. In both pathways, the same syllabuses are applicable and successful completion leads to a vocational diploma.

Swedish upper secondary education is organised in 18 three-year national programmes, of which 12 are vocational programmes covering most vocational fields. The programmes are modular and organised in courses where one course is usually 100 credits. All programmes include foundation subjects, for example Swedish, English and mathematics, and programme- specific subjects, for example retailing and vehicle technology. The schools decide if a vocational programme should be provided as apprenticeship education and when the apprenticeship starts. The learner chooses between the pathways offered.

Apprenticeship education as part of formal IVET was only introduced in 2011. The development of apprenticeship education within the frame of the upper secondary school includes a broad spectrum of initiatives such as changes in upper secondary school regulations, financial incentives and support to schools and workplaces. Regulations steering apprenticeship education were introduced in the Education Act and in the Upper Secondary School Ordinance following the reform in 2011. Steering documents in the form of curricula, diploma goals and syllabuses are drawn up by the Swedish government and by the Swedish National Agency for Education.

In 2014, an apprenticeship centre (Lärlingscentrum)([21]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-apprenticeship-centre-established-2014) was created under the auspices of the Swedish National Agency for Education to promote apprenticeship, provide advice to VET institutions and employers, train supervisors at workplaces, and stimulate cooperation at regional level between schools and businesses ([22]Cedefop (2018). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-17: Sweden. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/vetpolicy-developments-sweden-2017 and Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2014). Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes - Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet network series on apprenticeship and WBL.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2015/ReferNet_SE_2014_WBL.pdf
).

Unlike VET as a whole, the number of upper secondary VET learners enrolled in an apprenticeship programme ([23]Eurostat table tps00203 [extracted 25.1.2019].) has grown steadily since its introduction in 2011, with an average annual increase of over 1 000 learners, from 5 600 in 2013/14 to 12 280 in 2018/19 ([24]Source: Apprenticeship centre at Skolverket.). For the school year 2018/19 this meant that 12.5% of all VET learners followed an apprenticeship programme. Despite the positive trend, apprenticeship participation remains below expectations; there are also significant challenges in relatively low completion rates and high drop-out rates. The government ambition is to increase both participation and apprenticeship quality ([25]Cedefop (2018). Flash thematic country review on apprenticeships in Sweden. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4169_en_0.pdf
).

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

Governance for upper secondary VET

A distinct feature of the Swedish education system is that primary and secondary education is a goal-steered system with a high degree of local responsibility. The Swedish Parliament, the Government and the National Agency for Education draw up the overall national goals in legislation, but the main responsibility of funding lies with the municipalities, and provision is the responsibility of the municipalities and the organisers of independent schools (see table below for a summary of governance and responsibilities).

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as organisers and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools and may offer both VET and higher education preparatory programmes. School organisers have a primary responsibility for distributing resources and organising activities so that learners attain the national goals.

 

Summary of governance and distribution of responsibilities in Swedish upper secondary education (including IVET)

Source: Skolverket.

 

Within the framework of national vocational upper secondary programmes, there is scope for flexibility and local adaptation. The core content, which consists of foundation subjects, programme-specific subjects and orientations, is nationally determined by the Government. The foundation subjects are the same for all VET learners, the programme specific subjects are the same for all learners in one of the programmes, and the courses in orientations are the same for learners in an orientation within a programme.

There are also programme specialisations. The National Agency for Education determines which courses and subjects adhere to the diploma goals of the programmes and makes these available for each programme specialisation. Schools can combine these different courses to create programme specialisations that meet the regional and local needs of the labour market and enable learners to focus their studies on a specific vocational outcome. Formally, the local adaptations in programme specialisations are decided by the organiser’s governing board, i.e. the local government for state schools, and by the school organiser for independent schools.

 

General programme structure for vocational programmes in upper secondary school

Source: Skolverket.

 

Governance for higher VET

Employers and industry representatives play a significant role in the planning of a higher VET programme and have an influence on its content. In contrast to upper secondary vocational education, education providers determine the content of the programmes in higher vocational education. The goals and orientation of the education and training programmes are expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and competences which learners are to have attained on completion. Information about the courses included and assessment criteria must also be given. In their applications, education providers also include information about the companies or organisations which have actively participated in developing and planning the programme. The Swedish Agency for Higher Vocational Education independently determines, following an application procedure, the programmes to be included as higher vocational education.

One important element in higher vocational education is learners' involvement in, and their opportunities to influence, the structure and delivery of the education. Each programme must have a plan to ensure that this is achieved. Teaching and teaching materials are determined by the governing group of the education provider, which is also responsible for carrying out systematic quality monitoring. The Agency of Higher VET also supervises the programmes through inspections and quality auditing.

Employers and industry contribute to and influence programme content by participating as lecturers, joining in projects, hosting study visits and offering work placements. Higher vocational education must also contribute to developing learner competences in entrepreneurship. Higher vocational education may also be run in the form of distance courses ([26]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Funding of upper secondary VET

Municipalities in Sweden are responsible for providing primary and secondary education to their residents, but residents are free to choose an education provider. Municipal and central government tax revenues provide the funding for primary and secondary education; they are equally entirely financed by public funds. The major part of school funding comes from municipal tax revenues, but parts also come from central government state grants to municipalities. Almost SEK 43 billion (EUR 4.2 billion) ([27]EUR 4.2 billion as of 10.4.2019.) was spent on upper secondary education in 2017. Almost 70% of the funding is provided by the municipal tax revenues ([28]https://skl.se/skolakulturfritid/forskolagrundochgymnasieskola/vagledningsvarpavanligafragor/samycketkostarskolan.2785.html#5.9f425ef147b396d4678201f,5.9f425ef147b396d467820f0,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fbee,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fc11).

Since access to education should be equal regardless of where in Sweden one lives, several state grants and other equity measures are available to ensure that all residents have access to education of the same quality.

All municipalities are guaranteed equivalent financial conditions in accordance with a special equalisation system. The general central government grant is, therefore, based on a number of different parameters such as population, population structure, social structure and the number of immigrants. Each municipality determines how it will allocate resources as this general central government grant is not earmarked and is supplemented by targeted central government grants for specific initiatives, such as apprenticeship education, adult vocational education and projects to develop the quality of work-based learning.

There are considerable differences in calculated cost between the different programmes, with vocational programmes being both the most diverse and also on the more costly end of the spectrum. The National Agency for Education has developed a system of calculating how much a learner should cost on average for a particular programme (riksprislistan). For some programmes there are differences in cost between orientations. This system is used by municipalities when financing education through the voucher system in independent schools. The most costly VET programme generates a voucher of more than twice as much as the least costly (see figure below).

Regardless of the governing body, both upper secondary school and municipal adult education at upper secondary level are free of charge for the learner. In adult education, however, learners must pay for their teaching materials themselves.

 

Average voucher cost per upper secondary VET programme per year as determined by the National Agency for Education, 2018

Source: National Agency for Education - Average cost per upper secondary VET programme. ( https://www.skolverket.se/skolutveckling/statistik/om-skolverkets-statistik/riksprislistan)
NB: EUR 1 was equivalent to SEK 10.33 on August 7, 2018.

 

Funding and state grants to adult municipal VET education

Municipalities are responsible for adult upper secondary education, but usually outsource to providers, public or private, in the education market. The Swedish Government has a goal to lower unemployment rates and provides a large share of the municipal funding for adult education through state grants. One part of the governmental strategy is to invest in vocational education and apprentice education for adults in order to counter a shortage of skilled labour, while giving people the opportunity to retrain for a new profession. The strategy also aims to reach groups who have not completed upper secondary education or who have vocational upper secondary education that needs to be supplemented.

On January 1, 2017 state grants for regional training of adults came in force ([29]Regeringen (2016a). Regulation 2016:937 on State grants for regional vocational training for adults.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2016937-om-statsbidrag-for-regional_sfs-2016-937
). Regional vocational adult education (regionalt yrkesvux) aims to strengthen regional cooperation to meet labour market needs better. The regulation contains provisions on government grants for such training at secondary level in municipal adult education, if it is carried out in cooperation between a number of municipalities and employers and can include combined studies in Swedish as a second language and VET. SEK 5.5 billion ([30]EUR 525 million as of 10.4.2019.
https://skl.se/skolakulturfritid/forskolagrundochgymnasieskola/vagledningsvarpavanligafragor/samycketkostarskolan.2785.html#5.9f425ef147b396d4678201f,5.9f425ef147b396d467820f0,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fbee,5.68e4adfe147afac12a43fc11
) (corresponding to EUR 532 million) was spent by the municipalities on adult education in 2017. The total state grant to municipal adult VET for 2018 is SEK 1.989 billion (corresponding to EUR 192.5 million) for 37 800 full-time learners ([31]The State grants to adult municipal VET awarded for 2018 amounted to SEK 1 579 billion which corresponds to 32 914 full-time learners and SEK 280 million was awarded for apprentices in municipal adult VET which corresponds to 3 154 full-time learners for one year. In addition, SEK 130 million was awarded in state grants to education of professional drivers which corresponds to 1 732 full-time learners for one year. (EUR 1 was equivalent to SEK 10.33 as of 7.8.2018.)).

Funding of higher VET

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities. These programmes are partially financed through public funding and are free of charge for the learner, with an exception for minor costs for a particular reason like a study visit and for teaching materials. Learners who attend publicly-funded programmes are eligible for student aid.

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) approves and allocates state grants in response to applications from education providers. In 2018, almost SEK 2 billion (corresponding to EUR 194 million) of state grants was used for higher vocational education ([32]https://www.myh.se/Documents/Publikationer/Arsredovisningar/Arsredovisning-2018-MYH.pdf). A programme that has been approved may be offered a limited number of times as determined by the agency. Then a new application must be made to the agency to ensure that the competences provided by the programme meet the needs of the labour market.

Funding of liberal (non-formal) adult education

Today there are approximately 150 folk high schools (folkhögskolor) in Sweden. The majority of these are run by non-governmental organisations, non-commercial organisations, foundations or associations, and trade unions but county councils and regions can also be their governing bodies. The 10 largest adult education associations are also run by non-governmental organisations, associations and other organisations. Study circles and other activities are often provided by local or regional associations.

Liberal adult education is largely financed through support from the state, regions and municipalities. State support makes up around 70% of the grants to adult education associations and to folk high schools. Conditions for state grants to folk high schools and adult education associations are regulated in the State Grants for Adult Education Ordinance ([33]Regeringen (2015a). Ordinance 2015:218 on State grants for adult education Ordinance
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2015218-om-statsbidrag-till_sfs-2015-218
). The Swedish National Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet), a non-profit association, has been tasked by the Government to distribute grants, and also to follow up and evaluate activities. Tuition in folk high schools is free of charge and, in certain cases, gives the right to student aid. However, participants are required to pay for course literature, study material, lunch and any eventual residential costs. Study circles and other activities run by adult education associations are subject to fees and do not qualify for student aid ([34]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

In 2015, there were two categories of teacher and trainer in VET programmes:

  • vocational teachers;
  • general subject teachers.

In addition, there were trainers (practical training instructors at the workplaces supporting and monitoring students’ learning) deemed suitable for the task by the employer but without any formal qualification.

The Education Act of 2010 defines the educational requirements for being a teacher. Teachers of upper secondary education need to have a tertiary teaching degree. Teachers of vocational programmes need to have a vocational qualification at least at SeQF level 5, one SeQF level above the level s/he will teach (upper secondary VET programmes lead to SeQF level 4). The qualification is a vocational basic diploma awarded after 90 ECTS credits, out of which 30 ECTS credits comes from teacher induction.

In autumn 2011, four different programmes in teacher education were set up, one of which was designed specifically for vocational education teachers. Vocational teacher education included a core of education methodology, particularly general teaching knowledge and skills, as well as induction. Teachers of general subjects in VET programmes had to meet the same requirements as teachers in higher education preparatory programmes. According to the Education Act, teachers have to go through a certification process carried out by the National Agency for Education.

Entry requirements for vocational teacher training are graduation from upper secondary school and mastery of the relevant vocation. The Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och Högskolerådet, UHR) has specified, through an ordinance, entry requirements for each vocational subject for vocational teacher training. The ordinance states that specialised knowledge, obtained by experience and theory in the field, is required.

Due to the lack of qualified teachers, non-qualified, non-certified teachers can be also temporarily employed for a maximum of one year. The duration of their employment is restricted, to allow formally qualified teachers to take over this position. The legislation states that non-certified teachers have to be supervised by a certified teacher to assess and grade learners ([35]Cedefop (2018). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-17: Sweden. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/sweden_-_vet_policy_developments.pdf
).

The Education Act of 2010 states the educational requirements for being a teacher in the Swedish school system and that continuous professional development (CPD) is the responsibility of the head teacher and school founder. The legislation does not, however, give any specific information on how CPD should be carried out; this is regulated by the agreements of the labour market’s social partners.

CPD for teachers is regulated by agreements between the social partners. A supplement to the general labour standards regulated in an agreement between the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), the employers’ organisation for municipalities and local governments, and the employee organisations, regulates the conditions that apply to teachers. The supplement defines the time allocation during the academic school year for teachers employed by municipalities. Some independent, private actor governing boards of VET schools use the same agreements as publicly-organised schools; other independent governing boards do not.

The agreement sets teachers’ total worktime, and the regulated time that the employer controls, over one year. CPD is part of the regulated time and, as such, the time that the employer should allocate and plan for. The time allocated for CPD is on average 104 hours, or nearly 6% of the total worktime for teachers in one year. Many adult education teachers are employed according to the same annual framework but with a different time allocation, as adult education does not follow an academic year with school holidays and summer recess. The agreement states that the time spent for teacher CPD should be distributed for teachers to develop good conditions for students’ learning. It is at the discretion of the head teacher to distribute the CPD time and resources to optimise the learning outcomes locally. The allocation of CPD time, resources and focus areas is often negotiated with the employees. The provision for CPD is decentralised, meaning that each founder and school is responsible for CPD within the framework defined by the legislation and the labour agreements. As a consequence of the decentralised system, there is no systematically collected nationwide data on CPD for teachers in general or for vocational teachers in particular ([36]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([37]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

State agencies, like Statistics Sweden (SCB) and the public employment services, PES (Arbetsförmedlingen) monitor the Swedish labour market and publish their analyses regularly. The public employment service also offers Yrkeskompassen ([38]https://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Valj-yrke/Yrkeskompassen.html#/), a search engine for predicting future employment prospects for various professions and a list ([39]https://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Hitta-jobb/Inspiration-i-jobbsokandet/Nyheter/Nyheter-for-Arbetssokande/2018-08-29-Har-ar-listan-med-heta-yrken-dar-du-bor.html) of professions in demand in the various regions of Sweden.

However, skill needs and the provision of VET are not interlinked in Sweden. The provision of VET (and other upper secondary) programmes in upper secondary school ([40]In municipal adult education, the governing board of the organiser, i.e. the political body of the municipality, decides which courses the municipality will offer but there is always a right for adults to study courses to become eligible for admission to tertiary education.) is largely determined by the preferences of the learners, who choose their education. Since providers operate in a competitive market they adjust supply according to the learners’ demands. Ideally there would be a balance between the demand for education, the need for competence among the different business sectors on the one hand, and the supply, the provision of educated and skilled workers on the other. There appears to be a gap between demand and supply: there is a shortage of competence in some sectors and too many people educated in upper secondary school in fields in which there is no shortage. Guidance, information and similar incentives are the ‘soft’ means by which learners can be attracted and steered to specific vocational education programmes.

There are also structural challenges in the Swedish VET system when it comes to the municipalities’ potential to offer a broad supply of programmes and specialisations at upper secondary level. Municipalities are sometimes too small entities to be able to offer a wide range of different upper secondary programmes and orientations.

Municipalities can cooperate in confederations to coordinate the supply of upper secondary programmes, but challenges remain in this field, particularly in IVET, due to decreasing interest in VET paired with high costs for organising some VET programmes. Therefore, a commission of enquiry ([41]Regeringen (2018). Planering och dimensionering av gymnasial utbildning [Financing and steering of upper secondary education]. Ministry of Education Committee Directive 2018:17.
https://www.regeringen.se/rattsliga-dokument/kommittedirektiv/2018/03/dir.-201817/
) has been appointed to develop a regionally-based model for financing and steering of education at upper secondary level (including municipal adult education). The commission will present its proposal to the Government in February 2020 ([42]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

For further information please see also the national country reports on skills anticipation ([43]Skills Panorama webportal - Skills anticipation in countries, 2017. Analytical highlights series.
https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical-highlights/browse-analytical-highlights?f%5B0%5D=field_collection%3A765
).

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)

Government design of the IVET structure

Since few professions are regulated in Sweden, most qualifications are determined by stakeholders and social partners. The Parliament, the Government and State agencies are responsible for education and have set up a structure for education provision to meet the needs of the individual, society and the labour market.

Consultation rounds and open consultation through meetings and websites are examples of methods used to collect views and proposals. If a revision is seen as necessary, the National Agency for Education ([46]The National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised pre-schooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. Visit their website at:
https://www.skolverket.se/
) organises an extensive review to inform the relevant parties of the decision on a new subject or course. Focus groups of teachers and learners are consulted; the work in progress is published on the agency’s website for teachers and stakeholders to express their opinions; proposals are written and quality assured in the agency to ensure that the curricula align with the legislation. Before the National Agency decides on a new subject or course, other national agencies, interest groups, social partners and stakeholders (including school organisers) receive a copy of the proposed changes and have a chance to comment. If a large section of the consultees or a single influential group is opposed to the proposal, the National Agency for Education may decide not to proceed or to revise the proposal. The same process is used for core and foundation courses which are decided by the Government. In these instances, the National Agency for Education acts on behalf of the Government and makes proposals to the Government after following the same review process.

When the quality assurance of the design, assessment, certification and review of the process is thorough and transparent, it is more likely that the final proposals will be accepted. If everyone concerned has a chance to express their opinions, the proposed education standards expressed in the documents are more likely to be adjusted to suit the needs of social partners and stakeholders and to be of a higher quality.

So, for example, in 2015 a government commission of enquiry ([47]Regeringen (2016b). En gymnasieutbildning för alla [High school education for all]. State report SOU 2016:77.
https://www.regeringen.se/rattsliga-dokument/statens-offentliga-utredningar/2016/10/sou-201677/
) (Gymnasieutredningen) was launched, which included the aims of studying how VET programmes can provide eligibility for tertiary education and analysing if it would be necessary to adjust the upper secondary programmes and orientations. Proposals from the enquiries are presented to the Government and frequently guide the Government in upcoming objectives for the education agencies aiming to develop curricula, syllabuses or to make amendments to the education structure. The drawing up of governing documents takes place for the most part at the National Agency for Education in close collaboration with different actors and stakeholder groups.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes ([48]What a learner is expected to know, be able to do and understand at the end of a learning sequence.) in upper secondary education are expressed in the curricula, diploma goals and subject syllabuses which describe the aim and long-term goals of the subject, the core content, and assessment criteria in the knowledge requirements for each of the courses. Learning outcomes in Swedish upper secondary education are expressed as the learners’ ’ability to’, ’knowledge about’, ’understanding of’ and ’skills in’. Knowledge requirements relate to these outcomes and are expressed using active verbs.

Gap between diplomas and expected qualifications in upper secondary VET

Within the structural framework it is foreseen that all VET programmes should cover 2 500 credits and last three years. Typically, 1 600 credits are allocated to VET-subjects, whereas the remaining credits are allocated to foundation subjects (Swedish, English, maths, physical health, natural science, and social science), diploma project and to individual options. There are, however, some industries that argue that there is too little vocational training in upper secondary education to reach a qualification needed in their sector. For traditional handicrafts like hairdressers, for example, graduates must work as employees for 3 000 hours before being able to take the exam leading to a journeyman certificate. Therefore, the vocational outcome of the hairdresser orientation of the handicrafts programme only leads to the informal title 'aspiring hairdresser.' Final examinations are performed by the hairdressers’ association but the qualification is still placed at the SeQF level 4 (EQF level 4) based on the level of acquired knowledge, skills, and competences ([49]The Swedish ordinance defining SeQF uses the term 'competences' for the EQF category 'responsibility and autonomy.').

Designing education in dialogue with stakeholders in upper secondary VET

In structured consultation, the National Agency for Education meets with schools and stakeholders to ensure that subjects and courses can be used to build qualifications which meet the needs of working life. For each vocational programme there is a national programme council with a broad cross-section of industry representatives and social partners in the vocational area for which the programme provides education and training. Some programme councils include representatives from public authorities like the Swedish public employment service (PES). One of the tasks of each programme council is to advise and support the National Agency for Education in relation to the adaptation, development and modernisation of the supply of education and the content of vocational education. This helps to ensure that the competences required by the labour market are met. The programme councils fulfil a consultative function and can suggest revisions but are not decision-making bodies.

At local level, there must be one or several local programme councils (lokala programråd) for cooperation between school and working life; they cover all vocational programmes in every upper secondary school. How these councils are organised and what their tasks are is not regulated. Possible tasks could be assisting the provider in arranging placements of work-based learning, and participating in organising and assessing diploma projects. A local programme council may also advise the school about skills needed locally and which courses the school could use in programme specialisations to meet the local needs.

Other forms of cooperation with stakeholders

There are many initiatives for cooperation at the regional level between school and working life, unregulated by the State. For example, actors on the labour market have initiated Teknikcollege ([50]The organisation Riksföreningen Teknikcollege Sverige uses the term Teknikcollege in English:
http://www.teknikcollege.se/teknikcollege-i-english/ Since Teknikcollege is used as a brand name, it is not translated in this report.
) (Technical College) and Vård- och omsorgscollege (Health and Medical Care College), a form of cooperation within the framework of upper secondary and tertiary education. Behind the Teknikcollege is the Industrial Council (Industrirådet) and different employer and employee organisations in the technology and industrial sectors. The Teknikcollege wishes to be a long-term competence provider that also works actively to promote quality in VET at upper and post-secondary levels. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, (SKL) together with a trade union, the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union (Kommunal) and the Association of Private Care Providers (Vårdföretagarna), started a similar initiative in a college for health and medical care, with a focus on ensuring the supply of skilled workers and further training for existing staff, as well as increasing quality in work-based learning for young people and adults.

Partial qualifications in VET

In October 2016 the Government commissioned the National Agency for Education to recommend vocational training 'packages' for adults. These 'packages' are clusters of courses agreed with the industry as entry points into the labour market. They will not only consist of partial qualifications, but will also include building blocks that may be transferred and accumulated towards a full qualification. In April 2017 the objective was amended to include the introduction programmes aimed at young, mostly recently arrived immigrants, who are not eligible for admission to an upper secondary VET programme. Fifty-eight packages covering a wide range of vocational areas had been developed by February 2018 but more are being continuously developed.

Designing qualifications in higher VET

In accordance with legislation and within the restrictions of funding allocations for higher vocational education programmes (yrkeshögskoleutbildningar) the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) independently determines, following an application procedure, the programmes to be included as higher vocational education. In contrast to upper secondary vocational education, it is the education providers who design the programmes in higher vocational education.

Programmes in higher vocational education must correspond to the needs of the labour market. For this reason, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education analyses and collects information about the skills in short supply in different industries and regions. The information is then used, together with the VET provider’s application, as a basis for assessing the programmes that are to be available in higher vocational education. External stakeholders such as employers and industry organisations, as well as central and regional authorities, also play an important contributory role in supplying information to the assessment and decision-making processes. The qualification demands imposed by employers and industries thus determine the programmes to be approved, where in Sweden they are offered, and how many study places are allocated to each programme.

The Labour Market Council (arbetsmarknadsråd) is a special body linked to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education. The task of the council is to support the agency with information about the labour market: the vocational areas under development, the new qualifications that may be required, and the qualifications that need to be phased out. The members of the council, which is chaired by the head of the agency, are representatives of the public employment service and the social partners. The council members also function as a channel to their respective organisations in terms of synchronising the analyses.

For education and training programmes that require nationally equivalent content, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education issues regulations on what knowledge, skills and competences all learners must have attained on completion.

Designing qualifications outside the formal education system

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för Yrkeshögskolan) has been appointed by the Swedish Government as the national coordination point for the Swedish national qualifications framework, the SeQF. All government regulated education is referred to the SeQF in an ordinance ([51]Regeringen (2015b). Förordning om referensram för kvalifikationer för livslångt lärande [Regulation on the national qualifications framework]. SFS 2015:545.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2015545-om-referensram-for_sfs-2015-545
), but qualification awarding bodies outside the formal education system may apply to the agency to refer their qualification to the SeQF. A precondition is that the awarding body conducts systematic quality assurance of the qualification. A group of experts reviews the application and serves as an advisory body to the Director General who determines the SeQF-level of the qualification. These decisions are valid for ten years ([52]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

The extent to which the state governs the goals and contents of formal VET varies between different education forms. The following table shows the various responsibilities of agencies and governing bodies for controlling VET provision and assuring its quality.

 

Responsibility of goals, contents, diplomas and quality assurance in VET

 

 

Quality assurance for upper secondary VET

All school organiser governing bodies in Sweden are required by law to have a systematic quality assurance process in place. Quality assurance arrangements are not regulated in detail but it is common for schools to use indicators such as average grades, participation rates, completion rates and placement rates in their analysis. Most organisers also survey their learners' opinions on the education, facilities and their well-being.

Responsibility for supervision and quality auditing of both upper secondary school and municipal adult education rests with the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen). Regular supervision of schools is carried out on the basis of a number of assessment areas and points; quality auditing follows up a specific area. Vocational education, and especially apprenticeship education, is very much in focus within both regular supervision and quality auditing. Structured cooperation between education providers and the workplace has been shown to be an important factor for success in work-based learning.

Even though the education providers are responsible for carrying out systematic quality assessment, the Government supports and stimulates the development of quality in VET via different initiatives and specific funding schemes. This may include specific tasks delegated to the Swedish National Agency, e.g. to develop guidelines for work-based learning. Also, the Government has decided on an extensive funding scheme consisting of grants to schools wishing to develop the quality of work-based learning.

Quality assurance for tertiary VET

Programmes in higher vocational education are supervised by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) through inspections and quality auditing. Programmes are checked for compliance with existing legislation and other provisions. The agency performs three different types of inspection: introductory, regular and ad-hoc inspections following up particular issues or problems.

Introductory inspection is carried out for new programmes that start or have just started. The aim of such inspections is to determine whether there are the preconditions in place to deliver new, good quality programmes. Ad hoc inspections are carried out if there are complaints from a learner about the education programme itself or the education provider. The ad hoc inspections only examine the complaint area.

Quality assurance for qualifications outside the formal education system

Bodies outside the formal education system that have their qualifications placed in the national qualifications framework must apply systematic quality assurance processes in their education programmes. Their quality assurance process must be described in their application according to the EQAVET system ([53]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Validation in municipal adult education at upper secondary level is possible within all courses and must be based on the learner's circumstances and needs. The validation is mainly used to allow customising the content of the studies according to learner’s needs and shorten education duration, or to assess knowledge and skills that are required for eligibility for a particular education. The learner receives a certificate through validation, instead of a grade or diploma.

If the learner wishes to obtain a formal grade, he or she must pass an extended test covering all the content of the particular course. A 16 to 20 year-old learner in upper secondary education may also validate his or her knowledge and skills through an extended test. The purpose of this test, however, is not to individualise the learning to progress more rapidly through the education programme; it lets the learner have a second chance, if he or she has received a failing grade, or cover courses not previously studied if the learner changes programme or orientation. Documented knowledge and skills achieved by studies abroad, or through other means, may be credited to the learner at a pass level without the extended tests ([54]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Incentives for VET learners

Individuals with different backgrounds and in different life situations are given the possibility to study, thanks to a system of study allowances and student aid. Students have the right to different forms of financial support for both upper secondary and tertiary studies. Also, employees have the right to take leave of absence to attend education.

Swedish study support gives everyone the opportunity to study, irrespective of their financial background. The form and the size of the support vary depending on age and life situation and also on the scope and level of studies. The Swedish Board for Study Support (Centrala Studiestödsnämnden, CSN) is responsible for and administers most of the learner support. The education programmes entitled to support are determined by the Swedish Government through the Study Support Ordinance ([55]Regeringen (2000). Studiestödsförordning [Student support ordinance]. Ordinance 2000:655.https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/studiestodsforordning-2000655_sfs-2000-655). Special investments in higher levels of grant are used as an incentive for further studies. This applies, for instance, to the initiative for higher grants to learners in vocational education, where one aim is to encourage more unemployed people over the age of 25 to apply for vocational education.

The support is part of education policy and aims to increase social justice. It grants equal access to education for both men and women, and levels out differences between individuals and groups in the population. In 2018 more than 475 000 individuals aged 20 and above received financial support. Of these, almost 60% were women and 23% received support for studies at upper secondary level. Of all adults studying at post-secondary level and receiving support, 12% were studying in a HVET programme ([56]CSN (2019). Studiestödet 2018 [Student support 2018]. CSN report 2019/2.
https://www.csn.se/download/18.2020cba016a03060f9726e/1555075355558/Studiest%C3%B6det%202018%20webb.pdf
).

Studiestöd is the umbrella term for all study aid in the Swedish education system which includes grants and loans for different age groups. In 2018, the total support handed out was SEK 34.3 billion (EUR 3.3 billion) and the total debt the Swedish population has to the government is SEK 224.6 billion (EUR 21.74 billion). A total of 1 557 410 persons (almost 15% of the population) have studiestöd which include loans from the State, as reported in the reference above.

Study allowance for learners under the age of 20

Study allowance (studiehjälp) in the form of grants, supplementary allowance and boarding supplement can be paid to learners under the age of 20 who are studying in upper secondary school, municipal adult education or folk high schools. Under certain circumstances the grant can also be awarded for studies abroad. One prerequisite for receiving this grant is that the learner studies full-time and participates in the relevant courses. This means, for example, that a learner who is frequently absent runs the risk of losing the support and may be liable for repayment. The school has an obligation to report to the Swedish Board for Study Support when a learner is absent without a valid reason.

Learners who wish to live and study in a place other than their home municipality may apply for a boarding supplement from the Swedish Board for Study Support or from the municipality. This applies in cases where the specific education is not provided by the home municipality, or where the education programme is open to national admission. The grant makes it possible for learners to participate in specialist vocational education that is provided at only a few places in the country. In 2014 a supplement was introduced for learners attending apprenticeship education (lärlingsutbildning) in upper secondary school. The supplement is designed to cover extra living costs, for example travel to the workplace and lunch.

As of July 2014, learners attending apprenticeship education in upper secondary school may be employed in what is called an upper secondary apprentice position (Gymnasial lärlingsanställning, GLA). As a result, upper secondary apprentices can be offered employment while still in education, in accordance with adapted labour law provisions. An apprentice employed in such a position is remunerated by the employer and not entitled to the supplement.

Student aid for learners aged 20 and above

Student aid (studiemedel) can be granted to learners in post-secondary education, such as higher vocational education, supplementary education, and vocational education in folk high schools. Learners studying at upper secondary level who have reached the age of 20 are also entitled to student aid. They can apply for grants and loans and also for certain supplementary allowances. Parents of minors, for example, can receive a supplementary allowance. To be eligible for further funding learners must demonstrate satisfactory results in previous studies. The contribution for full-time learners is at most SEK 723 (EUR 69.25 as of April 10, 2019) per week and the loan at most SEK 2 720 (EUR 260.50 as of April 10, 2019) per week. The loan has a low interest rate (at 0.16 percent in 2019).

Despite the generous study support system there is still a part of the population refraining from education due to economic reasons. The Government has therefore introduced a new study allowance, the education entry grant ([57]The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) webpage on education entry grants:
https://www.csn.se/bidrag-och-lan/studiestod/studiestartsstod.html
), that the municipalities have been able to distribute since mid-2017. The education entry grant is designed to recruit unemployed people, aged 25-56, with short previous education who need education at the primary or upper-secondary level to strengthen their ability to establish themselves on the labour market.

Current initiatives of State-funded adult education and training

The Swedish Government has been implementing a major education initiative for lifelong learning and higher employment since 2015. The initiative involves state-funded training places in vocational adult education programmes at upper secondary level, higher vocational education, education at folk high schools as well as at universities and colleges. The objective of the initiative is mainly reskilling and upskilling unemployed people; it also reaches out to adults lacking upper secondary education, or having secondary vocational education needing to be completed. Expanding the number of training places also provides adults with a general education increased opportunity to enrol in vocational education and training (VET). A substantial part of the initiative has been targeted towards upper secondary VET and apprenticeships for adults.

VET has traditionally been organised by each municipality. To stimulate development towards a broad supply of education and training corresponding to the needs in the different regions, the Government altered the conditions and introduced a new state grant in 2017, replacing previous state grants targeting vocational training and apprenticeships. The current state grant requires cooperation between at least three municipalities on the planning and supply of education and training at the regional level. The needs of the labour market should be met and planning should therefore be done in consultation with the public employment services and with different actors responsible for regional development.

Since 2009, Sweden's municipalities have had the opportunity to apply for state subsidies for an expanded implementation of VET for adults. In January 2016, the number of available places was expanded for the target group in need of vocational training, combined with studies in Swedish for immigrants or Swedish as a second language.

As of January 2017, constellations of three municipalities or more have been able to apply for state subsidies for adult VET to cover a broader range of potential learners. These subsidies can be combined with courses in Swedish for immigrants or Swedish as a second language at compulsory school level. The aim is to provide newly arrived adults with the opportunity to enrol in vocational education, thereby contributing to improved integration through access to the labour market.

Financial support for migrants in VET

For the past few years, employer and employee organisations in several sectors have signed work introduction agreements (yrkesintroduktionsanställningar). These aim at facilitating young (age 15-24) people’s transition from school to working life and safeguarding the long-term skills supply for companies. Most of these agreements are based on the principle that young people lacking professional experience are offered coaching and training during part of their working time. Normally the young person will hold a full-time position but the salary will amount to 75% of a full-time job, as part of the time will consist of vocational training. The training content has to be clearly defined and have a supervising trainer appointed by the enterprise. Interest in such positions has increased slowly since the introduction of financial incentives at the beginning of 2014. From 1 June 2016 the introduction agreements are also open to the long-term unemployed and newly arrived immigrants who are older than 25 ([58]YA-delegationens (2018) http://www.ya-delegationen.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/arsrapport-2018...).

A minimum wage, according to the collective agreement between the social partners of the employment sector, is paid by the employer to the employee ([59]Information is based on Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

State grants are predominately given to the governing board of education providers, even though the grants are intended to finance support activities in the enterprises. Some state grants, however, are directed to enterprises; examples are the regional funds available to stakeholder organisations to support quality improvement in WBL, or for measures intended to promote an interest in becoming a VET teacher ([60]Regeringen (2014). Ordinance 2014/375 on State grants and regional fundsfor the development of WBL.https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/forordning-2014375-om-statsbidrag-for_sfs-2014-375).

For employers who are offering work places in the scope of introduction agreements, the public employment services pays employment taxes of 31.42% as well as a compensation of SEK 115 (EUR 11 as of April 10, 2019) per day for the trainer in the workplace ([61]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Decreasing interest in upper secondary vocational programmes has led to an increased focus on, and investment in, information activities and study and career guidance. Ongoing changes in Swedish VET create the need for information and guidance to provide everyone with an overall view of the available study paths and what they can lead to. Increasing the attractiveness and quality of VET is an important priority for the Swedish Government.

Information and guidance about study and career paths in Sweden is integrated into different activities. The curriculum ([62]Skolverket (2013). Curriculum for the upper secondary school.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=2975
) for upper secondary education states that the head teacher is responsible for ensuring that ‘study and guidance counselling is organised in such a way that learners receive information and guidance prior to making study choices in the school, and before choosing their future education paths and professions’; one of the explicit goals of the curriculum is that all learners ‘are familiar with the conditions of working life, especially within their study area, as well as the opportunities for further education, work placement and work in Sweden and other countries.’ The curriculum for compulsory school mirrors the curriculum in upper secondary school regarding study and guidance counselling; new legislation to provide practical vocational orientation (Praktisk yrkesorientering, PRAO) in compulsory school came into effect in 2018 ([63]Sveriges Riksdag (2010). The Education Act (2010: 800) 8a§; Sveriges Riksdag (2018). Act amending the Education Act.). The vocational orientation is compulsory and requires that learners in years 8 and 9 spend a minimum of 10 days in a workplace or, if the school cannot provide sufficient work-placements, in a vocational programme in upper secondary school.

The governing body or education provider has the main responsibility for guiding and recruiting learners for VET. General information on study and career paths, and on the labour market for different professions, is supplied by national authorities and industry organisations. Both the National Agency for Education and the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education are tasked to inform and disseminate knowledge about their respective areas. The National Agency for Education also functions as a national reference point for information on VET in Sweden and other EU countries, as well as countries in the EEA area.

Many national websites provide information and guidance for young people and adults. The portal Utbildningsinfo.se ([64]http://www.utbildningsinfo.se) includes search tools for education paths and providers. The site contains information about possible vocational outcomes, the situation on the labour market in the field, and funding and information on other important considerations when choosing a study path.

Information provided by the Swedish Public Employment Service focuses on finding jobs in different professions. The portal Yrkeskompassen (The Occupational compass) ([65]http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/For-arbetssokande/Yrke-och-framtid/Yrkeskompassen.html) shows the labour market situation and future prospects for about 200 professions and contains information about national forecasts for one, five and 10-year periods. One-year forecasts are also available at regional level. The Occupational compass also provides descriptions of different professions and possible education paths.

The Swedish National Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet) is responsible for the information services of the Swedish folk high schools (Folkhögskolornas informationstjänst), whose tasks include contributing to the recruitment of course participants. The portal Folkhögskola.nu ([66]http://www.folkhogskola.nu) provides general information on vocational education and other courses given by folk high schools.

Vocational boards (yrkesnämnder) and other industry organisations supply information about professions and career paths through different means, and also about formal and non-formal education in their fields ([67]For example, the building industry’s vocational board. See
http://www.byn.se/ and Svensk Handel's career web:
http://www.karriarihandeln.se/
). This may cover websites, participation in industry specific trade fairs or inspiration days.

All these activities and web portals must also function to support study and vocational guidance counsellors in their work. Euroguidance Sweden is a national resource centre for counselling, which supports counsellors in their role of providing information about opportunities for studying and work placement abroad.

The municipalities are responsible for ensuring that young people and adults are offered education at upper secondary level. Before learners choose upper secondary school, many municipalities and regions take part in upper secondary fairs and open houses where schools and programmes are presented. Information meetings and guidance counselling are offered to those who wish to study in municipal adult education at upper secondary level. Education providers frequently market their education and courses via advertisements, web sites and direct marketing.

The Swedish National Agency for Education has developed the following web-based tools as a service to learners, teachers, guidance counsellors and other stakeholders in upper secondary education. The web-based system was launched on March 1, 2018. The Skills mapping tool can be used to assist learners and other stakeholders in planning an upper secondary education diploma within the framework of municipal adult education. The target group is people who have experience in professional work, or equivalent experiences, and need to have their vocational skills and competences validated. The tool is specifically adapted to newly arrived individuals and aims to assist in making more individuals aware of their skills; this, in turn, can shorten their study time and contribute to improved integration through access to the labour market. The Skills mapping tool is useful both in adult education and in upper secondary school, and for young new arrivals with work experience; it can also contribute to improved transitions between upper secondary school and municipal adult education.

Guidance counselling is also an important task of the public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen) aimed at improving matching between job seekers and working life. In addition to the Occupational compass, job seekers are offered study and vocational guidance through brief telephone coaching sessions, or personal meetings with a counsellor at drop-in sessions. The public employment service is also responsible for what are called preparatory activities (förberedande insatser) aimed at aiding job seekers’ choice of work. The initiatives are tailored to the individuals and may be of a counselling, rehabilitation or orientation nature. They are intended for job seekers who need to prepare themselves for a labour market policy programme or a job.

The Higher Vocational Education Ordinance (Förordningen om yrkeshögskolan) lays down the responsibility of the governing bodies of education providers for ensuring that there is guidance and counselling concerning alternative study paths, admissions and entry, as well as vocational guidance. In their application to deliver education within the framework of higher vocational education, education providers must describe how this counselling will be provided. Student fairs, where information on higher vocational education providers, universities and university colleges is presented, are held regionally and in cooperation with education providers and the social partners. There are also industry-specific trade fairs, where education at both upper secondary and tertiary level is presented.

General information about higher vocational education is available through the web site of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education ([68]http://www.myh.se). The agency also provides a web site intended for potential learners ([69]http://www.yrkeshogskolan.se). Besides general information about higher vocational education, this web site contains information about current higher vocational education programmes and links to various education provider web sites. Information about higher education studies is made available through the portal studera.nu ([70]http://www.studera.nu).

Study and career guidance is readily available for learners at all levels of the education system. There is, however, a challenge to reach those individuals who do not actively participate in education. Outreach and guidance measures to youths and young adults who are not in employment, education or training is further discussed in the ReferNet national report on guidance and outreach for the inactive and unemployed ([71]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/events-and-projects/networks/refernet/thematic-perspectives/guidance-outreach)([72]Information is based on: Skolverket, ReferNet Sweden (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Sweden. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Sweden_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Please see also :

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 6

Higher VET

programmes

with WBL,

1-2 years

ISCED 554

Higher VET programmes at EQF level 6, ISCED 554.
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20-21

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

Mostly.

Is it offered free of charge?

It is free of charge with some exceptions.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The duration is calculated in HVET points; 200 points correspond to one year of full-time studies.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice;
  • part-time studies (approximately one tenth of the programmes);
  • distance learning.
Main providers

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

All programmes of 400 points (two years full-time studies) have a minimum of 25% WBL.

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

In-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to all young people and adults, who have successfully completed the upper secondary school leaving exam or who have the informal or non-formal training that provide prerequisite competence for completing the programme.

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

Entry requirement for leaners is the upper secondary school leaving certificate. The VET provider decides on specific entry requirements and many programmes also impose specific entry requirements including, for example, credit for specific courses in upper secondary school or work experience in the field. The provider may also declare an applicant eligible following what is known as an open assessment of qualifications, despite not fulfilling general and/or specific entry requirements.

Within higher vocational education, validation may be used to provide a basis for decisions regarding admission to programmes. Knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may also be validated and recognised as part of a programme. The education provider is responsible for the validation process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The graduate receives an advanced diploma in higher vocational education (kvalificerad yrkeshögskoleexamen) if the learner has received at least the lowest passing grade in all courses included in the programme, has attained knowledge, skills, and competences at a SeQF Level 6, has accumulated at least 400 higher vocational education credits and has completed a diploma project.

A minimum of 25% workplace training must also have been included in the programme ([81]Regeringen (2009). Ordinance on higher vocational education. SFS 2009:130, Paragraph 13-14.
https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/Dokument-Lagar/Lagar/Svenskforfattningssamling/Forordning-2009130-omyrkes
).

The credit system differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The VET graduate receives an advanced diploma in higher vocational education (kvalificerad yrkeshögskoleexamen) allowing them to enter the labour market. Graduation from this programme, does not offer access to any additional progression pathways.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The credit system of these higher VET programmes differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Destination of graduates

The programmes are intended to lead to a working position.

Awards through validation of prior learning

The education provider has the option to accept learners without the formal eligibility requirements if it is estimated that the applicant will be able to fulfil the programme. The education provider validates and decides in each individual case.

General education subjects

Y

Approximately 90 % of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support.

Key competences

Y

Approximately 90 % of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The education provider has to define the learning outcomes in the application to the Agency for Higher Vocational Education to have the programme accepted.

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

Information not available.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

ISCED 454

Higher VET programmes at EQF level 5, ISCED 454.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20-21

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?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Mostly.

Is it offered free of charge?

It is free of charge with some exceptions.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The duration is calculated in HVET points; 200 points correspond to one year of full-time studies.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice;
  • part-time studies (approximately one tenth of the programmes);
  • distance learning.
Main providers

Higher vocational education programmes may be organised by state higher education institutions, municipalities, county councils and individuals or legal entities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is not mandatory, but encouraged, in the one-year HVET programme.

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

In-company training.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to all young people and adults who have successfully completed the upper secondary school leaving exam or who have the informal or non-formal training that provides prerequisite competence for completing the programme.

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

Entry requirement for leaners is the upper secondary school leaving certificate. The VET provider decides on specific entry requirements and many programmes also impose specific entry requirements including, for example, credit for specific courses in upper secondary school or work experience in the field. The provider may also declare an applicant eligible following what is known as an open assessment of qualifications, despite not fulfilling general and/or specific entry requirements.

Within higher vocational education, validation may be used to provide a basis for decisions regarding admission to programmes. Knowledge, skills and competences acquired through training, job experience or otherwise may also be validated and recognised as part of a programme. The education provider is responsible for the validation process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The higher VET graduate receives a diploma in higher vocational education (yrkeshögskoleexamen) if the learner has received at least the lowest passing grade in all courses of the programme, knowledge, skills and competences at a SeQF level 5, and has accumulated at least 200 higher vocational education credits.

The credit system differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The VET graduate receives a diploma in higher vocational education (yrkeshögskoleexamen), which is recognised as part of the formal education system and allows learners to enter the labour market. Graduation from this programme, does not offer learners access to any additional progression pathways.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The credit system of these higher VET programmes differs from that of academic education and credits cannot automatically be transferred from higher VET to an academic institution. Each university, however, has the right to validate and transfer the credits from higher VET if it is deemed appropriate.

Destination of graduates

The programmes are intended to enter the labour market.

Awards through validation of prior learning

The education provider has a possibility to accept learners without the formal eligibility requirements if it is estimated that the applicant will be able to fulfil the programme. The education provider validates and decides in each individual case.

General education subjects

Y

Approximately 90% of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support

Key competences

Y

Approximately 90% of the programmes in higher vocational education also offer training in Swedish specific to the vocational field as additional support

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The education provider has to define the learning outcomes in the application to the Agency for Higher Vocational Education to have the programme accepted.

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

Individualised programmes for learners

not eligible for national

upper secondary programmes

ISCED 244, 341, 351

Individualised programmes for learners not eligible for national upper secondary programmes (introduktionsprogram) leading to ISCED 244, 341, 351
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

244, 341, 351

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

10-12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Some of the introduction programmes include IVET courses, which lead to a certain number of credits, which can be counted as partial qualification when later following a VET programme.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

N

However the equivalent education (corresponding to a compulsory school qualification) is available in adult municipal education for those adults with lower education levels.

ECVET or other credits

The introduction programmes are intended to make learners eligible to apply for a national programme at upper secondary level or prepared for a vocation. As such the education is not credit-based. Courses from upper secondary education can, however, be included and these courses will generate credits in accordance with upper secondary education.

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

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is possible, but not mandatory.

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Learners who are not eligible for an upper secondary school national programme may, until they turn 20, apply for one of the four ([74]From 2011 until July 2019 there are five introductory programmes. The preparatory education programme (preparandutbildning) and the individual options-oriented programme (programinriktat individuellt val) will be replaced by un updated individual options-oriented programme aimed at having the same structure and goal for learners striving to become eligible for admission to either a VET programme or a higher education preparatory programme.) introductory programmes (introduktionsprogram).

These programmes offer learners an individually-adapted education, which satisfies their varying educational needs and provides clear educational paths. These paths may lead to entrance into the labour market, but also provide a foundation for further education by giving access to upper secondary programmes.

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

The learner is eligible for a national programme in upper secondary education if he or she has passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects from compulsory school. The maximum age to begin the programme is 20, if a learner is older, he or she will be referred to municipal adult education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After an introductory programme has been completed, the headteacher issues an upper secondary school certificate (Gymnasieintyg) specifying the education the learner has received ([75]Skolverket (2011). Upper secondary school, 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket, p. 31.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationsserier/styrdokument/2012/upper-secondary-school-2011?id=2801
).

Examples of qualifications

The learner may study upper secondary courses leading to a partial qualification ([76]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-partial-ivet-qualifications-adults).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who successfully complete the individualised programme can access general and vocational upper secondary programmes.

Destination of graduates

In one out of the four introduction programmes that mainly focus on vocational content, 50% of the learners that began the programme in 2013 had completed a full upper secondary VET education in five years. Of these, 34% and 15% respectively, completed all requirements for an upper secondary VET diploma in five years ([77]https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=4094).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The teacher validates the knowledge. The introduction programme is predominantly aimed to fill in the 'gaps' for a completed compulsory education to make learners eligible for upper secondary education.

General education subjects

Y

Most of the time general education subjects are part of this programme to ensure that graduates will have the necessary qualifications to enter upper secondary programmes. Eligibility criteria for upper secondary education are passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects from compulsory education. In theory, a learner may have passed Swedish, English, maths but not the other five required subjects. However, that is quite rare.

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of upper secondary education applies and contains all key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

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

Information not available

EQF 2

Programmes

for SEN learners, leading

4 years,

WBL >14%

ISCED 343 and 353

Programmes for SEN learners (Gymnasiesärskolan) leading to EQF 2, ISCED 343 and 353
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

343, 353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Information not available

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

There is equivalent education for adults with learning disabilities (Särvux) that, just like municipal adult education, is built on courses instead of programmes.

ECVET or other credits

2500 credits during four years and 3600 hours.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning in companies (minimum of 22 weeks).
Main providers

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 14%

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available to young people with special educational needs. An equivalent education is available for adults with special needs, but based on courses instead of programmes.

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

Special needs upper secondary schools offer national and individual programmes to learners with intellectual disability. Learners with special needs are individually assessed and placed in a national programme or individualised programme; the latter targets learners with more special demanding needs.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the skills and knowledges and grades the learner according to set criteria required for each course. Grades are awarded for each course completed in the national programmes. If a

learner passes, he/she is awarded grade E, D, C, B or A. The highest grade is A and the lowest is E.

If a learner does not achieve the standard required for grade E, he/she receives no grade.

Diplomas/certificates provided

When learners have completed their education in national or individual programmes, they receive a special needs upper secondary school certificate (Gymnasiesärskolebevis) ([78]https://www.skolverket.se/getFile?file=3044). The certificate describes which skills and experiences the learner has acquired from the special needs upper secondary school and contains details of:

• the programme;

• subject areas or courses that the learner has studied;

• grades;

• the learner’s work-based learning or placement;

• the special needs upper secondary school work placement.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can continue in SEN education for adults; this is not considered as progression.

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available.

General education subjects

Y

Apart from the same general foundation subjects as in upper secondary education, an aesthetic subject is included. The courses are adjusted to the learner's preconditions and needs.

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of upper secondary education applies and contains all key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school. Grade F, (not passing) is not applicable.

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

Information not available.

Individual

modularised pathways

for adults (20+)

WBL possible,

% varies

ISCED 244, 344, 351, 353

Individual modularised pathways for adults (grundläggande nivå/compulsory level and gymnasial komvux/upper secondary level, including särvux/special needs education for adults with learning disabilities) at ISCED 244, 344, 351, 353.
EQF level
Municipal adult education provides the same education as compulsory and upper secondary education for the young. The difference is that it is course-based and individualised. If a learner fulfils the requirements for an upper secondary education, he or sh
ISCED-P 2011 level

244, 344, 351, 353

Usual entry grade

Minimum age is 20.

Usual completion grade

Not applicable.

Usual entry age

After age 20.

Usual completion age

Not applicable.

Length of a programme (years)

It is individualised.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

It can be initial VET, or general education.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

All adults are entitled to free education either to gain eligibility to tertiary education, or to complete an upper secondary degree.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

A learner in municipal adult education must accumulate 2 400 credits to obtain a diploma. 2 250 of these credits must be passed.

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

• school-based learning;

• work practice (practical training at school and work- based learning in company).

Main providers

Municipal adult education is funded by the municipality and state grants to the municipalities. The municipalities either provide education or procure education from different providers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

WBL is not compulsory, but there are incentives through state grants available for providers if 70% of the education is provided though WBL in IVET for adult apprentices. For adults with learning disabilities following special education, 50% of the education has to be provided as WBL for receiving state grants.

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

In-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults without compulsory education, not having enough knowledge of Swedish, or who are not eligible to access tertiary education.

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

All adults are entitled to free education to complete compulsory education as well as Swedish for immigrants, as well as the upper secondary courses to gain eligibility to tertiary education. But there is a distinction between eligibility and the right to education. In short, there is no right for adults to study a VET programme. An adult with a qualification at EQF 4 is not entitled to adult municipal VET education (but not prevented if the municipality is willing to finance it). However, all adults are entitled to study Swedish or English for eligibility to higher education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Municipal adult education at upper secondary level aims at providing adults with knowledge up to the upper secondary leaving certificate, granting them access to tertiary education. Nationally determined programmes do not exist in municipal adult education; instead courses are offered based on the needs and circumstances of the adult learner.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Depending on the chosen programmes, graduates can acquire an upper secondary leaving certificate granting them access to tertiary education. They can also acquire vocational qualifications equivalent to IVET diplomas for the young or partial IVET qualifications ([79]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/sweden-partial-ivet-qualifications-adults).

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

All learners should be individually assessed and their previous knowledge validated to provide individualised education. A learner who has validated part of a course does not have to attend classes for that part of the course. If a learner wishes to receive grades in the validated courses, he or she will need to complete an extended test in the course.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of adult municipal education applies and contains all key competences. However, not all key competences are applicable to all individuals since a learner may only study one subject or course.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The same course construction as in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

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

Learners in municipal adult education do not study a programme, but courses which can be combined in various ways. Therefore, the data for adult VET are not comparable to those of upper secondary VET and, due to a lag in official data, the latest analytical report on how fast adult learners found a job on the labour market is based on data for learners courses in 2011-13 ([80]Skolverket (2017). Uppdrag om uppföljning av sysselsättning efter avslutade studier inom kommunal vuxenutbildning [Employment following municipal adult education]. Skolverket report 2017:01587.
https://www.skolverket.se/publikationer?id=3872
). The data available provide information on the number of learners who have studied vocational courses of more than 800 credits, and of those who have studied 400-799 credits, and in which upper secondary programme these courses belong. Two thirds of all learners in adult education for which there are available data studied courses in health and social care.

EQF 4

VET programmes (school-based or apprenticeship)

3 years,

WBL >15% (*)

ISCED 353

VET programmes comprising ‘school-based education’ (skolförlagd utbildning) or ‘apprenticeship education’ (lärlingsutbildning) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

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?

N

Unless someone returns to complete their education for a diploma after longer leave.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

All upper secondary education for those under the age of 20 is free of charge. After age 20, learners have to pay for their own learning materials (like books).

Is it available for adults?

Y

All courses are available in municipal adult education.

ECVET or other credits

A learner in upper secondary school should accumulate 2 500 upper secondary credits. 2 250 of these credits must be passed to receive an upper secondary qualification and diploma.

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

• school-based learning;

• work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);

• apprenticeships.

Main providers

In addition to the public municipal bodies, private entities may also be approved as VET providers and organise and run independent upper secondary schools after approval from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. Independent schools are regulated by the same legislation and governing documents as municipal schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<15%

Or a minimum of 15 weeks, 23 hours per week, out of 2 430 hours.

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

Programmes are accessible to young people under the age of 20.

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

Learners need to have completed compulsory school, with passing grades in Swedish, English, maths and five more subjects before they turn 20 years of age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The teacher assesses the learning and grades the learner according to criteria of the knowledge requirements for each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After completing upper secondary education, learners receive ’gymnasieexamen’ (upper secondary diploma). In VET, the diploma is ’Yrkesexamen’ (vocational diploma).

Examples of qualifications

Information not available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Depending on the chosen individual modularised pathway, learners can progress to programmes at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Graduates can directly enter the labour market, or progress to HVET studies or other tertiary education.

Awards through validation of prior learning

A learner may take an extended exam to receive a grade instead of participating in a course. The procedure also applies for learners that have a fail grade or wish to gain a higher grade.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Subjects are modularised in courses and learning outcomes are defined though core content and knowledge requirements for each course.

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

Of all upper secondary learners in national programmes, 28% are taking part in a VET programme in 2018/19. Of all learners in introduction programmes, 30% are in the VET-oriented vocational introduction (yrkesintroduktion) and programme-oriented individual option (programinriktat individuellt val).

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available