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General themes

VET in Germany comprises the following main features:

  • a high proportion of people have upper or post-secondary level qualifications (57.9% in 2017 compared to an EU average of 46.1%), which is mainly due to the popularity of dual VET;
  • the apprenticeship scheme (dual system) at upper secondary level (EQF 4) is the main pillar of VET and enables efficient school-to-work transition and low youth unemployment;
  • close cooperation between employers, trade unions and the government in shaping and implementing VET;
  • advanced vocational training at tertiary level (EQF 6-7), leading to qualification as master craftsperson, technician and specialist, is a major factor contributing to the attractiveness of the VET pathway.

 

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Germany. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8116_en.pdf
):

Germany’s VET is seen as a successful model, largely based on the dual system (apprenticeship) leading to high-quality vocational qualifications. Apprenticeship enables smooth education to work transitions, resulting in low youth unemployment (2015: 7.2% of aged 15 to 24 versus 20.4% in the EU-28).

About one in two secondary school graduates chooses a vocational education programme; of those, 70% participate in apprenticeship. A growing share has a higher education entrance qualification, which shows the attractiveness of apprenticeship. Dual study programmes at tertiary level and advanced vocational training enable the acquisition of middle and top management qualifications in companies. Germany’s well-trained skilled workers are a prerequisite of its economic success.

National standards and training regulations (curricula for both in-company and school-based components) assure the success of the dual training programmes. Companies provide training in accordance with the vocational training regulations, developed by the four stakeholders (Federal and State governments, companies and trade unions). These regulations allow for flexibility to agree on company training plans with apprentices. Learning at vocational school is based on a framework curriculum aligned with training regulations, drawn up for every recognised training occupation.

Regular revisions to training regulations guarantee keeping pace with rapid technological and organisational changes. The initiative for updating or developing an entirely new occupational profile comes from social partners or the Federal Institute for VET ([2]Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB).). After consultation with all parties involved, the competent federal ministry decides whether to proceed. Cooperation between State and social partners is a core element of VET: social dialogue and shared decisions are the means to ensure that VET reforms are accepted.

Another particularity of the German VET system is its approach to how to acquire vocational competences, the so-called concept of ‘vocational action competence’: this holistic and integrated approach to competence acquisition during VET contrasts with the acquisition of isolated skills and competences based on the learning-outcomes approach of the European qualifications framework (EQF).

Improving transitions from general education to VET

The number of unfilled training places recently increased again, showing a need to reconcile supply and demand while taking into account significant regional and branch specific differences. Individual assistance for unsuccessful applicants and guidance for small and medium-size enterprises are provided in case of problems with matching. The Alliance for Initial and Further Training has committed to integrating all applicants in VET, including those from unfavourable starting positions, through pre-VET measures, assistance and support during training. To prevent training dropouts, senior experts provide individual coaching to apprentices.

Modernising and developing new occupational profiles with a view to digitalisation

Digital innovation has an impact on qualification profiles and curricula. The VET 4.0 initiative identifies changing demands in the qualification of skilled workers and how to respond to the challenge of digitalisation.

Increasing the attractiveness of VET

A large multimedia information campaign on apprenticeship was relaunched; early vocational orientation guidance in schools is now widely implemented from grade 7, in general upper secondary schools as well. Online VET portals are addressing specific target groups like young women or university dropouts.

Integrating migrants and refugees into education and training

Since 2015, more than one million asylum seekers have arrived in Germany. Their integration into the labour market and VET system is a priority: enabling German language learning, validating formal and non-formal skills, providing vocational orientation and access to VET, apprenticeships and employment. Existing programmes addressing disadvantaged groups (such as migrants) extended their focus to include refugees and new programmes were initiated specifically for this group.

Data from VET in Germany Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Germany. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8116_en.pdf
)

Population in 2018: 82 792 351 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 2.8% since 2013 due to migration (net migration in 2015: +1.1 million) ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 32 in 2015 to 55 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].

 

The ageing of the currently high proportion of middle-age population cohorts will lead to significant shifts in the age structure, once they join the group of 65+ years old. In 2015, 13.2% of the population were below 14, 65.8% were between 15 and 65, and 21% were 65 or older. By 2060, 13.8% of the population will be below 14, but only 55.6% will be between 15-64 years old, i.e. working age. The number of 65+ year-old people will increase to 30.6%.

There are fewer young people as time passes, more of them are choosing higher education. This partly explains the high number of unfilled apprenticeship places.

Since 2015, more than one million asylum seekers have arrived in Germany. Their integration into the labour market and VET system is a priority: enabling German language learning, validating formal and non-formal skills, providing vocational orientation and access to VET, apprenticeships and employment. Existing programmes addressing disadvantaged groups (such as migrants) extended their focus to include refugees and new programmes were initiated specifically for this group.

The overwhelming majority of companies in 2016 (3.46 million enterprises, 99.6%) were micro companies (1-9 employees) and small and medium-sized enterprises, (SMEs, 10-249 employees): of these, around 3.1 million (about 90% of all companies) were micro-enterprises. Only 14 630 enterprises had more than 249 employees. In total, 61% of the 29.1 million employees worked in micro and, SMEs: micro-enterprises employed about 19% of active persons, small enterprises (10-49 employees), approximately 23.2%, and medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees), around 19.3%. These micro companies and SMEs form the Mittelstand, which is playing a major role in the dual VET system by providing the most apprentice placements (1.12 million apprentices in 2016 against approximately 450 000 in large companies having more than 249 employees) ([7]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018.] Bonn: BIBB. p.206.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf See also:
https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Branchen-Unternehmen/Unternehmen/_inhalt.html
).

In 2017, most employed persons (74.5%) were working in the tertiary economic sector (mainly services), followed by 24.1% working in the secondary sector (production industry) and 1.4% working in the primary sector (agriculture, forestry and fishing) ([8]Results of the employment accounts within the national accounts (VGR): https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Arbeit/Arbeitsmarkt/Erwerbstaetigkeit/...).

The share of enterprises in the primary sector providing apprentice placements has decreased in recent years. In the secondary sector, many enterprises provide apprenticeship and this number remained stable in 2016. The tertiary sector offers a differentiated picture: a positive trend in personal services (e.g. medical and nursing services), clearly negative trend in company-related services (e.g. financial and legal services, information and communication-related services) and less negative trend in transport, trade, accommodation and catering services.

Most occupations in Germany are regulated and only accessible with the relevant qualification.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, aged 25 to 74.) (2018): 3.1% (6% in EU28); it has fallen by 3.9 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

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 upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education, the levels where most VET graduates exist (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was only slightly above the unemployment rate of people with tertiary education (2.9% compared to 1.9%). Low-skilled people (less than lower secondary education) however, faced a much higher risk of unemployment with the rate at 8.5%.

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 87.6% in 2014 to 89.7% in 2018([11]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+2.1pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher than the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+1.5 pp) in the same period in Germany ([12]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Germany please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in England. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/england_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education at ISCED level 3-4, is quite popular (57.4%) in Germany, compared to most other EU Member States. This can also be linked to the fact, that apprenticeship is an attractive pathway and even chosen by upper secondary graduates.

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for Czech Republic, Poland, and Latvia. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education. Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

For more information about VET in higher education in Germany please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12b]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Germany. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/germany_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet-_case_study.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2016

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

4.7%

45.6%

92.5%

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; not applicable for Ireland. Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Young women and men continue to orient themselves very differently on the VET market in Germany. This applies not only to the training paths taken by girls and boys, but also to the training occupations they choose. For example, male youths are overrepresented in the dual VET system (over 60%), and female youths in full-time school-based training (75%), mostly in healthcare, education and social occupations.

In the apprenticeship programmes, the top five occupations for males are automotive mechatronics technician, electronics technician, IT specialist, plant and industrial mechanics. Among female apprentices, the top five occupations are office management assistant, medical assistant, dental nurse, retail saleswoman and saleswoman.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.1% in 2009 to 10.3% in 2018 and has reached almost the national target for 2020 of not more than 10%.

 

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 16.05.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Specific support is offered targeting young people who need help to complete vocational training. Enrolment is voluntary and the support consists of special classes and accompanying socio-educational mentors to help apprentices overcome language and education deficits and acquire specialist theoretical knowledge during at least three hours a week. The law establishing this measure came into force in May 2015. In 2017, 36 000 young people were beneficiaries ([13]Actual expenditures 2017: EUR 97.1 million. Source: BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Report on vocational education and training 2018]. Bonn: BMBF, p. 121.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
). This represented a share of 2.7% of all apprentices in 2017. It helps apprentices to avoid dropping out of training, stabilise training relationships and complete vocational training. Apprentices with difficulties can receive additional individual coaching by senior volunteers working for the Prevention of training dropouts initiative, VerA. The senior experts are retired professionals with broad experience in their respective field of work. ([14]Huismann, A. (2018). Guidance and outreach for inactive and unemployed – Germany. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series, pp. 22-26.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2018/guidance_outreach_Germany_Cedefo p_ReferNet.pdf
)

Specific measures are also targeting young people who need support earlier, i.e. to obtain a general school-leaving certificate and to make the transition from school to training: it includes career start coaching, introductory training, and preparatory VET. All these measures are part of the Educational chains programme, with a strong preventive approach ([15]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Report on vocational education and training 2018]. Bonn: BMBF, p. 90.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Germany slightly increased from 2014 to 2018 from 8.0% to 8.2%, but during those years was still below the EU-28 average (10.8% and 11.1% in 2014 and 2018, respectively).

The European benchmark includes non-formal and formal learning in the last four weeks before the survey (Labour force survey) among respondents aged 25 to 64. In the Adult education survey, respondents are asked about learning activities during the last 12 months. In this case, the participation rate in lifelong learning in Germany is much higher: 52% in 2016 (compared to an average of 45.1% in EU-28).

Data as defined here are not available. However, yearly cohort data of entrants in dual vocational training (in accordance with the Vocational Training Act and the Crafts Code), entrants in school-based VET, entrants in pre-VET transitional area, entrants in grammar school and entrants in higher education are available in the integrated training reporting system (iABE) ([16]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 85, 88 and 167.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
BIBB (2017). VET data report Germany 2016-17: facts and analyses to accompany the Federal Government report on VET: selected finings. Bonn: BIBB, p 39-41.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/en/60595.php
).

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary education (ISCED level 1);
  • lower secondary education (ISCED level 2);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4 and 5);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Compulsory full-time education begins at the age of six and lasts nine years (or 10 years, depending on the Federal State). After that, young people who chose not to follow a full-time education programme can attend a (vocational) school for three years part-time, alongside their training in the company. Compulsory education is for all those aged 6 to 18.

Following four years of primary school for all, educational paths are divided in the subdivided school system, consisting of lower secondary programmes (until grade 9 or 10) and upper secondary programmes (until grade 12 or 13).

Germany is one of the European countries in which learning on the job is a traditional component of the education system: the apprenticeship programme (dual system, with two learning venues: 70% work-based and 30% school-based) is the main pillar of VET. About one in two secondary school graduates chooses a vocational path, mostly apprenticeship. Progression is possible through various regulated VET programmes provided at post-secondary and increasingly at tertiary level.

The German VET system comprises initial and continuing education; alongside school-based activity, work based learning (WBL) plays a major role in most of the programmes offered at secondary and tertiary levels. There are the following VET learning options, which all include WBL:

At upper secondary level:

  • general vocational programmes with vocational orientation;
  • school-based VET programmes;
  • apprenticeship programmes (incl. WBL of ca. 75%);

At post-secondary level:

  • specialised programmes;

At tertiary level:

  • advanced vocational qualifications and exams at EQF level 5 (certified advisor in specific professional areas; technician), EQF 6 (master craftsperson, specialist) and EQF 7 (management expert; vocational pedagogue, IT-Professional);
  • technician, specialist and similar programmes;
  • bachelor programmes;
  • master programmes.

The apprenticeship programme at upper secondary level (EQF level 4) is the main pillar of VET and also attracts upper secondary graduates. Parallel to the apprenticeships are school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level (EQF levels 2 to 4), which differ in terms of access, length, types and levels of qualification they lead to. ([17]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Germany. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8116_en.pdf
)

The most important tool for assessing non-formal learning outcomes is admission to final examinations known as the Externen-Prüfung (examination for external candidates, i.e., those not involved in a formal vocational training programme) ([18]Under Section 45 (2) of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG).). Under this provision, people can be admitted to a final examination for a recognised occupation requiring formal training (training occupation) if they provide evidence that they have been employed in the relevant occupation for at least one and a half times as long as prescribed for the period of initial training.

At post-secondary level (EQF levels 4 and 5), specialised programmes building on secondary VET impart deeper occupational knowledge and lead to higher education entrance qualifications.

At tertiary level, there are the advanced vocational qualifications and exams. VET in Germany comprises three levels of advanced vocational qualifications (EQF levels 5 to 7). They differ regarding competence requirements and the related operational deployment in companies. Admission to level 7 qualifications requires level 6 qualifications; level 6 qualifications do not require level 5 qualification but can be acquired directly after IVET in the dual system and mostly work experience is necessary (master craftsperson, technician or specialist qualifications).

Unlike the training regulations for IVET in the dual system, these federally regulated advanced training regulations do not include a curriculum; however, they do define and describe examinations. Other features, which must be specified in the advanced training regulations, include (§ 53 para. 2 BBiG, § 42 para. 2 HwO):

(a) designation of the advanced qualification;

(b) the aim, contents and requirements of the examination;

(c) admission requirements;

(d) examination procedure.

Admission to an examination generally requires a completed course of vocational training and/or appropriate vocational experience. These regulations are laid down by the BMBF by agreement with the competent ministries and following consultation with the primary board (Hauptausschuss) of the BIBB. Advanced vocational training as a master craftsperson (Meister) entitles the holder to practice a craft trade independently, to employ and train apprentices, and opens up access to courses at craft academies, universities of applied sciences (UASs,

Fachhochschulen) as well as universities.

Data about this programme are not fully recorded in the ISCED-97 statistics for two reasons. First, the examinations do not generally require participation in a preparatory course. Second, even if a huge number of examinees were to participate in preparatory classes, these courses offered by the chambers are not seen as part of the education system. There is political pressure to remedy this lack of transparency in international statistics and to include all programmes that meet the ISCED-2011 level definition in the near future.

Advanced vocational programmes (ISCED 655; EQF 6) are offered at trade and technical schools, which are regulated according to the State law. Entrance requirements vary by subject area: an applicant normally needs a qualification in a recognised training occupation appropriate to the chosen subject, and relevant work experience of at least one year, or a qualification from a full-time vocational school and relevant work experience of at least five years. Advanced vocational programmes can be followed as part-time or full-time programmes (the latter last between one and three years) and they lead to a State vocational qualification (e.g. educator; technician). Students adopt extensive responsibility and management functions at the workplace. Some trade and technical schools also provide programmes that lead to a formal entrance qualification for the universities of applied sciences. They exist for the following occupational fields: agriculture, design, technology, business and social care. They end with a final State examination under State law.

Dual programmes (EQF levels 6 and 7) combine two learning venues (the workplace and the education institution) and are offered by universities of applied sciences (UASs, Fachhochschulen), the dual university (Duale Hochschulen), universities of cooperative education (Berufsakademien) as well as some universities. Around a quarter of all UAS programmes are dual study programmes ([19]Information based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf p. 28 onwards).

Apprenticeship scheme (dual system)

Dual VET, which is used as a synonym for apprenticeships in Germany, is still very attractive. Particularly owing to how it links learning and work, as well as schools and companies, the system appears to be a successful model for structuring the transition from school to working life. Dual VET is provided in 327 recognised training occupations ([20]https://www.bibb.de/en/65925.php). A final exam, conducted by the chambers, completes the apprenticeship. For this task, the chambers are authorised by the State and are officially acting as a public institution. Upon passing the final examination, apprentices receive a chamber certificate to document that training has been successfully completed. This certification of qualification is fully recognised and highly trusted among employers.

An apprenticeship in the dual system normally lasts three years ([21]Some occupations only require two years and there are also regulations allowing a shorter training period for apprentices with an Abitur (the school leaving certificate allowing entry to higher education).). On average, young people take up VET at the age of 19.7 ([22]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p.167.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
). Compulsory education must have been completed before starting VET. There are no further formal access requirements but companies select their apprentices and the majority of them hold either the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (mittlerer Schulabschluss) or the lower secondary school leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss). However, the share of apprentices with a higher education entrance qualification has been rising as well: in 2016, almost one in three apprentices (28.7%) was a high-school graduate ([23]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 132.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
). This group followed successively both paths of education at upper secondary level: first the general, followed by the vocational qualification. Despite being classified as ‘upper secondary’, initial VET is also considered by high-school graduates as an alternative option to tertiary education.

Apprentices attend a vocational school for one or two days per week, where they are mainly taught theoretical and practical knowledge related to their occupation; they take classes on general subjects such as economics, social studies and foreign languages. A framework curriculum is drawn up for every recognised training occupation in accordance with the training regulations. The primary aim of training is to enable young people to acquire comprehensive vocational competence. After finishing the apprenticeship, they should be able to fulfil their duties as employees efficiently, effectively, innovatively, autonomously and in cooperation with others. The array of competences must be demonstrated in exams regulated by law (Vocational Training Act, BBiG). Final exams are geared to vocational practice, i.e., to the work requirements and processes of the occupation. Performance in general subjects is evaluated via school reports.

Apprenticeship places are offered in both enterprises and public institutions. Enterprises enter into a contract with apprentices, where they bear the costs of the in-company training and pay the trainee remuneration. This is regulated by collective agreement and increases with every year of training, averaging about a third of the starting pay for a trained skilled worker. The professional competences to be acquired through in-company training are specified in training regulations and included by the training enterprise in an individual training plan. The binding requirements of the training regulations guarantee a uniform national standard. However, SMEs are often unable to provide all the stipulated learning content: they may lack suitable training personnel, or, owing to their particular specialisation, may not cover all the training content themselves.

There are various ways to overcome these problems:

  • inter-company vocational training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS) designed to supplement in-company training: education institutions offer periods in these training centres, which are often sponsored by autonomous bodies in the relevant sectors of industry. Since 2016, digital transformation has been promoted in these training centres by funding the purchase of digital equipment as well as selected pilot projects on adaptation of teaching and learning processes ([24]https://www.bibb.de/uebs-digitalisierung);
  • enterprises can form joint training structures (Ausbildungsverbünde). There are four traditional models for this:
  • lead enterprise with partners (Leitbetrieb mit Partnerbetrieben): one enterprise takes the lead and bears overall responsibility for training; however, parts of the training are conducted in various partner enterprises;
  • training to order (Auftragsausbildung): some training takes place outside the regular enterprise, perhaps in a nearby larger one with a training workshop, on the basis of an order and against reimbursement of costs;
  • training consortium (Ausbildungskonsortium): several SMEs sign a cooperation agreement and work together on equal footing. They take on apprentices and train them independently. If an enterprise cannot cover a specific area of content, the apprentice moves to another enterprise (rotation principle);
  • training association (Ausbildungsverein): enterprises establish an organisation which takes over administrative tasks such as contracting, while the enterprises conduct training. Association structures usually comprise a general meeting and an honorary committee. A statute regulates members’ rights and obligations.

The repartition of apprentices according to the economic sector of occupation was as follows in 2016: 58.7% in trade and industry, 27.2% in craft sector, 8.3% in liberal professions, 2.8% in public sector, 2.5% in agriculture and 0.4% in housekeeping. There has been a fall in new apprenticeship contracts since 2008, the year of the financial crisis (with one exception, in 2011, when 569 379 new apprenticeship contracts were concluded). This downward trend stabilised between 2016 and 2017: 0.6% more apprenticeship contracts were signed in 2017 than in the previous year.

The apprenticeship market continues to be characterised by increasing matching problems. It is becoming more difficult each year to match companies’ training supply (2017: 572 226) with young people’s demand for training positions (2017: 603 510). This is particularly clear from the fact that vacant positions (2017: 48 937, 12.6% more than 2016 and highest value since 1995) as a proportion of provision has once again increased, from 7.7% to 8.6%. However, the share of unsuccessful applicants as a proportion of the officially identified demand for 2017 is still comparatively high but stable, at 13.3%. The skilled crafts and trades sector was particularly affected by a shortage of applicants. Many public policy measures are aiming to counteract these developments.

Types of school leaving qualification obtained differ among apprentices with newly concluded training contracts. As in the past years, the largest group in 2016 was those with the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (mittlerer Schulabschluss), at 42.8% (215 976). Almost 30% (144 630) of those concluding a training contract, were in possession of a higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). About one in four (127 686 or 25.3%) had a lower secondary school leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss). The proportion of new trainees without a school leaving certificate was very low at 3.1% (15 876) ([25]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 136.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
).

For young people with a migration background, transition from general education to VET is often difficult and lengthy. The latest (2016) BA/BIBB survey among former dual VET applicants shows that one in four (26%) young people with a migration background registered with the federal employment agency (BA) had found a placement and had begun an in-company apprenticeship. In contrast, 42% of those without a migration background had started such an apprenticeship ([26]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 326.
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
).

The number of refugees applying for asylum, mostly since 2015, and applying for an apprenticeship placement (with registration at an employment agency) drastically increased from 10 253 in September 2016 to 26 428 in September 2017. It was almost 5% of all registered dual VET applicants.

Additional qualifications

Since the amendment of the Vocational Training Act in 2005 ([27]https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bbig_2005/BBiG.pdf), there is the possibility of providing so-called ‘codified additional qualifications’ in the context of apprenticeship. This includes ’additional vocational skills, knowledge and qualifications (…) to supplement or broaden vocational competence’ (BBiG 2005 Section 5 (2) No. 5), which are anchored in the training regulations and go beyond the training occupation profile. The training regulations are supplemented by these additional qualifications. In addition to these, which are linked to a training regulation, there are numerous additional qualifications. For the mechatronics engineers alone, there are almost 400 optional additional qualifications ([28]See AusbildungPlus database:
http://www.ausbildungplus.de/webapp/suche?typ=zq&neuesuche=true and Berufsbildungsgesetz 2005:
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bbig_2005/BBiG.pdf
).

However, these additional qualifications are not so much aimed at broadening a qualification profile as part of that occupation profile, but rather at subject-related additions or specialisations. In this, they differ from the codified additional qualifications, which serve explicitly the extension of the training occupation profile. One of the focuses of these non-codified additional qualifications lies in international qualifications; these include foreign language courses, stays abroad and international management. About one third of apprentices in additional qualifications receive additional training in this area.

Additional qualifications allow for flexible shaping of in-company training with regard to the qualification requirements in the company. This enables companies to respond promptly to changing skills needs, which is becoming increasingly important due to developments in digitalisation. At the same time, it is an attractive opportunity for young people to upgrade their vocational qualifications. Additional qualifications listed in the AusbildungsPlus database ([29]http://www.ausbildungplus.de/webapp/suche?typ=zq&neuesuche=true) vary significantly in duration: it ranges from under 40 to over 1 000 hours for obtaining an additional qualification. Training companies and vocational schools primarily provide additional qualifications. Chambers of commerce and industry as well as the chambers of crafts and their training centres are among the major providers of additional qualifications.

Two important sources of information and data on the dual apprenticeship scheme in Germany are the yearly Report on vocational education and training ([30]https://www.bmbf.de/de/berufsbildungsbericht-2740.html) and the corresponding Data report on VET ([31]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/de/index.php
).

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 Vocational Training Act ([32]BBiG:
https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bmbf_berufsbildungsreformgesetz_en.pdf
) defines in detail, which institutions are in charge of organising, developing and monitoring VET in Germany.

The role of Federal government

VET is based on nationally recognised occupations and vocational training regulations, which guarantee a national standard. The federal government is responsible for designing the dual system training content for the occupations it has recognised. The nationally binding recognition of the training occupations ensures that the basic principles agreed with industry and the States are taken into account, and that training for a recognised occupation adheres to the regulations adopted by the federal government. The federal government’s responsibilities are not limited to implementing joint agreements; it also takes independent measures to promote dual training. These measures include permanent support programmes as well as special funding programmes, which, for example, aim to create additional training positions in less popular regions. The federal government provides funding for special research projects to ensure VET is constantly updated. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research ([33]Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).) is responsible for general VET policy issues. These include the Vocational Training Act ([34]Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG).), the annual VET report, the implementation of programmes to improve VET and the legal supervision and funding of the Federal Institute for VET ([35]Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB).).

Nationally, the Federal Institute for VET is the core institution for consensus building between all parties involved in VET. It conducts research on in-company training and provides services and advice to the federal government and VET providers. Its four-party main board advises the government on fundamental issues of in-company vocational training and is involved in setting standards and designing training regulations.

It is the task of the federal ministries responsible for each occupational field to recognise individual occupations requiring formal training. In most cases, this is the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy ([36]Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).). The approval of the education ministry is always required, so the ministry provides coordination and guidance for VET policy for all training occupations.

The role of State government

According to the Constitution, responsibility for school education lies with the State ministries of education and cultural affairs ([37]Landesministerien für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur.). Their ministers participate in a standing committee ([38]Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK).) to ensure a certain degree of uniformity and comparability, especially in school and higher education policies. The standing committee decisions are only recommendations, and only become legally binding when passed by the individual State parliaments. The States have vocational training committees, with equal representation of employers, employees and the highest State authorities. They advise the State governments on vocational training issues in schools and also contribute to designing schemes that support disadvantaged youths and provide opportunities for additional qualifications that require school-based training.

The role of social partners

The dual system is based on a close cooperation between employers, trade unions and the government. Social dialogue and codetermination are important for reforms to be accepted. The social partners – employers and trade unions – have considerable influence on the content and form of VET to ensure their requirements and interests are taken into account. Responsible action by all participants – beyond each group's particular interests – is a precondition for the efficiency of the dual system. Their representatives are members of the Federal Institute for VET’s main board, together with the federal and State governments and participate in their vocational training committees and those of the competent bodies.

Organising apprenticeship/dual training requires a complex but clear division of responsibilities. Employers and unions play a central role in initiatives for change, because the structure of vocational training must meet the demands of industry. If there is a need for change – such as in qualification requirements – representatives of the federal government, State governments, employers and trade unions agree on the basic principles. Such work on the training regulations and framework curricula is continuously coordinated among the partners.

The role of competent bodies

Along with the State and social partners, the so-called ‘competent bodies’ ([39]Zuständige Stellen.) play a crucial role in Germany. They include professional chambers as well as various federal and State authorities. Their tasks are ensuring the suitability of training centres; monitoring training in enterprises; advising enterprises, trainers and apprentices; establishing and maintaining lists of training contracts; organising the exam system and holding final exams. Each competent body has a tripartite vocational training committee whose members represent employers, trade unions and teachers. These committees must be informed and consulted on all important VET issues and decide on regulations for implementing VET.

As self-governing bodies, the chambers of industry and commerce, the chambers of crafts and the appropriate professional boards for the liberal professions have all been assigned public tasks as ‘competent bodies’ in dual training (see above). Training advisers from the chambers verify the capacity of companies and ability of trainers to train and advise both companies and apprentices. They receive training contracts, check, register, and monitor them, and provide counselling services. The chambers also oversee the overall organisation of exams by fixing dates and establishing exam boards ([40]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

In Germany, initial and continuing VET is based on mixed financing by various public and private bodies. These include the Federal Ministry of Education and Research ([41]Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).), Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy ([42]Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).), the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs ([43]BMAS), the Federal Employment Agency ([44]BA), the States and their ministries of employment, economic, education or cultural affairs, the European Union, local authorities, companies, unions, chambers, associations, private institutions and individuals themselves. In this respect, financing for initial VET and continuing general and vocational education differs quite substantially from the schools and universities sector, which benefits from relatively comprehensive public funding.

Funding of IVET

In the dual system, in-company training is usually financed by the individual enterprise: an enterprise decides whether or not it will offer training and in which occupations. It decides how many apprentices it will take on, and how much it wants to spend on training in general. Enterprises enter into a contract with apprentices and pay them remuneration. This is regulated by collective agreement and increases with every year of training, averaging about a third of the starting pay for a trained skilled worker. Average apprentice remuneration across Germany for 2017 was EUR 876 gross per month ([45]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB. p. 273.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
).

According to the most recent calculations by the Federal Institute for VET ([46]Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB).), based on a representative study for the apprenticeship year 2012-13, the gross costs (apprenticeship costs without returns) were around EUR 25.6 billion. Companies' net costs for apprenticeship were around EUR 7.7 billion, meaning gross and net costs have somewhat increased (by approximately EUR 2 billion each) since the last study based on 2007 data. A new representative study is under way for the apprenticeship year 2017/18, with first results to be expected end of 2019 ([47]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
). Employers invest on average EUR 18 000 per apprentice per year (62% for remuneration and social benefits for apprentices; 23% for salaries of trainers; 10% other costs and 5% equipment). Companies also have benefits in providing apprenticeship, and estimate that 70% of investment is refinanced by the productive contribution of apprentices during training.

Small and medium-size enterprises, in particular skilled crafts companies, are important training suppliers. It might happen that they are unable, or not fully able, to provide all the facets of training required by regulations. This is primarily due to the increasing division of labour in working processes, increasing specialisation or accelerated technological change. The limited suitability of such enterprises as training providers is compensated by supplementary external training measures in inter-company vocational training centres ([48]Überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten (ÜBSs) and in the skilled trade sector (ÜLUs).) or through training structures ([49]Ausbildungsverbünde.). Inter-company vocational training centres are operated mainly by public law bodies (municipalities, chambers and guilds) or non-profit private law bodies (trade associations). There is mixed financing, with subsidies from the federal employment agency, the federal government (capital grants from the education ministry) and the States added to the resources of the responsible body. Guidelines for funding inter-company vocational training centres and their development into competence centres entered into force in 2009. These guidelines ensure greater legal security and transparency for applicants as well as greater flexibility in funding. They also extend training centres’ scope of action. Funding is offered for the modernising and restructuring of inter-company training centres to adapt them to changing education and training policy and economic conditions, as well as the challenge of digitalisation.

The school-based element of dual vocational training is financed by State and local authority public funds: EUR 3 billion in 2017 for 1 550 public vocational schools providing part-time VET for apprentices ([50]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 277.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
) and EUR 1.85 billion for steering, monitoring and other support measures. The States bear the costs of internal school affairs (supervision of schools, laying down of curricula, teacher training, teachers’ pay), and the local authorities are responsible for financing external school affairs (construction, maintenance and renovation of school buildings, management, procurement of teaching and learning resources). The total public expenditures for dual VET amount to approximately EUR 4.85 billion compared to EUR 7.7 billion net costs of dual VET for companies.

Training in full-time vocational schools outside the dual system (public funding in 2017: EUR 5.4 billion ([51]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 277.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/,
) and special measures to promote VET, such as support programmes (often partly financed by ESF funds) to create additional training places for specific target groups or in less popular regions, are financed from the Federal or State budgets ([52]Specific information on all public funding activities is available on
http://www.foerderdatenbank.de/
). The federal government also provides funding for special research projects to ensure that VET is constantly updated (for more details on public IVET expenditures ([53]See Table concerning public expenditure on IVET (BIBB, 2018, p. 278).) and on the funding structures of IVET in the dual system ([54]See Annex 1, Figures 5 and 6.)). The VET-related expenditure of the federal employment agency applies to both pre-VET and IVET (i.e. grants for young people). The data do not include the amounts spent on promoting the transition from IVET to the labour market, since these are classified as employment policy measures.

Funding of continuing VET

Enterprises, the State, the federal employment agency and private individuals themselves are involved in financing continuing VET. Federal, State and local authorities make funding available from their budgets primarily for continuing VET for public sector employees.

Most expenditure is related to continuing company- or job-related training. However, some spending on general, political, cultural and academic research education and training is also included, since such areas cannot always be clearly separated. The federal government contributes to financing continuing training via funding programmes from various ministries. The Federal States participate in financing continuing training in a similar fashion. Acting together with local government, and in some case municipal associations, the Federal States continue to finance adult education centres ([55]Volkshochschulen (VHSs).), teacher training institutes and other continuing training institutes ([56]See table concerning public expenditure on CVET in BIBB (2018, p. 404).).

The Continuing vocational training surveys (CVTS) provide data on enterprise expenditure on continuing vocational training courses for their employees. Initial results from the fifth survey (in 2015) offer insight into the costs of continuing education courses in Germany: direct course costs (payments to external training providers, personnel costs for internal training staff, travel expenses, costs for rooms and equipment) and personnel absence costs for participants in training courses. In 2015, companies invested EUR 683 per employee in continuing education courses. Of this, EUR 361 was for direct costs and EUR 322 for personnel absence costs of continuing VET participants. Compared to 2010, this is an increase of EUR 66 for the total costs, EUR 44 for direct costs and EUR 22 for personnel absence costs. On a percentage basis, this represents an increase between 7% and 14%. The total cost per participant was EUR 1 793 (direct costs EUR 947, personnel absence costs EUR 846). Here too, between 2010 and 2015, there was an increase in course costs of 11 to 18% ([57]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 355.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
) ([58]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

Germany differentiates between teachers and trainers in IVET and in continuing VET. The focus of the following information is on teachers and trainers in the dual system, but it also provides a brief description of teachers in full-time vocational schools and on continuing VET teachers and trainers ([59]See also: Hensen, K.A.; Hippach-Schneider, U. (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU – Germany. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_DE_TT.pdf
).

Teachers and trainers in IVET

In the dual system, there are:

  • VET school teachers
    • vocational school teachers
    • practical work teachers ([60]Werklehrer.)
  • in-company trainers

VET school teachers teach theoretical knowledge (general and occupation-related).

General subjects teachers (including those teaching at vocational schools) must have a university degree at the master level (EQF level 7), and for occupation-related subjects, there are special teachers for vocational practice.

Vocational school teachers are trained under the jurisdiction of the Federal States. Their training has a two-phase structure: first a course of studies at a university, then the preparatory practical service, also called the probationary period ([61]Referendariat.). The process is regulated by a framework agreement adopted by the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs ([62]Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK).) in 1995 and amended in 2013: the Framework agreement on the training and examination for teaching at the Secondary Level II (vocational subjects) or for vocational schools.

In-company trainers are in charge of training the apprentice at the workplace according to the training regulation for the specific occupation and the individual training plan. According to the Vocational Training Act ([63]Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG), 2005
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bbig_2005/BBiG.pdf
), only in-company trainers who possess pedagogical and professional aptitude are eligible to train, meaning that they have special competences. The aptitude of the training staff is guaranteed by the competent chamber that registers them (e.g. chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of skilled crafts). These competent bodies are responsible for adopting examination regulations and setting up examination boards to conduct aptitude examinations for trainers, according to the Trainer Aptitude Regulation ([64]Ausbilder-Eignungsverordnung (AEVO), last amended in 2009.
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/ausbeignv_2009/AusbEignV_2009.pdf
). To support in-company trainers in the acquisition of pedagogical and technical/professional competence, the chambers and other education providers offer different types of course. The Federal Institute for VET recommends taking a 115-hour course to prepare for the Trainer Aptitude Regulation examination.

Types of teacher and trainer in IVET

Type of training

Type of staff

Dual system of training

Trainers (instructors) or master craftspersons within companies (certified educators/trainers in professional education, certified educators/trainers in initial and continuing vocational education, including VET managers in large companies).

VET teachers in vocational schools, two categories:

1. university-trained teachers for job-related theory and general education subjects; 2. Werklehrer (master craftspersons or technicians with additional further training) imparting practical skills.

Instructors and trainers within inter-company VET centres (ÜBS).

Special VET for disabled persons leading to dual system diplomas

VET teachers/trainers within private institutions

Full-time vocational schools

VET teachers in vocational schools (see above)

Learning facilitators

Youth workers in training schemes for the disadvantaged, training counsellors in the chambers, vocational guidance counsellors employed by the federal employment agencies, etc.

Source: compiled by ReferNet Germany.

The majority of initial VET trainers are skilled workers, journeymen or forepersons. They engage in training part-time directly at the workplace. However, any company carrying out apprenticeship training has at least one employee who is the designated (full-time) trainer and has proven his aptitude to take over this task by successfully passing the examination according to the Trainer Aptitude Regulation. Most full-time trainers also hold an advanced qualification certificate as master craftsperson. In-company trainers have an important role in helping the apprentices to develop a professional identity and occupational profile together with a strong identification with their company. In small enterprises, the trainer is a crucial role model for the following generation of employees.

Teachers and trainers in non-formal continuing VET

There is a wide variety of professionals acting as teachers or trainers in non-formal continuing VET; there is no common standard for what constitutes a continuing VET teacher or trainer. Their formal qualifications vary widely as does their occupational status, from retired or unemployed to qualified employees in training institutions. If formal advanced vocational training takes place in public sector establishments (such as trade and technical schools, colleges), the training, employment and activities of the teaching staff are based on criteria laid down in the relevant State legislation for teaching staff ([65]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

The conditions for continuing professional development (CPD) are determined by the Education Act (Schulgesetz) of the relevant State (Bundesland) and therefore might differ among the single States. However, it can generally be stated that teachers are obliged to follow continuing training to maintain and further develop their skills and competences.

Teachers can organise on their own relevant training offered by one of various training providers; for this, however, they need the approval of their employer. CPD can be organised and offered by the employer and be mandatory for the teaching staff.

CPD can take place during school holidays as well as during the school year. If continuing training takes place during teaching time, the approval of the teacher’s training request depends on the possibility of finding a substitute, or that the lessons which will not take place due to the foreseen training will take place before or afterwards at an alternative time.

Schools receive a certain amount of money every year from the State for teacher CPD. Teachers might supplement this with their own money.

From the non-formal perspective, there is a variety of opportunities for continuing education and training. For example, regular updating of specialist knowledge and skills is necessary, particularly in the technical-commercial and the trades and crafts occupations. Media literacy, for example, is of high importance. Being able to handle confidently the new media (multimedia applications and the internet) is a prerequisite, especially for training staff. Various education providers offer training on this topic, targeted primarily at trainers ([66]BMBF (2013). Qualifizierungsmöglichkeiten für Ausbilderinnen und Ausbilder: Geprüfte/-r Aus- und Weiterbildungspädagoge/-in. Geprüfte/-r Berufspädagoge/-in [Qualification possibilities for trainers: certified education and training educator and certified vocational trainer]. Bonn: BMBF.
https://lit.bibb.de/vufind/Record/61379
); continuing training for trainers is usually organised by the company itself. If a company has a need for further qualification of their training staff, the necessary courses can be provided in or outside the company. Large companies usually have their own personnel development and training units, training rooms and particular teachers and trainers for the training of their staff. But small and medium-sized enterprises also support their trainers in acquiring additional qualifications by offering participation in further training courses organised by chambers or education providers ([67]This section is based on: Cedefop; ReferNet (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of VET – Germany.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_DE_TT.pdf
).

Chambers and other education providers offer different types of course providing theoretical and practical knowledge ([68]Especially skilled workers, journeymen, foremen acting as trainers.) to support VET trainers in the acquisition of pedagogical and technical/professional competence, particularly for the trainer aptitude examination ([69]AEVO, Ausbildereignungsprüfung.). The courses can be differentiated between attendance, distance learning and a mix of attendance and self-directed learning.

Further information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([70]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Systematic recording and research into future skills needs was initiated in the 1999 resolutions by the Alliance for Jobs, Training and Competitiveness ([71]Bündnis für Arbeit, Ausbildung und Wettbewerbsfähigkeit.); it was implemented within the subsequent initiative for early identification of skills needs launched by the education ministry ([72]Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).). The most important resource is the research network FreQueNz ([73]http://www.frequenz.net/ [accessed 19.9.2018].). This includes several research institutions, an education organisation, the Federal Institute for VET ([74]Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB).), the Trade Union Confederation ([75]Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB).) and the Employers’ Organisation for Vocational Training ([76]Kuratorium der deutschen Wirtschaft für Berufsbildung (KWB).).

The Federal Institute for VET monitors new skills requirements using the following different main approaches:

  • qualification and occupational fields projections ( [77]Qualifikation und Beruf (QuBe).): in cooperation with the Institute for Employment Research ([78]Institut für Arbeitsmarkt und Berufsforschung (IAB).), forecasting model calculations on labour market developments by 2025 are set up. Longer-term developments in occupational fields and qualifications can now be displayed in a more differentiated manner. Projections include areas where a considerable shortage of skilled workers may occur and in which skills levels are at risk of being affected by unemployment ([79]https://www.bibb.de/en/qube_datenportal.php [accessed 19.9.2018].). This makes it possible to take necessary action at an early stage to improve the match between supply and demand in the labour market ([80]https://kooperationen.zew.de/dfgflex/links/datensaetze-deutschland/bibbiab-erhebungen.html [accessed 19.9.2018].);
  • company surveys help to build a comprehensive picture of technological and organisational developments and the associated skills requirements. Such surveys are conducted once or twice a year among the companies represented on the Federal Institute for VET panel. Known as the reference company system ([81]Referenz-Betriebs-System (RBS).), these are more than 2 000 training and non-training firms which vary in size, sector, legal form, length of time in operation and main occupations. There are also surveys in selected sectors geared towards particular fields of work to receive reliable information on the requirements in individual occupations ([82]https://www.bibb.de/de/12471.php);
  • the VET 4.0 initiative Effects of digital innovation on vocational training ([83]https://www.bibb.de/en/49603.php ) was launched in 2016 by the education ministry and the Federal Institute for VET. It includes various projects, such as the research initiative Skills, qualifications and competences for the digitised work of tomorrow;
  • job advertisement analyses yield empirically verified information on the demand for skilled workers on the job market and the qualification profiles desired by companies ([84]https://www.bibb.de/arbeit-im-wandel);
  • advertiser surveys determine whether vacancies have been filled and, if not, why not ([85]https://www.bibb.de/arbeit-im-wandel);
  • surveys of guidance staff generate expertise on in-company strategies for change and skills development ([86]https://www.destatis.de/DE/Startseite.html and
    https://expertenmonitor.bibb.de/index.php
    );
  • regular surveys of continuing education providers gather data on the implementation, reception and modifications to courses, along with experience and assessments of trends in training establishments;
  • structural and longitudinal studies of continuing VET courses listed in the KURSNET database ([87]https://kursnet-finden.arbeitsagentur.de/kurs/) yield information on changes and trends in provision.

These research activities focus on changes in existing fields of work or the emergence of new fields, and the accompanying development in qualification requirements, including the factors which influence these. In addition to quantitative assessment, the Federal Institute for VET qualification development also identifies qualitative trends. The education ministry also supports the development of a ‘labour market barometer’ ([88]Arbeitsmarktbarometer.), a future-oriented labour market monitoring system ([89]https://www.iab.de/de/daten/arbeitsmarktbarometer). The States and several regions pursue individual early identification activities (including regional monitoring of qualification developments, and skill needs surveys). Social partners are also involved in early identification, mainly in the context of modernising initial and further training regulations. All these activities help ensure that VET adapts to and meets qualification needs. Investigations into skill needs and qualification development are also carried out by:

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([96]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([97]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Designing qualifications

This section describes the shaping of qualifications in the dual VET system (apprenticeship), which is the predominant form of initial VET in Germany (70% workplace training and 30% of participation in full-time school-based VET). Key elements of dual VET are training occupations ([98]Ausbildungsberufe.) and the corresponding regulations. These form the basis for in-company training and are complemented by the respective framework curricula from the school-based part of apprenticeships. They comprise VET standards, occupational characteristics, a two- or three-year training plan and examination regulations. In-company training for young people under 18 is only permitted in recognised training occupations. The Vocational Training Act defines the requirements that these training occupations must meet, ensuring binding quality standards and the protection of minors ([99]BIBB (2017a). Training regulations and how they come about. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8277
). Since it is a federal government responsibility to decide on these training occupations, they are called ‘State-recognised training occupations’.

Another central feature of the VET system is the close partnership between employers, trade unions and the government. The employers and the unions assume responsibility through their codetermination in shaping VET. Without this codetermination, social partners would be unwilling to take responsibility. This connection forms the basis of a working ‘public-private partnership’ (PPP).

Developing standards

Training regulations are issued for recognised training occupations by the relevant ministry, usually the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy ([100]BMWi), in agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research ([101]BMBF). These form the legal framework and contain minimum standards for the in-company part of initial training for individual occupations ([102]BIBB (2017). Training regulations and how they come about. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8277
).

The development of new training regulations and framework curricula (or the adaptation of existing ones to meet changing vocational practices) follows a standardised procedure, involving the federal government, State governments, employers, trade unions and vocational education researchers ([103]BIBB (2017). Training regulations and how they come about. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8277
).

The Vocational Training Act ([104]BBiG) stipulates that training regulations shall specify:

  • the name of the training occupation;
  • the duration of training, which shall not be less than two years and not more than three;
  • the training occupation profile, i.e., what a learner is expected to know, understand and be in a position to do;
  • the framework training curriculum, a guide to structuring the learning process in terms of time and content;
  • the exam requirements.

These key points, also referred to as ‘benchmarks’, form the basis for a proposed revision or development of a new occupation. Once a proposal has been submitted to the relevant ministry, training regulations are drawn up in three steps.

Defining the ‘benchmarks’:

These are set in a meeting (‘an application interview’) at the relevant ministry (in most cases the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) ([105]Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).) in which the social partners and the federal and State governments participate;

Elaboration and coordination:

Training regulations for the enterprises and framework curricula for vocational schools are prepared and coordinated. Social partner umbrella associations are asked to designate experts to design the training occupation together with the Federal Institute for VET ([106]Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB).). The work on the training regulation framework curricula is coordinated with the work on the corresponding framework curricula for vocational schools drawn up by State representatives to ensure they complement each other ([107]BIBB (2017). Training regulations and how they come about. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8277
);

Adoption of the regulation:

The relevant Federal/State coordinating committee ([108]Der “Bund-Länder-Koordinierungsausschuss Ausbildungsordnungen/Rahmenlehrpläne” (KoA).) approves the new training regulation and the school framework curriculum. The committee comprises representatives from the State ministries responsible for VET, the education ministry and the ministries responsible for the respective training regulations, usually the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy ([109]BIBB (2017). Training regulations and how they come about. Bonn: BIBB.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8277
). The training regulations generally offer enough flexibility to adapt to new technologies and to meet changing demands on training companies, because they are formulated in a broad sense, also with regard to digitalisation.

Between 2008 and 2017, new regulations were drafted for 126 training occupations; 114 of these were updates, 12 were newly introduced ([110]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report oft he vocational education andn training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 76.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
).

Shared responsibilities

Cooperation based on mutual trust is essential between government and social partners. Employers and trade unions jointly formulate the requirements for the occupational standards. All cooperation related to VET is based on consensus; no regulations concerning initial or further VET may be issued against the declared will of either of the social partners. As a rule, the initiative to update the content or structure of a training occupation, or to develop an entirely new occupation, comes from industry associations: from top-level employer organisations, from trade unions or the Federal Institute for VET. After hearing the views of all parties involved, the responsible Federal ministry decides whether to proceed in consultation with the State governments, since they are responsible for the school regulations and curricula (school-based part of apprenticeships). In many cases, the Federal Institute for VET issues an opinion or, particularly when larger scale revisions are being considered, conducts research before the ministry takes its decision. The Federal Institute for VET provides the platform for this process and also coordinates and moderates it.

The competent federal ministry ([111]Usually the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs (BMWi).) commissions the Federal Institute for VET to draw up the new training regulation involving the social partners and the State governments. The Federal and State governments have agreed to limit the duration of the development process to around a year. The date when the new regulation is supposed to enter into force is normally set in the meeting that starts the process (‘application interview’). Development of the training regulation content and the design of the corresponding framework curriculum for the school-based part of the programme occur in parallel. The latter is the task of the States, with one of them taking the lead. The content development phase is followed by a joint meeting between the federal and State governments. This meeting ensures correlation between the two curricula. The agreed draft training regulation is subsequently submitted to the board of the Federal Institute for VET, which then formally recommends the federal government to enact the training regulation ([112]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

 

Procedure for updating of training regulations

Source: Author’s illustration following Barbara Lorig et al. in: bwp, No 20, June 2011. http://www.bwpat.de/ausgabe20/lorig_etal_bwpat20.pdf [accessed: 19.9.2018].

 

Three overarching principles are significant for understanding quality assurance in VET. These are the dual principle, the occupation principle ([113]Berufsprinzip.), and the principle of consensus:

  • the dual principle combines learning in the work process with learning at a vocational school, and at the same time facilitates the acquisition of occupational experience;
  • the occupation principle is based on certification, which is binding and recognised across the country. It affords the opportunity to exercise a multitude of occupational activities;
  • the principle of consensus guarantees proximity to the labour market as well as transparency and acceptance of training occupations via the involvement of the social partners, the Federal Government and the federal States in the development of national training standards.

Laws, ordinances and recommendations stipulate nationally-binding minimum standards for company-based training ([114]BIBB (2017). Quality assurance of company-based training in the dual system in Germany: an overview for practitioners and VET experts.
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8548, p. 7.
).

Important instruments of quality assurance in VET are highlighted below:

  • national standards based on the VET law,
  • monitoring of initial and continuing VET learning, and
  • the referencing of the German qualification framework (DQR) to the EQF, allowing more transparency and comparability of qualifications within the EU.

VET law as basis for quality assurance

The VET Act ([115]Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG):
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bbig_2005/
) and the Crafts Code ([116]Handwerksordnung (HWO):
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/hwo/BJNR014110953.html
) describe the required standards for training facilities and trainers, training regulations and examinations. Training regulations are revised every few years to keep pace with rapid technological and organisational change ([117]In the period from 2007 to 2017, 135 occupations (more than a third of all 327 recognised occupations) were modernised, while 16 occupations have been created.).The framework curriculum required for the school section of dual education and training is regularly revised by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs ([118]Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK).). Compliance with quality assurance requirements by initial VET providers is monitored by the local school authorities. Quality assurance approaches are based on quality frameworks, education standards, centralised exams, monitoring and benchmarking exercises and school inspection. In some cases, for example Baden-Württemberg Landesinstitut für Schulentwicklung, specialised agencies for quality development are in charge of supervising the vocational schools.

As company-based VET is a core part of the German dual system, employers are important stakeholders in quality assurance in initial VET ([119]Quality assurance of company-based training in the dual system in Germany. Bonn: BIBB.). The Federal Association of German Employer Associations (BDA) has a key role in VET policy, including developing training regulations and setting minimum standards for company-based initial VET. The local chambers of industry and commerce and chambers of crafts and trades usually monitor regulations on training facilities and trainers.

Monitoring and data for evidence-based VET policy

The education ministry publishes an annual report on VET, providing a wealth of information and analysis on various aspects of its development. It is accompanied by the Federal Institute for VET data report which brings together data from different sources (own data, data from federal statistical office, statistical offices of the States, federal labour agency, Institute for Employment Research) on training entrants and on the outcomes of training (such as share of employed learners, occupation obtained after training). The report sets the basis for policy decisions on VET, including programme funding. Several other projects also inform VET provision:

  • the federal employment office and the Federal Institute for VET conduct regular surveys with school leavers and job applicants in order to research transitions to VET;
  • the Federal Institute for VET carries out a Transition Study ([120]Last BIBB transition study in 2011:
    https://www.bibb.de/de/9039.php
    );
  • every two years, the national education report analyses developments of the education system, including VET;
  • the German education panel study (NEPS) investigates education returns, competence development during lifelong learning, and transitions from VET to the labour market.

Quality assurance in continuous VET

Quality assurance is mandatory for continuous VET providers receiving public funding. Accreditation of continuous VET providers and programmes is done by private certification bodies according to criteria set out in the ordinance regulating accreditation and certification in continuing training. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds regular checks of continuous VET providers through an independent foundation ([121]https://www.test.de/thema/weiterbildungsberatung/) and has prepared a quality checklist ([122]https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/en/publication/show/8596) to help find a continuous VET offer and provider of good quality. The Federal Institute for VET, together with the German Institute for Adult Education ([123]Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung (DIE).), operates the online platform wbmonitor ([124]https://wbmonitor.bibb.de) which is dedicated to supporting continuous VET in Germany. It conducts a yearly survey of public and private continuous VET providers and monitored developments in the labour market ([125]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

Validation of non-formal learning: external candidate final exams

The most important tool for assessing non-formal learning outcomes is admission to final vocational examinations under Section 45 (2) of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG), known as the Externen-Prüfung (examination for external candidates, i.e., those not involved in a formal vocational training programme). Under this provision, people can be admitted to a final examination for a recognised occupation requiring formal training (training occupation) if they provide evidence that they have been employed in the relevant occupation for a period that is equal to or longer than one and a half times the initial training.

Credit can be obtained for a higher level of general education attainment, such as the entrance qualification for specialised upper secondary school ([126]Fachoberschulreife.), which shortens the period of employment for which evidence must be produced. A previous relevant initial VET programme in a different training occupation can also be credited towards the required periods of employment.

In 2016, 5.9% of all final examinations for a recognised occupation were external examinations, almost identical with the previous year. There is, however, considerable variation in the proportions of external examinations between individual fields. Housekeeping is the area where external examinations are most significant for acquiring a vocational qualification, with just below 45.1% of candidates in the reporting year taking external examinations. In contrast, external examinations are virtually irrelevant for craft trades and liberal occupations, at 1.2% and 1.3%. Between these two extremes, other figures include 4% in the public sector, 7.4% in trade and industry and 11.9% in agriculture (BIBB 2018, p 164).

Project to set up a validation system

The ValiKom project ([127]http://www.bildungsspiegel.de/news/weiterbildung-bildungspolitik/17-valikom-chancen-fuer-menschen-ohne-berufsabschluss;
www.validierungsverfahren.de;
), agreed between the education ministry and the national organisations of German chambers (DIHK and ZDH), has been operational since 2015. ValiKom is considered as the reference project to set up a validation system in Germany. It addresses adults who acquired skills and competences through work but lack a formal qualification, including those who wish to access further training. The approach refers to the prevailing training regulations and occupational profiles, and leads to certificates ([128]Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung.) expressing the extent to which the skills demonstrated are equivalent to those normally gained under the Vocational Training Act. The participating chambers of industry, commerce and trade started piloting in April 2017; interim results were presented to a broad public at a conference in Berlin in December 2017 ([129]https://www.valikom.de/fachtagung/content/impressionen/). The result of this reference project in developing a validation system will be a handbook with process description, admission criteria, instruments, certificate of validation and recommendations.

Assessment and recognition of foreign vocational qualifications

The Vocational Qualifications Recognition Act (BQFG), introduced in April 2012, provides individuals with the right to have their foreign-acquired qualifications matched to a German qualification by an appropriate authority. Depending on the sector, assessment and recognition of foreign occupational qualifications is carried out by IHK Fosa ([130]www.ihk-fosa.de) or lead chambers (Leitkammern). The implementation of the Recognition Act is monitored and documented in a yearly report ([131]https://www.bibb.de/en/68882.php). In June 2017, the report evaluated the first five years of implementing the Act.

Information and guidance are essential to success in the recognition process. The federal government has established a range of comprehensive services, such as the Recognition in Germany website ([132]https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/de/), the counselling network of the Integration through qualification (IQ) programme and the Working and living in Germany telephone hotline, a project run jointly by the Federal Employment Agency and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees ([133]Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF).).Where documentation of the acquired qualification is missing or incomplete, a skills analysis ([134]https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/en/skillsanalysis.php) can help to demonstrate professional competences in a practical way (via a work sample, a work test at a company or an interview). A project of the education ministry and the association of German chambers of commerce and industry, which started at the end of 2015, offers recognition consultants to provide personal consultancy for people interested in having their qualifications recognised while still in their countries of origin (ProRecognition). The funding and residency options available for upskilling training where a foreign qualification has not been judged fully equivalent to a German qualification were substantially expanded in 2015.

The federal government’s law on assessing professional qualifications has proven an effective instrument in helping people with qualifications acquired outside Germany to integrate into the labour market and in securing a supply of skilled workers. Between 2012 and 2017, 111 500 applications for recognition were made in professions governed by federal law alone. Almost two thirds of these qualifications acquired abroad (67 500) were certified as being fully equivalent to the relevant German reference qualifications. Most of the qualifications recognised were in the regulated professions, especially in healthcare (nurse, doctor) ([135]https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/de/daten_und_berichte.php) ([136]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

In Germany various incentives are offered to learners, which differ for IVET and CVET learners:

Apprentice remuneration

According to the Vocational Training Act, the training company shall pay apprentices an appropriate allowance. The amount and payment procedure are specified in the training contract. Training allowances are based on collective wage agreements.

Average apprentice remuneration across Germany for 2017 was EUR 876 gross per month (increasing from the first year of training at EUR 794 to the fourth year at EUR 995). There are significant differences in the level of remuneration between the training sectors and occupations. In 2017, the highest monthly allowances were for the skilled craft occupation of brick layer (EUR 1 095) followed by the mechatronics technician (EUR 1 043 per month). At the other end, the lowest monthly remuneration was for the apprentices as chimney sweep (EUR 518) followed by florist and baker (EUR 617 and EUR 637).

Basic vocational training grant ([137]Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe BAB: Standard funding support under p. 56 ff. of the German Social Code (SGB III and BAföG). Actual expenditures 2017: EUR 304.7 million.
https://dejure.org/gesetze/SGB_III/58.html
www.bafoeg.bmbf.de
https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/bildung/ausbildung/berufsausbildungsbeihilfe-babhttps://www.arbeitsagentur.de/web/content/DE/BuergerinnenUndBuerger/Ausb...
http://www.bafoeg-aktuell.de/karriere/berufsausbildungsbeihilfe.html
)

Financial support is offered during IVET and prevocational training organised by the federal employment agency to help apprentices overcome the economic difficulties that can stand in the way of appropriate vocational qualification. The overall monthly needs of the apprentice not living with his or her parents are estimated and the amount which cannot be covered by own/parents’ income is subsidised. In 2017, 88 000 persons undergoing vocational training and 23 000 participating in pre-vocational training measures received funding and support through such a grant (from 1 August 2016 the maximum is EUR 622 per month) ([138]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn:, p. 119). There are also vocational training grants specifically adapted to the needs of learners with disabilities ([139]https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/en/training-allowance-disabled-persons).

Support during training ([140]Ausbildungsbegleitende Hilfen abH - Standard funding support for dual apprenticeship and introductory training as defined in the German Social Code. (SGB III, 74 to 80).
https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/bildung/ausbildung/ausbildungsbegleitende-hilfen
)

This support is targeted at all young people who need help to start and complete vocational training. Enrolment is voluntary. Mentors help apprentices to improve German language and other academic skills through special classes during at least three hours a week. The law establishing this measure came into force in May 2015 and in 2017, 36 000 young people were beneficiaries ([141]Actual expenditures 2017: EUR 97.1 million (BMBF, 2018 p 121).). This represents a share of 2.7% of all apprentices in 2017. It helps apprentices to avoid dropping out of training, to stabilise training relationships and to complete vocational training. Six months after completing a measure, 81% of participants were in jobs subject to social insurance contributions.

Pre-VET measures ([142]Berufsvorbereitende Bildungsmaßnahmen – BvB (SGB III, 51).
www.arbeitsgentur.de
)

Prevocational education and training measures as defined in the German Social Code (SGB III) prepare young people who need extra support for vocational training or, if they cannot yet start training for inherent personal reasons, to enter employment in the mainstream labour market.

Pre-VET measures give participants opportunities to assess their skills and abilities as part of the process of choosing a possible occupation, e.g. through internships. The measures also provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to start initial vocational training. They can support them in their preparation to acquire a secondary general school-leaving certificate or equivalent school leaving qualification; if this is not or not yet possible, it helps place participants in employment and sustainably integrate into the training and/or labour market.

Around 63 000 young people (about 5% of apprentices) in need of extra support participated in a prevocational training measure in 2017 ([143]Actual spending for 2017: EUR 215.3 million. (BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Vocational education and training 2018]. Bonn: BMBF, p. 117.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

Introductory training for young people ([144]Einstiegsqualifizierung – EQ (SGB III, 54a) https://
www.arbeitsagentur.de
)

The primary goal of introductory training is to give young people (although there is no actual age limit) with limited prospects of being placed in training an opportunity to acquire modular qualifications towards a recognised occupation. Introductory training also offers companies providing training an opportunity to get to know young people, not just in a brief job application interview, but to observe their skills and abilities over a period of six to twelve months in daily work processes.

Companies which offer introductory training enter into a contract with the young people concerned. Employers receive a subsidy of up to EUR 231 per month to remunerate apprentices, plus a flat-rate contribution towards the average total social security amount payable. On completion of the work placement, participants receive a certificate issued by the competent body (e.g. chamber of industry and commerce, chamber of skilled crafts). In certain circumstances, up to six months’ credit for the work placement can be offset against the qualifying period of a subsequent apprenticeship. 69% of those completing introductory training transfer into training six months after completing the introductory training measure. In 2017, around 24 000 young people began introductory training ([145]Actual spending 2017: € 50 million (BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Vocational education and training report 2018], Bonn: BMBF, p.118.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

Training placements

Training placements are offered to all young people through employment agencies and jobcentres. The agencies also offer employers specific consultancy services and approach them to enquire about training places. In the 2016/17 reporting year, 549 785 training places and 547 824 training place applicants were registered with the federal employment agency ([146]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018.[Vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BMBF, p. 118.).

Special measures for integrating refugees into IVET

Integrating young people with migration background and refugees in the education and VET system and in the labour market is a priority. Keys to integration are learning the host language, validation of formal and non-formal and informally acquired skills, provision of vocational orientation and access to pre-VET and VET programmes, apprenticeships, upskilling measures and employment. Following the arrival of about one million refugees at the end of 2015, existing programmes aiming to integrate disadvantaged groups into the labour market and the VET system opened up with an additional focus on refugees. New programmes were established in 2016, specifically addressing refugees. A synopsis of integration measures for refugees was published by the federal government in December 2016 ([147]https://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/_Anlagen/2017/04/2017-04-25-integrationsmassnahmen.html). Since 2015, a specific ESF-supported programme German for professional purposes ([148]www.bamf.de) was carried out to help people with migration background learn the German language and integrate into society and the world of work. 80 000 people participated in the programme in 2017. A new information hub for German language courses, Handbook Germany ([149]https://handbookgermany.de/en.html), was also set up, funded by the federal office for migration and refugees (BAMF) ([150]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 57-60 and from p. 88.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

Since a 2016 amendment to the Social Code, young refugees with tolerated residence status who participate in dual VET are entitled to financial support after 15 months’ stay in Germany instead of the previously required four years. Support is in the form of training loans, pre-vocational training measures, and the so-called assisted training scheme (see above). The Integration Act ([151]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/germany-new-act-aid-refugee-integration and
https://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/EN/Artikel/2016/07_en/2016-05-25-integrationsgesetz-beschlossen_en.html;jsessionid=9EF13197E8E4E1732BFC105F9A814042.s1t1
) was adopted in July 2016 and intends to facilitate refugee integration into society through a ‘support and challenge’ approach. Refugees with prospects of staying permanently will take integration courses at an early stage, and have legal certainty while in vocational training: up to three-year right of residence for those in apprenticeship until successful completion of training, followed by two-year right to reside, if the person works in the profession s/he was trained in. Asylum seekers will be granted temporary residence permits once they have submitted their application for asylum, so they have legal certainty and early access to the integration courses and labour market.

Mobility programme for young people interested in vocational training from other European countries ([152]MobiPro-EU: Förderung der beruflichen Mobilität von ausbildungsinteressierten Jugendlichen aus Europa
http://www.thejobofmylife.de/en/home.html
)

A special programme, Funding to promote the professional mobility of young people with an interest in training and unemployed young skilled workers from Europe (MobiPro-EU) develops measures and instruments to promote international mobility for apprentices in the EU. German language tuition, social and vocational training and mentoring, and financial support to enable mobility and to secure living costs help young people interested in apprenticeship and young adults from the EU to complete vocational training in a company in Germany.

Incentives for continuing VET learners

The State promotes participation in continuing VET with various support and funding instruments (grants, subsidies and loans to cover continuing VET and living costs), addressing various target groups. Some of them are regulated by law and others are in the form of programmes.

Upgrading Training Assistance Act (Aufstiegsfortbildungsförderungsgesetz, AFBG, known as Meister-BaföG) ([153]www.aufstiegs-bafög.de and
https://www.bmbf.de/de/aus-meister-bafoeg-wird-modernes-aufstiegs-bafoeg-3170.html
)

This law gives craftspeople and other skilled workers a statutory entitlement to financial assistance to cover costs of further training and living expenses. This financial support, jointly covered by the Federal and State governments, comprises subsidies (or, from a certain amount, bank loans at favourable rates) for a master craftsperson course and exam fees or other programmes leading to a comparable qualification. The AFBG, the equivalent to university student grants (BAföG), was amended in 2016 to improve the funding and support, and expand available funding options to new target groups. It increases VET career attractiveness.

In 2016, the number of funding recipients was approximately 162 000. In 2017, EUR 619 million funding was available for this programme: EUR 323 million in the form of subsidies and EUR 296 million in the form of loans. Since the Meister-BAföG was introduced in 1996, it has made it possible for around two million people to upgrade their vocational skills and achieve promotion by providing approximately EUR 8 billion in funding ([154]BMBF(2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 125.). AFGB is the most comprehensive continuing VET funding instrument. It is a major pillar and driver of skills upgrading and occupational advancement.

Continuing training grant (Weiterbildungsstipendium) ([155]https://www.bmbf.de/de/das-weiterbildungsstipendium-883.html)

Since 1991, the education ministry ([156]Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).) has offered particularly gifted young workers a specific continuing VET grant (there is a similar programme in academic education). Grants are awarded to approximately 6 000 new recipients every year and more than 133 000 grants have been provided since the programme started. Funding is provided for the measure itself, for travel and accommodation costs and for costs of work materials. Scholarship recipients may apply for a total of EUR 6 000 for an unlimited amount of continuing training courses eligible for funding within the three-year funding period. They are required to bear 10% of costs themselves per course ([157]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BIBB, p. 396.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
).

Upgrading scholarship (Aufstiegsstipendium) ([158]https://www.bmbf.de/de/das-aufstiegsstipendium-882.html)

The education ministry’s upgrading scholarship offers incentives to study for skilled workers with professional experience, whether or not they gained a higher education entrance qualification at school. It was established for professionals with at least two years’ work experience and with outstanding talents. When qualified skilled professionals are already working, financial issues often prevent them from starting a course of studies. It is the only academic programme supporting talented students who are combining work and study (over a third of the scholarship holders) or studying full-time for the duration of their course of studies (standard prescribed study period). The funding provided for full-time study is EUR 815 a month (plus a one-off childcare payment) and EUR 2 400 a year offered for those combining work and study ([159]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BIBB, p. 399.
https://www.bibb.de/datenreport/
). Scholarships are awarded to approximately 1 000 new recipients every year and about 9 900 were provided from 2008 to 2017 ([160]Funding volume in 2017: EUR 24.8 million.).

 

Continuing education bonus (Bildungsprämie) ([161]http://www.bildungspraemie.info/)

To encourage groups of people that tend to have lower rates of participation in company-based continuing vocational training (workers on low incomes, women, employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), people working part-time and healthcare professionals), the federal government approved an additional financing scheme in 2008: premium and savings vouchers. The premium voucher reduces training costs by up to 50% of tuition fees (max EUR 500) for job-related training courses or courses that help improve people’s employability. It targets employees and the self-employed who work at least 15 hours a week and have a maximum taxable annual income of EUR 20 000 (or 40 000 for couples; child allowances are taken into account) or are on parental leave. The voucher is valid for six months. People can receive vouchers every two years. This measure is supported by the European Social Fund. The savings voucher provides a right to withdraw money from capital formation saving plans without losing the savings grant. This is open to all people who have such saving plans, regardless of their income. Since the programme started in 2008, around 320 000 premium vouchers have been issued and 28 000 individual continuing VET savings plans established.

Continuing VET for the unemployed

One important national strategy is the prevention of unemployment through nation-wide standard (under the German Social Code, SGB III) upskilling programmes, specifically addressing those at risk of long-term unemployment: the low-skilled and the unemployed ([162]Huismann, A. (2018). Guidance and outreach for inactive and unemployed – Germany. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2018/guidance_outreach_Germany_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf). The federal government implements active labour market policy (ALMP) measures addressing long-term unemployment.

To be eligible for a continuing VET voucher, participation must be considered necessary to enable occupational integration, to avert pending unemployment or because the candidate does not have a vocational qualification. When identifying the need for continuing VET measures, the employment agency or the authority providing basic income support for jobseekers must always consider labour market conditions. They must decide, among others, whether the candidate could find employment without continuing VET; whether other labour market policy instruments could be more appropriate; and whether the candidate could, in all likelihood, return to the labour market as a result of the training.

Persons meeting the general eligibility criteria are granted an education and training voucher (Bildungsgutschein) by the employment agency or the authority providing jobseeker support. This voucher contains data on the education objective, the time required to reach this objective and information as to where the voucher applies in the region. The holder can redeem it at any education institution of their choice which is accredited for funding under the conditions specified in the education voucher. The continuing VET activity must also be approved for funding and support. The education institution then charges the employment agency for the course costs on the basis of the education voucher. Information on approved continuing VET measures and providers can also be found in the database of the federal employment agency ([163]KURSNET:
http://kursnet-finden.arbeitsagentur.de/kurs/
).

By issuing an education and training voucher, the reimbursement of some or all of the following continuing VET expenses is confirmed: course costs, travel expenses, costs for external board and lodging, and childcare expenses. Candidates are also entitled to receive unemployment benefit for the duration of the continuing VET programme if specific requirements are met. Regulations related to unemployment benefits remain unchanged for the duration of the continuing VET programme.

The 2016 law to reinforce continuing VET and unemployment insurance coverage (AWStG)

Workers with low-level qualifications, the long-term unemployed and older employees in particular must be increasingly recruited into vocational further training. Qualifying further vocational training should also strengthen participants’ motivation, resilience and basic skills and reduce the rate at which people drop out of continuing training. To achieve these goals, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) expanded support and funding for further vocational training through a law to strengthen continuing VET and unemployment insurance coverage (AWStG) ([164]http://www.portal-sozialpolitik.de/recht/gesetzgebung/gesetzgebung-18-wahlperiode/staerkung-berufliche-weiterbildung-und-versicherungsschutz); this came into force in 2016. The law improves access and the overall conditions of continuing VET (such as allowances during training and financial incentives for passing exams) in order to attract more people with few or low-level qualifications, the long-term unemployed and older employees into qualifying continuing vocational training. This new law complements and reinforces standard continuing VET support instruments under the German Social Code, as in the following examples.

The FbW programme ([165]www.arbeitsagentur.de) promoting continuing VET

This is available both to the unemployed and employees under threat of imminent unemployment, as well as to workers with low levels of qualifications and employees in SMEs. Eligibility for funding also depends on labour market conditions, as with the education and training voucher. Eligible continuing VET courses aiming to obtain, update or upgrade a vocational (also partial) qualification are listed in the KURSNET ([166]http://kursnet-finden.arbeitsagentur.de/kurs/) database of the federal employment agency.

The IFlaS initiative for responding to structural changes ([167]www.arbeitsagentur.de)

Based on the German Social Code, this gives people with low-level qualifications living in structurally weak areas the opportunity to acquire a recognised vocational qualification or complete modular (partial) qualifications. Target groups are the unemployed and people at risk of becoming unemployed. Since 2012 the initiative is also helping those returning to work who have no VET qualifications (or have not worked in the occupation they trained for over four years) to get back into jobs subject to social insurance contributions.

The WeGebAU programme ([168]CVET for low-qualified and older employees in SMEs:
https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/unternehmen/foerderung-weiterbildung
)

Employment agencies can provide full or partial funding for qualification courses for employees aged over 45 working in SMEs with fewer than 250 employees. Since April 2012, such employees can also receive funding for continuing VET, regardless of their current qualification level, on the additional provision that their employer meets at least 50% of the course costs. Employees who have no or no useful vocational qualifications can also receive funding. Employers who release employees with low-level qualifications to take part in continuing VET to gain qualifications can receive a subsidy to cover the employee’s pay for the period they spend in training. The changed prerequisites for funding resulted in a significant increase in participation rates. WeGebAU has also been increasingly used to help employed geriatric nursing assistants upgrade their qualifications ([169]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf).

For many German companies, it is a tradition and a matter of course to provide and to carry most of the costs for apprenticeship. However, the readiness to provide apprenticeship has been declining in the last decade (in 2007, 24.1% of companies against 19.8% in 2016), especially among the smallest companies (1 to 9 employees) who face increasing difficulties in filling the apprenticeship places they offer. This shows that companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), need support, which is provided in various forms, as described below ([170]For further information on this, please consult: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf
):

Inter-company vocational training centres and training structures

SMEs, in particular crafts companies, are important training suppliers, but are unable, or not fully able, to provide all the facets of training required by regulations. This is primarily due to the increasing division of labour in production processes, increasing specialisation and, in some cases, financial problems or accelerated technological change. The limited suitability of such enterprises as training providers is compensated for by supplementary external training measures in inter-company vocational training centres or through training structures. Inter-company training centres also have an essential position in further and continuing training in SMEs, especially in the commercial and technical sectors. Such training centres also exist in the skilled trade sector ([171]www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Text-sammlungen/Mittelstand/hand-werk.html?cms_artId=243216). Funding is offered for the modernising and restructuring of inter-company training centres to adapt them to changing education and training policy and economic conditions, as well as the challenge of digitalisation.

Support for SMEs:

  • Training placement

The employment agencies offer employers specific consultancy services and approach SMEs to enquire about training places. Employers are free to register any training places they are offering. In the 2016/17 reporting year, 549 785 training places and 547 824 training place applicants were registered with the federal employment agency ([172]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 118.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

  • Alliance training guarantee

As of 2016, a process to help find training places / apprentices has been put in place: every young person who is still looking for an apprenticeship on 30 September of a given year will receive three offers of company-based training from an employment agency.

  • Jobstarter plus

The federal ministry of education funds and supports projects in the national JOBSTARTER plus programme ([173]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 93.) with part-finances from the European Social Fund (ESF) to improve regional training structures and trial innovative training policy approaches to solving training market problems. The programme is designed to respond flexibly and actively to current training market developments with a range of variable funding priorities:

  • advise and support SMEs in the process of (re-) starting participation in dual training and increasing their commitment to training;
  • counteract matching problems and the difficulties that companies have in filling training places in certain industries;
  • advising and supporting SMEs in the process of adapting their training to the challenges posed by the increasing automation and digitalisation of the economy.

The Passgenaue Besetzung programme ([175]BMBF(2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 122.), financed jointly by the ESF and federal ministry for economic affairs ([176]Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, BMWi.), works to counteract matching problems in the training market. The programme provides funding for consultants who support SMEs in filling the training places they offer with suitable local and foreign young people and young refugees and migrants. Since the programme began in 2007, Passgenaue Besetzung has successfully placed around 80 000 young people in training and 9 500 in introductory training.

The federal employment agency (BA) supports personnel development measures in SMEs as part of its preventative approach to securing a supply of skilled workers. It informs and advises employers and identifies the possibilities for further developing the potential in companies through company-based qualification measures. This consultancy makes employers aware of the advantages of more frequently including groups of employees who are often not considered for participation in measures (e.g. those without formal qualifications and older employees) in further training measures. By offering consultancy on qualification and support for personnel development to employers, the federal employment agency is helping companies to fill training and employment vacancies from within their own ranks ([178]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 124.).

  • Support measures to help integrate refugees in dual VET and work

The following support measures, helping to integrate refugees in apprenticeship, address especially SMEs and skilled trade companies:

  • the network Companies integrate refugees funded by the federal ministry for economic affairs ([179]Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).) and the umbrella organisation of the chambers of industry and commerce (DIHK) is aimed at companies that are involved, or want to get involved, with refugees. The aim is to bring refugees to training and employment. The network offers its more than 1 650 member companies (three quarters of which are SMEs) the opportunity to exchange experiences and practical information on the employment of refugees;
  • the chambers' Welcome guides (Willkommenslotsen) are available to companies on all issues relating to the operational integration of refugees. Since the start of the programme in March 2016, the Welcome guides have achieved around 11 500 placements of refugees in employment, training or internship ([180]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p.94.);
  • by means of a matching process, the online internship platform JOIN ([181]http://www.join-now.org/) offers opportunities for companies and refugees to find and get to know each other through internship placements. The aim is to speed up integration into the labour market and to remove obstacles to employment. This joint initiative of the federal ministry of the interior and business looks to offer refugees the possibility of employment in a timely manner and to provide a first proof of their qualifications, even before they receive a residence permit and a work permit ([182]This section is based on: Hippach-Schneider, U.; Huismann, A. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Germany. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/ReferNet_Germany_VET_in_Europe_2018.pdf
    ).

Guidance and counselling provision is embedded in Germany’s overall employment strategy as well as in its education sector and lifelong learning strategy. Labour market policy has a long tradition of guidance and counselling; however, lifelong learning and lifelong and life-wide guidance and counselling have only recently become high-level topics on the political agenda. Due to the country’s constitution and its federal structure with split responsibilities between the Federal Government, sixteen State governments and local municipalities, and between education, labour and youth ministries, guidance policy and provision is also split between these sectors. Although there are several institutional links and cooperation agreements between labour market and education policy, there is so far no coherent cross-sectoral national lifelong guidance strategy.

Since the 1920s, vocational guidance and counselling for youth and adults has been a legal obligation of the federal employment agency (BA) and its local employment agencies. Until 1998, the BA had a State monopoly on vocational guidance and counselling for young people moving from school to work. The BA also offers guidance and counselling services for adults, although there are multiple providers in this area, including further training institutions, some municipalities, non-profit organisations and private career counselling practitioners. Since the abolishment of the State monopoly, the private and semi-private market has grown considerably. This is partly due to limited regulations, such as concerning finances and providers’ facilities (SGB III, § 289), with no stipulated qualification requirements for staff or quality standards. Nevertheless, the BA is still the largest and most important guidance and counselling service provider. This includes services for long-term unemployed from jobcentres under the social code (SGB II) ([183]Huismann, A. (2018). Guidance and outreach for inactive and unemployed – Germany. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series, pp. 13-16.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2018/guidance_outreach_Germany_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

Guidance and counselling in the education sector mainly focuses on vocational education, advice on educational career paths or individual learning difficulties. Services vary between States and schools. Following a formal agreement between the standing conference of ministers for education and cultural affairs of the States (KMK) and the BA, school career education and the local employment agencies’ vocational guidance services cooperate closely (KMK/BA 2004/17) ([184]https://www.kmk.org/aktuelles/thema-berufliche-bildung.html):

(a) vocational education is an established element in general education curricula. It is embedded in different school subjects such as work-studies (Arbeitslehre), economics and social studies, home economics, engineering, and polytechnic education. Vocational education in class is normally supported by a career counsellor from the local employment agency and supplemented in years 8, 9 or 10 by visits to the vocational information centre, to enterprises and by compulsory one- to three-week work placements in enterprises;

(b) State governments have launched special programmes (for example, Kein Abschluss ohne Anschluss) ([185]https://www.mags.nrw/uebergang-schule-beruf-startseite) and provide funding for additional efforts to improve learners’ career development and career management skills (DJI/Inbas 2010 ([186]https://www.dji.de/fileadmin/user_upload/bibs/9_11672_berufsorientierung.pdf). Additional funding from the federal government and/or from the BA as well as from private enterprises, foundations or employer associations enables schools to carry out multiple guidance activities;

(c) practice-oriented, systematic vocational guidance is being provided at inter-company vocational training centres and similar vocational training facilities as part of a specific career guidance programme (Berufsorientierungsprogramm, BOP) to make the transition from (compulsory) general education to apprenticeships (dual vocational training) easier for learners. The BMBF supports these centres financially to help them fulfil this task. The programme started in 2008 and was established permanently in 2010. These measures give young people the opportunity to spend two weeks at a vocational training facility gaining practical experience in three occupation-specific areas related to their potential. The aim is to achieve a sustainable improvement in school-to-work transition management ([187]http://www.berufsorientierungsprogramm.de/html/de/12.php).

Vocational guidance, work studies and initiatives to ease transition from school to apprenticeships/work have received more attention due to the risk of dropouts, low performers and unemployment. Programmes like the Educational chains initiative (Bildungsketten) (see below) and Career start mentors (Berufseinstiegsbegleiter) ([188]https://www.bmbf.de/pub/Berufseinstiegsbegleitung_die_Moeglichmacher.pdf) provide individual coaching and support for learners at risk. Regional transition management (Regionales Übergangsmanagement) ([189]https://www.ueberaus.de/wws/dossier-uebergangsmanagement.php) focuses on placing less able school leavers into apprenticeships to match demand from enterprises and provide suitable training opportunities for all school leavers.

Young refugees are specifically addressed by such measures ([190]https://www.berufsorientierungsprogramm.de/angebote-fuer-fluechtlinge/de/english-1993.html) as well as disadvantaged young people who are not or no longer reached by regular services (new section in Social Code: 16h SGB II) ([191]https://www.bmas.de/DE/Themen/Arbeitsmarkt/Modellprogramme/respekt-pilotprogramm.html).

Educational chains leading to vocational qualifications initiative (Abschluss und Anschluss - Bildungsketten bis zum Ausbildungsabschluss) ([192]https://www.bildungsketten.de/ and
https://www.berufsorientierungsprogramm.de/
)

This initiative aims to secure young people’s success in education and training and to develop a structured and consistent funding and support policy of the Federal government (BMBF, BMAS), the federal employment agency (BA) and federal States for a vocational orientation and transition system. It focuses on analysing the potential of young people at an early stage (from grade 7), action-oriented career orientation options such as the vocational guidance programme Discover your talent (BOP), vocational orientation measures as defined in the German Social Code (SGB), individual career start coaching, mentoring through training by volunteers, introductory training, support for apprentices during training and assisted training. To extend the range of the Educational chains initiative, the BMBF started facilitating agreements between the BA and Federal and State governments in 2014. This close and binding cooperation clarifies funding structures for vocational guidance and the transition from school into work ([193]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 90.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

The website www.klischee-frei.de provides information and supports young people with their career choice, with a brief to disregard gender clichés.

In addition to regular student counselling services, universities have increasingly established career services to ease the transition from academic education to the labour market. In 2014 the BMBF started an initiative to attract university dropouts (dropout rate of 29% in bachelor courses) into vocational training ([194]https://www.studienabbruch-und-dann.de/).

Some large municipalities began to establish education guidance services in the 1980s to ensure independent and high quality service delivery for citizens aiming to take up further education (Kommunale Bildungsberatung). Due to financial constraints, many of them had to close down, and by the end of the 20th century there was a lack of independent guidance provision, especially for adults and employed persons. In order to implement and support the lifelong learning strategy, the BMBF launched a Learning regions network in 2001. With ministerial funding, local and regional networks were established to initiate regional lifelong learning and employment strategies, including guidance and counselling provision. Training providers, employment agencies, chambers of commerce, enterprises, local schools and municipalities, trade unions, as well as other local actors and stakeholders participated in these networks. In most cases, guidance services formed an integral part.

The follow-up programme, Local learning (Lernen vor Ort), was designed to support municipalities in their efforts to establish efficient education management systems. This included educational monitoring and guidance. The programme helped establish or maintain many municipal career guidance services.‘Transferinitiative Kommunales Bildungsmanagement ([195]https://www.transferinitiative.de/) is a structural funding programme that builds on the results of the BMBF’s Local learning funding programme. The programme’s fundamental idea is to optimise local government coordination of education and training.

In addition to these comprehensive guidance services, there are numerous specific services addressing, for example, women entering or re-entering the labour market, people with disabilities, people with migrant backgrounds ([196]https://www.jobstarter.de/de/kausa-21.php), and disadvantaged youths and refugees. Some services are provided by non-profit organisations, funded either by federal or State ministries or by public employment services. Some of them work only on a temporary financial basis and are not always well connected to other mainstream guidance services.

Examples of online information and guidance tools include Arbeitsagentur.de and BERUFENET, studienwahl.de, Bildungsserver, KURSNET, InfoWebWeiterbildung iwwb.de, Berufsorientierungsprogramm.de, Studienabbruch-und-dann.de, and Klischee-frei.de. The BMBF offers a telephone information and guidance service supporting individuals who are considering their further education options ([197]https://www.der-weiterbildungsratgeber.de/) ([198]BMBF (2018). Berufsbildungsbericht 2018. Bonn: BMBF, p. 126.
https://www.bmbf.de/upload_filestore/pub/Berufsbildungsbericht_2018.pdf
).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5-7

Management and expert

qualifications and exams;

Master craftsperson specialist

qualifications and exams;

ISCED 554, 655

Certified advisor

qualifications and exams

ISCED 554

Advanced vocational qualifications at three levels: - EQF level 5: certified advisor (Fachberater), - EQF 6: master craftsperson, specialist (Fachwirte und -meister) and - EQF 7: management and experts (geprüfter Betriebswirt). Four ‘vertical’ paths lead across the three levels mentioned: commercial path, technical path, vocational pedagogical path, IT and media path.
EQF level
5-7
ISCED-P 2011 level

554, 655

Data about these programmes are not fully recorded in the ISCED-97 statistics for two reasons. First, the examinations do not generally require a participation in a preparatory course. Second, even if a huge number of examinees were to participate in preparatory classes, these courses offered by the chambers are not seen as part of the education system. There is political pressure to remedy this lack of transparency in international statistics and to include all programmes that meet the ISCED-2011 level definition in the near future.

Usual entry grade

Varies

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

Varies: depends on preparation classes

  
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?

It is advanced VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Exams fees and fees for preparation classes provided by the Chambers for example.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These advanced vocational qualifications do not contain a curriculum; however, they do define and describe examinations. The candidates can prepare themselves while continuing to work. Most candidates attend preparatory courses. These courses may be full-time, part-time or distance learning.

Main providers

Exams: Assessment/certification by the chambers;

Preparatory courses: provided by the chambers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The candidates can prepare themselves while continuing to work. Most candidates attend preparatory courses (full time or part time after work), which mostly do not include any work-based learning. However, professional practice is required to access each new level of qualifications.

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

The candidates can prepare themselves while continuing to work. Most candidates attend preparatory courses (full time or part time after work), which mostly do not include any work-based learning. However, professional practice is required to access each new level of qualifications.

Main target groups

Programmes are aimed at people who have already completed vocational or professional training and/or have a number of years of professional experience. They are designed to offer further professional development.

Advanced vocational training as a master craftsperson (Meister; at EQF level 6) entitles the holder to practise a craft trade independently, to employ and train apprentices and opens up access to courses at craft academies, universities of applied sciences (UASs, Fachhochschulen) as well as universities.

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

The admission requirements to the examination are threefold:

  • IVET qualification,
  • work experience
  • advanced vocational qualification at EQF level 6 to do an advanced vocational qualification at EQF level.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Unlike the training regulations for IVET in the dual system, these federally regulated advanced training regulations do not contain a curriculum; however, they do define and describe examinations. Other features, which must be specified in the advanced training regulations, include (§ 53 para. 2 BBiG, § 42 para. 2 HwO):

  • designation of the advanced qualification,
  • the aim, contents and requirements of the examination,
  • admission requirements and
  • examination procedure.

The assessment and certification is carried out by the Chambers.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • certified advisor in specific professional areas; technician (EQF 5),
  • master craftsperson, specialist, etc. (EQF 6),
  • management expert; vocational pedagogue, IT-Professional (EQF 7).
Examples of qualifications

EQF 5

Technical consultant, foreign language correspondent, automotive service technician

EQF 6

  • Crafts: e.g. Master painter, baker, hairdresser
  • Commerce and industry: e.g. certified industrial supervisor specializing in footwear manufacturing, certified audio-visual media production specialist, certified financial services consultant, certified commercial specialist for logistics systems.

EQF 7

Certified Business Manager, Certified Technical Business Manager, Certified Professional Educator and Strategic Professionals

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completion of advanced vocational training at EQF level 6 as a master craftsperson (Meister) and at EQF level 7 opens up access to higher education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

These advanced vocational qualifications do not contain a curriculum; however, they do define and describe examinations. Validation of prior learning is therefore not relevant for those advanced vocational qualifications.

General education subjects

Varies according to the qualification and corresponding examination

Key competences

Varies according to the qualification and corresponding examination

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 6

Technician, specialist etc. programmes

incl. WBL

1.5-4 years

ISCED 655

Technician, specialist etc. programmes in trade and technical schools (Fachschule) leading to EQF level 6 and ISCED 655.
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

Varies

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 up to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

advanced VET

Is it offered free of charge?

Varies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

Depends on the field of study: mostly school-based learning but also work-based learning required in the fields of curative education care and social pedagogy (one third of the learning).

Main providers

State regulated technical and trade schools

They exist for the following occupational fields: agriculture, design, technology, business and social care.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Depends on the field of study: mostly school-based learning but also work-based learning required in the fields of curative education care and social pedagogy (one third of the learning).

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

work practice

Main target groups

Programmes are available to graduates from apprenticeship and school-based VET programmes after a certain number of years working in the related profession.

They qualify learners to take on management tasks and encourage them to become self-employed. They can also be used to prepare the master craftsperson examination.

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

Entrance requirements vary by subject area: an applicant normally needs a qualification in a recognised training occupation relevant to the chosen subject and relevant work experience of at least one year, or a qualification from a full-time vocational school and relevant work experience of at least five years.

Assessment of learning outcomes

They end with a final state examination under state law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The programmes end with a final state examination under state law with a state certified qualification.

Examples of qualifications

State vocational qualification (e.g. educator; technician)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression to vocational bachelor programme is possible ([213]KMK resolution of 5.6.1998 in the version currently in force.) and prior education may be recognised affecting the programme duration.

They qualify learners to take on management tasks and encourage them to become self-employed. They can also be used to prepare the master craftsperson examination.

Destination of graduates

They qualify learners to take on management tasks and encourage them to become self-employed. They can also be used to prepare the master craftsperson examination.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

An applicant normally needs a qualification in a recognised training occupation relevant to the chosen subject and relevant work experience of at least one year, or a qualification from a full-time vocational school and relevant work experience

General education subjects
Key competences

Y

Depends on the field of study

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Master programmes

2 years

ICSED 747

Master programme (Master Programm) leading to EQF level 7, ICSED 747
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

747

Usual entry grade

17

Usual completion grade

18

Usual entry age

23

Usual completion age

24

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

can be both initial and continuing VET

Is it continuing VET?

Y

can be both initial and continuing VET

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

in most federal states, no general tuition fees during the standard period of study.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

For a Master programme on average 30 credits each semester have to be achieved. A one-year programme has therefore typically 60 credits, a two-year programme 120 points in line with the European Credit Transfer System ([217]For further information on ECVET read:
https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
).

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

Dual learning:

  • school-based learning
  • work-based learning
Main providers

Dual programmes (EQF levels 6, 7) are offered by:

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Initial dual study programmes have the following characteristics:

  • alternation between theory phases in the institution of higher education or academy and practical phases in the training enterprise;
  • a regulation about the practical training;
  • learners have the status as a student-employee (a) or an mostly unpaid-trainee (b), based on a contract with the company;
  • closely interwoven learning activity in the company and acquisition of theoretical knowledge in the higher education institution / academy;
  • close coordination and cooperation between the higher education institution and company.
Main target groups

The continuing VET dual study Master programmes with an employment component are primarily aimed at people who have already completed vocational or professional training and/or have a number of years of professional experience as well as the bachelor diploma.

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

To enter the dual study Master programmes, learners must have successfully graduated from a general or vocational Bachelor programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The examinations are in general performed as an accompaniment to studies. The study courses are provided with a credit point system (at least 120 ECTS for a Master’s degree). A written dissertation (Master’s thesis) is obligatory. The examinations regulations (Prüfungsordnungen) prescribe the objectives of and subject-matter on the examinations, the required standards and the examining procedures for each study course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

The most common combination for initial dual study programmes is a business management programme plus commercial training, as well as an engineering or computer science programme combined with technical training. There is a wide range of possible subject areas, such as insurance, mechatronics, commercial law, health economy, mathematics, biology, architecture, and media informatics.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates holding a Master degree can progress to do a PHD programme and degree.

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

EQF 6

Dual study bachelor programmes leading to EQF level 6 and ISCED level 645

Dual study bachelor programmes (Duales Studium im Bachelor Programm) leading to EQF level 6 and ISCED level 645
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

645

Usual entry grade

13-14

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies but minimum 17-18

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

3-4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Around a quarter of all Fachhochschulen programmes are dual study programmes. They combine two learning venues (i.e., the workplace and the education institution) and are provided in three different forms of programmes: two are regarded as initial studies and one as continuing education.

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Around a quarter of all Fachhochschulen programmes are dual study programmes. They combine two learning venues (i.e., the workplace and the education institution) and are provided in three different forms of programmes: two are regarded as initial studies and one as continuing education.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In most federal states, no general tuition fees during the standard period of study.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Graduate need to proof a minimum of 180 ECTS points ([215]For further information on ECVET read:
https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
).

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

Dual learning:

  • school-based learning
  • work-based learning
Main providers

Dual programmes (EQF levels 6, 7) are offered by

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Percentage of in-company training varies, but at least 40-50%

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

The initial dual study programmes have the following characteristics:

(1) alternation between theory phases in the institution of higher education or academy and practical phases in the training enterprise;

(2) a regulation about the practical training;

(3) learners have the status as a student/employee (a) or an mostly unpaid-trainee (b), based on a contract with the company;

(4) closely interwoven learning activity in the company and acquisition of theoretical knowledge in the higher education institution / academy;

(5) close coordination and cooperation between the higher education institution and company.

Main target groups

The continuing VET dual study programmes with an employment component are primarily aimed at people who have already completed vocational or professional training and/or have a number of years of professional experience.

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

As a rule, enrolling in an IVET dual study programme requires a higher education entrance qualification (Allgemeine Hochschulreife or Fachhochschulreife). However, vocationally qualified applicants without a higher education entrance qualification obtained at school can be granted the right of entry to higher education under standard preconditions. (e.g. successful completion of apprenticeship, years of work experience in the field).

The programme with a training component also requires an employment contract. In some cases, the completion of an internship (8 to 12 weeks) in a company working in the field of study is required before the start of studies (Vorpraktikum).

The CVET dual study programmes with an employment component are primarily aimed at people who have already completed vocational or professional training and/or have a number of years of professional experience. They are designed to offer further professional development and combine a course of study with professional experience that is directly relevant to the course. No higher education entrance qualification is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The examinations are in general performed as an accompaniment to studies. The study courses are provided with a credit point system (at least 180 ECTS for a Bachelor’s degree). A written dissertation (Bachelor’s thesis) is obligatory. Learners are to demonstrate the ability to independently address a problem from their subject within a specified period of time using academic methods. The examinations regulations (Prüfungsordnungen) prescribe the objectives of and subject-matter on the examinations, the required standards and the examining procedures for each study course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Programmes lead in general to a bachelor qualification, which can differ in the following way:

  • initial dual study programmes with an integrated training component combine a course of study with practical training in a recognised occupation in a company. In addition to the bachelor degree, learners obtain a formal IVET qualification;
  • initial dual study programmes with a work experience component combine a course of study with extended practical placements with an employer (about 40-50% in-company training). Learners obtain a bachelor degree but not a recognised vocational qualification;
  • continuing VET dual study programmes with an employment component are primarily aimed at people who have already completed vocational or professional training and/or have a number of years of professional experience. They are designed to offer further professional development and combine a course of study with professional experience that is directly relevant to the course.
Examples of qualifications

The most common combination for initial dual study programmes is a business management programme plus commercial training, as well as an engineering or computer science programme combined with technical training. There is a wide range of possible subject areas, such as insurance, mechatronics, commercial law, health economy, mathematics, biology, architecture, and media informatics.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to professional or general Master programmes.

The CVET dual study programmes with an employment component are designed to offer further professional development and combine a course of study with professional experience that is directly relevant to the course.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4-5

Specialised programmes

incl. WBL

1-3 years

ISCED 444, 453, 454

Specialised programmes (Berufsoberschule BOS – Fachoberschule FOS – Schule für Gesundheits-, Erziehungs- und Sozialberufen GES nach Bundes- und Landesrecht) leading to EQF level 4-5, ISCED 444, 453, 454
EQF level
4-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

444, 453, 454

Usual entry grade

minimum 11

Usual completion grade

minimum 12 ([212]Learners enter this programme at grade 11 or grade 12, depending on their previous vocational education and experience.)

Usual entry age

minimum 15/16

Usual completion age

minimum 16/17

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

in some cases

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?

Varies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

• school-based learning;

• work-based learning (practical training at school and work practice);

BOS: full time vocational schools;

FOS: school- and work-based VET programmes

GES: Many of these health VET programmes are attached to hospitals providing both theoretical and practical training.

Main providers

Regulated by Federal or state law

  • senior vocational school (Berufsoberschule BOS)
  • specialised upper secondary school (Fachoberschule FOS)
  • schools of health, education and social care (GES)
  • other vocational schools such as Fachschule and Fachakademie
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies from low share (BOS) to high share (FOS and GES)

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

• practical training at school

• work practice (e.g. in attached hospital in the case of healthcare schools)

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Leaving certificate from intermediate secondary school (mittlerer Schulabschluss at the end of grade 10) and

(1) two years’ successful vocational training or

(2) five years’ practical experience

Assessment of learning outcomes

final examinations

Diplomas/certificates provided

Programmes at post-secondary level aim at increasing the permeability between secondary (for holders of general intermediate secondary leaving certificate) and tertiary education, by acquiring a higher education entrance qualification (subject-specific or not).

Examples of qualifications

Heath/education/social sector schools: nurse, physical therapist, pharmaceutical-technical assistant, educator, social worker

Post-secondary programmes at ISCED level 454 correspond to cases having acquired two qualifications: a higher education entrance qualification and a dual VET qualification or two VET qualifications.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Programmes at post-secondary level aim at increasing the permeability between secondary (for holders of general intermediate secondary leaving certificate) and tertiary education, by acquiring a higher education entrance qualification.

Depending on their chosen programme and duration, graduates from specialised programmes can further progress to vocational and general bachelor programmes, as well as to technician specialists programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3-4

General education programmes

with vocational orientation

incl. WBL

2-3 years

ISCED 344

General education programmes with vocational orientation, EQF level 3-4, ISCED 344 (Berufliches Gymnasium or Fachgymnasium)
EQF level
3-4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344

Usual entry grade

minimum 11

Usual completion grade

minimum 12/13

Usual entry age

minimum 15/16

Usual completion age

minimum 17/19

Length of a programme (years)

2-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning parts (with career-oriented subjects such as business and technology).
Main providers

Technical grammar school (Fachgymnasium)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

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

An intermediate secondary school leaving certificate is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Abitur examination as in a general Gymnasium but with career-oriented subjects in addition; leading to a general higher education entrance qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to the general higher education entrance qualification.

Examples of qualifications

These programmes lead to the general higher education entrance qualification.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can continue their education at tertiary level in one of the following institutions:

  • university;
  • university of applied science;
  • university of cooperative education;
  • dual university.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 2-4

School-based VET

programmes

incl. WBL,

1-3 years

ISCED 354

School-based VET programmes at EQF level 2-4, ISCED 354 (Berufsfachschule)
EQF level
2-4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 10/12

Usual entry age

minimum 14/15

Usual completion age

minimum 15/18

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

Full time vocational schools (Berufsfachschule)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Minimum entry requirement is the lower secondary school leaving certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment methods vary; some schools are governed by the federal states; some are governed by federal law ([200]https://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/veroeffentlichungen_beschluesse/2013/2013_10_17-RV-Berufsfachschulen.pdf).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational school at upper secondary level offering a wide range of branches and courses of varying duration. A full-time school, it prepares or trains learners for a specific occupation at different levels of qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Chemical technician, business assistant, technical designer, tourism assistant, childcare assistant ([201]https://www.kmk.org/themen/berufliche-schulen/schulische-berufsausbildung/europass-zeugniserlaeuterungen/downloads-berufsfachschulen.html)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to programmes offered at:

  • trade and technical school,
  • vocational academy,
  • specialised upper secondary school,
  • senior vocational school,
  • school of health care
  • the entrance qualification to university of applied sciences can be acquired under certain conditions on completion of a course lasting a minimum of two years.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

In cases where such schools do not provide a full career qualification, the successful completion of the Berufsfachschule may, under certain conditions, be credited as part of the training period in occupations requiring formal training (Art. 7 of the Vocational Training Act). In order to prove the equivalence of a vocational qualification at a Berufsfachschule with dual vocational education and training, successful graduates can sit an examination before the competent authority. Admission to this so-called chamber examination is possible if the Land in question has adopted appropriate regulations pursuant to Article 43, paragraph 2 of the Vocational Training Act or if there are arrangements to this end between the vocational schools and the competent authorities.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 1-2

Transition programmes,

1year

ISCED level 254

Transition programmes leading to EQF level 1-2 and ISCED level 254 and include the following programmes: pre-vocational training year (Berufsvorbereitungsjahr – BVJ); basic vocational training year (Berufsgrundbildungsjahr – BGJ); introductory training (Einstiegsqualifizierung – EQ).
EQF level
1-2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 10

Usual entry age

minimum 14/15

Usual completion age

minimum 15/16

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

School and work based learning:

  • pre-vocational training year (Berufsvorbereitungsjahr – BVJ): the BVJ is a one-year course of training, usually offered full-time by schools and designed to prepare young people for the demands of vocational training. The majority of participants do not have a secondary school leaving certificate. However, this can be acquired in the course of the BVJ, thus improving the holder’s prospects in the market for training positions;
  • basic vocational training year (Berufsgrundbildungsjahr – BGJ): basic vocational education can be completed either as a year at school (full-time) or in joint fashion at an enterprise and school. Successful completion of the BGJ can be credited as the first year of vocational training in the training occupations assigned to the relevant occupational field. In the BGJ, learners receive basic educational knowledge in a specific occupational field (e.g., metalworking techniques, electrical engineering, business and administration);
  • Introductory training (Einstiegsqualifizierung – EQ): EQ provides young people whose prospects of being placed in VET are limited due to individual reasons with an opportunity to acquire or enhance personal and vocational competences and gives companies offering training the chance to get to know these young people. It has proved to be a ‘door-opener” to apprenticeship for approx. 70% of participants.
Main providers

Varies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

Young people and adults with social disadvantages, learning difficulties or handicap or insufficient German language skills (migrants) have different possibilities for pre-vocational education and training measures.

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

The minimum entry requirement is the lower secondary school leaving certificate for BGJ and EQ; for the BVJ, the certified attendance of grade 1 to 9 is enough.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

a) BVJ: lower secondary school certificate, in case not yet obtained;

b) Successful completion of the BGJ can be credited as the first year of vocational training in the training occupations assigned to the relevant occupational field;

c) EQ does not lead to a certificate but it has proved to be a ‘door-opener” to apprenticeship for approx. 70% of participants.

Examples of qualifications

In the BGJ, learners receive basic educational knowledge in a specific occupational field (e.g., metalworking techniques, electrical engineering, business and administration).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is possible to school-based VET programmes and apprenticeship programmes (even in the 2nd year, in case of the BGJ).

Destination of graduates

The former participants in these programmes mostly start an apprenticeship or a school-based VET programme. ([202]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018 [Data report of the vocational education and training report 2018]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 141-147. https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

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

The share of apprentices having taken part in such a so-called transition or preparatory VET programme before starting the apprenticeship amount to approx. 9% (2016: 45 585 out of 509 997 first-year-apprentices) ([203]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 142. https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
).

EQF 3-4

Apprenticeship programmes,

WBL ca. 75%

2-3.5 years

ISCED level 354

Apprenticeship scheme (dual system: duale Ausbildung) according to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) and the Crafts Code (HwO) at EQF level 3-4 and ISCED level 354 (in 2017: 327 programmes, one for each occupation that can be learnt in the apprenticeship scheme).
EQF level
3-4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 11-13

Usual entry age

minimum 14/15 but in practice, average age of entry is 19.7 ([204]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 167. https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
)

Usual completion age

minimum 16/17 but in practice from 22 upwards (see above)

Length of a programme (years)

2-3,5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

According to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG), the training company shall pay apprentices an appropriate allowance. The amount and payment procedure are specified in the training contract. The training allowances are based on collective wage agreements and increase with every year of training, averaging about a third of the starting pay for a trained skilled worker.

Average apprentice remuneration across Germany for 2017 was EUR 876 gross per month (increasing from 1st year of training: EUR 794 to 4th year: EUR 995). There are significant differences in the level of remuneration between the training sectors and occupations. In 2017, the highest monthly allowances were for the skilled craft occupation of brick layer (EUR 1 095) followed by the mechatronics technician (EUR 1 043 per month). On the other end, the lowest monthly remuneration was for the apprentices as chimney sweeper (EUR 518) followed by florist and baker (EUR 617 and EUR 637).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based and practical learning in schools and inter-company vocational training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS), (e.g. one or two days per week or one week per month);
  • company-based learning (share of approx. 70%).

The system is described as dual because training is conducted in two places of learning: companies and vocational schools. Apprentices attend a vocational school one or two days per week, where they are mainly taught theoretical and practical knowledge related to their occupation; they attend classes on general subjects such as economics, social studies and foreign languages. Systematic teaching at vocational school is a necessary supplement to process-oriented training within a company, which is more based on specific in-company requirements. The primary aim of training is to enable young people to acquire comprehensive vocational competence. Training programmes are designed on the principle that they should be as broad as possible and as specific as necessary.

Main providers

Companies in cooperation with vocational schools

Apprenticeship places are offered in both enterprises and public institutions. The professional competences to be acquired through in-company training are specified in training regulations and included by the training enterprise in an individual training plan. The binding requirements of the training regulations guarantee a uniform national standard. However, SME are often unable to provide all the stipulated learning content: they may lack suitable training personnel, or, owing to their particular specialisation, may not cover all the training content themselves.

There are various ways to overcome these problems:

  • inter-company vocational training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS) designed to supplement in-company training: education institutions offer periods in these training centres, which are often sponsored by autonomous bodies in the relevant sectors of industry. The federal ministry of education supports sponsors with investment subsidies (for buildings and infrastructure). The BIBB is responsible for promoting inter-company training centres and supporting the planning, establishment and development of these facilities. Since 2016, an additional programme is promoting the digital transformation of these training centres by funding the purchase of digital equipment as well as selected pilot projects on adaptation of teaching and learning processes ([205]https://www.bibb.de/uebs-digitalisierung);
  • enterprises can form joint training structures (Ausbildungsverbünde). There are four traditional models for this:
  • lead enterprise with partners (Leitbetrieb mit Partnerbetrieben): one enterprise takes the lead and bears overall responsibility for training; however, parts of the training are conducted in various partner enterprises;
  • training to order (Auftragsausbildung): some training takes place outside the regular enterprise, perhaps in a nearby large enterprise with a training workshop, on the basis of an order and against reimbursement of costs;
  • training consortium (Ausbildungskonsortium): several SMEs sign a cooperation agreement and work together on equal footing. They take on apprentices and train them independently. If an enterprise cannot cover a specific area of content, the apprentice moves to another enterprise (rotation principle);
  • training association (Ausbildungsverein): enterprises establish an organisation which takes over administrative tasks such as contracting, while the enterprises conduct training. Association structures usually comprise a general meeting and an honorary committee. A statute regulates members’ rights and obligations.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

About 75%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (about 70%),
  • practical training at school,
  • practical training in inter-company vocational training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS).
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Completion of full-time compulsory education, no further requirements for access (but companies select their apprentices).

The majority of apprentices hold either the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (mittlerer Schulabschluss) or the lower secondary school leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss). However, the share of apprentices with a higher education entrance qualification has been rising as well: in 2016, almost one in three apprentices (28.7%) was a high-school graduate ([206]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 132. https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
). This group followed successively both paths of education at upper secondary level: first the general, followed by the vocational qualification. Indeed, despite being classified as ‘upper secondary’, initial VET is also considered by high-school graduates as an alternative option to tertiary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

A final exam is testing the practical and general knowledge of the learner based on the work requirements and processes of the occupation. As a rule, a final exam covers four or five fields relevant to the occupation. Performance in general subjects is evaluated via school reports. The exams are regulated by law (Vocational Training Act – BBiG) and is performed by the chambers. For this task, the chambers are authorised by the state and are officially acting as a public institution. Upon passing the final examination, apprentices receive a chamber certificate to document that training has been successfully completed. This certification of qualification is fully recognised and highly trusted among employers.

In 2016, 431 667 apprentices took the final exams ([207]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 162. https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
). The success rate was 92.6%, and after retaking the exam by those who first missed, even 99.4% in total. The repartition of exam participants according to the economic sector of occupation was as follows: 63.3% in trade and industry, 23% in craft sector, 8% in liberal professions, 2.7% in public sector, 2.6% in agriculture and 0.4% in housekeeping.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • certificate from the training company,
  • certificate from the vocational school,
  • final examination certificate of apprenticeship (Gesellen- oder Facharbeiterbrief; IHK-Prüfungszeugnis)
Examples of qualifications

Among Top 10 dual apprenticeship programmes (out of 327) in 2017 ([208]https://www.bibb.de/en/pressemitteilung_77368.php): Office manager, management or sales assistant for retail services, motor vehicle mechatronics technician, industrial clerk, medical assistant, IT specialist. The four most popular apprenticeship programmes in craft trades are hairdresser, cook, joiner and painter([209]A list of qualifications (in DE/E/F) can be found at:
https://www.bibb.de/en/occupationsinfo.php/certificate_supplements/en
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

In general, graduates of dual apprenticeship programmes are fully qualified to enter the labour market and most of them do so.

Those who successfully completed their apprenticeship programme, have several possibilities to further progress to post-secondary programmes, such as specialised and technician programmes, or and master craftsperson. Access to certain tertiary vocational programmes are restricted to related subject of the graduate’s apprenticeship programme. Short term apprenticeship programmes do not always provide access to tertiary education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Graduates of dual apprenticeship programmes are fully qualified to enter the labour market and most of them do so. They have very good prospects of finding a work placement in a short delay.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The most important tool for assessing non-formal learning outcomes is admission to final examinations under Section 45 (2) of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG), known as the ‘Externen-Prüfung’ (examination for external candidates, i.e., those not involved in a formal vocational training programme). Under this provision, people can be admitted to a final examination for a recognised occupation requiring formal training (training occupation) if they furnish evidence that they have been employed in the relevant occupation for a period at least one and a half times as long as prescribed for the period of initial training.

General education subjects

Y

General subjects such as mathematics, economics, social studies and foreign languages, depending on the programme

Key competences

Y

The primary aim of apprenticeship is to enable young people to acquire comprehensive vocational competence. Apprenticeship programmes are designed on the principle that they should be as broad as possible and as specific as necessary. After finishing the apprenticeship, they should be able to fulfil their duties as employees efficiently, effectively, innovatively, autonomously and in cooperation with others.

The professional competences to be acquired through in-company training are specified in training regulations and included by the training enterprise in an individual training plan. The binding requirements of the training regulations guarantee a uniform national standard.

For teaching in vocational schools, a framework curriculum is drawn up for every recognised training occupation in accordance with the training regulations.

Application of learning outcomes approach

As part of the implementation of the DQR (German qualification framework), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), together with the social partners and the ministries, adopted in June 2014 a recommendation of the BIBB Board on the structure and design of training regulations which addresses the issue of competence orientation.

According to this recommendation, the Vocational Training Act equates vocational action capacity with the DQR's understanding of action competence. The four competence dimensions of the DQR are to be systematically taken into account in all training regulations that are to be developed from 2015 onwards, so that competence orientation is increasingly incorporated into the regulatory work."

These are:

  • professional competences: knowledge and skills,
  • social competences: social competence and independence,

which together form the vocational action competence (Handlungskompetenz). ([210]BIBB (2015). Ausbildungsordnungen und wie sie entstehen [Vocational training regulations and the process behind them]. Bonn: BIBB, p. 22f .
https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/de/publication/show/2061
)

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

The data available is on a different base: More than two thirds (68.5%) of new entrants in upper secondary VET programmes in 2017 chose the dual apprenticeship scheme (dual system), while 31.5% enrolled in a school-based VET programme. ([211]BIBB (2018). Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2018, p. 86 (iABE). https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/bibb_datenreport_2018.pdf
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Estonia comprises the following main features:

  • slightly decreasing participation in VET and merging providers due to demographic and migration challenges;
  • rapidly developing but still relatively small share of dual VET;
  • there are more females in post-secondary VET than males;
  • early leaving from education and training has increased and it is still high from VET; the risk is the highest in the first year of VET studies.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
):

VET programmes are offered not only in Estonian but also in other languages. In 2017/18, 78.5% of VET learners studied in Estonian, 21.5% in Russian and 0.02% in English. Estonian language classes are mandatory for foreign-language curricula to the extent provided for in the school curriculum, which ensures proficiency in Estonian at a level necessary for working in the acquired profession. To complete upper secondary vocational education (ISCED 354), foreign language learners must pass the State examination in Estonian as a second language or take a vocational or professional examination in Estonian. The aim is to equip graduates with language skills sufficient for professional activity in an Estonian-language working environment.

Although the number of VET learners has been decreasing, the share of adult learners (age 25 and over) in initial and continuing VET has more than doubled since 2010/11, reaching 35.3% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects demographic trends but also changing labour market needs. Since 2010, the proportion of adult university degree holders entering VET has also been increasing.

The share of work-based learning in VET programmes varies between 35% and 70% depending on the type of training. It is usually divided equally between school workshops and workplace learning, featuring work and study assignments with specific objectives.

Most basic education graduates pursue general secondary education but the government’s goal is to increase the share of learners enrolling in VET by 2020. Preferences in education paths vary greatly by region and gender. Many basic and upper secondary education graduates make a choice in favour of VET within several years after graduation; within three years after completion of basic school, 38% of young people reach vocational training.

In 2018, 27% of adults aged 25 to 64 had no VET or higher education qualification; the objective is to reduce this share to less than 25% by 2020. Several measures have been launched to encourage adults without a prior professional or vocational qualification to return to formal education.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. A labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system (OSKA) was launched in 2015 to improve alignment between education and the labour market. Results are available online and are used in curriculum development, career counselling, and planning of State-funded education.

Early leaving from VET is a significant problem. Compared with 11.3% of early leavers from education and training, the rate in the first year of initial VET was 22.4% in 2017 and 23.4% in 2018 ([2]New methodology is used since 2018.); the goal is to reduce it to less than 20% by 2020. There are career counselling services and several other measures to prevent early leaving. Schools are also expected to take more responsibility in this area. Keeping the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes is a challenge.

Participation in lifelong learning increased from 6% in 2005 to 19.7% in 2018. The goal is to increase it to 20% by 2020 and VET has been playing a greater role in achieving this. Age appears to have a substantial impact. The share of people aged 55 to 64 who participated in lifelong learning in 2018 was 10.5%; this is low compared with 28.2% in the 25 to 34 age group. There is a focus on broadening access to non-formal education, training courses for developing key competences, career services, and on facilitating the participation of adults in formal education, aiming to increase participation rates.

Participation in apprenticeships has increased since 2016/17 and now accounts for 7% of VET learners. The number of participants started to increase gradually in 2015 following the education ministry´s efforts to develop a functioning and sustainable work-based learning system with stronger employer involvement, including more ESF investments.

Data from VET in Estonia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 1 319 133 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.08% due to negative 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 many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 56 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 years). 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 vocational education and training (VET).

Participation has been decreasing since 2010/11 due to the low birth rate in the second half of the 1990s.

This has led to rearrangement of the VET institutions network: the number of State-owned VET providers has been reduced from 54 in 2002/03 to 26 in 2018/19.

To increase the quality and efficiency of VET, many small providers were merged into regional VET centres offering a wide range of qualifications. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

The country is multicultural and has a bilingual community. In April 2018, about 69% of the population was Estonian. Most VET institutions teach in Estonian, though there are schools where they use Russian or both Estonian and Russian.

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • information and communications;
  • electronics and components;
  • machinery and metalworking;
  • transport and logistics;
  • timber and furniture.

VET qualifications are required in these sectors.

Exports mainly comprise electronic equipment, machinery and equipment, mineral products, metals and metal products, timber and wood products, food and transport vehicles, agricultural products and food preparations.

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 4.8% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 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) was higher than in the pre-crisis years. It is lower compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Estonia (4.8% in 2018).

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates decreased from 79.4% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (-0.3pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was negative compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+3.5pp) in the same period in Estonia ([11]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Estonia (79.1%) was lower compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year in Estonia (79.5%) ([12]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Estonia please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Estonia. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/estonia_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

 

Education traditionally has a high value in Estonia. For many years, the share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education has been greater in Estonia than in most EU Member States.

The share of those with a low qualification, or without a qualification, is the sixth lowest in the EU, behind Lithuania, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, and Latvia.

 

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

2.9%

40.7%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (53%), except at post-secondary level.

Males prefer engineering (the most popular option), manufacturing and construction, science, and services programmes, while females more often enrol in services (the most popular option), business and administration, production and processing, and arts.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 13.5% in 2009 to 11.3% in 2018. Despite high attainment rates, it is still not reaching the national target for 2020 of no more than 9.5%, and is slightly above the EU-28 average (10.6%).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2008-18

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].

 

Despite recent positive developments, the dropout rate ([13]Measured on 10 November each year; excludes those who: attended classes less than 31 days, were readmitted within 31 days, applied but never attended or who changed programme in the same curriculum group and in the same institution.) from VET during a school year is high (23.4% in 2017/18). The risk of dropping out is at its highest in the first school year and the challenge for VET providers is to keep the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes. Typical examples of dropout are those who had low grades in basic education ([14]See Chapter 2 for the information on education levels.) and may not have had a positive learning experience or had not developed study habits. Dropout rates also vary by region, school and curriculum group.

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

 

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 in Estonia has been increasing in the past decade. In 2018, it reached 19.7%, more than eight percentage points above the EU-28 average. The government has set the 2020 goal of 20% and VET has been playing an increasing role in achieving this goal.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing. It has more than doubled since 2010/11 and reached 39.6% of the total VET population in 2018/19. This reflects demographic trends and the changing needs of the labour market, but also the changing attitudes towards lifelong learning.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Preschool education is not compulsory and is generally provided at childcare institutions (koolieelne lasteasutus) for one-and-a-half to seven year-old learners.

Compulsory education starts at age seven and includes nine years of basic education or until a learner reaches age 17. Primary and lower secondary education are usually offered together in basic schools. However, primary education (grades 1 to 6) can also be offered in separate schools, usually in rural areas to ensure better accessibility for learners.

General upper secondary education is provided by so-called gümnaasium. This three-year programme gives graduates access to higher education, provided through academic and professional programmes. Professional higher education programmes are not formally considered VET. Professional higher education institutions may also provide post-secondary VET programmes along with higher education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([15]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current) distinguishes between initial and continuing VET.

 

Formal, non-formal, initial and continuing VET

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

While both types provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter the labour market, initial VET also gives learners access to the next qualification level. Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning regulated by the Adult Education Act ([16]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
).

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF). The VET standard specifies the volume (number of credits), learning outcomes, conditions for termination and continuation of studies for each VET type ([17]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv).

There are several VET learning options:

  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’; 17.2% of VET learners were in ‘non-stationary’ programmes in 2017/18, mostly at EQF levels 4 and 5).

Apprenticeships were introduced to VET as a stand-alone study form in 2006.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Upper secondary VET learners receive two qualifications simultaneously: a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme; and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([18]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We will refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available. That can be replaced by a final examination if unsuccessful in the professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

In addition to VET examinations, State examinations (mother tongue, mathematics and foreign language) are available for upper secondary VET graduates as an option. They are organised centrally by the Foundation Innove ([19]Innove - Basic school final examinations:
https://www.innove.ee/en/examinations-and-tests/basic-school-final-examinations/
).

Apprenticeships (töökohapõhine õpe) were introduced in 2006 (Parliament, 2013, Article 28). They can be offered at all VET levels and in all its forms (initial and continuing), and lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 5. Apprenticeships follow the same curricula as school-based programmes. VET institutions cooperate with employers to design implementation plans for apprentices based on the existing curricula.

General characteristics of apprenticeship programmes are:

  • training in the enterprise comprises at least two-thirds of the curriculum;
  • the remaining one-third of the programme (school part) may also comprise of training at school; in some cases, schools have better equipment than companies;
  • the apprenticeship contract between the school, learner and employee stipulates the rights and obligations of the parties as well as the details of the learning process; the contract is usually initiated by schools, but can also be proposed by companies and learners; it should be in accordance with the labour code but learners retain student status even if an employment contract is signed in addition to the apprenticeship contract; apprentices have the same social guarantees as learners in school-based VET;
  • the total study duration is from three months to three and half years ([20]Currently, apprenticeships are not provided in upper secondary VET (ISCED 354).), equal to school-based VET programmes;
  • employers recompense students for tasks performed to the amount agreed in the contract; it cannot be less than the national minimum wage of EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour (2018);
  • apprentices have to pass the same final examinations as in school-based VET;
  • each apprentice is supported by two supervisors: one at school and one at the workplace.

The apprenticeship grant covers the training of supervisors and other costs ([21]Salaries, training materials and maintenance (such as heating and electricity).). Within an apprentice contract, schools may transfer up to 50% of the grant to the training company to pay a salary to supervisors at the workplace.

In 2015/16, there were 678 apprentices, including 30 whose studies were partly financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). In 2016/17, further ESF investment has allowed an increase in the number to 1 381 (5% of VET learners), including 996 of the partly ESF-financed apprentices ([22]More partly EU-financed apprentices started training in January 2017 but they are not included in this figure.). In 2017/18, there were 1 718 apprentices. A total of 78% of vocational education institutions and around 400 companies offered apprenticeship training. During 2015-23, the government’s intention is to attract a total of 7 200 apprentices.

The most popular apprenticeship study fields (curriculum groups) are wholesale and retail sales, social work and counselling, hairdressing and beauty services, motor vehicles, home services, and electricity and energy. Approximately 70% of apprentices are studying in initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4.

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

According to legislation ([23]Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013); Vocational education standard (Government, 2013), work-based learning regulation (MoER, 2007); Private Schools Act (Parliament, 1998b); Professional Higher Education Institutions Act (Parliament, 1998a); Adult Education Act (Parliament, 2015); Professions Act (Parliament, 2008a); Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (Parliament, 2008b); Study Allowances and Study Loans Act (Parliament, 2003a); Youth Work Act (Parliament, 2010b).), the parliament (Riigikogu), the government (Eesti Vabariigi Valitsus) and the education ministry jointly oversee the VET system at national level. The VET legislation was substantially renewed in the late 1990s and in 2013. Social partners, including trade unions and employer organisations participated in the working group on developing legislation.

The parliament adopts legal acts. The government approves national education policy, with the Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020 ([24]MoER et al. (2014). The Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020. Tallinn: Ministry of Education and Research.
https://vplive.hm.ee/sites/default/files/estonian_lifelong_strategy.pdf
) guiding the most important developments in education. It also approves higher education and VET standards and framework requirements for teacher training.

The VET standard ([25]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv) defines:

  • a learning outcomes approach;
  • requirements for VET curricula:
  • the volume and structure of programmes, including joint programmes, for example between VET and professional higher education;
  • entry and completion requirements;
  • key competences;
  • principles for curriculum updates;
  • principles for recognition of prior learning and work experience;
  • the list of programme groups, study fields and curriculum groups combining several programmes. Examples of the curriculum groups are ‘travel and tourism’, ‘social work’ and ‘banking, finance and insurance’.

The education ministry is responsible for delivering the strategy and its eight programmes ([26](1) Competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme; (2) digital focus programme; (3) labour market and education cooperation programme; (4) school network programme; (5) general education programme; (6) vocational education programme; (7) higher education programme; (8) adult education programme.), including the vocational education programme ([27]Elukestva oppe strateegia kutseharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy vocational education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
). The education minister also approves national VET curricula.

Since 2012, Foundation Innove ([28]Until the end of 2011 this function was performed by the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre (NEQC) (Riiklik Eksami- ja Kvalifikatsioonikeskus). In 2012, NEQC joined Foundation Innove.) has been implementing the national education policy, as designated by the education ministry. In VET, the foundation organises the development of national curricula, supports implementation and organises VET teacher training.

Several advisory bodies and social partner organisations participate in policy implementation. Local government prepares and implements local education development plans, and coordinates activities of municipal education institutions. Social partner participation in VET is regulated by national legislation and partnership agreements.

At national level, the Chamber of Commerce (Eesti Kaubandus-Tööstuskoda), the Employers´ Confederation (Eesti Tööandjate Keskliit) and the Confederation of Trade Unions (Eesti Ametiühingute Keskliit) represent social partners. Employers play an active and influential role in the professional councils (kutsenõukogud) and in drawing up standards for each occupation.

At local level, social partners participate in VET school counsellor boards (kutseõppeasutuse nõunike kogu), established under the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([29]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The boards comprise at least seven members in total. Advisory bodies link VET schools and society, advising the school and its management on planning and organising education and economic activities.

VET schools can be owned by central or local government, or can be privately owned. They all have a similar management structure in line with the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([30]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The highest collegial decision-making body of the school is the council (nõukogu), which organises the activities and plans school development. The head of a school (direktor) is also the head of the council, managing the school according to the development plan of the school, including financial resources ([31]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014).).

In 2018/19, 26 of 32 VET institutions were State-owned and run by the Ministry of Education and Research. Municipalities ran two VET schools and four were private. In addition, five professional higher education institutions provided VET programmes at the post-secondary level (ISCED 4) along with higher education (ISCED 6).

Total expenditure on VET has decreased from EUR 129 million in 2010 to EUR 108.6 million in 2015 due to reduced investment in infrastructure and equipment as several big VET investment projects have been completed.

 

VET total expenditure and investments in 2008-15

NB: Most recent data.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Public VET expenditure as a share of total government expenditure has also decreased, from 1.6% in 2012 to 1.3% in 2015, because total government expenditure has increased nominally more than the expenditure on VET. Approximately 49% of total expenditure is expenditure on staff compensation.

Formal VET is mostly State-financed. In 2018/19, 99% of the 23 387 initial and continuing VET learners were in State-financed programmes.

 

Expenditure per student in 2008-15 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data. Investments in infrastructure and equipment are excluded.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Until 2018, the education minister defined the number of learners to be financed from the State budget for the following three years according to curriculum group and VET provider (for example ‘media technologies’ that comprises curricula from related fields such as ‘multimedia’, ‘printing technology’ and ‘photography’). The figures were updated annually for the next two years.

Since 2018, a new model for financing vocational education was introduced, which no longer proceeds solely from the number of State-commissioned student places. Instead, the school, its activities and performance will be financed as a whole.

The new financing model consists of basic financing and performance-based financing. This secures the budgetary stability of the management and HR expenses of schools.

Basic financing considers the number of learners, the areas taught, the salary rates of teachers, the specific features of specialties, students with special needs, the need for support specialists, and the buildings used by the school. Basic financing is fixed for three years and guarantees the funds required for the main activities of the schools.

Performance-based financing, which values the outstanding achievements of schools, is based on performance indicators, which comply with the strategic goals important to the State. These include the share of students who graduate after the nominal period of study, the share of graduates who go further in their learning or participate in employment, the share of students who graduate by taking a professional examination, and the share of students participating in apprenticeship training. One of the ideas behind performance financing is to guarantee that vocational schools have the funds they need for cooperating with companies and general education schools. Performance financing will comprise up to approximately 20% of the money the school receives from the State budget.

A few privately financed VET programmes are available in State and municipal VET schools. Such programmes are usually in high demand (as with cosmetician programmes) but are not part of the State-financed programmes.

Apprenticeships are also co-financed by ESF.

State and municipal vocational schools may provide continuing training for adults for a fee without age restrictions. They can also attract additional financing from other sources, such as international projects.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([32]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) uses the term ‘teacher’ for both teachers and trainers. The Act specifies that qualification requirements of VET teachers are determined by the professional standards of a teacher or a vocational education teacher. There are different standards at different EQF levels for general education subject teachers and vocational teachers in VET.

General education subject teachers can work in VET but also in general education schools. They require a master’s degree (also called ‘second cycle higher education diploma’) equal to 300 ECTS ([33]European credit transfer and accumulation system.) credits and teach, for instance, mathematics, physics and languages.

Vocational teachers offer knowledge and skills in the field of their professional expertise (the so-called ‘speciality subjects’). Qualification requirements are more varied and at different EQF levels compared to teachers of general education subjects, allowing more flexibility for professionals who want to teach. This also improves the link to the labour market. The professional standard of vocational education teacher ([34]Kutsekoda:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/en/kutsesysteem/tutvustus/kutsestandardid_eng
) (kutseõpetaja) defines three qualification levels (EQF levels 5, 6 and 7). According to the professional standards, a VET provider cannot employ more than 20% of staff with the lowest level qualification (at EQF level 5).

Teachers are employed through contracts. The head of a school concludes, amends and terminates employment contracts with teachers in accordance with the labour code. Employment contracts are of indefinite duration; reduced working time (35 hours per week) applies.

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 supports creating conditions for competent and motivated teachers as one of its five strategic goals. It aims at offering competitive wages and working conditions, leading to a positive image of a teacher in society. Since 2014, the basic salary of teachers has been constantly raised and has passed the average salary in Estonia. This is a strategic decision and political priority ([35]https://www.haridussilm.ee/ Õpetajate keskmine brutokuupalk 2007-17).

Currently, the teaching profession is not an attractive option for young people. The highest share of VET teachers (51.7%) are aged 50 and above ([36]Source: Estonian education information system (Eesti Hariduse Infosüsteem).) and their share has been increasing in the past decade. Most VET teachers are female; however, the share of males in VET (39%) is more than double the share in general education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([37]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) stipulates that each teacher is obliged to self-monitor their professional competences and upskill their personal needs. Self-evaluation is done annually and discussed with their immediate head. This approach takes account of teachers’ individual needs depending on their current competences and tasks and the needs of VET providers. This approach applies to all VET teachers.

Teacher practice at an enterprise or institution ([38]E.g. healthcare or social services.) may also be counted towards continuing professional development. It is professional work performed in a work environment with a specific purpose and has a direct link with the teachers’ area of expertise. Teachers are excused from teaching during practice.

The leading continuing professional development providers are universities, followed by VET providers, private companies and foundation courses.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Anticipation of skill needs in the Estonian labour market is based on labour market forecasts by the economics ministry ([40]Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.), updated annually since 2003. They show demand in the national economy for employees by sector and qualification level. Forecasts are based on the data of the 2011 population census and labour force surveys conducted by Statistics Estonia. They cover 39 economic (sub)sectors and five major professional groups:

  • managers;
  • specialists;
  • service staff;
  • skilled workers;
  • unskilled workers.

The forecasts reflect changes in employment and the need to replace employees leaving the labour market. The latest forecast considers the period 2017-26 ([41]MoEC (2016). Tööjõuvajaduse ja -pakkumise prognoos aastani 2024 [Forecast of labour force until 2024].
https://mkm.ee/sites/default/files/toojouprognoos_2024_lyhikirjeldus.pdf
).

In 2015, the education ministry launched a new labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system, known by its Estonian acronym OSKA. Managed by the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), it assesses skill needs by economic sector (such as information and communications technology, accounting) and develops new evidence and intelligence for stakeholders in education and the business world. The system comprises 23 expert panels of employer representatives, education professionals, researchers, public opinion leaders, trade unions and policy-makers. By 2020, each panel representing one sector will publish a report with practical recommendations for decision-makers and stakeholders.

The first five OSKA reports on accounting, forestry and timber industry, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing of metal products, machinery and equipment, and social work were published in 2016. Another six sectors were covered in 2017: construction; energy and mining; healthcare; production of chemicals, rubber, plastic and construction materials; the agriculture and food industry; and transportation, logistics and repair of motor vehicles. An additional five sectors were covered in 2018 ([42]Apparel, textile and the leather industry; human resources, administrative work and business consultation; education and research; trade, rental and repairs; accommodation, catering and tourism.). Based on the sectoral reports, a 10-year forecasting report on changes in labour market demand, developments and trends is updated and presented to the government annually. The forecasting results are used for career counselling, curriculum development and strategic planning at all education levels, including vocational education and training (VET).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([43]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([44]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial and continuing VET qualifications are based on professional (occupational) standards that are part of the professional qualifications system.

 

VET qualifications and professional standards

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

Professional standards

Professional standards are used for designing VET curricula, curricula for higher education and other training programmes, for assessing learner competences, and awarding a professional qualification. They:

  • are based on a job analysis and describe the nature of work; analyses are carried out by working groups designing professional standards;
  • describe expected competences as observable and assessable;
  • define the method(s) for assessing learner competences and a ‘satisfactory’ threshold;
  • define qualifications (EQF) levels.

All professional standards are available in the State register ([45]Kutsedoda: State register of occupational qualifications:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/kutseregister
). In May 2019, the State register of professional qualifications included 555 professional standards in 93 professional areas.

VET qualifications

Uniform requirements for VET curricula and qualifications are stipulated by the VET standard ([46]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv
). The standard:

  • describes the requirements for national and school curricula and the curriculum groups in line with ISCED levels, their objectives and expected learning outcomes;
  • determines the terms and conditions for recognising prior learning, volume of study and graduation requirements by initial and continuing VET curricula;
  • defines requirements for teachers and trainers;
  • assigns the national qualifications framework levels to VET qualification types.

VET schools design curricula for every qualification offered.

Upper secondary VET programme curricula that give access to higher education are based on the national curricula. National curricula are based on professional standards, the VET standard and the national (general education) curriculum for upper secondary schools. Foundation Innove coordinates the process of curriculum design, including cooperation with social partners.

Other VET curricula are based on the VET standard and the respective professional standard(s). Where such standards do not exist, the school must apply for the curriculum to be recognised by social partners.

The vocational orientation curriculum (legal framework introduced in 2018) is not required to correspond to a certain professional standard. This facilitates transitions from compulsory education to VET and/or the labour market, especially for vulnerable groups.

National upper secondary VET curricula that give access to higher education are approved by the education minister.

The VET standard determines how learning outcomes of modules are described:

  • profession-specific knowledge are facts and theories acquired through the learning process;
  • profession-specific skills are the ability to apply knowledge for performing tasks and solving problems; skills are described in terms of their complexity and diversity;
  • autonomy and responsibility describe to what extent the graduate is able to work independently and take responsibility for the results of work;
  • learning skills are the ability to manage the learning process using efficient strategies and appropriate learning styles;
  • communication skills are the ability to communicate in different situations and on different topics orally and in writing;
  • self-management competence is the ability to understand and evaluate oneself, give sense to one’s own activities and behaviour in society, develop oneself as a person;
  • operational competence is the ability to identify problems and solve them, plan one’s own activities, set goals and expected results, select adequate tools, act, evaluate the results of one’s own actions, cooperate with others;
  • ICT competence is the ability to use ICT tools and digital media skilfully and critically;
  • entrepreneurship competence is the ability to take initiative, act creatively, plan one’s own career in the modern economic, business and work environment, apply knowledge and skills in different spheres of life ([47]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
    ).

Managing qualifications

Several bodies are involved in designing, updating and awarding qualifications:

  • the education ministry;
  • professional councils;
  • awarding bodies;
  • qualifications committees;
  • assessment committees.

 

Stakeholders participating in the design and award of qualifications

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

The education ministry is responsible for developing a professional qualifications system. This task is delegated to the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), a private foundation led by a council comprising representatives of the: Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Employers' Confederation; Employees' Unions Confederation; Confederation of Trade Unions; and the education, finance, economic and social affairs ministries. The qualifications authority organises and coordinates the activities of professional councils and keeps the register of professional qualifications.

Professional councils represent 14 job sectors. The councils approve and update professional standards and are represented equally by trade unions, employer organisations, professional associations and public authorities. Chairs of professional councils form a board of chairmen for these councils to coordinate cooperation between them.

Professional councils select awarding bodies (public and private) to organise the assessment of competences and issue qualifications. The awarding bodies are selected for five years through a public competition organised by the qualifications authority. VET providers may also be given the right to award qualifications, if the curriculum of the institution complies with the professional standard and is nationally recognised. Qualifications are entered into the register of professional qualifications. As of 2019, there were a relatively large number of institutions (108) awarding professional qualifications.

The awarding body sets up a committee involving sectoral stakeholders: employers, employees, training providers, and representatives of professional associations. It often also includes customer representatives and other interested parties. This ensures impartiality in awarding qualifications. The committee approves assessment procedures, including examination materials, decides on awarding qualifications, and resolves complaints.

It may set up an assessment committee that evaluates organisation and the results of the assessment and reports to the qualifications committee.

The assessment committee verifies to what extent the applicant’s competences meet the requirements of the professional qualification standards. The assessment criteria are described in the rules and procedures for awarding the qualification or in the respective assessment standard ([48]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
).

A person’s competences can be assessed and recognised regardless of whether they have been acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

VET quality is assured through external and internal processes that do not differentiate in their approach between school-based learning, work-based learning, self-learning (including ‘non-stationary’) ([49]Comprising more than 50% self-learning.) and apprenticeships.

External quality assurance

External quality assurance of schools’ curriculum groups ([50]A curriculum group (e.g. media technologies) comprises curricula from related fields (e.g. multimedia; printing technology; and photography).) is confirmed by awarding the ‘right to offer VET programmes’.

Following changes in the approach to learning and teaching, the approach to quality assurance (i.e. external assessment process) was changed in 2019. The former extension of the right to provide instruction based on the accreditation results in the curriculum group was replaced with a permanent right to provide instruction in curriculum groups, where schools have accreditation for the full period (six years).

The external assessment is organised by the Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA). A quality assessment in curriculum groups will take place once in six years and the result of the assessment is not directly connected with the right to provide studies. The process is more focused on achieving constant improvements in the teaching and learning process and the development of quality culture at school.

An assessment of the right to provide instruction, giving a school this right for a term of three years, shall be conducted in curricula groups, and repeated if necessary, by 31 August 2019. The minister responsible for the area shall make one of the following decisions:

  • to grant the right to provide instruction without a term;
  • to grant the right to provide instruction for three years;
  • not to grant the right to provide instruction.

A school that has received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, in order to obtain the right to provide instruction without a term, should submit an application for a repeat assessment, together with the internal assessment report, at least six months before the expiry of the right to provide instruction. Schools that have received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, but have not submitted an application to the Ministry of Education and Research, or if the minister responsible for the area makes a decision not to grant the right to provide instruction as a result of the repeat assessment, shall have its right to provide instruction terminated upon the expiry of the term.

Internal evaluation

In 2006, internal evaluation of education institutions became mandatory, the objective being to support the development of VET providers. VET providers regularly (formally at least every three years) conduct an internal evaluation of each curriculum group and draft a report. Since 2013, EKKA has consulted them on this process.

The internal assessment shall form the basis for preparing the development plan of a school and the assessment of quality. The internal evaluation criteria are similar to those for external evaluation: leadership and administration; resource management (including human resources); cooperation with interest groups; and education process. Methods of internal evaluation are chosen by VET providers ([51]MoER; SICI (2016). The inspectorate of education of Estonia. Tartu: SICI, Standing International Conference of Inspectorates.
http://www.siciinspectorates.eu/getattachment/21147d5b-bc8d-49c8-8fc0-864d2d31cc01
). They often use activity and performance indicators provided in the education statistics database HaridusSilm.

The education information system collects data about the internal evaluation and feedback reports, so the ministry is able to check whether internal evaluations have been conducted and supported by advisory services. The results of internal evaluations are public but education institutions are not obliged to make them available on their websites.

EKKA provides free counselling to VET schools that support self-assessment and internal evaluation reporting. The competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme, one of the nine programmes of the Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 ([52]MoER (2015b). Pädevad ja motiveeritud õpetajad ning haridusasutuste juhid [Lifelong learning strategy competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
), enables training for school leaders and teachers.

Recognition of prior learning helps assess applicant competences against stated criteria, indicating whether these competences match education programme enrolment requirements and learning outcomes or those in occupational standards. The process helps value competences regardless of the time, place and the way they have been acquired, supporting lifelong learning and mobility, improving access to education for at-risk groups, and supporting more efficient use of resources ([53]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf
).

The VET sector in Estonia has introduced recognition of prior learning following developments in the higher education sector. The recognition process is legally established by the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([54]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current). General principles for all VET providers are set in the VET standard ([55]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv).

Awarding bodies, including VET providers, are responsible for developing detailed recognition procedures. Education institutions may consider prior learning when admitting learners to their programmes. Learners may also be exempt from a part of a curriculum, if they have achieved and demonstrated relevant learning outcomes. In such a case, the level of learning outcomes demonstrated can be considered as the final grade for the subject or module.

VET providers offering recognition of prior learning make public the terms, conditions and procedures that apply, including deadlines and fees. They must also provide counselling to candidates.

Successful recognition results in a certificate or diploma. Experiential learning, hobby activities or any other everyday activity are certified by reference to the work accomplished upon presentation of a qualification certificate, contract of employment, copy of assignment to the post or any other documentary proof. A description of vocational experience and self-analysis is added to the application. If necessary, VET providers may give applicants practical tasks, conduct interviews or use other assessment methods ([56]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf).

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 and its adult education programme ([57]Elukestva oppe strateegia täiskasvanuharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy adult education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
) support the development and broader use of quality validation practices.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([58]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

VET learners can apply for basic and special study allowances:

  • the monthly basic allowance is EUR 60 and is available from semester two in formal full-time programmes. Around 40% of VET learners receive the allowance based on performance merit;
  • a special allowance can be granted to learners in a difficult economic situation; the board of the education institution approves the procedure to use the provider’s special allowance fund.

VET providers create allowance funds (basic and special) which are financed from the State budget. The special allowance fund can be up to 50% of the resources of the basic allowance fund.

Lunchtime meals are also paid for by the State. This applies to VET learners up to age 20 who have not completed secondary education ([59]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) according to the initial training curricula ([60]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/515012016003/consolide).

VET learners ([61]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) are reimbursed public transport tickets for travel between the learning venue and home. Dormitory residents and those who rent apartments close to the learning venue are reimbursed one return ticket to their hometown per week and an additional ticket during national and school holidays.

Study loans

In 2003, study loans were introduced to improve access to full-time post-secondary VET and on-time graduation. Secondary education graduates who wish to enrol in at least six-month formal VET programmes, can apply. Since 2015/16, part-time students have also been able to apply. In 2016/17, 1.6% of VET learners benefited from the loan ([62]). Since 2018/19 it can be up to EUR 2 000 per year.

Tax exemption on training costs

Estonian residents can be exempt from income tax on training costs for programmes and courses at a State or local government education institution, or licensed private/foreign provider ([63]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/505042019004/consolide/current).

Study leave for employees

The Adult Education Act ([64]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
) provides the right for employees to take leave of up to 30 calendar days per year while in formal education or professional training. On application, the employee must present written proof of studies from the provider. During leave, employers pay the average study leave for 20 calendar days. Additional study leave (15 days) is granted for preparing for final exams; study leave pay is calculated on the basis of the national minimum wage (EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour in 2018). An employee also has the right to leave without pay to sit entry examinations. These rights and benefits are applied in the public and private sector, in small, medium-sized and large companies

Incentives for the unemployed

The social affairs ministry (Sotsiaalministeerium) is responsible for training the unemployed. Vocational training for the unemployed is funded by the public employment service ([65]Unemployment Insurance Fund.
https://www.tootukassa.ee/
). This allocates resources to employment services to purchase and organise labour market training. It commissions training from education institutions from State and private VET providers.

The public employment service also supports work practice placement for the unemployed through agreements. The participant continues to receive unemployment benefit and is granted a scholarship and travel compensation, paid by the employment service.

Since 2009, labour market training for the unemployed is also offered on the basis of a voucher system. Vouchers offer a quick and flexible way for the unemployed to use the resources for further training or to retrain to find a new job. The service covers up to EUR 2 500 per training for two years.

In May 2017, the public employment service launched a new package of services for unemployment prevention through continuing training and retraining. Individuals are encouraged to move to jobs that create higher added value. Typical examples are: workers who are likely to lose their jobs but could retain their employment; those without a qualification or whose skills are outdated and do not correspond to the needs of the labour market; workers with poor knowledge of Estonia; and those aged over 50. The package also supports employees who cannot continue their present employment due to health issues.

This service package also offers a study allowance scheme that supports participation in VET and in higher education. People at risk of unemployment now have access to labour market training through vouchers. In addition to direct support to employees, skills development is supported by compensating 50% to 100% of the training costs to employers. Employers can apply for a training grant to support their workers in adapting to the changes in business processes, in technology or changes in formal qualification requirements. Employers can also use the grant to fill vacancies in high demand roles by equipping potential employees with the necessary skills.

More than 3 700 people are estimated to have received this support in 2017, and around 15 000 to 19 000 annually in 2018-20.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

Employers are reimbursed by the State for supervising work practice for the unemployed ([66]Parliament (2005). Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (Tööturuteenuste ja - toetuste seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2005, 54, 430. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/511012017005/consolide/current), with a daily supervision rate of EUR 22.24 – eight times the minimum hourly wage (EUR 2.97 in 2018) ([67]Parliament (2009). Employment Contracts Act (Töölepingu seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2009, 5, 35. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/520032019008/consolide/current) – for each day attended of the first month of training. Reimbursement decreases to 75% of the daily rate during the second month, and to 50% during the third and fourth month.

Tax exemptions

There is no value added tax for formal training; this includes learning materials, private tuition relating to general education, and other training services unless provided for business purposes ([68]Parliament (2003b). Value Added Tax Act (Käibemaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2003, 82, 554. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/504012017001/consolide/current).

Since 2012, enterprises have been exempt from income tax if they finance the formal education of their employees ([69]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/516012017002/consolide/current).

Strategy and provision

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 promotes diverse learning opportunities and career services that are of good quality, flexible, and take account of the needs of the labour market. This will also help increase the number of people with VET qualifications in different age groups and regions.

Since January 2019, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has been providing career advice and career information services for everyone, including schoolchildren. The Unemployment Insurance Fund has restructured its system of career services and integrated the services of Foundation Innove Rajaleidja offered to young people into the existing career services. Counselling includes topics related to learning, workplaces and choice of specialisation. Since 2019, in addition to career counselling and the mediation of career information, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund is responsible for the development of the methodology of career services, quality management, and monitoring and analytical activities. Career counsellors offer their services in all the offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Career counselling is offered to everyone and the service is free of charge.

The Ministry of Education and Research is still responsible for providing high-quality career lessons in basic schools and upper secondary schools, ensuring curricula development in the field, quality learning materials, and enhancing career teachers’ skills and knowledge with in-service training. Development activities and monitoring activities are planned jointly in order to enhance the capacity of education institutions and further develop the integrity of the field of career services.

Career studies focus on the implementation of the topic ‘Lifelong learning and career planning’ in a school environment. It is important to support the implementation of cross-curricular topics in order to develop the key competences across all subjects, as a result of which students will have the necessary career skills by the end of basic school.

Career education focuses on the optional subjects offered in basic school and upper secondary school. Career education relies on the developed career competence model, the main competences of which are self-determination, acknowledgment of opportunities, planning and acting. In 2018/19 the optional career education subjects are being taught in 538 schools.

The modernisation of the national VET curricula has been in process during recent years. New curricula include the learning outcome: ‘the student understands his/her responsibility to make informed decisions in lifelong career planning processes’. This means that career management has become an integral part of VET. In developing career planning skills in VET there is a focus on self-evaluation, how best to use the learner’s professional skills in the labour market, how to keep and raise professional qualifications through continuous self-improvement, how to combine family life and work, and how to value health.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET programmes,

0.5 to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 454

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (viienda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

Usually 19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

0.5 to 2.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

(no age limit)

ECVET or other credits

The volume of the studies is 60 to 150 credits and 60 to 150 credits for military and public defence programmes.

Continuing VET programmes study volume is 15 to 60 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half at a VET institution
  • half at an enterprise
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education and have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences (depending on IVET or CVET).

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

Learners must have completed upper secondary education and must have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. If a professional qualification examination is passed a professional certificate will also be awarded.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, business administration specialist, sales organiser, and small business entrepreneur.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can follow further pathways in bachelor or professional higher education studies;
  • those with initial VET may progress in continuing VET.
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

20% ([82]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

VET programme,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 70%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 251 (teise taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits depending on the programme ([72]The Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013) defines credits for VET curricula describing the time required to achieve learning outcomes. One credit is 26 hours of learner ‘study load’. The number of credits per programme and school year is 60.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Many curricula at this level, for example for assistant cleaners, are also suitable for learners with special educational needs, such as those with moderate and severe disability. Special arrangements are available for them in VET schools and social welfare institutions.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 17 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination . Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([73]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Those who have been simultaneously enrolled in general education and meet basic education requirements are issued with a basic education certificate by general education schools in addition to a VET qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Cleaner assistant, assistant gardener, electronics assembly operator, logger ([74]As described in ILO; ISCO 08:
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue their studies at EQF level 3;
  • can continue their studies in general education; schools for adults leading to general basic education.
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

<1% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 3

VET programmes,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 251 (kolmanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([76]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Woodworking bench operator and electronic equipment assembler

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • those who acquired basic (general) education (before or in parallel to a VET programme) can continue their studies at upper secondary level;
  • those without completed basic education can continue their studies in general education schools for adults.
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

3.9% ([77]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 351

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 351 (neljanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

at least 17

Usual completion age

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2.5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 150 credits (depending on the programme) and 180 credits for music and performance programmes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Completed basic education is a prerequisite to enrol in these programmes. Those entering continuing VET programmes must have an EQF level 4 qualification or competences in addition to basic education to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners may receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([78]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, junior software developer, IT systems specialist, farm-worker

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in upper secondary general education;
  • can continue in a VET programme at ISCED level 354.
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

30.9% ([79]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 3 years,

WBL: min. 35%

ISCED 354

Initial upper secondary VET programmes, ISCED 354 (kutsekeskharidusõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

At least 17

Usual completion age

19

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The volume of studies is mostly 180 credits, including at least 60 credits of general education; 30 credits are common for all programmes and 30 are tailored to the programme.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=35%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults aged 22 and above.

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

Students may enter upper secondary VET if they have acquired basic education. The existence of competences corresponding to the level of basic education is required from a person without basic education and who is at least 22 years of age. Schools assess the existence of the required competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

VET students receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum are achieved and also if a professional qualification examination is passed. a professional certificate will also be awarded

Examples of qualifications

Heat pump installers and catering specialists

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in higher education, provided the entry requirements are met ([80]Higher education institutions may require passing State examinations (mathematics, foreign language and mother tongue) in addition to VET qualifications.);
  • can continue with an optional year of general education (bridging programme) to prepare for State examinations.
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

44.4% ([81]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available