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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 Poland comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

The main challenges for VET are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

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

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sector

2017

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

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

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

14.6

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

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

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

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

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

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

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

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

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

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

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

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

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

51.7%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

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

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

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

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

In VET there are:

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

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

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

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

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

System of sector skills councils

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

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

Integrated skills strategy

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

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

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

New forecast of the demand for employees

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

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

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

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

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

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

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

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

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

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

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

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

Modernising VET curricula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The system of external examinations

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

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

School Information System

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

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

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

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

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

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

  • Salary for juvenile workers

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

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Learning forms:

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

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

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

Main providers

Colleges:

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

around 24%

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

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

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

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

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

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

General education subjects

N

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

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

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

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

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

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

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

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

Different forms of practical training available:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

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

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

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

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

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

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

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

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

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

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

This programme leads to:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

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

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

18

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

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

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

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

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

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

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

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

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

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

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

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available