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General themes

VET in Estonia comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

It decreased since 2013 by 0.08% due to negative natural growth and migration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 56 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET).

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

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

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

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

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

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

VET qualifications are required in these sectors.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was higher than in the pre-crisis years. It is lower compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Estonia (4.8% in 2018).

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2.9%

40.7%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2008-18

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

 

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Formal, non-formal, initial and continuing VET

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

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

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

There are several VET learning options:

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

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

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

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

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

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

General characteristics of apprenticeship programmes are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VET total expenditure and investments in 2008-15

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

 

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

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

 

Expenditure per student in 2008-15 (EUR)

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apprenticeships are also co-financed by ESF.

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

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VET qualifications and professional standards

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

Professional standards

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

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

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

VET qualifications

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

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

VET schools design curricula for every qualification offered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing qualifications

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

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

 

Stakeholders participating in the design and award of qualifications

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

External quality assurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internal evaluation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

VET learners can apply for basic and special study allowances:

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

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

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

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

Study loans

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

Tax exemption on training costs

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

Study leave for employees

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

Incentives for the unemployed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

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

Tax exemptions

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

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

Strategy and provision

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET programmes,

0.5 to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

Usually 19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

0.5 to 2.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

(no age limit)

ECVET or other credits

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

Continuing VET programmes study volume is 15 to 60 credits.

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

20% ([82]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

VET programme,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 70%

ISCED 251

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

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

<1% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 3

VET programmes,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 251

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

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits.

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Woodworking bench operator and electronic equipment assembler

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

3.9% ([77]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 351

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

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

at least 17

Usual completion age

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2.5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

30.9% ([79]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 3 years,

WBL: min. 35%

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

At least 17

Usual completion age

19

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=35%

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Heat pump installers and catering specialists

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

44.4% ([81]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Denmark comprises the following main features:

  • a mainstream system providing qualifications at all levels, from compulsory schooling to doctoral degrees;
  • a parallel adult education and continuing training (CVT) system.

Adult education and continuing training are designed to meet the needs of adult learners, for example through part-time courses. The two systems offer equivalent qualifications at various levels, enabling horizontal permeability.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on VET in Denmark. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8101_en.pdf
):

The Danish VET system is characterised by a high level of stakeholder involvement. Social partners, vocational colleges, teachers and learners are all involved in developing VET based on consensus and shared responsibility. Stakeholders play a key role in advising the Ministry of Education on overall VET policy and determining the structure and general framework for training programmes within their field, cooperating in national trade committees. At local level, stakeholders cooperate in developing curricula to respond to local labour market needs.

Denmark has the highest participation in adult education and continuing training in the EU. High participation rates reflect the national strategy to focus on knowledge-intensive specialist sectors and lifelong learning, the large public sector and a tradition of strong ties between education institutions and social partners.

An integrated lifelong learning strategy was introduced in 2007 and supported by the implementation of a national qualifications framework. This improved horizontal and vertical permeability within education and training. It also improved guidance services and provided better opportunities for recognition of non-formal learning and qualifications through standardised procedures for validation of prior learning.

Public financing is central to the VET system, with colleges receiving performance-based block grants. Apprenticeships and employee further training are subsidised according to a solidarity principle, coordinated in the AUB system (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelses Bidrag). Within this system, all enterprises, regardless of their involvement in VET, contribute a fixed amount per employee to a central fund. Enterprises are then partially reimbursed for providing training placements and for employee participation in continuing training.

Education and training are considered a key area. As demand for skilled labour continues to increase, IVET is expected to accommodate an increasingly heterogeneous learner population. Two reforms have had significant influence on VET development. The VET reform (2014) established VET learners’ minimum entrance requirements. Requirements for VET teachers were strengthened in 2010, since when all VET teachers must have a pedagogic diploma (60 ECTS) at EQF level 6. Both initiatives are expected to increase VET quality. Social assistance reform (2014) makes it mandatory for unemployed people under 30, receiving social benefits, to participate in education and training. This will increase the number of weaker learners entering VET.

The 2014 VET reform has four main objectives for improving VET quality:

  • more learners must enter VET directly from compulsory schooling: from 18% in 2015 to 30% by 2025;
  • completion rates in VET must be improved: from 52% in 2012 to 67% in 2025;
  • VET must challenge all learners so they reach their full potential;
  • employer and learner satisfaction with VET must gradually be increased by 2020.

A lack of suitable training placements in enterprises is frequently cited as a primary reason for learner dropout. Several policy initiatives seek to address the problem, but the global financial crisis has further widened the gap between training place supply and demand. Implementation of 50 practical training centres (2013) and the planned 1 000 new placements in Vækstplan 2014 (growth plan, 2014) are expected to alleviate this problem.

Unemployment, and particularly long-term unemployment, among young people with little or no work experience poses challenges for adult education and continuing training. Substantial upskilling and reskilling is necessary to avoid a considerable part of the workforce becoming permanently excluded from the labour market. The 2014 growth plan includes funding for the unskilled to become skilled workers through targeted adult VET programmes.

Data from VET in Denmark Spotlight 2016 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Denmark. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8101_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 5 781 190 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 3.2% due to positive natural growth and a higher immigration than emigration rate ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). The fertility rate of 1.75 in 2017 is well above the EU average.

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 45 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

An increasing proportion of the total population is made up of foreign immigrants and their descendants. In January 2018, this group accounted for 13.4% of the Danish population.

Providing education and training opportunities to those with a non-Danish ethnic background in order to ensure their integration into the labour market is a policy focus. At the beginning of 2016 the government launched a new VET training programme for immigrants ([6]IGU).

Denmark is increasingly becoming a multicultural society. Currently, 13.4 % of the population has an immigrant background.

Consequently, there are a growing number of VET-related programmes for immigrants.

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Employment by sector/main economic sectors in 2016:

  • trade and transport;
  • other business services;
  • public administration, education and health;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Exports comprise mainly agricultural products, food, medicine and green tech.

 

Source: Statistics Denmark [extracted 6.11.2017].

 

The Danish labour market is highly regulated. Only low skilled jobs are available without a diploma.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 4.2% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.6 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment rates of people aged 15-24 are higher than among people aged 25-64 for all education levels, with low qualified (or not qualified) people scoring the highest unemployment rates.

Among 25-64 year olds, economic crises had hit more low-qualified and high-qualified people than those with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates remained stable from 2014 (86.1%) to 2018 (88.6%) ([9]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].), which was above the EU-28 average.

 

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 employment rate of all ISCED level graduates has increased to 81.2% (+2.3 percentage points) in 2014-18. In the same period, the employment rates of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased by 2.5 percentage points ([10]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The share of the Danish population aged 25 to 64 with higher education (ISCED 5-8) is 38.3%, which is above the EU-28 average of 32.2%. The share of people holding medium-level qualifications (ISCED 3-4) is also high (40.4%).

 

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

38.9%

Not applicable

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

 

With a 38.9% share of IVET learners in the total population of upper secondary learners in 2016, Denmark is below the EU-28 average of 47.2%.

In general, there are more male than female learners in VET: 68% and 32% in 2017.

However, the distribution is uneven in various branches. In commercial training and social and healthcare training, for example, there are more female apprentices, while the opposite applies to technical training ([11]http://www.statistikbanken.dk/statbank5a/default.asp?w=1366).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased significantly from 11.3% in 2009 to 10.2% in 2018. It is above the national objective for 2020 of not more than 10%, and below the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted on 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].

 

In 2012, the completion rate in VET was only 52%. The proposal for a reform of the Danish VET system was ratified by Parliament in 2014, with one of its objectives being to improve completion rates to at least 60% by 2020 and at least 67% by 2025.

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Denmark has the highest participation in adult education and continuing training in the EU, regardless of levels of educational attainment. In 2017, the share of participation in education and training among the population aged 25-64 was 26.8% compared with EU-28 average of 10.9%. These figures refer to all forms of education and training activity, both formal and non-formal.

The high participation rate reflects several specific characteristics, such as the national strategy to focus on knowledge-intensive specialist sectors and lifelong learning, a large public sector and a tradition of strong ties between education institutions and social partners. Adult vocational training programmes (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU), offering short vocational training programmes to skilled and unskilled workers, as well as to the unemployed, have a significant role to play in this regard.

Learners in mainstream education, October 2017

The main age group in VET is 18-20, but there is a significant group of VET-learners aged 30-40.

 

Source. Statistics Denmark [accessed 8.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

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

Children participate in mainstream education from the age of six and progress through the system during their youth into adulthood. Adult education and continuing training (CVT) mirrors the qualifications provided within the mainstream system but is designed specifically for adults. It also provides opportunities to acquire supplementary qualifications. As such, the two parallel systems combined provide a framework for lifelong learning.

Basic schooling is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16, that is, from pre-school class to ninth grade. In 2017 ([12]https://www.uvm.dk/statistik/grundskolen/elever/soegning-til-ungdomsuddannelserne), 46.2% of the youth cohort decided to continue to the optional 10th grade rather than enter an upper secondary programme directly. The 10th grade is an option for young people to acquire academic competence and clarity about their choices before entering youth education (either general or vocational upper secondary education). 2015 VET reform combines the 10th grade and VET programmes into a programme called EUD10.

Primary and lower secondary education is generally integrated into, and located within, the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole ([13]Municipal primary and lower secondary school, literally ‘folk’ or ‘people’s school’.), although other types of institution, such as private independent schools, also exist. Of the youth cohort, 80.0% attended the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole in the school year 2016/17. There is a tendency to move towards private compulsory schooling. In the same school year (2016/17), 15.9% attended a private school. Of the rest of the youth cohort, 4.1% attended special programmes. Primary and lower secondary education is completed by taking an examination providing access to upper secondary (youth) education.

Within the adult education and continuing training system, there are two programmes at EQF level 2. Preparatory adult education (FVU) provides courses in basic literacy and mathematics, as well as courses for those with learning difficulties or with Danish as their second language. General adult education (AVU) is provided to adults who, for whatever reason, did not complete lower secondary education or need supplementary education in particular subjects. Qualifications at this level are equivalent to the ninth or 10th grade leaving examination.

Upper secondary education consists of both general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education and training (erhvervsuddannelse, EUD). General upper secondary education programmes usually last three years and prepare learners for higher education at tertiary level. Five different qualifications result from five corresponding programmes:

  • upper secondary leaving qualification (studentereksamen, STX) (EQF 4);
  • higher preparatory examination ([14]The higher preparatory examination will in the future be profiled as a pathway for students with a non- academic profile and can be completed without a formal examination.) (højere forberedelseseksamen, HF) (EQF 4);
  • higher commercial examination (højere handelseksamen, HHX) (EQF 4);
  • higher technical examination (højere teknisk eksamen, HTX) (EQF 4);
  • combined vocational (journeyman’s test) and general upper secondary leaving qualification (EUX) (EQF 5).

The adult education (age 25 and above) and continuing training system includes three types of programme at upper secondary level:

  • higher preparatory single subjects (enkeltfag, HF) (EQF 4);
  • basic (vocational) adult education (Erhvervsuddannelse for voksne, EUV) (EQF 3-5), which is equivalent to EUD;
  • and adult vocational training programmes (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU) (EQF 2-5).

In broad terms, higher education comprises:

  • professionally oriented short- and medium-cycle programmes where the short-cycle programmes lead to an academy profession degree and are offered at academies of professional higher education, while the medium-cycle programmes lead to a professional bachelor degree and are offered by university colleges;
  • research-based long-cycle programmes offered at universities where most learners continue to a master degree programme after completing a bachelor degree. The former can then provide access to doctoral programmes.

There are corresponding programmes within the adult education and continuing training system: short-cycle further (vocational) adult education (VVU), medium-cycle diploma programmes, and long-cycle master programmes. As part-time courses, these programmes allow participants to combine education with a working career, as well as improving the integration of the individual’s professional and life experience.

The Danish VET system is divided into IVET and CVT.

The IVET system is for learners aged up to 25 and the CVT for learners aged 25 and above.

Danish education and training features a mainstream system providing qualifications at all levels, from compulsory schooling to doctoral degrees, and a parallel adult education and continuing vocational training (CVT) system. CVT is designed to meet the needs of adult learners, for example through part-time courses. The two systems offer equivalent qualifications at various levels, enabling horizontal permeability.

VET programmes are organised according to the dual principle, alternating between periods of college-based and work-based learning (apprenticeship training) in enterprises. The college-based learning will typically comprise practice based learning in workshops.

When learners complete a VET programme they can enter the labour market as skilled workers, or can apply for CVT in the form of professional academy programmes (Erhvervsakademier).

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 Danish VET system can best be characterized as a unified VET system based on the dual principle.

Although VET programmes are offered in several variations in Denmark, building on different legal frameworks, there is no doubt that the main pathway through VET is the dual-based apprenticeship programme, founded and developed from the beginning of VET education and training in Denmark.

More than 95% of participants in Danish VET are involved in this kind of VET programme, leaving only a small percentage for “alternative” VET pathways, such as the ‘new master apprenticeship programme’ (ny mesterlære), in which the dual system is normally put in parentheses, or the few college-based VET programmes without work-based learning in a company.

VET programmes organised according to the dual principle, alternate between periods of college- based and work-based learning (apprenticeship training) in enterprises. A typical initial VET programme (EUD) lasts three-and-a-half years with a 2:1 split between workplace and college- based training, although there is considerable variation among programmes. Individual study plans are compiled for all students. VET colleges and social partners share the responsibility for developing curricula to ensure responsiveness to local labour market needs. Qualifications at this level provide access to relevant fields in academy profession (KVU) programmes and professional bachelor programmes at tertiary level.

Adopted from the Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation ([15]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
)

Parliament sets out the overall framework for VET, which is administered by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has overall parliamentary, financial and legal responsibility for VET, laying down the overall objectives for programmes and providing the legislative framework within which stakeholders, social partners, colleges and enterprises are able to adapt curricula and methodologies to the needs of both learners and the labour market.

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on principal matters concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

 

Stakeholder involvement in Denmark

Source: www.uvm.dk

 

The national advisory council consists of 31 representatives from the social partners. In its advisory capacity, the council monitors developments in society and highlights trends relevant to VET. The council makes recommendations to the Ministry regarding the establishment of new VET programmes and the adaptation, amalgamation or discontinuation of others.

National trade committees (faglige udvalg) are the backbone of the VET system. Approximately 50 trade committees are responsible for 106 main programmes. The committees normally have between 10 and 14 members and are formed by labour market organisations (with parity of membership between employer and employee organisations). They are financed by participating organisations.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

117 VET colleges offer basic vocationally oriented education programmes. 97 of these are technical colleges, commercial colleges, agricultural colleges or combination colleges. In addition, 20 colleges offer social and healthcare training programmes. A number of the colleges offer their programmes through local branches at locations other than the main college. As self-governing institutions, vocational colleges are led by a governing board with overall responsibility for the administrative and financial running of the college and educational activities in accordance with the framework administered by the education ministry. The board consists of teachers, learners and administrative staff representatives, as well as social partner representatives. The board takes decisions regarding which programmes are offered at the college and their capacity, imposes local regulations and guidelines, guarantees responsible administration of the college’s financial resources, including approval of budgets and accounts and hires and fires the operational management (director, principal, dean or similar). The operational management, meanwhile, is responsible for implementing the overall objectives and strategies set out by the governing board.

A publicly financed system of basic, secondary and further education and training that recognises relevant non-formal and informal competences and practical work experience is a fundamental characteristic of the system.

Mainstream (‘youth’) VET is based on alternative models where training takes place in turn at college and in an enterprise. The state finances training at colleges, while enterprises finance on-the-job training; apprentices receive an apprentice’s salary while in the company, as laid down in the collective agreements.

In 2018, the state spent a total of DKK 7 173 3 million (EUR 963 million) on VET basic courses and main programmes (see table below). A considerable proportion of these funds was distributed to colleges in accordance with the ‘taximeter’ principle, whereby funding is linked to some quantifiable measure of activity, for example, the number of full-time equivalent learners, with a set amount awarded per unit. Among other things, this system provides an incentive for colleges to increase retention within the system.

Besides the ‘taximeter’ rate, VET providers also receive an annual fixed grant for the maintenance of buildings, salaries, etc. The total state grant is provided as a block grant which institutions use at their own discretion within the boundaries of the legislative framework and specific institutional objectives.

Expenditure on main youth education pathways (2018)

VET youth education

EGU and production schools

Upper secondary education ([16]General, vocational and others.)

DKK 7 173.3 million

(EUR 963 Million)

DKK 1 263.3 million

EUR 170 Million)

DKK 12 178 million

(EUR 1 635 million)

   

Upper Vocational Education

   

DKK 3 085.4 million

(EUR 414 million)

Source: National budget 2018.

When it comes to financing training in companies, all employers, both public and private, pay a sum into the ‘employers' reimbursement scheme’ (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag), regardless of whether or not they provide apprenticeship placements. This fund finances VET both for young people and adults. From 2018, all employers will be obliged to pay an annual contribution of DKK 2 702 (EUR 362) per full-time employee. These funds are then allocated to workplaces that take in apprentices so that they do not bear the cost of training alone. These employers receive reimbursement for wages paid during apprentices’ periods of college-based training.

VET for adults (AMU) is largely publicly financed. Providers receive ‘taximeter’ funding and must negotiate budgets and targets with the Ministry of Education annually.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • in-company trainers;
  • mentors.

General subject teachers are usually university graduates with a professional bachelor degree in teaching.

Vocational subject teachers usually have VET education background and substantial experience in the field (normally, at least five years is required).

The job of a VET teacher is considered demanding, and the motivation for applying for these jobs is of the highest level, when jobs in the private sector are hard to find.

Colleges and training centres have autonomy in staff recruitment. The Ministry of Education is not involved in teacher recruitment procedures, and teachers are not civil servants entering the system through tests.

There are no requirements for teachers to have a pedagogical qualification prior to their employment.

Pedagogical training (Diplomuddannelsen i Erhvervspædagogik) is part-time in-service training based on interaction between theory and practice. This programme was introduced for all teachers employed in VET and adult education (AMU) recruited after 15 January 2010 and replaces the previous teacher training course (Pædagogikum). The objective is to improve teaching skills to a level equivalent to teachers in compulsory education with a professional bachelor degree. The programme is the equivalent of one year of full-time study (60 ECTS) and the acquired qualification is placed at EQF level 6. It is, however, generally conducted as a part-time study to root training in practical teaching experience. New teachers must enrol in the programme within one year of gaining employment at a VET college or AMU centre. The programme must be completed within a period of six years. The programme was developed by the Danish National Centre for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Nationalt Center for Erhvervspædagogik, NCE), a centre of excellence collecting, producing and disseminating knowledge on VET based at University College Copenhagen (UCC). The programme was developed in cooperation with an advisory group consisting of representatives of teacher associations and college management organisations, as well as the Ministry of Education. There are three compulsory and five optional modules, as well as a final examination project. Both NCE and other providers at different university colleges offer the programme ([17]For further information, see:
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_DK_TT.pdf
).

In-company trainers play an important role in VET, given the dual training principle characteristic of all VET. There are different types of trainers with different responsibilities: planners, training managers and daily trainers. However, there are very few legal requirements to become a trainer.

Trainers in enterprises who are responsible for apprentices must be craftsmen. They must have completed a VET programme, for which they have received a ‘journeyman’s certificate’, and have work experience.

Once qualified to teach in VET, there is no general legislation on in-service training. Individual teachers are obliged to keep their subject-specific and pedagogical knowledge up-to-date. The college is required to draw up a plan for the competence development of the teachers at the college. On this basis, and in cooperation with the teacher, the college determines the individual’s professional in-service training plan. Courses are offered locally by many providers in accordance with market conditions. A certificate is normally awarded to participants, but a recognised qualification is not generally awarded. The new VET reform requires skills updating for teachers and leaders in VET institutions at a level equivalent to 10 ECTS points. The updating will continue until 2020, and DKr 400 million (EUR 53 million) has been granted for it.

There are also no in-service training requirements or control mechanisms for in-company trainers. Quality assurance, beyond that undertaken voluntarily by the enterprise, is restricted to informal contacts between the VET college and the enterprise. The adult education (AMU) systems provide a number of courses of one to two weeks duration to support the training of trainers. The courses are not mandatory and are mostly used by the social care and healthcare professions.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([18]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on principal matters concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([19]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([20]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on the main issues concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

The national advisory council consists of 31 representatives from the social partners. In its advisory capacity, the council monitors developments in society and highlights trends relevant to VET. The council makes recommendations to the Ministry regarding the establishment of new VET programmes and the adaptation, amalgamation or discontinuation of others.

National trade committees (faglige udvalg) are the backbone of the VET system. Approximately 50 trade committees are responsible for 106 main programmes. The committees normally have between 10 and 14 members and are formed by labour market organisations (with parity of membership between employer and employee organisations). They are financed by participating organisations.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

Various approaches to quality assurance of vocational colleges are implemented. Self-assessment remains the primary mechanism, but external monitoring is increasing in importance. Since the 1980s, a shift has taken place from detailed regulation of input to framework regulation of output. The aim of output regulation is to increase the focus on results and quality so that institutional practices meet political objectives, including adaptation to the needs of regional and local business sectors for education and competence development ([21]Ministry of Education (2014a). Tilsyn med erhvervsuddannelserne [Monitoring of VET].
https://www.uvm.dk/erhvervsuddannelser/ansvar-og-aktoerer/tilsyn/tilsyn-med-faglig-kvalitet
).

Monitoring is conducted at two levels:

  • system level: the assessment is on the effectiveness of the more than 100 different main programmes in terms of employment frequency among graduates. The education ministry then enters into dialogue with national trade committees about any programmes which fail to reach their targets in order to assess their relevance in terms of labour market needs and possible steps for improvement;
  • institutional level: at this level, monitoring can be divided into content monitoring and financial monitoring. The first concerns the degree to which a vocational college is providing its programmes in accordance with the legislative framework. The second monitors the college’s compliance with budgetary constraints as laid down by the education ministry.

Completion, dropout and examination pass rates also form part of the quality appraisal of a vocational college. Within companies, the social partners supplement ministerial monitoring through national trade committees and local training committees, appraising the quality of graduates, curricula, apprenticeships within enterprises, etc.

Quality assurance mechanisms are also part of the

validation process when it comes to including new qualifications in the Danish qualification framework. Only officially recognised, validated and quality-assured programmes are included in the qualifications framework. Informal and non-formal learning are only recognised to the extent that they are formalised though a process of validation of prior learning corresponding to one of the qualifications included.

In terms of VET, trade committees (at the upper secondary level) and further education and training committees (adult VET) assess programmes and make recommendations for their placement in the framework to be approved by the education ministry. For each educational field, guidelines have been produced to aid committees in their assessment and are quality-assured through consultation with independent experts. Procedures and criteria for including VET qualifications in the framework are the subject of an evaluation report compiled by the Danish Evaluation Institute ([22]EVA - Danish Evaluation Institute (2011). Referencing the Danish qualifications: framework for lifelong learning to the European qualifications framework.
https://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A54105
).

Competence assessment for young people

A young person participating in VET will have his or her competence assessed in the initial period of the education. The competence assessment should clarify what is required by the learner in relation to the education they want. The competence assessment is based on previous education or employment. The goal is to ensure that the education programme that the college offers the learner allows him or her to start at the right level and to avoid duplicating education. The college should allow the competence assessment to be included in the preparation of the learner’s individual education plan, so that the learner is credited with relevant parts of the programme ([23]https://www.uvm.dk/erhvervsuddannelser/adgang-og-optagelse/realkompetencevurdering).

Competence assessment for adults

Adults can have their competences assessed in relation to adult vocational courses and adult vocational education. In respect of short courses, this is an option known as Individual Competence Assessment (Individuel Kompetence Vurdering, IKV). Individual citizens have a right to this assessment and can even obtain financial compensation from the job centre for the time spent in this process, which takes between half a day and five days, provided by the relevant educational institution.

Recognition of prior learning results in an individual plan for education and a competence document listing formal qualifications, the individual’s prior experiences and learning equivalents, or a course certificate depending on the relevance and validity of his or her former experiences ([24]https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=152433#Kap6). When applying for adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed before enrolment, which means that every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three learning options:

  • adult vocational education 1 (EUV 1): the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/ introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • adult vocational education 2 (EUV 2): the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • adult vocational education 3 (EUV 3): the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1) ([25]https://uvm.dk/-/media/filer/uvm/.../pdf18/.../180321--vejledning-euv-ma...).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Salary for apprentices

Danish VET learners are entitled to receive financial support during their education and training. If the VET learner signs a contract with a company, he or she will receive a salary during the education and training period. The salary is DKK 9 500 -12 500 per month (EUR 1 275 - 1 675) and increases each year.

If the VET learner does not have a contract with a company, he or she is entitled to receive financial support from the Danish learners' grants and loans scheme (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte, SU) when the learner is enrolled in the basic course (GF1 and GF2).

If the learner is living with his or her parents, the monthly amount is DKK 946 (EUR 125). If the learner is living away from his or her parents and is 20 years of age, the monthly amount is DKK 6 090 (EUR 800).

Loans and grants

A learner receiving financial support from the SU is also entitled to take out a loan with the SU. The monthly amount of the loan is normally DKK 3 116 (EUR 420). Loans must be repaid at 4% interest during the period of education and at the national discount rate of +1% after finishing that period.

Participants of VET for adults (AMU) are entitled to a fixed allowance: the State grant system for adult training (godtgørelse, VEU). In 2018, the amount available was DKK 4 300 (EUR 578) per week, corresponding to the maximum unemployment insurance benefit rate. As most participants are employed and receive a full salary during the training period, this allowance is primarily paid to employers as partial reimbursement of wages. As with apprenticeship training (EUD), expenditure for the allowances is covered by the employers’ reimbursement scheme, to which all enterprises contribute a fixed amount regardless of levels of participation in adult education and continuing training activities.

Participants may also receive a transport allowance and financial support for board and lodging ([27]Covered by Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag (AUB)the employers reimbursement scheme.) if programmes are offered at a considerable distance from the participant’s home.

Employers’ reimbursement scheme

All employers, both public and private, pay a sum into the ‘employers' reimbursement scheme’ (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag), regardless of whether or not they provide apprenticeship placements. This fund finances VET for both young people and for adults (AMU). From 2018, all employers will be obliged to pay an annual contribution of DKK 2 702 (EUR 362) per full-time employee. These funds are then allocated to work places that take apprentices so that they do not bear the cost of training alone. These employers receive reimbursement for wages paid during apprentices’ periods of college-based training.

The latest tripartite agreement of August 2016 has launched a couple of new incentives for Danish companies aiming to establish more contracts with apprentices. The overall goal is to establish 10 000 new contracts in 2025.

Primarily, companies will be able to provide a much clearer picture of themselves as education operators, giving them the option of assessing whether they are in line with political expectations.

Fines and stimulations for companies

Companies that fail to sign the necessary number of contracts must pay a fine of DKK 27 000 (EUR 3 620) for each missing contract relative to the size of the company. On the other hand, companies that meet the standard number of contracts will receive a 7.4% higher refund from AUB (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag, the employers reimbursement scheme,) to motivate them to sign the expected number of contracts.

In some Danish regions, public employers have laid down rules concerning the involvement of private companies in projects, underlining that the company cannot be engaged in public activities if the number of apprentices is below the standard.

Wage compensation scheme

Among the incentives promoting companies’ interest in having their low-skilled workers participate in adult vocational education is the wage compensation scheme. Companies are partly compensated for the wages they pay to their employees who are participating in education at a rate, in 2018, of DKK 4 300 (EUR 4 300) a week, equivalent to the highest level of unemployment benefit ([28]http://www.veug.dk/borger/veu-godtgoerelse). The companies should pay for the courses. In 2018 the payment will be between 590 DKK (EUR 79) and DKK 950 (EUR 127) per person per week ([29]https://www.efteruddannelse.dk/VEUPortal/faces/ApplFrontPage?_afrLoop=25...).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Further adult education

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 554

Further vocational adult education programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (VVU, Videregående Voksenuddannelse).
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

2-3 years on average (part-time); requested completion within 6 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

Is it offered free of charge?

N

with some exceptions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

VVU programmes are specifically tailored to the needs of adults, for example, by providing courses over a longer duration on a part-time basis, largely during evenings and weekends, to allow ongoing employment.

Main providers

Business and technical academies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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 adults.

People with job experience are the main group. Unemployed people can receive grants for participation (SVU).

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

In addition to an appropriate VET qualification or a general upper secondary qualification, two to three years of relevant work experience is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a programme, learners need to pass a final examination. Each module in the flexible programme is finalised with an examination and the learner has to pass a final examination as well.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

Retail, interpreter, international transport and logistics, and information technology

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Adult VVU) qualifications, like the mainstream KVU, can provide access to a supplementary diploma degree programme, allowing graduates to build on an academy profession degree to bachelor-equivalent level within the same field, while VVU qualifications also provide access to relevant full-time professional bachelor programmes.

As such, there is full horizontal permeability between the mainstream and adult education and continuing training systems.

Destination of graduates

Most participants (66%) finalise only a part of VVU and return to their jobs. Of this group, 50% continue into other forms of education (3-4 years after VVU.)

Of the group of participants who finalise a full VVU, 9% participate in further education (3-4 years after VVU) ([45]https://www.eva.dk/sites/eva/files/2017-08/Videregaende%20voksenuddannelse%20-VVU.pdf).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

The programme is flexible and the learner can choose general education subjects as part of the programme.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each module in the programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

9% ([46]This figure is for VVU and Academy Professions Programmes and calculated in relation to all VET learners at secondary level.)

EQF 5

Academy professions

programmes (KVU),

some WBL

ISCED 554

Short-cycle higher education programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Erhvervsakademiuddannelser, KVU)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

551, 554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

2 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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

A programme can be 90, 120 or 150 ECTS credits.

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

School-based learning and practical training at school (and in-company practice)

Main providers

10 business and technical academies (erhvervsakademier)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

Workshops at schools

Practical training at schools

Main target groups

The main target groups are young people and adults who have completed their initial education.

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

Admissions requirements for academy profession and professional bachelor programmes are either relevant vocational upper secondary education and training (EUD) or general upper secondary education combined with relevant labour market experience. There may be more specific requirements regarding certain attainment levels within particular general subjects for some programmes (applicants with a VET background may have to take additional general education qualifications as a supplement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Apart from theoretical subjects, programmes are usually completed by a project examination and always contain a degree of workplace training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

Dental hygienist, installation electrician, multimedia designer, laboratory technician, marketing manager, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

An academy profession degree can provide access to a supplementary diploma degree programme.

The latter allows graduates to build on an academy profession degree to bachelor-equivalent level in the same field.

Destination of graduates

Most graduates (65%) enter the labour market after they finish their KVU. Some progress to further education.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

a few general education subjects are part of this programme.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

In 2017, 36 272 students were enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes. This figure indicates a significant increase over previous years of more than 50%. To strengthen cohesion at the tertiary level, since autumn 2011 all higher education from KVU to PhD level has been placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 655

Professional bachelor programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (Professionsbachelor)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

25

Length of a programme (years)

3-4 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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 ECTS credits per semester. A full programme is normally 210 credits.

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

School-based learning and practical training at school.

Main providers

Seven university colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Workshops and practical training at schools as a part of general education subjects.

Main target groups

Young people and adults who have completed their initial education.

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

Admissions requirements for professional bachelor programmes are either relevant vocational upper secondary education and training (EUD) or general upper secondary education combined with relevant labour market experience. There may be more specific requirements regarding certain attainment levels within particular general subjects for some programmes (applicants with a VET background may have to take additional general education qualifications as a supplement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Apart from theoretical subjects, programmes are usually completed by a project examination and always contain a degree of workplace training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

Teacher, social educator, midwife, radiographer, occupational therapist, biomedical laboratory scientist, nurse, leisure manager, journalist, social worker, a wide range of engineering programmes.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

A professional bachelor degree can provide access to certain university-based master programmes.

Destination of graduates

Most graduates (75%) enter the labour market after they finish their professional bachelor programme.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

General education subjects are a major part of a professional bachelor education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

In 2017, 36 272 students were enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes. This figure indicates a significant increase over previous years of more than 50%. To strengthen cohesion at the tertiary level, since autumn 2011 all higher education from KVU to PhD level has been placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

The total number of students enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes was about 60% of the number of students who were enrolled in VET in 2017.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-5

CVET (AMU) for

new skills and upgrade

Adult vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-5, (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU)
EQF level
2-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

Range

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Half a day to 50 days; one week on average

  
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?

Yes and no

– some courses are free of charge, some have charges

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

Depending on what best corresponds to the needs of enterprises and participants, courses can take the form of traditional classroom teaching, training in open workshops, distance learning or training at the workplace and be spread over several consecutive days, over a longer period or conducted as evening classes. Programmes can be combined both within and across qualification areas and alternate between theory and practice.

Main providers

Vocational colleges, AMU training centres and private providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

75%

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

According to the needs of participants and enterprises, individual training maps are developed and followed and a range of learning types can be included.

Main target groups

AMU programmes target both low-skilled and skilled workers, but they are open to all citizens who are either resident or employed in Denmark, irrespective of educational background. Some AMU courses are also targeted at the unemployed. The objectives are threefold:

  • to contribute to maintaining and improving the vocational skills and competences of participants in accordance with the needs of the labour market and to further the competence development of participants;
  • to contribute to solving problems in labour-market restructuring and adaptation in accordance with the needs of the labour market in both the short- and long-term;
  • to give adults the possibility of upgrading competences for the labour market, as well as personal competences through opportunities to obtain formal competences in vocational education and training ([41]Source: Ministry of Education’s webportal. See the Governments objectives for adult vocational training: short vocational training programmes mainly for low skilled and skilled workers on the labour market. http://www.eng.uvm.dk/adult-education-and-continuing-training/adult-voca...).
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination of AMU courses is practical-based and, depending on the context, may include some theoretical elements. All courses are finalised with an examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon completion, participants receive a certificate. In around 120 programmes, this certification is a formal requirement for fulfilling certain job functions (such as operating certain machinery). AMU certificates are also included in the Danish qualifications framework for lifelong learning, at any point from level 2 to level 5.

Examples of qualifications

Truck driver, scaffolder, team leader

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

AMU certificates do not provide direct access to further education and training, although they can be included in an assessment of prior learning resulting in credit transfer, for example, if entering a mainstream VET programme in the same field.

Destination of graduates

Information not available ([42]ReferNet DK estimates the majority of graduates enter labour market.)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The validation process in conducted by the AMU Centre and the relevant teacher is responsible for the specific validation of prior learning. The process is a combination of validation of formal learning and practical assessment.

Prior to enrolment into adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed. Every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three models:

  • EUV 1: the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • EUV 2: the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • EUV 3: the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1).
General education subjects

Y

such as reading, writing and mathematics courses

Key competences

Key competences can be included

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All AMU courses are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

In 2018 the share of AMU participants among all VET participants was 6.5%.

In 2018, there were approximately 463 327 participants in AMU courses, a significant drop since 2010 when there were almost 590 000 participants in AMU.

This could partly be explained by the high pace and bustle of industry during this period, and partly by the rigidity and formal structures of the education system.

However, as many of these courses are of very short duration (as little as half a day), the figures for full-time equivalent students are much lower at just 7 406 in 2018 ([43]https://www.uddannelsesstatistik.dk/Pages/Reports/1801.aspx). This again represents a significant fall in comparison with 2010 figures. Most participants in the programmes either have VET as their highest level of education (51%) or compulsory schooling (25%) ([44]VEU-rådet (2011). Strategiske fokusområder 2011 [Strategic focuses 2011], p. 45.).

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Basic VET (EGU)

programmes,

WBL at least 75%

ISCED 353

Basic vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353 (Erhvervsgrunduddannelse, EGU)
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged below 30

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

Training is full-time. It is primarily practical, with little theoretical content, and combines alternating school-based (one third) and workplace-based training (two-thirds).

Main providers

Vocational colleges, agricultural colleges, social and healthcare colleges, etc.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=75%

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

Basic vocational training is aimed at unemployed young people aged below 30 who are unable to complete another form of education or training, which might equip them with qualifications to enter the labour market. The goal is to improve their vocational and personal skills and inspire them to enter the labour market or pursue further training possibilities.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements concerning age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The training programme is set on an individual basis and may contain elements from the main programmes. Each training period should be concluded as an individual training element, which may be accredited through other training programmes. Statements are issued giving details of training content, job function, marks, etc.

Diplomas/certificates provided

On completion of the entire training programme, a certificate is issued by the college. Any completed elements from a main programme can later be transferred as credit if entering the relevant programme.

Examples of qualifications

Low-skilled pedagogical assistant, low-skilled carpenter, low-skilled chauffeur

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • IVET
  • production school
  • adult education (AVU)
Destination of graduates

Graduates from EGU progress to ([32]Source: The Ministry of Children and Education, 2016.):

  • 48% in jobs;
  • 10% in education and training;
  • 38% receiving public support.
Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes obtained in companies and different education institutions are assessed and validated and can

be recognised as part of IVET.

General education subjects

Y

General education subjects (for example Danish or Mathematics) can be a part of the educational plan.

Key competences

Y

Key Competences can be a part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The school-based part of the programme will typically be based on learning outcomes.

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

Students within EGU ([33]Basic vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353 (Erhvervsgrunduddannelse, EGU).)

2012

2013

2014

2015

231 6

2 331

238 2

2337

Source: Statistics Denmark, 2018.

EQF 4-5

VET programmes (EUX),

WBL 50%,

4-4.5 years

ISCED 354

Combined vocational and general upper secondary education leading to EQF levels 4-5, ISCED 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse og gymnasial eksamen, EUX)
EQF level
4-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4-4.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning.
Main providers

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

In 2012, the EUX programme was introduced with the aim of bridging the gap between general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education and training.

It also offers highly motivated young people the opportunity to gain both vocational qualifications providing direct access to the labour market and general qualifications providing similar opportunities to continue into higher education as students in the four general upper secondary programmes.

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

There are no minimum or maximum entry requirements concerning age.

EUX students must fulfil the requirements for IVET programmes, including a minimum grade 2 in Danish and mathematics.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete an EUX programme the student must pass a journeyman’s test concerning the vocational part of the programme and an examination in 6 upper secondary subjects (including Danish at level A) concerning the non-vocational part of the programme.

If a learner fails the journeyman test or an examination in one of the 6 subjects, it is possible to have a re-examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners achieve both general and vocational upper secondary qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

EUX graduates gain both vocational qualifications providing direct access to the labour market and general qualifications providing similar opportunities to continue into higher education as graduates of the four general upper secondary programmes.

Destination of graduates

Since EUX was only introduced in 2012, there are only a small number of EUX graduates so far. It is, therefore, too early to predict their progress in continuing education and training or the labour market.

However, there is no doubt that the EUX programme has succeeded in attracting a more motivated and dedicated type of student to VET ([34]A preliminary evaluation of EUX was published in 2017:
https://uvm.dk/aktuelt/nyheder/uvm/udd/erhvervs/2017/mar/170315%20eux%20har%20potentiale%20til%20at%20tiltraekke%20en%20ny%20type%20elever%20til%20erhvervsuddannelserne
).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

If the learner has obtained certain parts of IVET or upper secondary education, it is possible to acquire awards through validation.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are part of the subjects in vocational colleges.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Since its introduction in 2012, the EUX programme has become quite popular. In 2019, 32.2% of all students choosing VET wanted an EUX programme in order to obtain a full VET qualification and a study preparatory qualification as well. Consequently, Danish VET institutions are working intensively to develop new learning arrangements combining learning outcomes from VET and general upper secondary institutions.

EQF 3-5

VET programmes,

apprenticeships (EUD),

WBL 67%,

3-5 years

ISCED levels 353 and 354

Vocational upper secondary education and training programmes leading to EQF levels 3-5, ISCED levels 353 and 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse, EUD)
EQF level
3-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

353-354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

22

Usual completion age

28.9

Length of a programme (years)

5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

EUD, as the main upper secondary VET option, is organised according to a dual principle, alternating between a training placement, generally in an enterprise, and periods of college-based training.

EUD consists of:

  • the introductory basic programmes, which are predominantly school-based and combine theoretical, classroom-based learning with, to varying degrees, more practical workshop-based learning. For example, the commercial programme concentrates more on classroom-based learning than many of the more technical programmes. Basic programmes combine common competence goals, where students are given a broad introduction to the competences to be acquired in the associated main programmes and pursue specific competence goals aimed at individual programmes;
  • the main programme, consisting of several ‘steps’ (trin) and specialisations that divide the main programme into branches. While the exact distribution varies according to both the programme and the needs of the individual student, the main programmes generally comprise alternating periods of workplace-based training and college-based teaching in a ratio of 2:1.

College-based teaching in the main programmes can be divided into four types of subject:

  • general subjects;
  • trade-specific area subjects;
  • specialised subjects;
  • optional subjects.

College-based teaching in the main programmes is organized through an integrated approach, and students frequently work on projects where they are expected to incorporate what they have learned in different subjects and combine both general and more specialised competences.

Main providers

VET colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Apprenticeships with:

  • practical training at school;
  • practical training in company.
Main target groups
  • young people (16-20) – main target group
  • young Adults (20-25)
  • adults (25+)
  • immigrants
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Admission to basic programmes

Admission is offered to anyone who has completed compulsory schooling at Folkeskole or equivalent and obtained the pass mark in Danish and mathematics in the leaving examination from the ninth or 10th grade respectively, unless they have an apprenticeship contract with a company.

Young people attending the first part of the basic programme just after compulsory school must be declared ‘study-ready’, based on an assessment of their academic, personal and social competences conducted by either the college or the local youth guidance centre (Ungdommens Uddannelsesvejledning). These assessments consider a broad range of factors such as grades, motivation and conflict management skills and are used in compiling individual education plans (Elevplan).

Admission to main programmes

All students completing a basic programme are entitled to complete one of the associated main programmes. These programmes generally commence with an on-the-job training placement. As such, the student must not only have completed the relevant basic programme, but also have an apprenticeship contract with an approved training company prior to being admitted to the main programme.

The students are duty-bound to seek out suitable placements. When no suitable placements are available in a desired programme, students are offered admission to another associated main programme where placements are available. Another possibility is for the student to enter a training agreement with the college itself, where practical training also takes place in a Placement Centre.

For some programmes (32), admission to the second of the two basic courses is limited. This is to ensure that the number of students is aligned with labour market needs. In these cases, all students are either admitted in accordance with a quota or are required to have a training agreement with an enterprise prior to commencing the second part of the relevant foundation course.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Basic programmes are completed with a project which forms the basis of an externally graded examination. This is done by an external examiner appointed by the school and validated by the education ministry.

In the main programmes, there are various forms of assessment throughout the course, including both oral and written examinations, and both theoretical and practical project work. The exact form of assessment can differ from programme to programme.

Programmes include both subject-specific examinations (for example, in English or mathematics) and broader assessments to evaluate students’ abilities to combine the knowledge, skills and competences acquired from the programme as a whole.

The final examination, which generally takes place during the final period of college-based learning, also varies from programme to programme. In some cases, it consists entirely of a college-based examination; in others it comprises a combination of a college-based examination and a journeyman’s test (svendeprøve); in others it involves only the journeyman’s test conducted by local training committees.

However, most common is a combination of an assessment of project-based practical assignments and a theoretical examination, either oral, written or both. The relevant local trade committee nominates external examiners. Generally, two external examiners assess individual students in cooperation with the teacher. The training college, in consultation with the trade committees, develops the content of examinations. After passing the journeyman’s certificate, the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([35]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Diplomas/certificates provided

The basic course examination leads to a certificate documenting the subjects and levels they have achieved; this certificate forms the basis for entering the main programme.

At the end of each training placement, the company issues a certificate to the college, the student and the trade committee listing the student’s achievements.

The successful passing of the final examination leads to a journeyman’s certificate; the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([36]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Examples of qualifications

Flight mechanic, event coordinator, fitness instructor, multimedia animator, veterinary nurse: ‘small animals’, veterinary nurse: ‘horses’, veterinary nurse: ‘aide’, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduating from EUD main programmes gives access to tertiary education in the previously acquired field. Additional general subject qualifications ([37]These courses can be obtained at Adult Education Centres (VUC).) are required at higher levels in order to gain access to higher education.

Destination of graduates

The most recent figures for students completing an EUD programme in 2015 show that, 6 months later, only 8% were continuing in higher education ([38]http://statweb.uni-c.dk/Databanken/uvmdataweb/fullClient/Default.aspx?report=EOU-gf-overg6-tiludd-frafuldf&res=1366x560 ).

Improving pathways from VET to higher education is currently a political priority.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire awards through validation of prior learning, and the education institution receiving the student is responsible for this.

General education subjects

Y

College-based teaching in the main programmes includes general education subjects, including English, mathematics, Danish, etc. However, in VET, the content of these subjects is adapted to the particular programme so that, for example, mathematics for carpenters will concentrate on areas relevant to working as a carpenter and will be quite different from mathematics for veterinary nurses. General subjects also include other broad subjects such as product development and basic materials science. College-based teaching also includes optional subjects that might help them gain competences, which provide access to further education, such as qualifications in general subjects at a higher level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are included in the subjects in the college-based part of VET, but are not taught as specific subjects.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All educational orders, defining the framework of a VET programme are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

After completing ninth (compulsory) or 10th grade in 2018, 93% of all students chose some form of further education or training activity, either general upper secondary education (73.1%), or EUD vocational upper secondary education and training (19.4%). As suggested by the discrepancy in these two sets of figures, students in VET are generally older. While the average age for young people commencing general upper secondary education is 16.6, the equivalent for those entering VET is 22. Young people also take longer to complete VET programmes: the average age for those completing a general upper secondary qualification in 2017 was 19.5; in VET it was 28.9.

In 2019, 32.2% of young people applying for a VET programme chose the EUX programme.

Students entering VET basic programmes (EUD and EUX) 2019

EQF 3-5

Adult VET (EUV)

programmes

3-5 years

ISCED 353, 354

Basic vocational adult education programmes (equivalent to EUD) leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353, 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse for voksne)
EQF level
3-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

353, 354

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Average: 22 years

Usual completion age

Average: 28.9 years

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 – 5.5 years

  
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

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

It is a dual system consisting of:

  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning;
  • apprenticeships.
Main providers

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

60%

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

EUV programmes target low-skilled workers with at least two years of relevant work experience and allow acquisition of qualifications equivalent to EUD, which incorporate validation of prior learning.

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

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a journeyman’s test (practical), organised by a professional committee. Some examinations in the school-based part of the programme are compulsory.

If a learner fails a journeyman’s test or an examination in a subject, re-examination is possible. Normally, three attempts are possible.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The basic course examination leads to a certificate documenting the subjects and levels they have achieved; this certificate forms the basis for entering the main programme.

At the end of each training placement, the company issues a certificate to the college, the student and the trade committee listing the student’s achievements.

The successful passing of the final examination leads to a journeyman’s certificate; the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([39]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VEU can enter the labour market or continue their studies at professional Academies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available ([40]ReferNet Denmark estimates the majority of graduates enter labour market.)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The validation process in conducted by the vocational school and the relevant vocational teacher is responsible for the specific validation of prior learning. The process is a combination of validation of formal learning and practical assessment.

Prior to enrolment into adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed. Every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three models:

  • EUV 1: the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • EUV 2: the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • EUV 3: the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1).
General education subjects

Y

Depending on the specific education programme, a number of subjects are included in the programme – for example Danish, mathematics.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are included in the subjects in the college-based part of VET, but are not taught as specific subjects.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All education orders, defining the framework of a VET programme, are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

The share of people aged 25 or more is 32% of the total VET learners.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available