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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

Main features of the VET system include:

  • in the last ten years participation in VET increased by more than 70% ([1]TodoFP:
    http://www.todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/sistema-educativo-fp/fp-actual.html
    );
  • in the same period, early leaving from education and training has considerably decreased but is still below the national target;
  • in VET programmes managed by the education authorities, males are the majority of learners: 71.1% in basic VET, 56.9% in intermediate VET and 52.4% in higher VET programmes ([2]More information on their repartition among professional sectors in: Sancha, I.; Gutiérrez, S. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Spain, Annex_T_5/2. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Spain_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
    );
  • 50% of VET learners are found in three professional branches: health, administration and management; information and communications technology; and sociocultural and community services;
  • the number of apprenticeships/dual VET learners ([3]Dual VET, in the national context refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim to obtain vocational qualifications, which may or not take the form of apprenticeship contracts.) is slowly increasing but is still a minority option compared to school-based programmes.

Distinctive features ([4]Adapted from Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on VET in Spain. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8104
)

The Spanish constitution provides the right to education and retraining, which public authorities have to promote. Initial vocational education and training (VET) is the responsibility of education authorities; continuous training is the responsibility of employment authorities. The national system for qualifications and vocational training is the umbrella for VET programmes, leading to formal qualifications awarded by either the education or employment authorities: they share the same consultation bodies but the governance and objectives of their VET qualifications and programmes differ.

Mutual recognition of some parts of the training (modules), acquired in training programmes offered by the education or employment authorities, is possible as both take as reference the occupational standards of the national catalogue ([5]The National catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP) comprises the most important occupations of the Spanish sector.).

VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.

The introduction of basic VET programmes (ISCED 353) and direct access to intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes in upper secondary have opened up progression routes for youngsters at risk of dropping out of compulsory education and, in some cases, for adults with low or no qualifications. Adults may have their skills recognised or acquire a formal qualification through training. Key competences tests have been developed for advanced VET programmes and professional certificate access. VET programmes using online or virtual learning environments and platforms are being developed to ease access to VET.

It is possible to acquire VET qualifications through dual VET. The dual principle (apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes) has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market, though there are territorial differences in its implementation.

There are common regulations for validating skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning and work experience. These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies. Regional authorities can initiate public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

In response to the significant increase in youth unemployment in recent years, current VET policy focuses on:

  • reducing early leaving from education and training;
  • improving citizens’ qualification levels and employability;
  • implementing the dual principle (apprenticeship-type training);
  • implementing e-learning and appropriate assessment criteria and quality assurance;
  • evaluating the VET system to improve its quality and efficiency;
  • improving VET attractiveness, engaging companies in VET and maintaining its labour market relevance;
  • aligning VET qualifications with labour market needs and skills forecasts and with sectoral needs;
  • developing a comprehensive national qualifications framework and improving implementation of other European tools and principles to promote labour and training mobility and support lifelong learning.

The 2013 education reform aimed to improve VET standards and make VET more attractive to young people. It sought to meet their interests and encourage them to progress in their qualification by introducing flexible learning paths in secondary education and VET programmes.

VET is also the main pillar of the national strategy for entrepreneurship and youth employment (2013-16) and the Spanish strategy for employment activation (2014-16). Several VET-related short-term measures are being implemented at national and regional levels. The effectiveness, efficiency and quality of VET under the remit of the employment authorities are assessed annually. However, assessment results need to inform decision-making on VET offers.

The Reform of vocational training for employment within the labour sphere in 2015 aimed to increase continuing VET quality and improve management of public funds. This is to be guaranteed through accreditation of VET providers and by offering training leading to formal qualifications. Monitoring training outcomes, including transition to employment, will also support training quality; a common training database is being developed for this. Social partners and regional authorities participate in continuing VET quality assurance. ([6]Data adapted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on VET in Spain. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8104
)

Population in 2018: 46 658 447 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Population has slightly decreased in recent years (-0.1%) ([8]NB: data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). The fall was small partly thanks to positive net migration since 2016.

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060 ([9]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

Medium-term forecasts indicate that an important proportion of job openings will mainly come from the need to replace workers retiring or changing occupations, which will require qualified people through VET ([10]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/spain-skills-anticipation-and-future-sectoral-training-needs-outlook-and-challenges).

According to the constitution, Spanish is the official language of the State. Other languages, such as Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian are also official in the respective Autonomous Communities. Regional authorities should ensure education in the official languages. Some VET providers also offer VET programmes in a foreign language.

Most companies are micro companies with fewer than 10 employees (90%)

 

Companies by number of employees in 2018

Source: INE. Companies by Autonomous Community, main activity (CNAE 2009 groups) and wage earner stratum. http://www.ine.es/jaxiT3/Tabla.htm?t=298&L=1 [extracted 14.6.19].

 

The economy grew by 3.1% in 2017 ([11]Eurostat, Real GDP growth rate – volume. Percentage change on previous year (tec00115). Last update 13.6.2018 [extracted 14.6.2018].), surpassing the European average and forecasts.

The Spanish economy shows a growing evolution towards a service economy, though in 2017 construction, the primary sector, and industry (primarily manufacturing) contributed more to GDP growth.

 

GDPmp according to components 2017 (%)

Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.

 

All economic sectors experienced a rise in employment in 2017, with three out of four employed workers in the service sector. In 2017, the share of employees increased by 2.6% compared to 2016. Employment grew in most branches of economic activity, especially in the primary sector (5.8%)

Employees by economic activity in 2017

Employed

%

Variation

Total

100

2.6

Agriculture

4.4

5.8

Industry

14.1

5

Construction

6

5.1

Services

75.6

1.9

Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.

The number of companies with employees grew by 1.75% compared with 2016, representing 44.45% of businesses in 2017.

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated.

For some jobs, it is necessary to hold a certificate of professional competence (CAP, certificado de aptitud professional), for example, electrical and gas technicians. These certificates can be obtained by accrediting a full vocational qualification (VET diploma from the education system), a professional certificate (CdP, from the employment system) or partial qualification (units of competence, UC). In the absence any of these, it is also possible in some cases to receive specific training and take a test. Training providers in such cases must be recognised or certified by the authority in charge. Regional authorities are responsible for issuing certificates of professional competence (CAP).

The total unemployment rate ([12]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018 was 13.9% (6% in EU-28); it has increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ([13]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment rates correlate with education attainment. Although unemployment has been decreasing steadily since 2013, in 2018 at ISCED levels 3 and 4 (where most VET learners are found) it was still considerably higher than ten years before. For those aged 15 to 24 it is more than twice as high as in the total population with the same level qualifications ([14]31.2% and 13.8% respectively.).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 67.2% in 2014 to 75.8% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

In 2014-18, the increase in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates was higher (+8.6 pp) compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.8 pp) in the same period ([15]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The share of the adult population aged 25 to 64 with high- level qualifications (ISCED 5-8) (39.9%) is higher in Spain that in the EU-28 (32.2%). In contrast, the share of those with medium-level qualifications (ISCED 3-4) is the lowest (22.9%) in the EU-28 while the share of those up to 64 with no or low qualifications was 39.9%, one of the highest in the EU.

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; 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

1.3%

35.3%

100.0%

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].

 

There are considerably more males in education authority VET programmes at all three levels: 71.1% in basic VET ISCED 353, and 56.9% and 52.4%, respectively in intermediate and higher VET. There are significant differences between professional branches.

Female students generally prefer pathways in personal image, sociocultural and community services and health.

The maritime and fishing industry sector attracts only male students, which are also in the majority in transport and vehicle maintenance, electricity and electronics, metal working and information and communications technology.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 30.9% in 2009 to 17.9% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 15%, and 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.
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].

 

Unemployment correlates with educational attainment. Since 2013, learner dropout from schools, among the 18-24 age group without at least a medium level qualification (upper secondary), has been a major concern for education and labour authorities. Basic VET programmes, introduced in 2014, aim to offer an attractive option for learners to remain in or return to education and training.

In 2018, the share of early leavers reached 17.9%, with a fall of 13 points in the last 10 years, though it did not reach the national target of 15% in over seven regions. It is lower among women and higher in the foreign population (35.8% compared to 15.9% among Spaniards).

 

Early leavers from education and training in the EU-28 and Spanish regions in 2017

Source: ReferNet Spain, 2018.

 

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].

 

According to the latest national survey on the participation of the adult population in learning activities ([16]INE (2018). Encuesta sobre la participación de la población adulta en actividades de aprendizaje 2016 [Survey on the participation of the adult population in learning activities]. INE press release; 30.11.2017.
http://www.ine.es/prensa/eada_2016.pdf
), over 47% of the population between 18 and 64 years of age carried out some type of training activity (formal or non-formal) in 2016.

The share of people in lifelong learning aged 25 to 64 in 2018 is 10.5%, slightly below the EU-28 share (11.1%).

 

Share of students by age and VET level in 2015/16 ([17]Theoretical ages are those established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.)

Source: ReferNet, 2018.

 

In formal education, two-year VET programmes are offered at all three levels to school-age learners; programmes are also accessible to adults:

  • lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15; mostly at risk of dropping out; most learners (55.1%) are within the theoretical age ([18]Theoretical ages are those established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.), 44.1% are older (up to 24), while the share of people over 25 enrolled in basic VET is insignificant (0.8%);
  • upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are for learners aged 17-18. Almost one third (31.5%) of learners are within the theoretical age, the majority are older (44.1% are up to 24 while 20.2% are over 25);
  • higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19. Their age distribution with respect to the theoretical age is 19.3% within the theoretical age, 51.6% are at most 24 and 29.1% are over 25.

These data reflect a trend to re-engage in education and training to upskill for employment.

The Spanish education and training system includes:

  • early childhood (ISCED 0)
  • primary education (ISCED 1), six years (6-12);
  • compulsory lower secondary education (ISCED 2), four years (12-16);
  • post-compulsory upper secondary programmes (ISCED 3) ([19]There are two main orientations, a general academic route and intermediate level VET. Other programmes in arts or sports are also included at this level but with a low rate of students.)
  • higher VET programmes (ISCED 5);
  • higher education academic programmes (ISCED 6,7,8).

Compulsory education includes six years in primary (6-12) and four years in lower secondary (years 12-16). The age of 16 is the end of compulsory education, irrespective of the level of education achieved, but students of lower secondary education can stay on till 18 in some cases, in order to achieve a qualification.

Formal education general and vocational programmes are regulated by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (hereafter: education ministry). VET programmes are offered at three levels:

  • lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15;
  • upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes for learners aged 17-18;
  • higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19.

To prevent early leaving from education and training, since 2014 basic VET programmes have been offered to learners at age 15 to gain skills and have the opportunity to complete lower secondary education (called ESO in the national context).

Initial VET programmes in the education system are mostly school-based at basic level; at intermediate and higher VET, more flexible learning forms are also possible (distance learning)

Outside the education system, for learners over 16, the Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security (hereafter: employment authority) offers training programmes to acquire (credits of) competences (partial or full vocational qualifications) recognised by the State; these can be accumulated towards a professional certificate (CdPs) issued by the employment authorities or a VET diploma issued by the education ministry. Flexible learning forms (through e-learning platforms) allow learners to combine learning with personal and professional life.

Formal IVET (under the education remit)

Following the 2013 education reform, basic VET programmes have been available since 2014 in the education system for learners at age 15, in parallel to general secondary programmes. The education team recommend these programmes to learners for whom they offer best option to complete their training and/or avoid early leaving, as well as those at risk of dropping out early. Learners follow a Two-year programme to acquire a basic vocational qualification and have the possibility, under some conditions, to obtain the end of lower secondary certificate (ESO diploma) which ends compulsory education. Direct access to intermediate VET is possible with or without the ESO diploma.

Formal VET programmes run on two other levels: upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) and tertiary higher VET (ISCED 554). They deliver VET qualifications (VET diplomas) that have academic and professional validity.

Education authority VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.

Artistic, sports and foreign language education have their own organisation and are considered ‘specialised education’. Specific training programmes in arts and design and in sports are offered at ISCED levels 354 and 554 in schools, specialised according to the field of studies and level of education concerned. Foreign language education is organised according to the European Framework for learning, teaching and assessment of languages (CERF) ([20]https://www.coe.int/en/web/portfolio/the-common-european-framework-of-reference-for-languages-learning-teaching-assessment-cefr-).

Formal CVET (under the employment remit) Formal vocational qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) are also offered by the employment authorities to learners over 16; professional certificates are recognised by the State. These programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction that will be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.

Common characteristics of IVET and CVET qualifications

Both types of formal qualification, VET diplomas and professional certificates, are expressed in learning outcomes (resultados de aprendizaje o realizaciones profesionales) and are modular in nature. They are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) ([21]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales (CNCP).).

Learning forms (education authority VET):

  • school-based (full or part-time);
  • dual VET (apprenticeship contracts or learning agreements) ([22]See Section 7. Apprenticeship.);
  • face to face;
  • distance learning.

The share of WBL varies from 50% to 65% depending on the level. Practical training takes place in school workshops, laboratories, simulations; a compulsory practical placement in a company (of average 400 hours, depending on the level) is included in all VET programmes/levels.

When the programme is delivered in dual VET ([23]Dual refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim to obtain vocational qualifications, which may or not take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje).) ([24]Education authority dual VET:
http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual.html
), it may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) or a learning agreement. The programme duration may be extended from an original two years to three; in-company practical training covers 33% - 85% of the learning hours fixed in the qualification.

In case of dual VET without a contract, a learning agreement is to be signed between the company, the school and the learner. Participants have the status of student (no age limit applies) and may benefit from a scholarship, depending on the region. The agreement must comply with the prescribed working and training conditions set in the qualification, define the duration of the learning programme (two or three years) and the involvement of the company (minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification, with a maximum share of 85%).

Learning forms (employment authority VET):

  • face-to-face learning;
  • distance learning through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms) or blended learning (since 2015)
  • dual VET (apprenticeship contracts) ([25]See Section 7. Apprenticeship).

In employment authority vocational training programmes, classroom-based learning in a training centre (workshops, laboratories, simulations, etc.) is combined with a compulsory practical placement in a company, of variable length depending on the programme content.

When the programme is delivered through a dual VET/apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) the classroom-based learning covers at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year.

Adult learning

Adult training provision is large and diverse, including literacy processes and basic education, training targeting integration into the labour market, and leisure activities. It comprises different types of provision and programmes offered by the education, employment and local authorities.

The education authorities offer specific programmes of basic education for adults ([26]Primary and secondary education.); basic VET (ISCED 353) and intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are also accessible to adults.

All post-compulsory education programmes are open to adults, including higher VET ISCED 554 programmes. These may or may not include flexible attendance arrangements to combine learning with personal and professional life.

The employment authorities organise a wide range of training actions for the unemployed with the aim of improving their employability and facilitating their integration into the labour market. This provision is integrated in the system of vocational training for employment, which includes other actions aimed primarily at employed workers. Unemployed people may also participate in some of these actions.

Dual VET

The dual principle, introduced by the Royal decree of 1529/2012 ([27]Royal Decree 1529/2012 of 8 November 2012 settling the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) and the basis for dual training.), has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market with territorial differences in its implementation. It refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim of obtaining vocational qualifications, which may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) in education or employment authority VET programmes), or without a contractual labour relationship (only in education VET programmes).

Since 2016, apprenticeships must be linked ([28]Since 2016.) to a VET programme leading to an official qualification, issued by the education authorities (VET diplomas) or the employment authorities (professional certificates, Certificados de Profesionalidad, CdPs). Training not leading to qualifications/certificates has since been discontinued, unless it is complementary to the qualification programme undertaken by the apprentice.

Dual VET ([29]http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual.html) is delivered through apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes. Different dual vocational training development models coexist, depending on the greater or lesser participation of the company in the training activities, from training exclusively in the training centre to exclusively in the company.

The apprenticeship contract

This type of contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) can be signed by 16 to 25 year-olds (or up to 30 until youth unemployment decreases) with low-level qualifications ([30]People with no university, higher (ISCED 554) or intermediate (ISCED 354) VET qualification or equivalent.), for one to three years. There is no age limit for people with disabilities or who experience social exclusion.

The salary is set by collective agreement in proportion to the actual working time and cannot be lower than the minimum wage. The effective working time (work-based learning), compatible with that dedicated to training activities, cannot be more than 75% of the maximum working time during the first year, or 85% during the second and third years. The remaining share to complete the VET programme (respectively 25% and 15%) is dedicated to theoretical learning in classroom-setting.

The use or not of apprenticeship contracts depends, apart from the learners’ age, on factors such as the regional regulation, which affects how dual projects (see below) are to be set in their territorial scope, or the company willingness.

Unemployed people with no formal qualifications hired through a training and apprenticeship contract benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection and unemployment benefit

Companies turning apprenticeship contracts into permanent ones (at least three years) benefit from incentives (EUR 1 500 or EUR 1 800 for women). In the case of workers enrolled in the National youth guarantee system, this incentive, in the same percentages, will consist of a bonus.

Dual projects in formal VET (learning agreements)

Learners participating in dual VET projects within the education system ([31]http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual/fp-dual-en-sistema-educativo.html) may hold an apprenticeship contract, but most frequently they sign learning agreements ([32]See Section
6. VET within education and training system.
).

In the case of dual projects, participating VET providers must be authorised to offer dual VET, must have signed an agreement with companies within each specific industry, and their dual VET projects are to be carried out in a productive environment which complies with all suitable requirements for its implementation.

Some of the main features of learning agreements are that:

  • the company will participate in a minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification. The maximum share is 85%;
  • the duration of the learning programme can be extended from the usual two years to three;
  • learners may undertake the practical in-company placement only after having completed the first part of the programme in a training centre. Each region has different regulations on when the placement can start;
  • student assessment is the responsibility of teachers at the school or VET institution, considering the opinion of in-company tutors and trainers and work performance.

The improvement and increase in dual projects in intermediate and higher VET programmes has meant growth in the number of students, training centres and companies involved in dual VET since 2012/13. However, dual projects are still a minority compared to classroom VET programmes. In the 2016/17 school year, those enrolled in education authority dual VET only represented 3% of total VET students.

The alliance for dual training (Alianza para la FP Dual) ([33]http://www.alianzafpdual.es/) is a private initiative and an active State-wide network of institutions, research centres and companies, in place since 2015; it has been supporting implementation of dual VET in some regions, especially in education authority VET programmes.

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

Legislation

The VET system is governed by Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational education and training (LOCFP) ([34]Head of State (2002). Ley Orgánica 5/2002, de 19 de junio, de las Cualificaciones y de la Formación Profesional [Organic Act 5/2002 of 19 June, on qualifications and vocational education and training]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 147, 20.6.2002, pp. 22437-22442.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2002/06/20/pdfs/A22437-22442.pdf Ley Orgánica de las Cualificaciones y la Formación Profesional – LOCFP.
). This covers the training programmes included in initial and continuing VET, to enable skilling, upskilling and reskilling.

Education in Spain, including VET, is regulated by the 2006 Education Act (LOE) ([35]Head of State (2006). Ley Orgánica 2/2006, de 3 de mayo, de Educación [Organic Act 2/2006 of 3 May on Education]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 106, 4.5.2006, pp. 17158-17207.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2006/05/04/pdfs/A17158-1207.pdf
) and the 2013 Act for the improvement of education quality (LOMCE) ([36]Head of State (2013). Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa [Organic Act 8/2013, of 9 December, for the improvement of educational quality]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 295, 10.12.2013, pp. 97858-97921.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2013/12/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2013-12886.pdf
). Some measures for full implementation of the LOMCE law are pending.

Act 30/2015 ([37]Head of State (2015). Ley 30/2015, de 9 de septiembre, por la que se regula el sistema de formación profesional para el empleo en el ámbito laboral [Act 30/2015, of September 9, which regulates the vocational training for employment system in the labour scope]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 217, 10.9.2015, pp. 79779-79823.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/09/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-9734.pdf
) regulates vocational training for employment; implementation of the new framework created is still under development.

Governance

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is responsible for national IVET policies, quality of IVET programmes and curricula.

The Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security sets the policies for vocational training under its remit. The aim is to (up)skill and retrain the unemployed and employees, and to support employability matching skills with the needs of the local economy.

Implementation of VET policies is managed by the regions, which may shape (up to 35-45% of) IVET curricula based on local/territorial needs.

Implementation – advisory bodies

Main bodies involved in education:

  • at national level, the General Council for Vocational Training ([38]Consejo General de la Formación Profesional (CGFP).) is the Government advisory body on VET policy; it comprises representatives of education and employment authorities (at national and regional levels) as well as social partners (enterprises and trade unions);
  • the National Education Council ([39]Consejo Escolar del Estado.) is the education ministry advisory body publishing annual reports with recommendations for policy setting;
  • the sectoral education conference, made up of the minister of education and the relevant councillors of each region, may be held several times per year to coordinate education at national and regional levels.

Main bodies involved in vocational training for employment:

  • the General council for the national employment system (Consejo General del Sistema Nacional de Empleo) is the main consultative and participatory body for public authorities and social partners. In particular for VET issues, it carries out its functions through the training for employment State commission (Comisión estatal de formación para el empleo);
  • the sectoral conference on labour affairs (Conferencia Sectorial de Empleo y Asuntos Laborales) is the general instrument for coordination and cooperation between the central Government and the regions in employment policy. One of its functions is to distribute available funds between the regions;
  • the State foundation for training in employment (Fundación Estatal para la Formación en el Empleo – Fundae) ([40]Fundae:
    https://www.fundae.es
    ) is a public body comprising the State general administration, the regions and the most representative business and trade union organisations. It provides technical support to the State public employment service (SEPE), and to the labour ministry in the strategic development of the system of vocational training for employment in the work sphere.
  • joint sectoral structures ([41]Fundae - Comisiones paritarias sectoriales:
    https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Queson.aspx
    ) made up of the representative business and union organisations in each relevant sector ([42]They were redefined by Act 30/2015 in replacement of the joint sectoral commissions in place since 1993.). Their main task is to anticipate training needs and propose sectoral training based on their knowledge of the real productive environment; however, until Act 30/2015 is fully developed and provisions specifying their duties and ways of operating are defined, the joint sectoral commissions are still functioning.

Active labour market policies are agreed in the framework of the sectoral conference on labour affairs. The framework, coordination and implementation of these policies are based on three instruments: the Spanish strategy for employment activation, the annual plans for employment policy ([43]Plan anual de política de empleo (PAPE).) and the information system for public employment services. Regional public employment services ([44]PES.) design and manage their own policies based on this common framework, with a commitment to transparency, evaluation and results orientation.

Different types of institutions provide vocational training ([45]Integrated centres and private institutions can provide training programmes leading to both types of VET qualification (VET diplomas and professional certificates, issued, respectively by the education and employment VET authorities). VET providers per type of qualification are listed in each VET programme section.):

  • publicly-funded vocational training integrated institutions, which have autonomy regarding their organisation and management;
  • publicly-funded institutions offering vocational training;
  • national reference institutions, specialised in the different productive sectors, which are responsible for innovation and experimentation in vocational training. They may be owned and managed by different authorities;
  • public institutions of the national employment system ([46]The SEPE (State Public Employment Service) and the Public Employment Services of the Autonomous Regions conform to the National Employment System – a group of structures, measures and actions needed to promote employment policies. The most representative business organisations and trade unions are also involved.);
  • private authorised institutions of the national employment system offering vocational training for employment;
  • business organisations and trade unions, as well as other bodies benefiting from various funding schemes;
  • companies developing training actions.

Non-formal training CVET providers

Companies carrying out training activities (not leading to a State-recognised qualification) for their staff can hire external training providers or provide the training themselves. Funding for such activities comes mainly from business and worker contributions, collected and distributed countrywide. 70% of all companies that organised training for their employees in 2017 are micro SMEs with less than 10 employees ([47]More info at: Fundae (2019). Training for employment: key findings 2018.
https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Documents/Estad%C3%ADstica/Key%20findings%202018.pdf
).

There are subsidised training schemes (mainly through open calls for proposals) for different types of training activity for the (un)employed at no cost to learners (sectoral, cross-sectoral programmes for the (un)employed, public employment services training schemes for the unemployed).

Formal VET is mostly State-financed.

In education authority VET, most VET providers are public or publicly-funded; only one in four learners attends a private VET centre. Training centres which are 100% private do not receive public funds. Training always leads to a formal VET qualification (VET diplomas).

Qualifications in training for employment are delivered by private or public centres (integrated centres, national reference centres) accredited for each qualification. In some cases, providers can apply for public funds to cover expenses, with a cost limit per hour/per participant for each course leading to a formal VET qualification (professional certificates, CdPs).

 

Distribution (%) of public expenditure on education by activity 2017 (**)

NB: Provisional data. (*): Specialised ed., adult ed. and other types. (**): For the calculation of this distribution, adjustment and undistributed by activity items have been excluded.
Source: MEyFP (2019). Nota: Estadística del Gasto Público en Educación. Resultados provisionales Año 2017 [Note: Statistics of public expenditure on education: 2017 interim results] http://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dms/mecd/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/recursos-economicos/gasto-publico/2017/2017NotaRes.pdf

 

Employment authority VET is funded mainly by contributions by companies and workers to social security ([48]The vocational training levy is calculated by multiplying by 0,70% company contributions for common contingencies and worker contributions to Social Security; 0,60% is provided by the company and the remaining 0,10%, by the worker.).

Funding for State-wide training schemes for the employed is managed by the State foundation for training in employment ([49]Fundae.) together with the State public employment service ([50]Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE).). At regional level, training schemes are managed by the regional labour authorities. The national institute of public administration (INAP) manages training for civil servants.

Following the 2015 reform ([51]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/spain-government-approves-reform-vocational-training), only authorised training providers are allowed to receive funds for training leading to State-recognised vocational qualifications. Therefore, employers’ organisations, trade unions and other organisations may deliver training under the condition that they are accredited or registered as ‘other training providers’.

 

Governance and target groups – Employment VET

Source: SEPE (2018). Informe Anual 2017 [Annual report 2017]. https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/que_es_el_sepe/publicaciones/pdf/pdf_sobre_el_sepe/informe_anual_2017.pdf

 

Funds allocated for vocational training for employment come mainly from the State budget, through the training levy that all private companies must pay as part of the social security contribution. This is calculated by multiplying by 0.70% company contributions for common contingencies and worker contributions to social security; 0.60% is provided by the company and the remaining 0.10%, by the worker. Other contributions come from SEPE and the regions. Training actions may be jointly financed through the European Social Fund or other European funding.

These funds are allocated to different funding schemes, providing training free of charge for the unemployed and employees:

  • training organised by companies for their employees (formación programada por la empresa);
  • subsidised training schemes through open calls for proposals, such as sectoral and cross-sectoral training programmes for the (self-)employed, including those working in the social economy (cooperatives) (planes de formación intersectoriales, sectoriales, autónomos, y economía social);
  • subsidised training schemes for the unemployed, including ‘training plans’ (planes de formación) aimed at meeting needs identified by the public employment services and specific training programmes. These are funded through open calls for proposals;
  • other training initiatives, such as individual training leave (permisos individuales de formación, PIF), alternance training (formación en alternancia), civil servant training, training in prisons, among others. The way in which these initiatives are funded varies.

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees in 2018

NB: (*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). Key findings 2018. Updated March 2019.
https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Balance-de-resultados.aspx

 

The 2006 Education Act and the 2013 Act for the improvement of educational quality ([52]LOMCE) regulate State-wide requirements for teaching staff, initial and continuing professional development (CPD), and the conditions for recognition, support and value of VET teachers. The same requirements apply for all secondary non-university education.

The main categories of VET teachers and trainers are:

In education authority VET programmes

  • secondary school teachers;
  • technical vocational teachers;
  • when necessary, experts in different professional sectors and in-company trainers (trainers/tutors involved in practical training modules at workplaces) can participate in training delivery.

In employment authority vocational programmes:

  • trainers/instructors, teaching theoretical technical content;
  • technical teachers, providing vocational technical and practical content in situations closer to the reality of work;
  • in-company trainers/tutors.

Formal requirements for VET teachers in formal education:

VET teachers must:

  • hold a university degree (ISCED 6);
  • hold a master degree (university master degree in teacher training);
  • undergo an internship at an education centre;
  • in public education, teachers have the status of civil servants, and need to pass a complex selection process to acquire such condition.

In-company trainers are experienced professionals who guide, monitor and assess apprentices; there are no formal teaching requirements for in-company trainers.

Formal requirements in the employment sphere

Requirements for trainers/instructors depend on the type of training to be provided. In the case of training linked to the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), each professional certificate regulation sets the academic and teaching qualifications and experience that trainers must meet for each training module.

Trainers must generally hold a higher qualification than the one they are delivering, at least one year of experience, and some qualification on teaching methodology for adults.

In the case of training specialities not linked to the CNCP, requirements for trainers are set in terms of qualifications, professional experience and teaching competence.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a right and a professional duty.

Education acts (LOE and LOMCE) ([53]Ley Orgánica de Educación 2006 (LOE) [2006 Organic Law on Education]. Ley Orgánica 8/2013 para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa (LOMCE) [Organic Law No 8/2013 on improving education quality].) set a series of guidelines for CPD. The education authorities are responsible for planning, organising and recognising continuing professional development within their scope, providing teachers with a wide range of activities. The education ministry, through the National Institute for Education Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), offers permanent State-wide training programmes via agreements with other institutions. Autonomous regions, at regional level, also offer continuing professional training for teachers.

Teachers’ continuing professional development is associated with career and wage progression. A grading system takes into account training and work experience for regional and national mobility; and financial benefits (supplement for lifelong learning every six years worked cumulatively). Regional education authorities may run annual training plans (training plans are not compulsory in all regions) to organise continuing professional development activities in their territory.

The National Institute of Education Technologies and Teacher Training ([54]INTEF) is developing interactive and multimedia digital education resources (including professional training) in collaboration with the regions, to support social networking, integration of ICT in non-university education, and teachers’ digital skills. The digital competence passport allows teachers to measure and monitor ICT skills development.

In both the education and the employment strands, the national reference centres ([55]Centros de Referencia Nacional (CRN):
https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/centros-de-referencia-nacional/centros-referencia-nacional.html
) play a key role in teacher and trainer continuing professional development activities. They offer face-to-face training courses that aim to improve methodological and technical skills and support innovation in priority areas. The main beneficiaries are VET teachers, in-company trainers and other experts/professionals from the sectors involved in employment authority training programmes.

To improve the quality of the training offer, the national reference centres (CRNs) develop guidelines and reference guides for teaching and training staff on how best to teach and assess learning outcomes taught in professional certificate programmes.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([56]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment ([57]Act 30/2015 regulating vocational training for employment.), put the employment ministry, through the observatory of the public State employment service (SEPE), in charge of research and detection of training needs. The observatory works in coordination and cooperation with the autonomous communities, (via the sectoral conference on employment and labour issues), and the social partners (via the general council for the national employment system).

Skills anticipation in Spain takes place at different levels and in different bodies, involving substantial stakeholder/social partner engagement. Labour market and skills analysis is primarily based on data from

  • labour force survey (LFS) statistics;
  • administrative data on employment;
  • registered unemployment data collected by employment authorities;
  • ad hoc surveys carried out by public or other institutions; these may take a sectoral or more general approach;
  • the alert network of the professional observatory of the National Qualifications Institute.

These sources are used to monitor the labour market and quantify past trends to provide insight on how employment is changing.

Education and employment authorities, at national and regional levels, have their own services for monitoring labour market trends and qualifications evolution. Regular graduate tracking measures are established at regional level, without a structural approach at national level.

A collaboration agreement on reciprocal data exchange on VET graduates was signed in 2017 between the ministries of education and social security to allow tracking and analysis of their employability. A new survey on learner transition from education and training to the labour market ([58]Encuesta de Transición Educativo-Formativa e Inserción Laboral (ETEFIL).) is being prepared. It focuses on the referral course 2013-14 targeting dropouts from lower secondary (ESO); lower and upper secondary (ESO and baccalaureate, respectively), intermediate VET and higher VET graduates ([59]Results from previous ETEFIL round can be found at
https://www.mecd.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/mercado-laboral/transicion/encuesta-2005.html
).

Other State-wide institutions monitor skill needs and trends:

  • the National Institute of Qualifications ([60]Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones (INCUAL).) has its own observatory ([61]http://incual.mecd.es/observatorio-objetivos-y-funciones). It monitors needs for new occupational standards in all 26 professional branches and updates the national catalogue, in cooperation with sectoral and territorial observatories;
  • the State public employment service ([62]SEPE) has an Observatory of Occupations ([63]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/observatorio.html). It publishes reports on existing and future training needs, job offers’ profiles and labour market evolution and trends. It also publishes sectoral studies, using quantitative and qualitative techniques and constantly updated social and occupational indicators;
  • the national reference centres (CRNs) as centres of innovation and experimentation in productive sectors, address changes in the demand for qualification. They liaise with business and union organisations and universities, and establish benchmarks for common use within the network.

The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment ([64]Act 30/2015 regulating vocational training for employment.) foresees the development of multi-annual skills anticipation every three years for planning the vocational training system initiatives, in line with the Spanish strategy for employment activation. It will involve the most representative business and trade union organisations, the regions, sectoral joint structures and other organisations (for self-employed workers and entities of the social economy). Other ministerial departments, observatories and experts may also collaborate ([65]For further information, please check Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Spain. Analytical highlights series.
https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-spain
).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([66]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([67]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

See also national forecast and identification of training needs reports produced by the State public employment service (SEPE) ([68]http://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/observatorio/necesidades-formativas.html).

Stakeholders are involved in designing and updating VET qualifications in line with labour market needs. They develop occupational standards in all sectors of the economy; these make up the national register (CNCP) ([69]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales (CNCP).) and are used as reference for designing and updating VET programmes and qualifications ([70]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Occupational standards

The backbone of VET is the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) ([71]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales.), which comprises the most important occupations organised in 26 sector branches. It currently has 668 occupational standards on three levels, according to the degree of complexity, autonomy and responsibility necessary to carry out a work activity ([72]http://incual.mecd.es/bdc).

Occupational standards ([73]Cualificación Profesional, in the national context.), consist of a set of competence units (UCs) reflecting the expected performance of a job holder in the respective occupation. A competence unit is defined as ‘the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified’. Each competence unit is associated to a learning module, which describes the necessary learning (knowledge, skills and competences) required to achieve that unit. The learning specifications are expressed as capacities (learning outcomes) and their related assessment criteria, as well as the contents leading to the achievement of those capacities. The capacities to be completed in a real working environment are also identified.

 

Structure of occupational standards

Source: INCUAL.

 

Occupational standards are used by the education and employment authorities to design VET qualifications: VET diplomas and professional certificates (CdP).

  • VET diplomas are composed of a set of these occupational standards ([74]This set consists of several occupational standards, encompassing all or some of their UCs.);
  • a single occupational standard is used for each professional certificate ([75]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

As stated in Act 5/2002, the Government establishes the equivalences and recognition between VET diplomas (issued by education authorities) and professional certificates (issued by employment authorities) through competence units.

The national institute of qualifications ([76]Instituto Nacional de las Cualificaciones (INCUAL).) is responsible for defining, drawing up and updating the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) and the corresponding competence units and learning modules, in active cooperation with VET stakeholders ([77]Organisations in the General council for vocational training.). Regions have an active role in the development of some professional branches according to their productive context; this is the case for Galicia in the maritime and fishing industry (MAP) or for País Vasco in metalworking (FME).

Experts from the 26 professional branches, covering both the productive and training sectors, work together to define the occupational units of competence and the standards of the reference profiles in the production system. A competence unit is then described in terms of the professional tasks that skilled workers do.

Updating and reviewing all vocational qualifications is continuous and starts with standards older than 5 years or when the changes in the production sectors make it advisable to update before five years. This process involves all parties, including experts from companies and VET institutions, as well as an external validation of the revised occupational standards, based on current labour market needs analysis in terms of skills supply and demand in all sectors and professional branches. INCUAL collects information through various channels using qualitative and quantitative approaches and VET qualifications are updated accordingly. New occupational standards are created based on identified emerging professional profiles.

National reference centres (CRN) are in charge of planning and carrying out activities for innovation, experimentation and training, which serve as a point of reference for the whole national system of qualifications and vocational training for the development of VET.

Recently, INCUAL has improved its observatory and created an early warning system network, with different stakeholders, to identify prospective trends and changes in professional profile requirements and to draw up and, if necessary, modify the occupational standards.

VET diplomas (education authority VET)

These are based on the occupational standards included in the CNCP. They are offered at basic, intermediate and higher levels, have an academic and professional value and signify both an education level and the professional qualification obtained. They are accessible to learners enrolled to basic, intermediate and higher VET programmes.

A working group of educational and technological experts, drawn from the related productive sector and different regions, work together to design and draw up each diploma programme. Educational experts are usually teachers or trainers in the same professional field. Several consultation rounds take place before a VET qualification is approved by the Government and all interested groups and institutions can express their considerations ([78]See the webpage on new diplomas (drafts) on the official website of the Ministry of Education.
TodoFP.es: nuevos títulos (LOE); borradores:
http://www.todofp.es/todofp/que-como-y-donde-estudiar/que-estudiar/nuevos-titulos/borradores.html
). All main advisory bodies are involved in the process:

  • the sectoral education conference;
  • the general council for vocational training (CGFP),
  • the national education council;
  • when other authorities have responsibilities in the occupation or professional fields to which the curriculum of the diploma programmes refers, their favourable report is a prerequisite for approval and publication in the official gazette (BOE).

VET diploma programmes, defined according to learning outcomes, are approved by royal decrees for 55-65% of national curricula, ensuring the validity and the consistency of the qualifications nationally. Between 45 and 35% of the curricula contents are settled at regional level, according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the immediate environment. These royal decrees also establish the facilities, equipment requirements for VET providers, assessment criteria and teacher requirements for each VET diploma programme.

VET diploma programmes consist of different modules: some are linked to occupational standards (the occupations covered by the diploma) while others ease access to employment such as business and entrepreneurship (Empresa e iniciativa emprendedora) or professional training and guidance modules (Formación y orientacion laboral, FOL). Personal and social skills are also covered transversely in all modules making up the curriculum of VET in the education system.

Starting in 2015, VET diploma programmes are being updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors ([79]In 2018, five new diplomas were approved: Access and conservation in sports facilities (basic VET); Assembly of structures and installation of aeronautical systems; Recreation boat maintenance technician; Maintenance of wooden structures and furniture of pleasure boats and Food marketing (the last four at intermediate VET level).), including and reinforcing the eight key competences in a cross curricular way. Currently, there are 170 different Diplomas ([80]For further info on VET diplomas, see the Ministry of Education’s website on guidance and VET:
TodoFP.es - Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar:
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html
):

  • 34 in basic VET (Título profesional básico) (ISCED 353)
  • 62 in intermediate VET (Título de Técnico) (ISCED 354)
  • 92 in higher VET (Título de Técnico Superior) (ISCED 554)

Professional Certificates (employment authority VET) ([81]Certificados de Profesionalidad (CdPs).)

Professional Certificates (CdPs) are State-recognised vocational qualifications issued by the employment authorities. They are based on occupational standards and are developed and updated by the State public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres. SEPE also produces teaching and assessment guides ([82]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/certificados-profesionalidad/guias-aprendizaje.html).

A common curriculum is set for each, regardless of the region and irrespective of the type of training programme (full-time, e-learning), based on the standards set in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP). Whenever an occupational standard or competence unit changes or is updated, the relevant CdP is also reviewed and changed accordingly.

Professional certificate programmes are organised in three levels, level 1 being the most basic and level 3 the most complex. They have a modular structure with learning outcomes, assessment criteria and contents and guidelines for providers which are fully employment-oriented. Each professional certificate also includes a compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo) whose learning outcomes must be assessed in the workplace. The total duration of the professional certificate programmes ([83]In July 2014 the national repertoire of professional certificates (Repertorio Nacional de Certificados de Profesionalidad - RNCP) was finalised with 583 different programmes referred to the different CNCP´s qualifications in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).) varies, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year. The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

 

Features of the 583 CdP learning programmes listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP)

Source: ReferNet, based on results from SEPE’s search tool of training specialities [accessed 24.10.2018].

 

To adapt training programmes to the target audience, employed or unemployed workers, the workload of the training modules (Módulos formativos) associated with competence units (UCs) lasting 90 hours or more is split into shorter training units (unidad formativa, UF), with a minimum of 30 hours, based on an analysis of the competences with which they are associated.

Before their publication in the official gazette, all professional certificates undergo consultation with education and employment bodies: the general council for vocational training (CGFP), the training for employment State commission and the sectoral conference on labour affairs.

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification. As the competence unit is the minimum unit to be certified, it is possible to gain partial credits for a professional certificate.

Professional certificate programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction to be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.

Holding a professional certificate indicates the ability to work in a particular field, in line with the classification of occupations, and guarantees the necessary vocational training, although it does not regulate professional activities (this is done by the relevant body in that profession).

Education and labour authorities establish, by mutual agreement and previous consent of the General Council for Vocational Education and Training, the basic quality indicators and requirements for education and training based on the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).

The education system subscribes to a process of quality assurance ([84]http://incual.mecd.es/calidad-y-evaluacion-del-sistema) covering all aspects of education activities. Two differentiated means are used in support:

  • inspection of the education system (including VET) organised between the State and regional education authorities;
  • evaluation of the education system, including assessment of school performance and teaching staff performance.

Quality assurance in education authority VET is threefold:

  • state-level;
  • regional level, by the autonomous communities;
  • local level, by education institutions.

Since 2000, the evaluation institute of the education (INEE) ([85]Instituto Nacional de Evaluación Educativa (INEE):
http://www.mecd.gob.es/inee
), in collaboration with the regions, uses statistical indicators to run annual assessments; the results drawn are used for policy decision making. The process is in line with the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET).

At the end of each year schools evaluate results obtained to see if they are satisfactory and if the training offered is aligned with local socio-economic needs.

An integrated information system is in place in vocational training for employment. It collects complete and up-to-date information on the training activities funded by public calls throughout the State and is used for assessing the effectiveness of vocational training for employment.

The 2015 reform (Act 30/2015) provides quality assurance mechanisms, coordinated by the State public employment service (SEPE). These are:

  • evaluation of training actions and schemes, run by the State public employment service (SEPE) together with regional bodies and social partners through:
    • ex-ante evaluation aiming to identify training needs and objectives;
    • ex-post evaluation, through use of indicators to monitor efficiency, results and areas for improvement;

Funds are allocated to sectoral joint committees to develop annual plans and recommendations;

  • evaluation of public calls to fund training actions:
    • periodic ex-post evaluation of training initiatives by independent external bodies;
    • evaluation of subsidised training impact for beneficiaries (usually, the unemployed and employees);
  • quality evaluation of training activities for employment, which includes a satisfaction survey of beneficiaries ([86]https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Instrumentos.aspx). Training providers support assessment processes for the training they provide.

A 2018 study ([87]https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/informes-de-Evaluaci%C3%B3n.aspx
https://blog.fundae.es/?s=formadores
) analyses the elements that impact on the quality of trainers and tutors in training actions not linked to State-recognised qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) financed by the 2013-14 public call.

Accredited VET centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate. Training providers are monitored by the public employment services to verify conformity with the requirement of the order establishing a professional certificate programme; whether face-to-face, e-learning or part of dual training. This may include visits to training providers to gather physical evidence and testimonies about their implementation.

The process for validation of prior learning (VPL) is regulated by the Royal decree 1224/2009 ([88]Ministry of the Presidency (2009). Real Decreto 1224/2009, de 17 de julio, de reconocimiento de las competencias profesionales adquiridas por experiencia laboral [Royal Decree 1224/2009, of July 17, on recognition of professional skills acquired through work experience]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 205, 25.8.2009, pp. 72704-72727.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2009/08/25/pdfs/BOE-A-2009-13781.pdf
). The aim is to support skills creation to (re)enter the labour market, especially for early leavers and adults with no or low qualifications. The framework covers the whole spectrum of professional skills included in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).

There are also opportunities for adults to sit entrance examinations to gain access to studies which lead to an official qualification, such as those for intermediate and higher vocational training programmes.

The National Institute of Qualifications ([89]Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones (INCUAL):
http://incual.mecd.es/acreditacion
) ensures the maintenance and update of the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), which are used by the education or employment authorities to establish vocational qualifications (VET diplomas and professional certificates-CdPs). The National Institute of Qualifications uses a set of quality criteria to guarantee the reliability, objectivity and technical rigor of the validation process. Validation of prior learning allows workers to have their skills recognised either to find a job, move between workplaces or advance in their careers.

Regional authorities (autonomous communities) implement the validation process through public calls published (jointly or not) by education and labour authorities at regional level. Regions also provide information on the number of places (beneficiaries) available and are responsible for guidance services and quality assurance of the validation process ([90]Validation inventory 2016, available at
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/2016_validate_es.pdf
). These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which competence units ([91]A UC is defined as ‘the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified’. The VET system is modular, occupational standards may include several competences units (education authority VET diplomas may include one or more occupational standards, while professional certificates are usually composed of one occupational standards).) are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved; they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each competence unit. Competence units to be validated are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

 

Share of validation beneficiaries in 2017

Source: Data provided by INCUAL, 2018.

 

To acknowledge work experience, applicants must be able to prove at least three years of experience relevant to the skills being assessed, with a minimum of 2 000 working hours in the ten years previous to the call. In the case of non-formal training ([92]Non-formal learning in VET is essentially any training programme which does not directly lead to official qualifications.), applicants must prove they have received at least three hundred hours of training not leading to official recognition in the ten years before the call.

The process is divided into the following three phases:

  • mandatory advisory phase (either in person or online) to help candidates assess their own skills, fill out their personal and training record and present the evidence backing up their application. The guidance counsellor uses this documentation to report whether the applicant may enter the next phase. If the report is negative, the counsellor advises the candidate to undertake supplementary training and proposes available training courses;
  • assessment: this aims to prove whether the applicants can demonstrate their skills in real or simulated work situations;
  • certification: candidates receive certification for each of the competence units they have successfully passed. The set of certified UCs may correspond to a complete or partial CdP certificate, or a partial lVET Diploma.

Between 2010 and 2017, these public calls offered a total of 277 079 assessment places across 24 sector branches ([93]No public calls have been published for the sector branches of Textile, clothing industry and leather and of Glass and ceramics. The number of assessment places called varies from one year to another according to the different industry requirements in each region. Most of these places were in the Sociocultural and community services professional branch since workers in social care services need to be qualified to assist people with social care needs, at home or in social institutions. The number of places in the Security and environment branch is also growing - especially in the field of management and handling of harmful organisms and pest control, related to the European biocide regulation - and in Health for sanitary transport and first aid care to multiple victims. Physical and sports activities branch stood out in 2017, mainly to accredit lifeguards in aquatic facilities or natural spaces.).

A national procedure for the validation of skills acquired in volunteering activities ([94]http://www.injuve.es/empleo/noticia/aprobado-el-nuevo-sistema-de-reconocimiento-de-la-educacion-no-formal) with young people is also currently being developed. It will be a free and telematic (online) service.

There are other possibilities for recognition of prior learning by means of different exams targeting adults that wish to obtain the basic education (ESO) or general upper secondary (Bachillerato) certificates or IVET qualifications (at all three levels, basic, intermediate and higher VET diplomas) without having to complete the corresponding studies. These exams are periodically organised by the education authorities.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([95]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Scholarships and grants for IVET learners

There are three types of financial incentive to begin or pursue a programme of studies which are valid throughout the country:

  • financial support based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances;
  • grants based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances and academic achievement;
  • awards aimed at students with high academic achievement.

Eligibility requirements, as well as household income and capital thresholds, are updated annually.

IVET learners can apply for scholarships and grants, distributed through annual calls published by the education ministry and the regions. During the economic downturn, amendments were made to the scholarship regime and study grants for students in non-university post compulsory education, imposing the shared responsibility of recipients to obtain satisfactory results. The distribution of public expenditure among the various educational activities, scholarships and study grants reached 4.2% in 2016. In 2018, the budget allocated to scholarships and grants is the highest in recent years. The trend is to increase the number of grant holders but reduce the average amount received per beneficiary.

International internships

VET mobility projects aim to increase the employability of young graduates in VET, as well as language proficiency, soft skills and professional competences. Under the Erasmus + 2015 programme, extended until 2017, there were 310 VET mobility projects, mainly apprentice mobility (EUR 20 million investment) and staff mobility (EUR one million). 86% of participants were learners, 14% were teachers and other staff.

Information and guidance tools

The education authority promotes VET through its dedicated web portal ([96]www.Todofp.es), visited by four million users per year. The portal was updated in 2017. It includes VET programmes, Europass supplements ([97]http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe.html. Europass supplements for CdPs at
https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/certificados-profesionalidad/suplementoseuropass.html
), labour market information, and information on VET competitions such as SpainSkills, EuropeSkills and WorldSkills. It also has a dedicated section (Acredita) on validation of informal and non-formal learning ([98]http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe.html
http://www.todofp.es/sobre-fp/competiciones-de-fp.html
http://www.todofp.es/acreditacion-de-competencias.html
).

Regional education authorities also have web sections directly linked to/from the portal and implement measures to boost VET enrolment in their territories.

News tools in place include an app for mobile phones to find documents in the portal’s library; an online guidance tool, Choose your own pathway ([99]Decide tu itinerario:
http://www.todofp.es/decide/
) and an on-site customer service point with a variety of communication channels (email, instant messaging, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and telephone enquiries).

Incentives for the employed

The 2012 labour reform and the 2015 employment authority VET reform (Act 30/2015) laid down different incentives for workers such as the training account, linked to workers' social security number, and the ‘training voucher’ for workers to choose their training and provider; neither of these incentives has yet been implemented.

Workers have the right to 20 hours of annual training related to the company's activity; these hours can be accumulated over a period of five years. Nevertheless, this right, in place since 2012, has not yet been fully developed through other legal provisions.

Individual training leave for the employed (PIF) ([100]Permiso Individuales de Formación.)

Employees can take part in training programmes run by their companies or participate in other training schemes. They can apply for individual training leave (PIF) from their companies, to improve their skills at no cost to the company. Employees have the right to 200 working hours for educational purposes, with the company agreement. The company is reimbursed for the salary of that worker by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae) and the worker receives his/her salary during the training leave. Individual training leave is intended to provide workers wishing to improve their personal and professional skills with the opportunity to attend officially recognised or formal training courses. Workers can also take this type of leave to undergo the procedure for recognition of prior learning acquired through work experience or non-formal education.

In 2017, only a minority of individual training leave (4.5%) was used to carry out training to obtain a professional certificate (CdP). Individual training leave was mostly used to attend formal education (76.8%) or other training courses (18.7%) leading to other qualifications ([101]Mainly professional driving licences and other types of certificate of professional competence (such as the Certificado de aptitud professional - CAP, necessary to perform certain jobs: electrical and gas technicians).). More than 40% of individual training leave beneficiaries are between 36 and 45 years old; women beneficiaries account for 42.0% (a two percentage point increase since 2016).

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees – 2018

(*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). 2018 Key findings. https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Balance-de-resultados.aspx

 

Incentives for the unemployed

Unemployed workers may also take part in some of the different training schemes within the training for employment system. Participants can request, if necessary, reimbursement for travel, accommodation and meal expenses during the training period. In some cases, they can also apply for financial aid for other issues, particularly if they have family responsibilities.

Incentives for dual VET learners and apprentices

The introduction of a dual system in education authority VET offers young people at risk an insight into the labour market. Based on first preliminary data - available from training centres or regional authorities – the employment rate of dual VET learners is usually higher than in traditional school based VET.

Training and apprenticeship contracts are offered in IVET and CVET. They target mostly unemployed people who lack formal qualifications and have seen positive results since the 2012 labour reform. Hired apprentices benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection, unemployment benefit and training (training for at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year). The training may lead to a full qualification (professional certificate) or partial certification of a set of competence units towards a professional certificate or a VET diploma.

Supporting VET provider capacity

Education authority VET programmes are offered by both State-funded centres and private centres. One in four learners attends a private centre. To ensure equity and equality of opportunities, private education centres may receive funds to offer teaching free of charge (these are called publicly-funded private centres). Increased funding ([102]On average, EUR 64 000 per group.) supports creation of more free VET places in these centres.

Increased funding was also allocated to the regions for implementing VET policies in their territories ([103]Dual VET (EUR 1.2 million), basic VET (EUR 208.9 million) and other VET programmes (EUR 1.3 million); additional funding in 2017 for basic VET (EUR 149 million) and other training programmes (EUR 1.3 million).).

Since the 2013 education reform (LOMCE Act) education centres have greater autonomy in using the funds allocated from the State budget to improve their training offer. They may run actions to test how to tailor their training offer to local needs/skills (pilot projects, new work plans or forms of organisation, and increase hours devoted to certain subjects) ([104]Results are assessed by the centres themselves, the inspection services, the regional education authorities and by the National Institute of educational evaluation (INEE) and must be publicly available.).

Vocational training providers under the employment authority can apply, on a competitive basis, for funding (with financial incentives or subsidies depending on the type of initiative) to carry out training actions in the regional or State calls for proposal published annually. Since Act 30/2015, only recognised training providers ([105]Before this reform, social partners were the only ones entitled to apply for these calls, whereas following Act 30/2015 a system of competitive competition between training centres has been put in place, excluding social partners as such. More information at
http://prensa.empleo.gob.es/WebPrensa/downloadFile.do?tipo=documento&id=2.464&idContenido=1.732
) can apply for such financial aid. Training is funded based on cost per participant/hour, which differs by delivery mode (e-learning or face—to-face).

National reference centres, running innovative and experimental training activities, schedule training courses which, due to the lack of equipment and facility requirements, are not offered by the usual network of vocational training centres.

Financial incentives

Within the training for employment system, companies receive discounts on their social security contributions for providing training to their employees. The yearly training credit (the amount for which they can receive a discount) available to each company is calculated by applying a fixed percentage to the training quota amount in the previous year. Companies with fewer than six employees receive a minimum credit (420€). This percentage is ranging from 100% for businesses with six to nine employees to 50% for big companies (250 or more). Businesses with more than 10 employees are obliged to finance part of the training cost, which again varies depending on the size of the company: 10% for companies with 10-49 employees, up to 40% for large companies.

Training and apprenticeship contract regulations set different incentives for companies to hire trainees, in the form of reduced employer social security contributions, or additional bonuses to fund the costs of in-company tutors, as well as other incentives when apprentices become permanent staff.

Education and vocational guidance are highlighted for improvement in the national VET system. In recent years, different reforms ([106]Head of State (2011). Ley 2/2011, de 4 de marzo, de Economía Sostenible [Act 2/2011 of 4 March, on Sustainable Economy]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 5.3.2011, pp. 25033- 25235.
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2011/03/05/pdfs/BOE-A-2011-4117.pdf
) - complementing dispositions from Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational training - aimed to improve counselling and career guidance services, mainly through:

  • the development of an integrated information and guidance system;
  • the setting of a State-wide network to ensure access to information and career guidance for all citizens, including specialised services for businesses and the self-employed;
  • development of an integrated computing platform on professional guidance linked, where appropriate, to the relevant European networks;
  • coordination and monitoring of guidance services in line with national policies on education, employment and social inclusion.

Since then, various developments have taken place.

The education reform (Act 8/2013, LOMCE), generally maintains education and vocational guidance on the same terms as in the 2006 education Act (LOE). However, it includes new aspects related to compulsory secondary education:

  • an ’orientation and guidance’ report is delivered to the student’s parents at the end of general or vocational lower secondary programmes,
  • a report on the degree of achievement of learning outcomes and acquisition of relevant skills, as well as a proposal for a career path;
  • special focus on guidance in the new basic VET programmes.

Education legislation assigns the immediate responsibility for guidance to teachers, as part of students’ general education and training. State education centres offer professional guidance services for students and parents.

To support and widen guidance and counselling services in schools, regional education authorities are launching strategies and varied resources tailored to the specific needs arising from their own labour market ([107]Example from Murcia Region: http://www.llegarasalto.com/formacionpasional/).

The education ministry has been developing and broadening a series of actions, such as a new State-wide organisation of information and career guidance services; creation and maintenance of digital platforms for information and vocational guidance, and other projects linked to the dissemination of vocational training and guidance ([108]MECD. TodoFP.es: acreditación de competencias (the webpage on skills validation on the Ministry of Education’s website on VET):
http://www.todofp.es/acreditacion-de-competencias.html MECD. Formación profesional a través de Internet (vocational training through Internet):
http://www.mecd.gob.es/fponline.html
).

The Service for Internationalisation of Education (SEPIE), as the Spanish Erasmus+ national agency for education and training, also supports information services to promote learning opportunities abroad.

In the employment sphere the common employment services portfolio ([109]MEYSS, 2015. Real Decreto 7/2015, de 16 de enero, por el que se aprueba la Cartera Común de Servicios del Sistema Nacional de Empleo [Royal Decree 7/2015 of 16 January, by which the Common Employment Services Portfolio of the National Employment System is approved]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 31, 5.2.2015, pp. 9422-9435.
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/02/05/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-1056.pdf
) offers career guidance services to advise unemployed and employed workers on training and employment opportunities, as well as on the recognition and validation of their skills ([110]Labour authorities also have a web portal on validation of the skills acquired through work experience (
RECEX). SEPE Reconocimiento de las competencias profesionales adquiridas
https://sede.sepe.gob.es/portalSedeEstaticos/flows/gestorContenidos?page=recexIndex
). A further step in its implementation has been the publication of protocols and quality criteria for the provision of guidance services which all public employment services in Spain must comply with ([111]Reference guides for the development of such protocols were published in 2018: MEYSS (2018). Seguimiento de indicadores de empleo de la Estrategia Europa 2020. Junio 2018 [Monitoring of employment indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. June 2018]. Observatorio; 6.2018.
http://www.mitramiss.gob.es/es/sec_trabajo/analisis-mercado-trabajo/pnr/observatorio/numeros/2018/junio/observatorio.pdf
). These protocols aim to define and set up individual professional paths to improve workers’ employability. They also aim to develop entrepreneurship and to support business and self-employment initiatives, by identifying workers’ skills, training and experience, interests, family situation and possible professional opportunities, as well as other relevant variables. This information will be used to prepare the workers’ profiles and their classification based on their employability.

All IVET programmes contain at least one or several vocational modules related to guidance, labour relations and the development of entrepreneurial culture, although these issues are also treated in a cross-curricular manner.

All VET students and trainees have to undertake an on-the-job training module that is carried out in a real productive setting. This module enables them to gain work experience and put their skills into practice, as well as learn about the organisation of productive processes or services and labour relations, guided by education and workplace tutors.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Higher VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 554

Higher VET programmes (FP de grado superior - título de Técnico Superior), ISCED 554
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are over 18)

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning. Higher level VET programmes under Act 2/2006 (LOE) have 120 ECTS credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc /full-time or on a part time modular basis;
  • distance learning ([142]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • dual VET (with or without training and apprenticeship contract);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours.

Higher VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces ([143]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

In 2016/17, 12% of all learners enrolled in higher VET followed distance learning courses, over 3% were in the dual modality and more than half of all learners at this stage were 22 or older.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority;
  • integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment;
  • national reference centres, which are public institutions specialised in the different professional branches, in charge of carrying out innovation and experimentation initiatives in the area of vocational training.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations, etc.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours at a workplace (students with previous work experience may be exempt);
  • dual VET (apprenticeships):

(i) training and apprenticeship contracts ([144]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/comunicacion/publicaciones/publicaciones-oficiales/listado-pub-empleo/formacion-profesional-dual-contrato-para-la-formacion-y-el-aprendizaje.html);

(ii) dual VET projects offered within the education system and implemented by the regions ( (based on learning agreements between the VET provider, the learner and the company).

Main target groups
  • learners over 18

There is a large share of students older than the theoretical school age: in the school year 2016/17: over 50% were 22 or older ([145]MEyFP (2019). Las cifras de la educación en España. Curso 2016-2017 (Edición 2019) [Key figures of education in Spain: academic year 2016/17 (2019 edition)].).

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

Higher VET are accessible to:

  • holders of the Bachillerato ([146]The end of upper secondary education diploma, allowing access to tertiary level academic or vocational studies.) diploma;
  • graduates from Intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes;
  • learners over 18, through validation of prior learning (formal/informal/non-formal).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Higher level VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours, (equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme), of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces. These programmes are made up of different vocational modules, which are expressed in terms of contents, evaluation criteria and learning outcomes, considering professional, personal, social and lifelong learning skills. They comprise:

  • vocational modules specific to each programme which must include the competence units and the social and personal skills aimed to be achieved;
  • a work placement module. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module;
  • one or more modules on vocational training and guidance and business and entrepreneurial initiative.
  • a project.

Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out by modules. Progression to the following year depends on the result of the assessment. Marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, being five or over considered as a pass.

The work placement vocational module is expressed in terms of Passed/Failed. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module.

As a result of the assessment process, the relevant decisions on students’ progression are taken collegially by the teaching team at the end of each year.

Completion of a VET programme requires a pass grade in all the modules, and students may take the same programme up to a maximum of 4 years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher VET programmes lead to a VET diploma (título de Técnico Superior) at ISCED level 554 allowing access to academic studies at tertiary level (programmes offered at ISCED levels 665 and 766) bachelor programmes through an admission procedure.

Examples of qualifications

Travel agencies and event organisation / sector: hospitality and tourism industry (Agencias de Viajes y Gestion de Eventos / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo) ([147]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education official website on guidance and VET, MECD.
TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar.
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html. Europass supplements for higher VET Diplomas are available at
http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe/grado-superior-en-ingl-s.html
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an higher VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market;
  • access academic programmes offered at ISCED level 665 (Bachelor programmes 3-4 years).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([148]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Higher VET programmes are made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, and also include lifelong learning skills.

  • vocational modules, specific to each professional field, linked to national catalogue of professional standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • vocational modules related to career guidance, business and entrepreneurial initiative;
  • a project module.
Key competences

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

  • information processing and digital competence;
  • competence in linguistic communication;
  • competence in knowledge and interaction with the physical world;
  • social and civic competence.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

49%

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in higher VET programmes was 49% (393 531 learners) against 9% in basic VET and 42% in intermediate VET programmes.

 

Evolution of IVET students in the education system, 2008-18

(*) Advance data; the data do not include certain initial VET programmes (PCPI) that have been replaced in this period, as they did not lead to a VET degree, but include those for the new Basic VET.
Source: prepared by ReferNet Spain with data from Statistics from the education ministry.

 

Higher arts and design programmes,

2 years

Higher sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 554

Higher sports or higher arts and design programmes (Grado Superior de Enseñanzas Deportivas o Grado Superior de Artes Plásticas y Diseño) ISCED 554 diploma
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion grade

15 (for arts and design programmes)

13 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

18 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion age

20 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12)
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16)
Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are already over 18)

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. ([138]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en)

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

Information not available

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields

Main target groups
  • learners over 18 (for arts and design programmes);
  • learners over 18 (for sports programmes).
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Arts and design ISCED 554 programmes

  • to gain access to the higher level VET in arts and design, it is necessary to hold the upper secondary qualification (baccalaureate) or equivalent, and pass a specific test to prove knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of these programmes;
  • exemption from the test is possible in certain cases, such as: Higher level VET diploma of Plastic Arts and Design of a professional branch related to the programme to undertake or equivalent; Baccalaureate in Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Architecture or Technical Engineering in Industrial Design, Higher Title of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property;
  • in absence of previous requirements, be 19 years old and passing an entry test or be 18 and hold an intermediate level VET diploma in arts and design;
  • the entry test has two parts: general part dealing with the knowledge and basic skills of the common subjects of the baccalaureate; and a specific part to assess the artistic knowledge and the necessary skills to take advantage of these programmes.

Sports programmes:

  • upper secondary education qualification (baccalaureate) or equivalent for academic purposes;
  • sports technician diploma in the corresponding modality or sports;
  • the baccalaureate diploma can be substituted by passing a test in which maturity is demonstrated in relation to the objectives of the baccalaureate. To take this test, learners have to be 19 years old or 18 years with a diploma in Intermediate level VET in physical and sports activities sector branch;
  • this test can be substituted by the common part of the test of access to higher level VET programmes;
  • in addition to the general requirements, each modality may require other conditions, such as accreditation of certain sporting merits or passing of a specific test of the modality or sport specialty.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is continuous and takes into account the progress and the academic maturity of the students, in relation to the general objectives and the professional competencies of the programme.

The evaluation is carried out by modules, taking as reference their objectives expressed in terms of skills and competences and their respective assessment criteria.

The results of the final evaluation of each module are expressed in terms of grades according to a numerical scale from zero to ten. Qualifications equal to or greater than five are considered positive and the rest will be negative.

The results of the evaluation of the practical training are expressed in terms of "apt / not apt".

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher technician diploma plastic arts and design (título de Técnico Superior de Artes Plásticas y Diseño);

Higher technician diploma in the modality or sports specialty (Título de técnico deportivo superior en la modalidad o especialidad deportiva).

Examples of qualifications
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • access to higher education;
  • babour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Arts and design or sports programmes, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([141]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<2%

In the school year 2016/17, 14 531 students followed higher arts & design or higher sports programmes, out of 818 506 students at education authority VET.

94.6% of them were in arts & design and the other 5.4% at sports programmes at this level.

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Basic VET programmes

WBL up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 353­

Basic VET programmes (FP Básica, Título profesional básico) ISCED 353
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10 ([114]Possible route only after guidance advice at age 15 (or older).)

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15 ([115]Possible route only after guidance advice at age 16 (or, exceptionally at age 15).)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12)
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16)

Basic VET programmes are an alternative option offered to learners ([116]To enter Basic VET learners must meet certain age and academic requirements. Requirements for Basic VET are: (a) to be between 15 and 17 years old by the end of the year they start these studies; (b) to have finished the first cycle of secondary compulsory education (that is, three years) or exceptionally, have finished the second course of secondary compulsory education; and (c) to be recommended by teaching staff and have parents (or self if he/she is emancipated) consent. Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.) who have not completed lower secondary to stay in education and training.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations/full-time (young people);or on a part- time modular basis (adults)) ([117]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo, FCT) compulsory training module of 240 hours;
  • dual VET (with or without an apprenticeship contract). Around 15.3% of basic VET learners were over 18 years old in the school year 2016/17, and fewer than 1% were enrolled in these programmes in the dual modality.

Enrolments in education authority VET, 2016-17

2016-17

Total VET

Dual VET

Basic Cycle

69 528

414

Intermediate Cycle

343 920

7 422

Advanced Cycle

377 937

12 521

Total

791 385

20 357

Source: Ministry of Education (2018)., https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dam/jcr:113353c4-7f3d-4005-88ac-e944ceb94200/nota-16-17.pdf

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent education authority;
  • in some cases, integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo, FCT), of 240 hours at a workplace;
  • dual VET (apprenticeships);
Main target groups
  • Learners over 15
  • Adults (under specific conditions)

Basic VET programmes were first developed to prevent early leaving from education and training. They allow people to complete compulsory education and gain a basic VET qualification (VET diploma, in the national context or Título profesional básico).

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

Requirements for basic VET are:

  • to be between 15 and 17 years old by the end of the year they start these studies;
  • to have finished the first cycle of secondary compulsory education (three years) or exceptionally, have finished the second course of secondary compulsory education;
  • to be recommended by teaching staff and have parents (or by self if he/she is emancipated) consent.

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Basic VET programmes run in a two-year programme of 2 000 hours, (equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme), of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 240 hours are completed in workplaces ([119]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

These programmes are made up of different vocational modules, which are expressed in terms of contents, evaluation criteria and learning outcomes, considering professional, personal, social and lifelong learning skills.

They comprise modules linked to competence units of the national catalogue of professional standards; and modules linked to the acquisition of lifelong learning skills such as communication and society and applied sciences modules, which include Spanish language, foreign language, social sciences, mathematics and science both applied to the personal and learning context in a professional field; there is also a specific module in a work place environment.

Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out in modules. Progression to the following year depends on the result of the assessment. Marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, where five or over is a pass.

The work placement module is expressed in terms of passed/failed. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module.

As a result of the assessment process, the relevant decisions on student progression are taken collegially by the teaching team at the end of each year.

Completion of a VET programme requires a pass grade in all the modules, and students may take the same programme up to a maximum of four years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Basic VET programmes lead to a basic VET diploma (Título profesional básico) that has academic and professional validity.

Students who finish basic VET will obtain the lower secondary education diploma (título ESO) directly if the teaching staff considers they have achieved the objectives and necessary skills of ESO level.

Examples of qualifications

Basic level applicator of phytosanitary pesticides ([120]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education’s website on guidance and VET, MECD:
TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudia:
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.htm
) /sector: Agriculture (aplicador/a de nivel básico de plaguicidas de uso fitosanitario/ Familia Profesional: Agraria)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a basic VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market, or
  • enrol directly to intermediate VET programmes (ISCED 354) or
  • obtain the ESO ([121]Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) is the end of lower secondary compulsory education diploma, necessary to access higher level studies.) diploma, if the teaching staff considers they have achieved the objectives and necessary skills of ESO level, opening up access to upper secondary general education programmes
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([122]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
), each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

Y

Basic VET programmes are made up of vocational modules (which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields) and lifelong learning skills:

  • learning modules linked to competence units of the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • modules for the acquisition of lifelong learning skills (Spanish, other official and/or foreign language, social sciences, mathematics and sciences);
  • all basic VET programmes include cross-curricular skills like team work, occupational risk prevention, entrepreneurship, business activity and work orientation of students.
Key competences

Y

Since 2015, VET diploma programmes are being updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors, including and reinforcing the eight key competences in a cross curricular way.

Basic VET programmes are made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, and also include lifelong learning skills.

All Basic VET programmes ([123]Made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, lifelong learning skills are also included.) include cross-curricular skills:

  • teamwork, health and safety at work; entrepreneurship, business and career counselling;
  • respect for the environment and promotion of physical activity and a healthy diet;
  • skills related to reading comprehension, oral and written expression, ICT and civic and constitutional education.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<9% ([124]2017/18)

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in basic VET programmes was 9% (72186 learners), against 42% enrolled in intermediate VET (339112 learners) and 49% (393531 learners) in higher VET programmes. Enrolment in basic VET increase by 3.8% compared to the previous year ([125]In the school year 2016/17, 69 528 students followed Basic VET programmes out of 818 506, compared with 42% at intermediate level and 46% at higher level VET.).

Basic VET programmes were first implemented in 2014. In 2015-16, half (55.1%) of those enrolled in basic VET were young people aged 15-17 (theoretical age for this type of programme) or young adults up to 25 (44.1%)

Share of students according to age by VET level programme, 2015-16

NB: Theoretical ages refer to the ages as established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.
Source: Prepared by authors with data from education ministry. MECD (2018). Las cifras de la educación en España. Estadísticas e indicadores. Edición 2018 [The figures of education in Spain. Statistics and indicators. Statistics 2018]. Madrid: MECD. https://www.mecd.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/indicadores-publicaciones-sintesis/cifras-educacion-espana/2015-16.html) .

Intermediate VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 354

Intermediate VET programmes (FP de grado medio - Título de Técnico), ISCED 354
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

3 (when combined with a training and apprenticeship contract)

  
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

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines ([128]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc./full-time (young people);or on a part time modular basis (adults);
  • distance learning (adults) ([129]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • dual VET (with or without a training and apprenticeship contract);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours.

Intermediate VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces ([130]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

In 2016/17, 3% of learners enrolled in intermediate VET followed distance learning courses, over 2% were enrolled in the dual modality and over 45% of all learners at this stage were 20 or older ([131]MECD (2018). Nota: Estadística del alumnado de formación profesional – Estadística de las enseñanzas no universitarias. Curso 2016-2017 [Note: Statistics on non-university education. Academic year 201/17].
http://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dam/jcr:113353c4-7f3d-4005-88ac-e944ceb94200/nota-16-17.pdf; data base:
https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano/estadisticas/no-universitaria/alumnado/formacion-profesional/2016-2017.html
).

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority;
  • integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment;
  • occasionally, national reference centres, which are public institutions specialised in the different professional branches, in charge of carrying out innovation and experimentation initiatives in the area of vocational training.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations, etc.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours at a workplace (students with previous work experience may be exempt);
  • dual VET (apprenticeships);

(i) training and apprenticeship contracts ([132]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/comunicacion/publicaciones/publicaciones-oficiales/listado-pub-empleo/formacion-profesional-dual-contrato-para-la-formacion-y-el-aprendizaje.html);

(ii) dual VET projects offered within the education system and implemented by the regions ( (based on learning agreements between the VET provider, the learner and the company).

Main target groups
  • learners over 16;
  • adults.

There is a large share of students older than the theoretical school age: in the school year 2016/17: 45.6% were 20 years old or older ([133]MEyFP (2019). Las cifras de la educación en España. Curso 2016-2017 (Edición 2019) [Key figures of education in Spain: academic year 2016/17 (2019 edition)].).

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

Intermediate VET are accessible to:

  • holders of the ESO ([134]Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) is the end of lower secondary compulsory education diploma, necessary to access higher level studies.) diploma;
  • graduates from Basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes;
  • young people over 17 and adults, through validation of prior learning (formal/informal/non-formal).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment takes as reference the objectives, expressed in learning outcomes, and the evaluation criteria of each of the vocational modules, as well as the general objectives established (by legislation) for each VET programme.

Completion of a training programme requires a pass grade in all the vocational modules.

 marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, whole numbers only a five or over is considered a pass;

 the work placement vocational module, however, is expressed in terms of Passed/Failed.

IVET programmes last 2 000 hours, the equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme. Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out by professional modules.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Intermediate VET programmes lead to a VET diploma with academic and professional validity (Título de Técnico) at ISCED level 354 allowing access to higher VET (ISCED 554) studies at tertiary level.

Examples of qualifications

Aquaculture ([135]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education official website on guidance and VET, MECD. TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar.
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html Europass supplements for Intermediate VET Diplomas are available at
http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe/grado-medio-en-ingl-s.html
) / sector: Maritime and fishing industry (Cultivos Acuícolas / Familia Profesional: Marítimo pesquera)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an intermediate VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market;
  • enrol directly to higher VET programmes (ISCED 554);
  • return to upper secondary general education programmes ([136]Leading to Bachillerato, the end of upper secondary education diploma, necessary to access tertiary level academic studies.) if they wish, but this is rather an unusual option.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([137]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

Intermediate VET programmes are made up of vocational modules (which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields) and lifelong learning skills:

  • vocational modules, specific to each professional field, linked to the national catalogue of professional standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • one or more vocational modules related to employment guidance and labour relations and the development of the entrepreneurial spirit;
  • voluntary subjects, such as communication in Spanish, co-official and/or foreign language; applied mathematics;
  • where appropriate, any subject related to professional field easing access to higher VET programmes.
Key competences

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

  • information processing and digital competence;
  • competence in linguistic communication;
  • mathematical competence;
  • competence in knowledge and interaction with the physical world;
  • social and civic competence;
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

42%

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in intermediate VET programmes was 42% (339 112 learners) against 9% in basic VET and 49% in higher VET programmes.

The majority of intermediate VET students were enrolled in full-time courses, with 8% of them participating in distance learning.

 

Evolution of IVET students in the education system, 2008-18

(*) Advance data; the data do not include certain initial VET programmes (PCPI) that have been replaced in this period, as they did not lead to a VET degree, but include those for the new Basic VET.
Source: prepared by ReferNet Spain with data from Statistics from the education ministry, 2018.

 

Arts and design programmes,

2 years

Sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 354

Arts and design or sports programmes (Grado Medio de Artes Plásticas y Diseño o Grado Medio de Enseñanzas Deportivas), ISCED 354
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

19 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes).

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12);
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16).
Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. ([126]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en)

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority.

Both type of programmes are offered by specialized providers:

  • schools of plastic arts and design: public or private centres authorized by the competent educational administration;
  • Sport programmes: they do not have a specific denomination: public or private centres authorized by the competent educational administration, whether they are integrated in the IVET centres or in sports federations' centres.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main target groups
  • Learners over 16
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Arts and design programmes

  • holding a lower secondary education (ESO) or equivalent qualification and passing a specific test to prove knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of these programmes;
  • exemption from the test is possible in certain cases: i.e. holding a baccalaureate in Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Architecture or Technical Engineering in Industrial Design, intermediate or higher level VET diploma in Plastic Arts and design of a professional family related to the teachings to pursue, at least one year of related work experience;
  • learners not fulfilling entry requirements may sit an entry exam which consists of two parts: a general part dealing with the basic skills of Compulsory Secondary Education; and a specific part, to assess the artistic knowledge and the necessary skills to take advantage of these programmes.

Sports programmes:

They are organized in two cycles called initial or first level and final or second level.

  • entry requirements for the initial cycle of sports education: it is necessary to hold the diploma of lower secondary education or equivalent; for the final cycle of sports education, it is necessary to have passed the initial cycle in the corresponding sports specialty;
  • in addition, it may be required to pass a specific exam, or to accredit a sporting merit. High-level or high-performance athletes are exempt;
  • learners with at least 17 years and lacking the lower secondary qualification my sit an exam in relation to lower secondary education curriculum.

Entry through validation of prior learning is possible in the arts and design/sports programmes

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is continuous and takes into account the progress and the academic maturity of the students, in relation to the general objectives and the professional competencies of the programme.

The evaluation is carried out by modules, taking as reference their objectives expressed in terms of skills and competences and their respective assessment criteria.

The results of the final evaluation of each module are expressed in terms of grades according to a numerical scale from zero to ten. Qualifications equal to or greater than five are considered positive and the rest negative.

The results of the evaluation of the practical training, are expressed in terms of "apt / not apt".

Diplomas/certificates provided

Arts and design or sports programmes lead to:

  • Technician diploma in arts and design (Título de Técnico de Artes Plásticas y Diseño);
  • Technician diploma in the corresponding sport (Título de Técnico deportivo que corresponda).
Examples of qualifications

Plastic arts and design in ceramic decoration (Artes Plásticas y Diseño en Decoración cerámica).

Judo and self defense (Judo y defensa personal)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an ISCED level 354 diploma in sports or in arts and design programmes have different progression opportunities:

  • students who finish plastic arts and design or sports programmes have direct access to the general education two-year programme leading to Baccalaureate (Bachillerato);
  • students holding the diploma of plastic arts and design technician, and at least 18 years old, are able to enter, by passing a test, the higher plastic arts and design programmes;
  • students holding the diploma of sports technician can access the higher sports programmes, being at least 18 years old, and after passing a specific test of the modality or sport specialty;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Arts and design or Sports programmes, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([127]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<2%

In the 2016/17 school year, 12 590 students were enrolled in Art and design or Sport programmes at this level, out of 818 506 students at all education authority VET programmes.

  • 27% of them were in arts and design programmes;
  • 73% followed sports programmes.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Professional certificate

programmes – level 1

200-540 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 254

Professional certificate programmes – level 1 (certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 1)
EQF level
The Spanish VET system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

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)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 1 range from 200 to 540 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 240 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc.;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning). The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes;
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGOs.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([150]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([151]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

CdP programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts.

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must be at least 16 year olds.

No other formal access requirements apply for entering level 1 professional certificate programmes (ISCED 254) and learners can move on to the next level in the same field ([152]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([153]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([154]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([155]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([156]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([157]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 1 - – Basic operations in accommodations (HOTA0108) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([158]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_...)

Operaciones básicas de pisos en alojamientos / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 1 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • may move on to the next CdP level in limited professional fields;
  • accumulate (partial) ([159]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([160]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

22.65% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 2

180-920 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 351

Professional certificate programmes – level 2 certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 2
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not available

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 2 range from 180 to 920 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 430 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School based learning (face to face learning) including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc.;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning) The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes.
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGO.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([162]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([163]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

Professional certificate programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts.

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must have completed compulsory education (ESO), or equivalent level studies ([164]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([165]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([166]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([167]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([168]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([169]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 2 - Assistance to rail transport passengers (HOTT0112) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([170]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_...).

Atención a pasajeros en transporte ferroviario/ Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 2 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • may move on to the next CdP level in limited professional fields;
  • accumulate partial ([171]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([172]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

55.35% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 3

240-1 110 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 453

Professional certificate programmes – level 3 certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 3
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

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)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 3 range from 240 to 1 110 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 360 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face learning) including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning) The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes.
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGOs.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([174]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([175]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

CdP programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts;

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must have completed upper secondary education (Bachillerato), or equivalent level studies ([176]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which professional certificate programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([177]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([178]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([179]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([180]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([181]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 3 – Process management in restaurant and catering services (HOTR0409) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([182]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_de_profesionalidad/pdf/europass/N3_HOTR0409_in_pub.pdf)

Gestión de procesos de servicio en restauración / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 3 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • accumulate (partial) ([183]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([184]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

22.01% of all professional certificates issued in 2017

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.