Brexit Disclaimer
This website as well as the publications and online tools accessible via this website may contain UK data and analysis based on research conducted before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. EU averages or other statistical parameters including the UK reflect the situation in the European Union before 31 January 2020 and should not be considered as representative of the situation in the EU thereafter. Any data or information pertaining to the UK will be gradually phased out from Cedefop’s website, publications and online tools, as ongoing research projects with the United Kingdom’s participation are concluded. Data coming from UK were collected, processed and published before its withdrawal from the EU. Therefore, EU averages contain UK related data up to 2019.

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.

 

General themes

VET in Germany comprises the following main features:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improving transitions from general education to VET

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

Modernising and developing new occupational profiles with a view to digitalisation

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

Increasing the attractiveness of VET

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

Integrating migrants and refugees into education and training

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

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

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

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

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 32 in 2015 to 55 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications.

The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education, the levels where most VET graduates exist (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was only slightly above the unemployment rate of people with tertiary education (2.9% compared to 1.9%). Low-skilled people (less than lower secondary education) however, faced a much higher risk of unemployment with the rate at 8.5%.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2016

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

4.7%

45.6%

92.5%

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

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; not applicable for Ireland. Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.05.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

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

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

At upper secondary level:

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

At post-secondary level:

  • specialised programmes;

At tertiary level:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) designation of the advanced qualification;

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

(c) admission requirements;

(d) examination procedure.

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

Fachhochschulen) as well as universities.

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

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

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

Apprenticeship scheme (dual system)

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

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

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

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

There are various ways to overcome these problems:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional qualifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

The role of Federal government

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

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

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

The role of State government

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

The role of social partners

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

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

The role of competent bodies

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

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

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

Funding of IVET

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

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

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

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

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

Funding of continuing VET

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

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

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

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

Teachers and trainers in IVET

In the dual system, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

Types of teacher and trainer in IVET

Type of training

Type of staff

Dual system of training

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

VET teachers in vocational schools, two categories:

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

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

Special VET for disabled persons leading to dual system diplomas

VET teachers/trainers within private institutions

Full-time vocational schools

VET teachers in vocational schools (see above)

Learning facilitators

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

Source: compiled by ReferNet Germany.

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

Teachers and trainers in non-formal continuing VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Designing qualifications

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

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

Developing standards

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

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

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

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

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

Defining the ‘benchmarks’:

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

Elaboration and coordination:

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

Adoption of the regulation:

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

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

Shared responsibilities

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

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

 

Procedure for updating of training regulations

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

 

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

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

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

Important instruments of quality assurance in VET are highlighted below:

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

VET law as basis for quality assurance

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

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

Monitoring and data for evidence-based VET policy

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

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

Quality assurance in continuous VET

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

Validation of non-formal learning: external candidate final exams

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

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

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

Project to set up a validation system

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

Assessment and recognition of foreign vocational qualifications

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

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

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

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

Apprentice remuneration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training placements

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

Special measures for integrating refugees into IVET

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

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

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

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

Incentives for continuing VET learners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Continuing VET for the unemployed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inter-company vocational training centres and training structures

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

Support for SMEs:

  • Training placement

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

  • Alliance training guarantee

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

  • Jobstarter plus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5-7

Management and expert

qualifications and exams;

Master craftsperson specialist

qualifications and exams;

ISCED 554, 655

Certified advisor

qualifications and exams

ISCED 554

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

554, 655

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

Usual entry grade

Varies

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

Varies: depends on preparation classes

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

It is advanced VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

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

Main providers

Exams: Assessment/certification by the chambers;

Preparatory courses: provided by the chambers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

The admission requirements to the examination are threefold:

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

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

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

The assessment and certification is carried out by the Chambers.

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

EQF 5

Technical consultant, foreign language correspondent, automotive service technician

EQF 6

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

EQF 7

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

General education subjects

Varies according to the qualification and corresponding examination

Key competences

Varies according to the qualification and corresponding examination

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 6

Technician, specialist etc. programmes

incl. WBL

1.5-4 years

ISCED 655

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

655

Usual entry grade

Varies

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 up to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

advanced VET

Is it offered free of charge?

Varies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

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

Main providers

State regulated technical and trade schools

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

work practice

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

They end with a final state examination under state law.

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects
Key competences

Y

Depends on the field of study

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Master programmes

2 years

ICSED 747

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

747

Usual entry grade

17

Usual completion grade

18

Usual entry age

23

Usual completion age

24

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

can be both initial and continuing VET

Is it continuing VET?

Y

can be both initial and continuing VET

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

Dual learning:

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Initial dual study programmes have the following characteristics:

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 6

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

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

645

Usual entry grade

13-14

Usual completion grade

Varies

Usual entry age

Varies but minimum 17-18

Usual completion age

Varies

Length of a programme (years)

3-4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

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

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

Dual learning:

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

The initial dual study programmes have the following characteristics:

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

(2) a regulation about the practical training;

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

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to professional or general Master programmes.

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4-5

Specialised programmes

incl. WBL

1-3 years

ISCED 444, 453, 454

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

444, 453, 454

Usual entry grade

minimum 11

Usual completion grade

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

Usual entry age

minimum 15/16

Usual completion age

minimum 16/17

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

in some cases

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Varies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

• school-based learning;

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

BOS: full time vocational schools;

FOS: school- and work-based VET programmes

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

Main providers

Regulated by Federal or state law

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

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

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

• practical training at school

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

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

(1) two years’ successful vocational training or

(2) five years’ practical experience

Assessment of learning outcomes

final examinations

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3-4

General education programmes

with vocational orientation

incl. WBL

2-3 years

ISCED 344

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

344

Usual entry grade

minimum 11

Usual completion grade

minimum 12/13

Usual entry age

minimum 15/16

Usual completion age

minimum 17/19

Length of a programme (years)

2-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

Technical grammar school (Fachgymnasium)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

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

An intermediate secondary school leaving certificate is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to the general higher education entrance qualification.

Examples of qualifications

These programmes lead to the general higher education entrance qualification.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 2-4

School-based VET

programmes

incl. WBL,

1-3 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 10/12

Usual entry age

minimum 14/15

Usual completion age

minimum 15/18

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

Full time vocational schools (Berufsfachschule)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Minimum entry requirement is the lower secondary school leaving certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to programmes offered at:

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 1-2

Transition programmes,

1year

ISCED level 254

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

254

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 10

Usual entry age

minimum 14/15

Usual completion age

minimum 15/16

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

School and work based learning:

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

Varies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

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

EQF 3-4

Apprenticeship programmes,

WBL ca. 75%

2-3.5 years

ISCED level 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

minimum 10

Usual completion grade

minimum 11-13

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

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

Length of a programme (years)

2-3,5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

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

Main providers

Companies in cooperation with vocational schools

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

There are various ways to overcome these problems:

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

About 75%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

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

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

These are:

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

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

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available