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General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 in 2060 ([7]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% 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].

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]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 Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) in the EU.

 

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

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

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

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].

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

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 is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Denmark comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

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

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Employment by sector/main economic sectors in 2016:

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

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

 

Source: Statistics Denmark [extracted 6.11.2017].

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

38.9%

Not applicable

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

Learners in mainstream education, October 2017

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

 

Source. Statistics Denmark [accessed 8.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In broad terms, higher education comprises:

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

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

The Danish VET system is divided into IVET and CVT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stakeholder involvement in Denmark

Source: www.uvm.dk

 

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

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

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expenditure on main youth education pathways (2018)

VET youth education

EGU and production schools

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

DKK 7 173.3 million

(EUR 963 Million)

DKK 1 263.3 million

EUR 170 Million)

DKK 12 178 million

(EUR 1 635 million)

   

Upper Vocational Education

   

DKK 3 085.4 million

(EUR 414 million)

Source: National budget 2018.

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

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

In VET, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

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

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

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

Monitoring is conducted at two levels:

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

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

Quality assurance mechanisms are also part of the

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

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

Competence assessment for young people

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

Competence assessment for adults

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

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

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

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

Salary for apprentices

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

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

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

Loans and grants

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

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

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

Employers’ reimbursement scheme

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

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

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

Fines and stimulations for companies

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

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

Wage compensation scheme

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

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Further adult education

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

with some exceptions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Business and technical academies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each module in the programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

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

EQF 5

Academy professions

programmes (KVU),

some WBL

ISCED 554

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

551, 554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

Main providers

10 business and technical academies (erhvervsakademier)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

Workshops at schools

Practical training at schools

Main target groups

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

a few general education subjects are part of this programme.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

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

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 655

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

665

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

25

Length of a programme (years)

3-4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

School-based learning and practical training at school.

Main providers

Seven university colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

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

Main target groups

Young people and adults who have completed their initial education.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

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

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

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-5

CVET (AMU) for

new skills and upgrade

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

Range

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Half a day to 50 days; one week on average

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Yes and no

– some courses are free of charge, some have charges

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Vocational colleges, AMU training centres and private providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

75%

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

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

Main target groups

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

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

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Truck driver, scaffolder, team leader

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

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

Y

such as reading, writing and mathematics courses

Key competences

Key competences can be included

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All AMU courses are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

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

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

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

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Basic VET (EGU)

programmes,

WBL at least 75%

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged below 30

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=75%

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

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

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

There are no minimum entry requirements concerning age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

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

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

Y

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

be recognised as part of IVET.

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

Key Competences can be a part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

2012

2013

2014

2015

231 6

2 331

238 2

2337

Source: Statistics Denmark, 2018.

EQF 4-5

VET programmes (EUX),

WBL 50%,

4-4.5 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4-4.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

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

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

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

There are no minimum or maximum entry requirements concerning age.

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners achieve both general and vocational upper secondary qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are part of the subjects in vocational colleges.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 3-5

VET programmes,

apprenticeships (EUD),

WBL 67%,

3-5 years

ISCED levels 353 and 354

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

353-354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

22

Usual completion age

28.9

Length of a programme (years)

5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

EUD consists of:

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

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

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

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

Main providers

VET colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Apprenticeships with:

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

Admission to basic programmes

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

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

Admission to main programmes

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

Students entering VET basic programmes (EUD and EUX) 2019

EQF 3-5

Adult VET (EUV)

programmes

3-5 years

ISCED 353, 354

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

353, 354

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Average: 22 years

Usual completion age

Average: 28.9 years

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 – 5.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

It is a dual system consisting of:

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

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

60%

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

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

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

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

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

Y

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

Key competences

Y

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available