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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

Main features of the VET system include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

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

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

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

 

Companies by number of employees in 2018

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

 

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

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

 

GDPmp according to components 2017 (%)

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

 

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

Employees by economic activity in 2017

Employed

%

Variation

Total

100

2.6

Agriculture

4.4

5.8

Industry

14.1

5

Construction

6

5.1

Services

75.6

1.9

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

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

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

1.3%

35.3%

100.0%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 30.9% in 2009 to 17.9% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 15%, and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

 

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

Source: ReferNet Spain, 2018.

 

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

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

Source: ReferNet, 2018.

 

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

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

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

The Spanish education and training system includes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal IVET (under the education remit)

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

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

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

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

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

Common characteristics of IVET and CVET qualifications

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

Learning forms (education authority VET):

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

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

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

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

Learning forms (employment authority VET):

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

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

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

Adult learning

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

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

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

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

Dual VET

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

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

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

The apprenticeship contract

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

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

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

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

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

Dual projects in formal VET (learning agreements)

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

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

Some of the main features of learning agreements are that:

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

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

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

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

Legislation

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

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

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

Governance

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

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

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

Implementation – advisory bodies

Main bodies involved in education:

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

Main bodies involved in vocational training for employment:

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

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

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

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

Non-formal training CVET providers

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

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

Formal VET is mostly State-financed.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Governance and target groups – Employment VET

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

 

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

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

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

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees in 2018

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

 

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

The main categories of VET teachers and trainers are:

In education authority VET programmes

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

In employment authority vocational programmes:

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

Formal requirements for VET teachers in formal education:

VET teachers must:

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

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

Formal requirements in the employment sphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other State-wide institutions monitor skill needs and trends:

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

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

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

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

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

Occupational standards

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

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

 

Structure of occupational standards

Source: INCUAL.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VET diplomas (education authority VET)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quality assurance in education authority VET is threefold:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Share of validation beneficiaries in 2017

Source: Data provided by INCUAL, 2018.

 

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

The process is divided into the following three phases:

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

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

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

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

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

Scholarships and grants for IVET learners

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

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

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

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

International internships

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

Information and guidance tools

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

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

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

Incentives for the employed

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

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

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

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

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

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees – 2018

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

 

Incentives for the unemployed

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

Incentives for dual VET learners and apprentices

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

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

Supporting VET provider capacity

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

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

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

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

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

Financial incentives

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

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

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

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

Since then, various developments have taken place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Higher VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are over 18)

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

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

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

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

Main target groups
  • learners over 18

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

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

Higher VET are accessible to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an higher VET diploma may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

N

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

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

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

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

Y

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

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

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

49%

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

 

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

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

 

Higher arts and design programmes,

2 years

Higher sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion grade

15 (for arts and design programmes)

13 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

18 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion age

20 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

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

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are already over 18)

ECVET or other credits

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

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

Information not available

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

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

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

Arts and design ISCED 554 programmes

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

Sports programmes:

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

<2%

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

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

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Basic VET programmes

WBL up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 353­

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

353

Usual entry grade

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

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

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

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

ECVET or other credits

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

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

Enrolments in education authority VET, 2016-17

2016-17

Total VET

Dual VET

Basic Cycle

69 528

414

Intermediate Cycle

343 920

7 422

Advanced Cycle

377 937

12 521

Total

791 385

20 357

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

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 50%

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

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

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

Requirements for basic VET are:

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a basic VET diploma may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

Y

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

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

Y

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

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

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

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

Y

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

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

<9% ([124]2017/18)

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

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

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

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

Intermediate VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

3 (when combined with a training and apprenticeship contract)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

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

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

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

Main target groups
  • learners over 16;
  • adults.

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

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

Intermediate VET are accessible to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an intermediate VET diploma may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

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

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

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

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

Y

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

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

42%

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

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

 

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

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

 

Arts and design programmes,

2 years

Sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

19 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes).

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

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

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Both type of programmes are offered by specialized providers:

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

Information not available

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

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

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

Arts and design programmes

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

Sports programmes:

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Arts and design or sports programmes lead to:

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

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

Judo and self defense (Judo y defensa personal)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

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

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

<2%

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Professional certificate

programmes – level 1

200-540 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 254

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

254

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

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

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

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

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learners must be at least 16 year olds.

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 1 may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

22.65% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 2

180-920 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 351

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

351

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not available

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

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

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

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

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 2 may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

55.35% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 3

240-1 110 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 453

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

453

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

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

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

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

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 3 may

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

22.01% of all professional certificates issued in 2017

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.