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General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

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

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

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

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

 

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

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

 

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

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

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

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

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

Key competences

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

Personal competence development plan

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

Work-based learning

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

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

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

Training agreement

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

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

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

Apprenticeship training contract

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

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

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

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

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

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

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

VET providers

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

 

VET providers by ownership

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

 

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

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

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

Current financing system

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The 2022 financing system for better performance

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

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

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

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

 

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

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

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

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

 

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

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

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

Requirements for trainers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quantitative anticipation

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

Qualitative anticipation

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

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

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

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

National forum for skills anticipation

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

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

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

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

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

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competence assessment plans

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

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

Learner personal competence development plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

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

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

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

Supervision of qualifications

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

The committees’ duties are:

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

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

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

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

Quality assurance of VET providers

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

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

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

Learner feedback

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

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

New quality assurance guidelines

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

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

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

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

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

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

Financial support for full-time learners

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

Study grants

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

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

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

Government guarantees for student loans

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

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

Learning material supplement

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

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

Study leave for employees

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

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

Employment Fund support for adult learners

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

Adult education allowance

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

Scholarships for qualified employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

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

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Malta comprises the following main features:

  • the overall responsibility for VET lies within the Ministry for Education and Employment. The Ministry for Tourism is in charge of VET for the tourism sector. There are two main State providers of further and higher education ([1]There are two main State providers: (a) the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and Arts (MCAST) and (b) the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS). They are self-accrediting institutions offering VET free of charge.);
  • the number of private VET providers has been increasing;
  • a reform of the legal framework for education is underway;
  • VET is available from lower secondary education onwards.

Distinctive features ([2]Adapted from Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Malta. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8106_en.pdf)

Stakeholders strongly support VET. The chamber for commerce, enterprise and industry, the Malta employers’ association and the unions are involved and sit on the boards of state VET providers. Many employers promote apprenticeships, with dialogue between VET providers and industry as a key feature in qualification design.

Developing excellence in VET and higher education through research, effective licensing, programme accreditation, quality assurance and recognition of qualifications has been entrusted to a single institution established in 2013: the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) ([3]The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) was officially launched on 14 September 2012 and is legislated by the revised Education Act which came into force on 1 August 2012.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/aboutus/Pages/default.aspx
).

The commission acts as a broker between the government and VET and higher education institutions, encourages stakeholder dialogue, and oversees the implementation of the Malta qualifications framework (MQF).

Malta was the first EU country to reference its qualifications framework to the European qualifications framework (EQF ([4]European qualifications framework of lifelong learning (EQF).) and the qualifications frameworks in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA) ([5]Qualifications frameworks in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA).) in 2009. The Malta qualifications framework has been a catalyst for moving from previously used British qualifications to national qualifications and has become widely used in education and training and the labour market. Its development has gone hand-in-hand with strengthening the quality culture in VET, evidencing its value as a systemic tool and a sound basis for skill validation.

The recent establishment of several sector skills units is another step towards fostering quality, enabling designing occupational standards, acknowledging non-formal and informal learning in more sectors, and setting standards for VET providers.

Forecasting skill needs is essential for evidence-based policy but also challenging, as one sectoral investment may cause substantial economic shifts. Skills intelligence is gradually developing, with recent initiatives expanding the evidence base and helping VET providers better meet labour market needs. The 2015 employability index and graduate tracer study led to more insights on the transition of VET learners to the labour market and informs education and career choices.

In 2016, Jobsplus ([6]Jobsplus is the National Employment Authority of Malta. Jobsplus is the new name, since June 2016 of the Employment and Training Corporation member of the network of European Public Employment Services.), the national commission for further and higher education and Malta Enterprise (ME) launched a skills survey among employers to map their current and future skill needs([7]The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), Jobsplus and Malta Enterprise (ME) embarked on an Employee Skills Gap Survey. The objective was to gauge the extent of the existing skills gap, to contribute effectively to improvements in the educational system in Malta to make it more responsive to the needs of the labour market and to provide policy makers with the information necessary to identify the potential shortcomings of the Maltese labour market that could be hindering companies from finding employees with adequate skills. This exercise is deemed particularly important in light of the relatively strong and sustained growth recorded by the Maltese economy over recent years which requires an increasingly diversified set of skills to enable companies to meet market demand. The National Employee Skills Survey full report, published in 2017 is available at: https://secure.etc.gov.mt/JobsplusFlipbook/#p=2).

Skills shortages are experienced because of population ageing, low unemployment and strong economic growth driven by tourism and trade and emerging sectors such as i-gaming, financial services, legal and accounting services and aircraft maintenance. Employers already face difficulties recruiting skilled workers in the healthcare, financial and ICT sectors and frequently rely on foreign workers to meet their needs.

The focus of VET and employment policies is to increase skilled workforce supply by helping more young people complete education or training – and make a successful transition to a job – and to increase employment among inactive ageing people.

New legislation strengthening the regulation of apprenticeship and work-based learning – spearheaded by Cedefop’s apprenticeship review – is part of the measures.

Early school leaving from education and training has decreased faster than in many other countries, but at 17.5% in 2018 ([8]Early leavers from education and training, Eurostat t2020_40 [extracted 16.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=t2020_40&plugin=1
) it is still the second highest in the EU.

Measures to reduce it include a national 10% early school leaving target, to be achieved by 2020, a strategic prevention plan, launched in 2014, and strengthened coordination and progress monitoring in the education and employment ministry. New second chance options, including work-based learning, have been established and support for teachers has increased.

Introducing vocational subjects in lower secondary education has also been an important step in preventing early school leaving by providing alternative learning pathways.

Following the inclusion of VET subjects within the framework of the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) in 2015, VET and general/academic education qualifications started enjoying parity of esteem.

The reform planned for 2019/20 intends to make learning more inclusive, flexible and without dead-ends, to give more young people opportunities to develop employability and skills for personal and social development.

The implementation of the reform is being preceded by the following preparations:

  • the development of VET and applied learning programmes based on the Learning Outcomes Framework (LOF);
  • professional development sessions for VET teachers;
  • investment of EUR 10 million in the building and equipping VET labs in all secondary state schools. Offering the latest technologies and facilities for the teaching of vocational and applied subjects;
  • agreements between the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and various economic operators to provide workplace experience for VET students to ensure deep learning.

Stepping up participation in lifelong learning is a government priority. The national lifelong learning strategy 2020, adopted in 2014, paves the way for empowering people through more personalised and innovative learning approaches. Recently introduced, free of charge online modules at Malta, College of Arts Science and Technology expand the learning offer.

A National Skills Council (NSC) ([9]The National Skills Council (NSC) was setup by means of Subsidiary Legislation 327.547 of the Laws of Malta with the aim to first review the past and present available skills within the Maltese labour work force and evaluate the changes required to meet current and future needs. The main aim being that to minimise the skill gaps that exist in some of the demanding and rewarding sectors such as the digital, technical and financial sectors. It is the council’s task to recommend policy changes to the government that would reduce these gaps and prepare the labour force with the right skills, to meet the future challenges.
https://education.gov.mt/en/Pages/National-Skills-Council.aspx
) has been set up in 2016 to improve governance of skills anticipation and coordinate work that, until now, has been fragmented across several organisations without a clearly defined and dedicated budget to develop and coordinate new initiatives aimed at creating better conditions and incentives for lifelong learning.

Data from VET in Malta Spotlight 2017 ([10]ReferNet Malta contribution and adaptation from Cedefop (2017) Spotlight on vocational education and training in Malta. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8106
)

Population in 2018: 475 701 ([11]NB: Data for population as of 1 January, Eurostat tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 12.6% mostly due to immigration (increased birth rate contributed to a lesser extent) ([12]NB: Data for population as of 1 January, Eurostat tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase in school enrolment due to the increase in migration flows will have an impact on VET as more students take the VET option. This would require more educators and learning facilities.

Not applicable

In 2017, there were only 113 firms in Malta that employed more than 250 persons. Small and medium enterprises constituted 99.9% of all firms, with the vast majority, 97.3%, being micro firms employing less than 10 persons. Small firms, employing between 10 and 49 workers, accounted for 2.2% of all enterprises, while 0.5% of all firms were medium-sized.

Maltese small and medium enterprises in the business economy sector generated nearly two thirds of all growth in value added and half of the rise in employment. This is a healthy development as growing dependence on many small and medium enterprises is making the Maltese economy less susceptible to idiosyncratic shocks ([13]Grech, A.G. (2018). SMEs’ contribution to the Maltese economy and future prospects. Central Bank of Malta policy note, October 2018.
https://www.centralbankmalta.org/file.aspx?f=72222
).

Main economic sectors ([14]Recent GDP growth is mostly driven by services. Between 2015 and 2016 professional, scientific and technical activities together with administrative and support service activities increased by 12.1 per cent. For arts, entertainment and recreation, repair of household goods and other services the increase was 10.2%. The value of non-marketed services (public administration and defence, education, human health and social work activities) increased by 6.2%. Source: MFIN, 2018. Contrary to the trend observed in the services sector, a steady decline in the share of manufacturing in terms of gross value added was noted, with the ratio shrinking by around half since Malta joined the EU in 2004. The relative contribution of construction to the economy has also declined considerably. The already marginal share of value added by agriculture has decreased further, keeping the country heavily dependent on imported food supplies. On the other hand, the shares of sectors such as i-gaming, financial services and IT services, legal and accounting services, and aircraft maintenance have increased significantly. Supported by the traditionally strong tourism sector, retail and wholesale trade, and public services, these expanding activities are becoming the new growth drivers in the economy.):

  • financial, insurance and real estate;
  • professional, scientific and technical;
  • arts, entertainment and recreation;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • construction;
  • manufacturing and utilities.

Economic actors play an active role in linking VET to the needs of the economy. They are represented on the board of directors of the Institute of Tourism Studies and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology contributing to the development of VET courses at all levels. Both Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and Institute of Tourism Studies have developed bespoke courses for certain industries requiring specific skills e.g. avionics, block chain and distributed ledger technologies.

Besides, an increasing number of enterprises offer apprenticeships, internships and work-based learning to VET students in both institutions.

Depending on the job, employers usually ask for qualifications, competencies and skills.

The labour market is considered flexible. However, a number of occupations/professions is regulated (e.g. engineers and accountants require a professional warrant).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 1.8 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat, 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 3-4 and 5-8, both age groups.
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].

 

The impact of education on unemployment is significant. The unemployment rate for the low-skilled (20 to 64) has been decreasing and is now almost three times higher than the corresponding rate of people with tertiary education. The unemployment rate for those with a medium level qualification, has, in most years, been less than half of the unemployment rate of the low-skilled. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of persons aged 15 years and over having a low level of education dropped by 9.1 percentage points, Over the same period, there was an increase of 4.7 percentage points and 4.4 percentage points in the number of persons attaining a medium or a high level of education respectively ([17]National Statistics Office (2018). Labour force survey revisions: 2012-17. NSO news release 153/2018, 2.10.2018.https://nso.gov.mt/en/News_Releases/View_by_Unit/Unit_C2/Labour_Market_Statistics/Documents/2018/News2018_153.pdf).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates decreased from 92.4% in 2014 to 92.3% 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].

 

The decrease (-0.1 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+4.1 pp) in the same period in Malta ([18]NB: Breaks in time series, Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018, 46.7% of the 15+ population has an ISCED 0-2 level of education, 27% ISCED 3-4 and 26.3% a tertiary qualification ISCED 5-8. Developments in the last 15 years reflect extensive investment in education and training. The inflow of foreigners also contributed to rising attainment levels; they often have a tertiary qualification and relatively few are low-skilled ([19]European Commission (2016). Country report Malta 2016. Brussels, 26.2.2016. SWD(2016) 86 final.
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/cr_malta_2016_en.pdf
) ([20]Eurostat table t2020_41 [extracted 22.10.2018].) ([21]National Statistics Office (NSO) (2018). Labour force survey revisions: 2012-17. NSO News release 153/2018.
https://nso.gov.mt/en/News_Releases/View_by_Unit/Unit_C2/Labour_Market_Statistics/Documents/2018/News2018_153.pdf
).

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czech Republic, 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

0.5%

27.1%

Not applicable

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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

 

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

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

 

Up to 2014, there were more males in further vocational education (53%). In 2015, female participation in further VET, surpassed male participation with females accounting for 53%. In 2016, the participation rate in further VET by sex was 50% for males and females. Females dominate in programmes in the arts and humanities (27.7%) and health and welfare (13.6%), while males are overrepresented in programmes in engineering, manufacturing, construction (13.5%), information, and communication technologies (10.7%). Like in further education, gender differences are also evident in subject area choices at higher education level.

Females dominate in programmes in health and welfare (22.6%) and education (15.7%), while males are over represented in programmes in engineering, manufacturing and construction (13.9%) and information and communication technologies (12.0%) ([22]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2018). Further and higher education statistics 2015-16.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 27.2% in 2008 to 17.7% in 2018. It is above the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% 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; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Drop-out rate in VET

Information not available

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early school leavers from education. The older unemployed groups are also covered.

 

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].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Malta has been increasing. From 7.7% in 2014, it reached 10.8% in 2018 just 0.3 percentage points below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED 0);
  • primary education (ISCED Level 1);
  • secondary education (ISCED Levels 2 and 3);
  • post-secondary general education (ISCED Level 3);
  • post-secondary vocational education and training (ISCED Levels 3 and 5);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 6,7 and 8).

Early childhood education and care, available for children from the age of 3 months up to 2 years and 9 months, is provided at centres run by both the state State and private entities. As from April 2014, families with both parents in full-time or part-time employment or in education are entitled to free childcare. Children between the ages of 2 years and 9 months and 5 years attend kindergarten classes that are operated by State, church and independent schools.

Compulsory education is distributed over 11 years and covers the ages from 5 to 16 years. It consists of two cycles: the primary cycle (from age 5 to 11) and the secondary cycle (from age 11 to 16) which consists of middle Schools (from age 11 to 13) and secondary schools (from age 13 to 16). Around 50% of students in compulsory education attend state schools, another 36% go to church schools and around 14% are in independent schools.

Primary education consists of a six-year programme that addresses general and vocational themes. Learners are streamed in the last two years and sit for the national end of primary benchmark assessment in year 6 to determine their level of education.

As from 2014, co-education has been introduced in the secondary cycle. The phasing in of middle schools (from age 11 to 13) ensures that smaller sized school communities result in more individual attention and a more caring environment that promotes better student-teacher relationships. Parent involvement is encouraged with a view of preventing disengagement. The curriculum addresses general and vocational skills.

All secondary schools (from age 13 to 16) provide general education courses and also options for students who want to follow a vocational career pathway. At the end of secondary education students are awarded a Secondary School Certificate & Profile (SSC&P) that recognizes formal, non-formal and informal education. Students may sit for the secondary education certificate exams that are a prerequisite for taking up many of the programmes available at upper-secondary and post-secondary level.

Following compulsory education students can choose to follow either a general or a vocational post-secondary education path (from age 16 to 18). General and some vocational education programmes are intended to lead to tertiary education. The main institutions at post-secondary level are the Malta junior college, the Giovanni Curmi Higher secondary school, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies, the latter providing hospitality courses.

The University of Malta (UoM) ([23]https://www.um.edu.mt/), also an autonomous institution, offers tertiary general education programmes ranging from certificate and under-graduate level to doctoral level. Tertiary vocational education is provided by Malta college of arts, science and technology’s university college. It is envisaged that Institute of Tourism Studies will also start to provide degree courses. Private organisations also provide post- secondary and tertiary education ([24]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/malta_en).

  • For students with an EQF level 1 qualification: one-year introduction and foundation programmes (lower secondary, ISCED-P 253) leading to an EQF level 1 or 2 certificate. They integrate key competences within the vocational aspects of the curriculum, include work experience, and give access to studies at the next EQF level in the same field. The most popular fields of study are manufacturing, construction and arts and humanities. Foundation certificate holders can continue VET in one- to two-year apprenticeship schemes (upper secondary, ISCED-P 353) leading to a VET diploma (EQF level 3);
  • for students with an EQF level 2 compulsory education qualification: two-year, mainly school- (college-) based programmes (upper secondary, ISCED-P 353) leading to a VET diploma (EQF level 3). These programmes include work-based learning and give access to programmes at the next level;
  • for those with an EQF level 3 compulsory education qualification: VET programmes (post-secondary, ISCED-P 454) leading to an advanced VET diploma (EQF level 4). There are school (college)-based two-year programmes and two- to three-year apprenticeship schemes. Some programmes can be followed either college-based or on apprenticeship. VET diploma (EQF level 3) holders can enter these programmes as well.

VET in higher education includes:

  • two-year college-based programmes (ISCED-P 554) leading to higher VET diplomas at EQF level 5. A VET advanced diploma (EQF level 4) is required for entry. Higher VET diplomas are equivalent to a degree after the first two years of a university programme; they allow entry to the third year of VET bachelor programmes provided graduates meet entry requirements. Higher VET diploma graduates from the Institute of Tourism Studies can also pursue a bachelor in tourism programme at the university of Malta;
  • three- to four-year bachelor programmes (ISCED 655, leading to EQF level 6) which open up progression opportunities to selected academic master programmes. Institute of Tourism Studies offers three VET bachelor programmes. VET bachelor programmes are open to:
  • sixth-form graduates with two advanced and two intermediate level passes;
  • Malta College of Arts Science and Technology advanced diploma (EQF level 4) graduates;
  • VET higher diploma programme graduates (see above);
  • Institute of Tourism Studies diploma (MQF level4);
  • Institute of Tourism Studies Higher National Diploma (MQF level 5)
  • three-year part-time VET master programmes (EQF level 7) at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. In 2016/17 an MBA for small business and a master of business informatics programmes were offered for the first time. Graduates with an academic bachelor degree from the University of Malta or a Malta College of Arts Science and Technology VET bachelor degree can enter these programmes. By February 2019, the suite of Master’s programmes offered at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology will go up to thirteen.

Government’s ambition is to become a learning society by developing adult education especially continuing VET and easing access to these forms of learning. The education and employment ministry’s department for employment, research, lifelong learning and employability ([25]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) is the main provider of part-time adult learning courses. Its adult learning unit offers over 500 EQF level 1-5 courses in community-based learning centres, local councils and community centres. Most courses develop basic key competences, but the offer also includes continuing VET and visual and performing arts courses.

State VET providers also offer continuing VET courses. Around 300 part-time courses at Malta college of Arts, Science and Technology cater to adults who cannot take part in full-time programmes due to employment, business, family or other commitments. They support career development and, in some cases, enable participants to take up more specialised jobs.

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology provides tailor made courses to industry, on demand. In view of the general shortage of workers, industries are resorting to upskilling their own employees rather than solely seeking readily-skilled employees from outside their firm. During 2015, 62% of enterprises provided some form of continuous vocational training. These included; in-house continuing VET courses, job rotation, exchanges, secondments, study-visits, conferences, workshops, learning circles or self-directed learning.

Firms might well provide in-house training to their employees but partnering with Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology gives them the opportunity to provide employees with level-rated courses and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology -badged certification, either for full qualifications or for partial awards, both pegged to the Malta qualifications framework. As a result, the population of part-time students at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology is increasing, with Maltese and foreign workers choosing to upskill themselves, directly or through their employers, in order to get higher accredited and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology -badged certification.

Reform of apprenticeship was launched in 2014 following 2013 and 2014 European semester country-specific recommendations. It merged off-the-job education and on-the-job learning in a single apprenticeship scheme and helped place more emphasis on quality. It also strengthened the role of employers in assessment and set the stage for fully implementing a three-tier framework comprising work placements (EQF levels 1-4), apprenticeships (EQF levels 3-4) and internships (EQF level 5 and above). Attracting more learners to VET by expanding work-based learning and motivating them to stay in labour market relevant programmes, the reform contributes to reducing early leaving.

Malta college of arts, science and technology took over administration of apprenticeships from the public employment service Jobsplus in 2014 and renamed it the national apprenticeship scheme. The enactment of the work-based learning and apprenticeship act, which came into force in March 2018 ([26]http://justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=28680&l=1), further consolidated the reform in apprenticeship and work-based learning. It is based on research conducted by Cedefop together with local learners, educators, employers and trade unions. The research included also a review of international legislation on traineeships and benchmarking of best practices within countries leading in the field of vocational education and training.

The Act aims at strengthening work-based learning and apprenticeship by:

  • setting definitions and operational parameters for work placements, apprenticeships and internships;
  • outlining responsibilities and governance structures (such as the national skills council;
  • defining rights and obligations for VET providers, employers and learners;
  • highlighting the role of employers as responsible learning partners;
  • setting a compulsory minimum number of hours for all forms of work-based learning and linking remuneration to the minimum wage;
  • using ECVET/ECTS in all forms of work-based learning;
  • introducing a single EQF-based apprenticeship qualification replacing the dual certification currently in place;
  • launching a training agreements register to support data collection and policy-relevant analysis by the national skills council.

Recent developments at Malta college of Arts, Science and Technology, reflecting the ambition to ensure quality work-based learning opportunities (apprenticeship, internship or work exposure) in all its programmes, include:

  • mainstreaming pilot projects (placements, apprenticeship and internship) into full-time programmes;
  • developing work-based vocational competences for all apprenticeship programmes, serving as assessment benchmarks (apprenticeships office);
  • making internship compulsory in all EQF level 6 programmes;
  • launching an entrepreneurship centre (in collaboration with Malta enterprise) to give learners opportunities to transform innovative ideas into profitable and sustainable business ventures.

Malta College of Arts Science and Technology offers also work placement opportunities abroad and includes entrepreneurship training in its VET bachelor degree courses.

At the Institute of Tourism Studies, work-based learning in the form of 14-week local industrial trade practice during summer is compulsory for/in programmes up to EQF level 3 (ISCED 353). EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) and 5 (ISCED 554) Institute of Tourism Studies programmes include a mandatory 12-month internship abroad. Work-based learning in higher VET takes the form of internships and/or entrepreneurship training.

Apprenticeship has expanded to new sectors and participation has increased reaching 890 in 2018. Students following courses at the Institute of Engineering and Transport account for 50% of apprenticeship placements. In 2018, around 36% of diploma courses at Malta qualifications framework level 3 (European qualifications framework level 3) and 72% of advanced diploma courses at Malta qualifications framework level 4(European qualifications framework level 4) are on apprenticeship. The remaining courses at both Malta qualifications framework level 3 and levels 1 and 2 (European qualifications framework levels 3 and levels 1 and 2) include other forms of work placement.

Apprenticeships will also be introduced through other providers, including private ones, to tap new areas of expertise. The aim is to make apprenticeships more inclusive and more flexible for learners, for instance by offering part-time schemes.

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

The education and employment ministry is in charge of VET in compulsory education and at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology ([27]https://mcast.edu.mt/). The Institute of Tourism Studies ([28]https://its.edu.mt/) falls under the responsibility of the tourism ministry.

As the official regulatory body for post-compulsory education, the national commission for further and higher education supports excellence through research, effective licensing, accreditation, quality assurance and recognition of qualifications established under the Malta qualifications framework. It also acts as a broker between the government and VET and higher education institutions, structures stakeholder dialogue, and oversees Malta qualifications framework implementation.

Social partners sit on the boards of the state VET providers. Given the small size of the country, governance structures at provider level are important; efforts to optimise them have largely been steered by providers themselves.

The thematic organisation of Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology in six institutes has helped encourage focused stakeholder dialogue and has provided a platform for employers and employee representatives to be involved in steering VET.

The foundation, technical and university colleges – which structure the programme offer by programme level – were introduced in 2015. They complement the thematic structure with a view to being in a better position to develop focused strategies that balance addressing learning needs of students at different levels with employer interests and other stakeholder needs.

Public education from early childhood education and care up to tertiary level, including all initial vocational education and training offered by schools and state providers up to European qualifications framework level 6, is financed by the government. The budget for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies is part of government education expenditures. Tuition fees paid by participants in continuing VET courses generate extra revenue for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies.

 

Public spending on education

Source: Eurostat (2018) gov_10a_exp [extracted 10.11.2018].

 

In Malta VET teachers are present in the following areas ([29]Information taken from
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
):

  • within compulsory education teaching vocational subjects. These teachers are delivering their subjects at the secondary level of education; they are employed within the grade of teacher and enjoy the same salary scales and conditions as any other teacher employed at compulsory level within the public sector. There is no distinction in teacher employment grades and qualifications required for these grades between general education subjects and vocational subject teachers;
  • at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology is the main state VET provider, provides courses from Malta qualifications framework level 1 on the Malta qualifications framework up to Malta qualifications framework level 7 which is equivalent to Master’s degree. There are specific standards applied to the qualifications of VET teachers teaching the different qualification levels within Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. VET teachers catering for up to level 4 qualifications need to have a minimum of a level 5 qualification. Those teaching at level 5 and higher need to have a minimum of a level 6 qualification. It is not legally necessary for VET teachers to possess teacher training qualifications at recruitment stage. This is mainly the case as there is no official provision of initial teacher training for post-compulsory VET education. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology offers to its VET teachers a teacher training course (the Malta qualifications framework level 6) in order to complement for the lack of initial teacher training. The course is offered on a part-time basis and takes place in the evenings;
  • at the Institute of Tourism Studies. The Institute of Tourism Studies is a state funded organisation which provides training in the hospitality industry at post compulsory level like Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. VET teachers at the Institute of Tourism Studies are not required to have a teacher training qualification on recruitment, even if a qualification in the sector is required. In the past the Institute of Tourism Studies offered an European qualifications framework level 5 qualification in teacher training organised by the faculty of education, university of Malta, to all its staff in order to ensure that all staff has received a teacher training. Current teachers at the Institute of Tourism Studies follow the teacher training courses offered by Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology;
  • within private VET providers who cater for post- compulsory and adult learners. There is no specific regulation of qualifications for VET teachers in the private sector. However, qualifications and courses accredited by the national commission for further and higher education specify that accredited vocational courses at Malta qualifications framework levels 1-4 should have tutors/VET trainers qualified at least with a relevant full qualification at level 5. In the case of vocational courses at Malta qualifications framework levels 5 and 6 as well as academic courses at levels 6 and 7, tutors should have a full relevant qualification at least one level up from the course provided. The clarification issued by the national commission for further and higher education also states that in the case of vocational courses up to level 5, when there is clear evidence that the local market does not provide tutors of the required qualification level, the national commission for further and higher education will consider proposals for twinned provision. This involves namely that a highly-experienced and effective tutor with a lower qualification level is mentored by a colleague with a qualification at the appropriate level, who is preferably also involved in co-delivery, to ensure that the required level of learning outcomes delivery and assessment is maintained. Private VET providers are regulated further and higher education in Malta which specifies that all further and higher education institutions need to ensure that teaching staff are qualified as one of the standards for internal quality assurance ([30]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2015). Internal and external quality assurance framework in further and higher education. See especially p.6: Standard 6 - Teaching staff.
    https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/resources/Documents/Publications/Quality%20Assurance/Internal%20and%20External%20Quality%20Assurance%20in%20Further%20and%20Higher%20Education%20A4%20Brochure.pdf.
    ). Since quality assurance audits are still in their early stages, no general understanding about what auditors expect in terms of VET teachers’ qualifications has yet developed;
  • at the workplace, i.e. apprenticeship tutors and mentors. Apprentices are supported by two different groups of professionals during their workplace learning experience. When an apprentice obtains an apprenticeship contract with an employer, the employer is legally bound to assign a mentor to each apprentice. The mentor is usually a trusted employee, often with a supervisory role within the company and who has the responsibility of training the apprentice and supervising his work. The mentor is responsible for ensuring that the agreed learning programme for work-based learning is implemented. In addition to this mentoring, the apprentice is visited at work by VET teachers who are experts in the sector. The objective of these visits is to monitor the apprentice’s progress with respect to the learning of skills related to the course of study. The visits also serve to ensure that the apprentice is being provided with good learning work experience, and if any problems arise, these are tackled by the VET teacher. Thus, there are two roles within the apprenticeship scheme: tutors (VET teachers) and mentors (company employees). Visits by VET teachers to companies are part of the new reform in apprenticeship and have only started taking place during the 2014/15 academic year. There is currently no national legislation that regulates the qualification of mentors.

Higher education is an entry-level requirement for the teaching profession.

For compulsory (not-primary) education teachers, there have traditionally been two routes: a dedicated four-year bachelor of education degree programme and a one-year postgraduate certificate in education programme (European qualifications framework level 7) following a bachelor degree in a subject field. In October 2016, the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta introduced a Master’s degree in teaching and learning for first cycle degree graduates. For the first time vocational subjects have been included as areas of specialisation.

As from October 2018, the Institute for Education (IFE) is providing a bachelor’s and a master’s degree programme with specialisation in the teaching of VET subjects. The courses are being offered part-time after school hours and using a blended learning modality. This has been done in order to increase accessibility for those who are already working full time and wish to upgrade their qualifications and professional competences. The Institute for Education also acts as a platform for sharing experience and promoting educational leadership. Its activities include developing a wide array of accredited teacher training opportunities and establishing international partnerships, are financed by ministry and EU funds.

The new sectoral agreement between the education and employment ministry and the Malta union of teachers, which was signed in December 2017 ([31]The previous sectorial agreement between the Government and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) included a statutory requirement for teachers to attend an in-service course (INSET) of three days duration every two years. Educators could also attend CPD on a voluntary basis. This agreement increases the duration of CPD as well as widens the range of CDP provision. It also places responsibility of the school to cover at least 40 hours of CPD out of 80 hours.) and covers the years 2018-22, gives greater emphasis to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This new agreement broadens the concept of continuing professional development to include all development opportunities that nurture and cherish the creation of a Community of Professional Educators (CoPE). Continuing professional development encompasses as of October 2018 all initiatives that facilitate professional discussion and growth amongst community members, such as school development planning sessions, continuous professional development and links with the internal and external community.

Management has at its disposition a maximum of 40 hours-driven Community of Professional Educators time annually (out of 80 hours). All educators are being encouraged to participate in self-sought Continuing Professional Development. Since January 2018 this is compensated by accelerated salary progression.

As from September 2018, progression of teachers to the next salary scale may be accelerated from eight to six years if they cumulate an aggregate of 360 hours recognised self-taught Continuous Professional Development (CPD) time over six (6) years.

Continuing VET development has placed teacher continuing professional development high on the agenda of State providers. To prepare for the nationwide introduction of VET subjects in 2015, VET subject teachers and university graduates expressing interest in teaching VET subjects were trained to teach the newly introduced VET subjects at compulsory level were given the opportunity to take part in a training programme comprising content, practical pedagogy and new assessment methods, as well as guidance to help prevent early leaving from education and training.

Community of professional educators training sessions for teachers of all mainstream subjects in compulsory education, including VET teachers, are being held throughout 2018/19. All learning programmes including VET ones, are being written as learning outcomes.

Malta College of Arts Science and Technology provides continuous Continuing Professional Development opportunities for its lecturing staff. It regularly offers staff with European qualifications framework level 6 qualifications in vocational areas the opportunity to do an European qualifications framework level 6 30-credit graduate teaching certificate in VET, which gives VET lecturers the opportunity to acquire pedagogical skills.

Given that Malta College of Arts Science and Technology is also fast developing its portfolio of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the research activity in the college is becoming always more important. To this end Malta College of Arts Science and Technology has also developed a post graduate certificate in research methods and a post graduate diploma in research methods. The aim of both European qualifications framework level 7 qualifications is to equip its lecturing staff with the necessary competences to carry out research together with their undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2019, Malta College of Arts Science and Technology introduced the master’s degree in vocational education applied research to equip specialists and leaders in vocational education and training with current and future competencies needed to prepare learners for the world of employment. This proposes to bring about a shift towards innovative practices that link teaching and impact research within the context of vocational, further and higher education. It offers participants an experiential learning experience in vocational education through the interlinked fields of competence-based development and research-based development.

This innovative approach drives towards developing the scholarship of teaching through systematic engagement, systematic reflection and systematic research, ultimately aimed at increasing the educational capacity for teaching and research.

Quality assurance standards govern continuing professional development and drive efforts aimed at sustaining quality in teaching and learning at the Institute of Tourism Studies. In 2015, the institute started collaborating with Haaga Helia ([32]Haaga Helia is a Finnish private educational institution: http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/about-haaga-helia/organization?userLang=en). A process for validating informal and non-formal prior learning was designed using European guidelines to help customise lecturing staff training programmes leading to top-up degrees in hospitality services.

Upskilling staff via the degree programme in hospitality management developed by Haaga Helia ([33]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage) puts the Institute of Tourism Studies in the position to offer bachelor degree programmes in the hospitality and tourism sector from 2017 onwards.

To raise the profile of adult educators, the directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability ([34]Directorate For Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) of the education and employment ministry launched an European qualifications framework level 5 national diploma programme in teaching adults in 2014. The work is part of the implementation of the national lifelong learning strategy and was kick-started with funds for implementing the EU agenda for adult learning.

As a driver of quality and student results, teacher continuing professional development is a strategic priority. Continuing professional development also contributes to meeting demand for teachers, foreseen in the near future, by making the profession more attractive. Government encourages teacher continuing professional development through incentives such as sabbaticals and paid study leave schemes, the endeavour scholarship, Malta government undergraduate and postgraduate schemes, and reach high post-doctoral scholarships.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers)

Labour market and skills analysis in Malta has for long mostly been based on labour force survey (LFS) statistics, administrative data on employment and registered unemployment collected by Jobsplus([36]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) and its predecessor, the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC), and ad hoc surveys. These sources help monitor the labour market situation and quantify past trends; they continue to be used to provide insight on how employment is changing.

Forward looking information on skill needs has been scarce and limited in scope. Sources offering insight into future employment needs include regular industry trends surveys among employers in the manufacturing, investment, retail, services and construction sectors ([37]Organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Findings are frequently used in Central Bank of Malta reports.) and the annual attractiveness survey ([38]For the latest edition, see Ernst & Young Limited (2016). The survey includes information on recruitment problems and skill mismatch.) among Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies and investors in Malta. These surveys and other sectoral foresight exercises tend to be qualitative, with a short-term focus and offering few possibilities to produce more specific information on skills. This limits their potential to contribute to forward-looking education and employment policies and their use by employers to plan ahead for future human resource needs.

Malta is working towards developing a coherent system for producing and interpreting skills intelligence to understand future skill needs better. The national skills council is in the process of setting up an econometric model/mechanism for skills forecasting. This process is being guided by the outcomes/results of the national employee skills survey report (published by Jobsplus, national commission for further and higher education and Malta enterprise). The national skills council is also drafting a national skills strategy that aligns itself to the existing strategies (including the lifelong learning strategy) while identifying individual transversal skills that should be integrated into all streams of education and training.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([40]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

The Malta qualifications framework was launched in 2007 by the qualifications council. It covers Initial VET and continuing VET and encompasses qualifications at all levels, attained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. In 2009, Malta was the first country to reference its framework to the European qualifications framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the qualifications framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA). Legislation adopted in 2012 established its legal basis and made the national commission for further and higher Education responsible for all aspects of the Malta qualifications framework.

Unlike qualifications frameworks in many other Member States, the Malta qualifications framework also covers programmes not leading to full qualifications. Accredited programmes (courses) with level rated-learning outcomes not meeting requirements of a qualification, in terms of credits offered, lead to ‘awards’. The distinction was introduced to help learners and employers better understand different types of certification and their role in recruitment and career advancement.

The structure of qualifications and the procedure of accrediting programmes is to be found in the referencing report 2016 ([41]https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf).

The referencing report states that courses that can be accredited as ‘qualifications’ up to Level 7 need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • learning must be in line with the level descriptor equivalent to the specific qualification level targeted;
  • learning must fulfil the number of credits required; and
  • in the case of initial VET qualifications, the number of credits includes the indicated percentage of the course dedicated to key competences, sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge.

It is important that training courses are pitched at the right level of difficulty of learning in terms of knowledge, skills and competences covered and the learning outcomes to be achieved following the learning experience. Both the state and private sector offer short courses that do not have the necessary number of credits to be called a qualification. These courses are usually of different duration, and consequently have different credit allocations. Any course which fulfils the level of learning but not the required number of credits to qualify for the title of ‘qualification’ are to be called ‘award’.

The requirements for courses to be considered as ‘awards’ are the following:

  • the learning outcomes need to reflect the level of learning indicated in the specific Malta qualifications framework level descriptor;
  • the number of credits assigned to the course are either less than those specified for a qualification at the particular Malta qualifications framework level, or in the case of VET, do not reflect the required distribution of key competences, sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge.

The Malta qualifications framework development has gone hand-in-hand with strengthening VET quality culture. Establishing and maintaining standards in the context of the qualifications framework falls within the remit of the education and employment ministry.

Upper secondary and higher initial VET and continuing VET

The national commission for further and higher education is responsible for quality assurance in VET and higher education. The national quality assurance framework ([42]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2015). The national quality assurance framework for further and higher education.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/resources/Documents/Publications/Quality%20Assurance/National%20Quality%20Assurance%20Framework%20for%20Further%20and%20Higher%20Education.pdf
) launched in 2015 was a significant step forward and the first of its kind in Europe. The framework covers upper secondary and higher VET (initial VET), continuing VET as well as other types of further, higher and adult formal education offered by state and private providers.

The framework implements legal provisions on internal quality assurance and periodic external quality audits (Subsidiary legislation 2012/327.433) and provides the conceptual context for this work. The culture of good quality assurance practice at provider level and providers’ readiness to take on board a more systematic quality assurance approach – two key findings of a 2014 scoping study – informed the approach to its development: fostering a quality culture by complementing internal quality assurance mechanisms already in place with an external quality assurance system adapted to national and stakeholder needs.

The framework is based on European quality assurance standards and guidelines and enriched by EQAVET and its quality criteria and indicators. It provides guidance for areas which are vital for quality without prescribing how quality assurance is to be carried out. An internal quality assurance system, accreditation and initial and follow-up external provider and programme quality audits by the national commission for further and higher education are mandatory requirements for licensing. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, the Institute of Tourism Studies and the university of Malta were the first to undergo external quality assurance audits in mid-2015. As self-accrediting institutions, they are not subject to provider and programme accreditation.

Arrangements at provider level supporting quality assurance include the online employer satisfaction survey by Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology’s quality assurance office and regular contacts with sectors. VET providers use EQAVET indicators to plan quality programmes, and the national commission for further and higher education encourages them to evaluate programme outcomes and to use findings for continuous improvement.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an important development in Malta. Recognition of prior learning is a form of assessment which is the process of recognising a person’s skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, education, work and/or general life experience.

The benefits of recognition of prior learning may be the reduced time a learner has to spend attending classes, undertaking assessments or relearning what they already know. The evidence the applicant provides must be authentic (something they have prepared, produced or has been written about them by a relevant third party), and must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to grant credit for a subject, module, course or qualification.

In 2015, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology started collaborating with Haaga Helia ([43]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage).

A process for validating informal and non-formal prior learning was designed using European guidelines to help customise lecturing staff training programmes leading to top-up degrees in hospitality services. Candidates must clearly identify the degree, unit and module learning outcome or competences they wish to be assessed through recognition for prior learning on the application form. Only a maximum of 50% of the total European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) or European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) for a degree programme or unit may be rewarded through credit transfer of the recognition of prior learning([44]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
).

Upskilling staff via the degree programme in hospitality management developed by Haaga Helia ([45]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage) puts the Institute of Tourism Studies in the position to offer bachelor degree programmes in the hospitality and tourism sector from 2017 onwards.

Recognition of prior learning is the basis for the validation of informal and non-formal learning. Validation of informal and non-formal learning in Malta is regulated by Subsidiary Legislation 327.432, Validation of Informal and Non-Formal Learning Regulations of September 2012 ([46]http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=1...).

The national commission for further and higher education provides validation services and for this purpose has set up seven Sector Skills Units (SSUs) and is currently working on establishing other new sector skills units. The current sector skills units cover the following industries/ sectors:

  • automotive;
  • health and social care;
  • education support;
  • printing and digital media;
  • hospitality and tourism;
  • hair and beauty;
  • construction and building services.

The national commission for further and higher education has already published 13 National Occupational Standards (NOSs). These national occupational standards consist of a set of job-related standards that highlight the performance expected from an individual when carrying out a specific function.

These standards are pegged to the Malta qualifications framework and are therefore drawn up using the learning outcomes approach. The national occupational standards are of important use to both employers and employees as they stipulate the related knowledge, skills and competences required in the different occupations and the aligned levels of these occupations.

The national commission for further and higher education is also currently in the process of finalising another 6 national occupational standards that have been drafted by the hospitality and tourism sector skills unit.

In 2017, the national commission for further and higher education signed memoranda of understanding with Jobsplus ([47]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) and the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) ([48]https://bicc.gov.mt/en/Pages/HOME.aspx) to carry out the assessment procedures and tests for validating informal and non-formal learning, for the national occupational standards listed above. The national commission for further and higher education has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Tourism Studies to carry out the validation assessment procedures for the hospital and tourism national occupational standards.

It is to be noted that validation in Malta takes place in four distinct stages: identification, documentation, assessment and certification as per the European guidelines issued by Cedefop in 2015 ([49]Cedefop (2015). European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop reference series; No104.).

Initial VET

Maltese and EU students enrolling in full-time initial VET programmes up to European qualifications framework level 6 do not pay tuition or registration fees. There are additional financial incentives for VET learners. Maltese students over 16, including those in VET programmes at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology or the Institute of Tourism Studies, benefit from maintenance grants. EU and EEA citizens, as well as third country nationals, are entitled to the same rights, provided they have resident or refugee status and meet several other requirements. The maintenance grant scheme includes:

  • a yearly initial grant (EUR 232.94) for purchasing textbooks and other educational materials. For students progressing to Malta College of Arts Science and Technology top-up degree programmes the initial grant is doubled and complemented by a one-time grant amounting to EUR 465.87 ([50]Students who progress to a top-up degree course at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology will have EUR 465.87 made available every year in which they follow a top-up degree course, instead of EUR 232.94, to partly cover expenses related to educational material and equipment and a one-time grant of EUR 465.87.);
  • a stipend (every four weeks between October and June) of EUR 88.44;
  • a supplementary grant (every four weeks between October and June) for learners facing financial difficulties and/or disability (EUR 74.50).

Other support measures include a contingency fund assisting students facing extraordinary circumstances and higher grants for single parents receiving social assistance; the grant amount increases with the qualification level achieved by the programme they take part in.

On the strength of the Work-based and Apprenticeship Act (2018) ([51]Parliament of Malta (2018). The Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=1...) an apprentice now has the legal status of a paid employee rather than of an unpaid student. Learners on apprenticeship programmes have the right to an income equivalent to the national minimum wage per hour for the hours spent at the workplace as stipulated in the training programme plan. The income per hour is calculated as the income derived from the sponsor ([52]The term ‘sponsor’ refers to organisations or individuals registered and approved by a VET provider to provide the work-based learning component as part of a training programme leading to a qualification.) and from the student maintenance grant.

Apprentices receive maintenance grants on top of the wage and half the annual statutory bonus ([53]In Malta, government bonuses are mandatory quarterly payments made by the employer to the employee, regardless of industry or organization type. These bonuses are paid in addition to the monthly wage. Over the period of a calendar year an employee would therefore be paid EUR 512.48 under this bonus scheme.) paid by employers.

Recent and continuing changes are increasing grants to make apprenticeship a more attractive learning path. Increased stipends for the summer months introduced in 2015 discourage apprentices from taking on a better paid summer job instead. The next step is topping up the grants by an amount that makes total income per hour (wage plus grants) spent learning at the workplace equal to the national minimum wage. The Work-based Learning and Apprenticeship Act introduces the proposal to implement the grant increase.

Maintenance grants in higher VET are used to steer learners towards programmes that educate them to become professionals in areas with labour market shortages. Students in so-called ‘prescribed’ and ‘priority’ VET bachelor degree programmes at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and other providers are entitled to higher maintenance grants. The 2016 amounts for prescribed degree programmes are EUR 151.99 (stipend), EUR 698.81 (initial grant) and EUR 698.81 (one-time grant).

Learners in high priority programmes receive a stipend of EUR 302.10. In 2016, prescribed and priority VET degree programmes included all those leading to a bachelor in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering and communications technology.

A students’ maintenance grants board manages the maintenance grant scheme, evaluating eligibility of applications, checking student attendance to ensure compliance with regulations, and paying the entitlements. Students making insufficient progress partly or fully lose their right to receive the grants.

Continuing VET

Education and employment ministry promotes continuing VET to increase adult participation in learning.

The directorate also regularly promotes its offer of lifelong learning courses to the wider public using social media and other channels.

  • continuing VET and adult learning courses organised by the directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability ([54]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
    https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
    ) are subsidised by the government. Participants are charged a modest tuition fee ranging from EUR 11.65 to EUR 58.23;
  • entry-level courses in Maltese, English, mathematics and science are offered free of charge. Migrants from EU Member States and elsewhere benefit from free basic literacy courses and subsidised English and Maltese as a foreign language courses.

Incentives for learners taking part in training for jobseekers and other continuing VET opportunities offered by Malta’s public employment service Jobsplus ([55]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) include:

  • free provision of training courses;
  • a training allowance for employed persons that earn less than EUR 300 (basic) per week and who successfully complete a Jobsplus’ course (scheme known as the average wage earners scheme;
  • an allowance for participants; in the traineeship scheme, bridging the gap scheme and work exposure scheme (80% of the minimum wage in both) and work exposure schemes;
  • a subsidy scheme to cover childcare costs (EUR 1.50 per hour of childcare services) for participants in Jobsplus training courses;
  • learners who follow a training programme that is: (1) recognised up to European qualifications framework level 5, (2) offered by a licensed training service provider, and (3) not offered by Jobsplus may benefit from the training pays scheme. This scheme offers a grant of 75% of the cost of training capped at EUR 1 000.

Learners paying tuition fees for courses offered by private providers, which often lead to qualifications issued by foreign accredited bodies, can benefit from scholarship schemes and grants, such as the endeavour scholarship scheme managed by the education and employment ministry. The get qualified scheme run by Malta enterprise grants tax deductions to cover the cost of programmes (European qualifications framework level 5 or higher) required by employers.

Tax deduction

Employers providing work-based learning opportunities lasting at least six months in their trade or business are entitled to a tax deduction of EUR 600 for each work placement they offer and EUR 1200 for each apprentice they take on (Regulated by Legal notice 2014/179).

Other incentives

Malta’s Public Employment Service (PES) offers work-based learning opportunities through the work exposure scheme and the trainee scheme. During the exposure phase ([56]The term ‘exposure phase’ refers to the on-the-job training that takes place at the employer’s premises where the trainee is placed. During the scheme the trainee must attend 240 hours of placement within a maximum period of 12 weeks.), employers are given the opportunity to train prospective employees without incurring any financial costs ([57]Jobplus subsidies prospective employee’s training through European social fund.). Participants are matched in accordance with the industry demands of the employers. This matching suggests that the occupational preferences of the jobseekers are relevant to employers’ requests.

The training aid framework, in place between 2008 until 2015, gave the private sector grants to finance staff training, with the level of support depending on the type of training and enterprise size.

Its successor, investing in skills, was launched in 2017. Since its launch there were a total of 130 entities which benefitted from the scheme.

The knowledge transfer incentive introduced in 2016 helps address skill mismatch and shortages by supporting employers to train and reskill their staff. The scheme also covers newly recruited employees. Employers in manufacturing and several other sectors (including computer programming, research and specialised design) can apply for tax credits to cover part of the costs of analysing training needs, developing training programmes, providing or outsourcing training, and wage costs for the hours their employees are in training. The share of eligible costs (70%) in small establishments (<50 employees) is higher than the corresponding share large establishments (250+ employees) are entitled to (50%).

Subsidy schemes make it easier for employers to provide work experience to young people and adults. Access to employment helps employers recruit jobseekers and the inactive (under some conditions including ex-apprentices) furthest from employment. The duration of the EUR 85-a-week subsidy (26, 52 or 104 weeks) depends on the target group.

Employers taking on disabled persons are entitled to a weekly subsidy of EUR 125 for maximum 156 weeks. Employers not benefitting from the access to employment scheme, will be eligible to claim a fiscal incentive of 25% of the disabled person’s basic wage up to a maximum of EUR 4 500 for each person with disability. In addition, employers may apply to be exempted from paying their share of the National Insurance contribution in relation to the disabled employee.

Annual tracer studies provide evidence on educational and career choices and pathways of students after completing compulsory education in state and non-state schools. Since 2010 more students are continuing educations after leaving compulsory schooling. System and institutional changes make identifying longer-term trends difficult, but comparing most recent data with the situation before 2000 suggests an increasing share of learners choose VET after compulsory education, despite academic education remaining the most popular choice. As some learners would be better able to reach their potential through VET, it is important to develop guidance services further.

Compulsory education

Proposals in the career guidance policy for schools underpin current practice and recent developments of career guidance services in compulsory education ([58]Debono, M. et al. (2007). Career guidance policy and strategy for compulsory schooling in Malta. Floriana, Malta: Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment.
http://education.gov.mt/en/resources/documents/policy%20documents/career%20guidance.pdf
). Career guidance in state schools is offered by college career advisors, trainee career advisors, school counsellors and guidance teachers. The service covers curricular, vocational and career guidance for students and their parents. Counsellors collaborate closely with VET institutions.

Career-related learning is provided through the personal, social and career development (PSCD) subject .Personal, social and career development embraces the national curriculum framework principles of entitlement to quality education, recognition of diversity, and achievement. It helps learners develop learning skills, emotional literacy, self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem to equip them with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes needed to live healthy, safe, productive, and responsible lives.

Since 2014, careers education has become more important. The personal, social and career development strand on career exploration and management aims at helping learners manage their learning and career paths beyond school. Personal, social and career development has been increased from one to two hours per week. 15-year-olds take part in transition programmes offering one- week hands-on experience in industry. Together with final year schoolmates, they also benefit from orientation visits to workplaces and VET colleges.

The new career guidance platform will help to facilitate career choices for secondary school students between the ages of 11 and 16.

VET providers and Jobsplus

Different departments at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology provide student support services including: career guidance, personal counselling and learning support. There is also an information service that provides students with information about the training programmes offered by the college’s institutes as well as the support services available both prior to enrolment and during their studies. Similar services are in place at the Institute of Tourism Studies.

Jobsplus guidance services encourage jobseekers (including the employed) to develop their skills further through training and/or work experience in line with labour market needs. Services include career information, advice, skills assessment and mentoring. With the new registration system –introduced in 2016- Jobsplus has placed more emphasis on career guidance and individualised its services through profiling, personal employment advisors, and individual action plans. Support for individuals with a job searching for alternative employment includes discussion on suitable career paths and a career test to personalise career plans and identify gaps in training and/or skills development that need to be addressed prior to pursuing the chosen career path.

Towards a national guidance service

A recently established committee works on implementing the 2007 career guidance policy for schools. Plans are under way to set up a national lifelong guidance service responsible for sustaining quality services at all levels of education. Envisaged future developments include measures to widen access to guidance services measures (online portal) and to streamline provision across education and employment sectors. Besides complementing, supporting and integrating existing services, the national career guidance service will increase the interaction between education, industry and other stakeholders. The intention is to move from guidance services with a supply focus to a demand-led system; this will cater better to those in need of career information or advice on career-related information.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET higher diploma

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

1-2 years

ISCED 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment. Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([87]Directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability(DRLLE)
.https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([86]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • full-time and part-time
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold:

  • either 4 EQF/MQF qualifications;
  • or Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology/Institute of Tourism Studies advanced diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.
Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

At this level, students are generally expected to carry out an industry-based research project.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology higher diploma

Institute of Tourism Studies diploma

Examples of qualifications

Quantity surveyor, restaurant manager, kindergarten/learning support educator ([88]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF levels 6, 7.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

5.9% ([89]The latest data is 5.9% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 6

VET bachelor degree

Programmes,

WBL 15-20%,

3-4 years

ISCED 655

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

18+

Usual completion grade

21+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits (ECVET) – Three-year bachelor course

240 credits (ECVET) – Four-year bachelor honours course ([90]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • internship
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 4 certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit. Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Students are generally expected to go on an internship that is monitored by college-based staff as well as by tutors provided by the employer.

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

Environmental engineer, mechanical engineer, marine engineer ([91]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies to EQF level 7 (either VET or General education orientation)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>1% ([92]2016)

EQF 7

Masters

programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 767

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 767
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

767

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

25+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

90 ECTS ([93]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta qualifications framework for lifelong learning Regulation:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Face-to-face classroom tuition
  • Blended on-line learning
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology

private VET providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

0

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

Programmes are available mainly for graduates who have also had some years of work experience.

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 6 qualification.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit. Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Specialist in product design, specialist in mechatronics,

specialist in environmental engineering ([94]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 8 (general education orientation).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

> 1% ([95]2016)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

College-based

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

2 years

ISCED 354

Initial college- based VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Part-time courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([78]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([77]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • full-time on apprenticeship
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates

preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in sport development, coaching and fitness, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Compulsory (For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in financial services: EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications in these subjects have to be presented: English language and mathematics together with any other two EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications)

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 advanced diploma qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Assistant veterinary, laboratory technician, accounting technician ([79]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF levels 5-6 (either of VET or General education orientation)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

18.1% ([80]The latest data is18.1% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 4

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

2-3 years

ISCED 354

Initial- Apprenticeship schemes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 to 3

  
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

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([82]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([81]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • apprenticeships
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology;
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Since March 2018, apprenticeship schemes in Malta are regulated by the Work-Based Learning And Apprenticeship Act ([83]http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=12801&l=1).

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates,

preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in joinery, furniture design and manufacturing, the preferred subjects are: English language, mathematics, technical drawing, engineering drawing, engineering technology.

Or

Compulsory: (for example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in graphic design and interactive media: EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications in art have to be presented: together with any other three EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications. Moreover, in this case applicants may be asked to sit for an interview and/or present a portfolio.

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 Advanced Diploma Qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Pharmacy technician, food technologist, office secretary ([84]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies to EQF level 5 or 6 (either VET or General education orientation).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

18.1% ([85]The latest data is 18.1% as per National Commission for Further And Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1

College-based

introduction programme,

1 year

ISCED level 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 1, ISCED level 353
EQF level
1
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
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

Continuing VET courses are provided on a part-time basis.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([62]Directorate For Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET level 1: 40 credits

From MQF/EQF Levels 5-8 credits are ECTS ([61]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice)
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

As from October 2016, the foundation college within the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has developed a number of skills kits courses which offer more flexible, customised pathways towards achieving a certification. This programme is intended for learners who prefer to study at their own pace and explore different vocational areas. It is made up of a number of skills kits (small bite-size topics) covering various vocational areas as well as personal skills and employability skills. The programme gives the learners the possibility to choose how many skills kits to study over a period of time. It also gives the opportunity to choose from a combination of skills kits. These courses consist of short 20 hour programmes which individuals can achieve at their own pace and according to their needs.

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

Learners must be at least 16 years old and in possession of the Secondary School Certificate and Profile (SSCP). This is the certificate of accomplishment awarded at the end of compulsory education. Students are all given an initial assessment test.

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology also offers the award in vocational skills introductory A and B. This is a structured programme of study for students with learning disabilities/learning difficulties to consolidate the skills necessary to gain and maintain employment or to further their education.

Learners are trained in one of the following vocational areas: hospitality, office skills, production and retail. They are also assessed in key skills that include Maltese, English, mathematics, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), IT, and daily living and community skills.

A work placement experience within the college is also provided according to the vocational area being studied.

Before enrolling in the programme, students are required to attend for a three-day evaluation period to assess the suitability of the course and identify the vocational area according to their abilities.

This award is allotted 30 credits.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. Assessment is based on a mixture of formative and summative assessments.

Formative assessment includes take-home assignments and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Introductory certificate

Examples of qualifications

Shop assistant, commis waiter, back office assistant ([63]As described in national context. MCAST Prospectus 2018/19 available at
https://www.mcast.edu.mt/rfm/source/Prospectus/Prospectus_2018/index.html#p=1. ITS Prospectus 2018/19 available at:
https://its.edu.mt/courses-admission/its-prospectus.html
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programme may continue their studies at EQF level 2 in a VET institution.

Those learners who complete the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology award in vocational skills introductory A and B can progress to MQF/EQF Level 1 programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.8 %([64]The latest data is 7.8% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 2

College-based

introduction and foundation

programmes,

WBL 0-10%,

1 year

ISCED 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 353
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([66]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE).
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits(ECVET)([65]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

As from October 2016, the foundation college within the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has developed a number of skills kits courses which offer more flexible, customised pathways towards achieving a certification. This programme is intended for learners who prefer to study at their own pace and explore different vocational areas. It is made up of a number of skills kits (small bite-size topics) covering various vocational areas as well as personal skills and employability skills. The programme gives the learners the possibility to choose how many skills kits to study over a period of time. It also gives the opportunity to choose from a combination of skills kits. These courses consist of short 20 hour programmes which individuals can achieve at their own pace and according to their needs.

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

Finished compulsory education and in possession of the Secondary School Certificate and Profile (SSCP). This is the certificate of accomplishment awarded at the end of compulsory education.

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology introductory certificate MQF/EQF level 1.

Together with an initial assessment test.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Foundation certificate

Level 2 (60 credits - ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Hairdressing assistant, beauty therapist assistant

stone mason/tile layer/ plumber/ welder/ assistant ([67]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology level 2 certificate can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF 3 initial VET institution.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

3.9% ([68]The latest data is 3.9% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 3

College-based

Programmes,

WBL 20%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

Initial, College-based VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 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?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([70]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits (ECVET) ([69]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice)
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 2 EQF level 3 certificates, preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma in sport, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 3 certificate/diploma (60 ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Beauty specialist in a salon, hairdresser, security/enforcement/protection officer ([71]As described in national context with the exception of hairdresser (described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 or general education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.7% ([72]The latest data is 7.7% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 3

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

Initial-apprenticeship schemes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([74]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits (ECVET) ([73]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • apprenticeships
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 2 EQF level 3 certificates, preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma in sport, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 3 certificate/diploma (60 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Motor vehicle panel beater, motor vehicle sprayer, plasterer, tile layer, plumber ([75]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 or general education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.7% ([76]The latest data is 7.7% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available