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

General themes

The main features of the French VET system are:

  • all IVET qualifications can be obtained either in school-based VET or through an apprenticeship, or by validation of informal and non-formal learning;
  • early leaving in education and training is low and has been below the national target in the last five years;
  • in 2018, one third of all upper secondary learners were following vocational programmes;
  • there are more VET learners in post-secondary VET and their number is on the rise; the share of learners in the short cycle of upper secondary VET is decreasing ([1]Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmarks and statistics, 2018], pp. 253, 259.
    http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf
    ).

Distinctive features:

Right to education The State ensures the principles of equal opportunities and the right to education. It has the obligation to organise public education that is free of charge and secular.

Role of the social partners The social partners have an essential role in regulatory, political and financial aspects of lifelong learning programmes. The inter-professional agreements they sign were the basis for the introduction of reforms up to 2018, and are generally reflected in legislative and regulatory documents. Social partners also manage different bodies that fund apprenticeship and vocational training schemes for small companies, as well as the unemployment insurance system for job-seekers.

Obligation to contribute financially to CVET French CVET is distinguished by the existence of compulsory contributions allocated to a particular purpose, reflecting the desire to encourage companies to train their staff. The rate is set by law, but some professional branches have applied rates above the legal minimum.

Recognition of ‘individual rights’ to training Another distinctive feature is the recognition of ‘individual rights’ to training, designed to promote social progress and reduce inequalities in access to training. The best known are the recently introduced personal training account (compte personnel de formation, CPF) and the individual training leave named ‘CPF for career transition’ (CPF de transition). The purpose of the CPF is to support the use of an ‘individual right’ scheme, by making it more accessible to all (employed and unemployed) and more portable from one company to another.

Decentralisation / leadership role of regions The law of 2014 brought to a conclusion to the process of decentralisation. It gave regions full authority over vocational training, career advice and coordinating job support policies. Regions develop training policies adapted to their needs and implement them within regional public training (SPRF) and guidance (SPRO) services. Regions are now able to define and manage territorial public policies and can articulate their strategies on VET and economic developments. Since 2019 the Regions are no longer competent for the management of training in apprenticeship provision.

Foster key competences The common set of knowledge, competences and culture was (re)designed in 2015 to ensure the acquisition of key competences in compulsory education (6-16 years) and help learners succeed in VET. The new setting entered into force in 2016-17. It includes personalised support to students throughout their education path.

Strengthen the use of digital technology in education In 2015 France established a three-year digital plan for education to pilot new forms of teaching and learning. The aim is to mainstream digital technology in primary and lower secondary education by providing technical resources, teacher training and funding.

Ease career transition The main aim of the new career guidance service (conseil en évolution professionnelle, CEP) is to offer the employed and unemployed support for personal career transitions and suitable training. This requires coordinated actions among national and regional actors, and active social partner involvement. The service is linked to the personal training account (CPF).

Developing quality processes in CVET According to 2015 legislation, as of 2016 the main CVET funding bodies must ensure the quality of the training they finance, based on predefined criteria. The 2018 reform plans for a new quality framework to apply from 2021 onwards.

Facilitate access to training The active population in the public and private sectors has online access to information related to their personal training account (CPF). Each individual’s rights are entitled in Euro and, by the end of 2019, a digital application will make it easier for beneficiaries to enrol directly in training courses.

Upskilling low-qualified youth and unemployed

The Investment in skills plan (PIC) aims at training and supporting the access to employment of one million young people and one million job seekers. It is funded up to EUR 15 billion for the period 2017-22. The plan links skills needs analysis and innovation with the provision of new training paths.

Population in 2018: 66 926 166 ([2]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series; provisional in 2018. Source: Eurostat, tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Population increased by 2% since 2013 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series; provisional in 2018. Source: Eurostat, tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). This is mainly due to natural growth (France has one of the highest fertility rates in the EU) as well as to positive net migration.

In 2014, there were 6 million immigrants living in France (9.1% of the population), of whom 43.8% (2.61 million) were from Africa. The proportion of immigrants from Europe remains large, though falling: it was 36.1% in 2014, as compared with 50% in 1990. 14.5% of France’s immigrants are from Asia ([4]Insee - Charts of the French economy - 2018 edition:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

As people live longer, France’s population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 43 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to national statistics, since 1980, the number of people aged 60 or more has grown from 17% to 25.9%, and their proportion in the French population as a whole is almost the same as that of young people aged under 20 (respectively 24.1% and 25.9%) ([6]Insee - Tableaux de l’économie française, édition 2018 [Charts of the French economy, 2018 edition]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

Most companies are very small: 72% have no employees and 23% have between one and nine employees ([7]Insee - Tableaux de l’économie française, édition 2018 [Charts of the French economy, 2018 edition]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

The economy depends primarily on the tertiary sector. The proportion of the different sectors in terms of gross added value generated in 2016 is:

  • services (commercial and non-commercial) (77.3%), with main branches of activities:
    • real estate (13.2%);
    • wholesale and retail trade (17.6%);
    • non-market services (22.7%);
  • industry (14.1%);
  • construction (5.5%);
  • agriculture (1.6%).

In terms of number of enterprises per sector ([8]Of a total of 4 365 347 enterprises listed in 2016; excluding agriculture and non-commercial activities.):

  • wholesale and retail trade (19.26%);
  • ‘professional, scientific and technical activities and administrative and support service activities’ (17.79%);
  • construction (13.49%);
  • ’public administration, education, human health and social work activities’ (13.79%).

Information not available

In 2018 total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, aged 25 to 74.) in France was 7.8% (compared with 6% in the EU-28), marking an increase of 1.7 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The economic crisis had less impact on the evolution of unemployment rates of those with medium-level qualifications (including most VET graduates) and with high-level qualifications than for those with low qualifications. However, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) remains higher than in the pre-crisis years.

The unemployment rate of young people (15-24 years old) with low- and medium-level qualifications increased sharply at the beginning of the economic crisis and is still almost three times higher than the general working population.

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates has slightly increased from 73.6% in 2014 to 74% in 2018 ([11]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase in employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+0.4pp) was the same as the increase in employment of all 20-34 year olds (+0.4pp) in the same period in France ([12]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

In 2018, most people in the age group 25-64 in France have a medium-level qualification (42.3%, against 45.7% in the EU) while the share of those with high-level qualifications (36.8%) is higher than the EU average (32.2%). The share of people with no or low-level qualifications (20.6%) is below the EU-28 average (21.8%) but is within the ten highest 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].

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

39.9%

57.1%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [Extracted on 16.5.2019]

The share of learners in upper secondary VET in 2017 decreased by 3.1pp compared to 2013, while the share of VET learners in post-secondary increased by 5.8pp in the same period.

 

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 rates of access to training for men and women are similar. In the academic years 2014-16, there were more men than women among those who left initial education with a vocational qualification (such as CAP/EQF level 3, a vocational baccalaureate/EQF level 4 or BTS, DUT /EQF level 5) (see figure below)

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, p. 253 ([13]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased by 2.9 percentage points, from 12.4% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2018. It has been below the EU average (10.6%) and the national target set (<9.5%) since 2013.

 

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].

 

National authorities have an obligation to support young people aged 16 to 18 without a diploma and unemployed. There is a training scheme, not leading to qualifications, to support reintegration of early leavers from education and training. The service includes for all beneficiaries:

  • a personalised interview to assess needs, skills and level of education;
  • a training offer and personalised support (a tutor from national education during the training course).

Between 2010 and 2017, the number of people leaving initial training without a diploma was reduced by 42.85% ([14]https://www.education.gouv.fr/cid55632/la-lutte-contre-le-decrochage-scolaire.html%20-%20Les_chiffres_du_decrochage).

Teaching and administrative staff in upper secondary schools involved in the initiative to reduce dropouts from education and training (Mission de lutte contre le décrochage, MLCD) may follow relevant training to acquire the necessary skills (MLCD certificate) ([15]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid55115/mission-de-lutte-contre-le-decrochage.html; Decree 2017-791 of 5 May 2017:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2017/5/5/MENE1710930D/jo/texte/fr
).

The national youth guarantee scheme (garantie jeunes) targets young people with low education and/or disadvantaged socio-economic background. After a pilot phase begun in 2013, it was made more generally available in 2017. Between October 2013 and July 2018, 229 000 young people benefited from the scheme ([16]DARES (2019). La Garantie jeunes: quels jeunes et quel bilan après cinq and ? [Youth guarantee: assessment after five years]. DARES analyses series, April 2019, No 018.
https://dares.travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/dares_analyses_garantie_jeunes_bilan.pdf
).

The Investment in skills plan (PIC) aims at training and supporting the access to employment of one million of young people, including dropouts, by 2022.

Lifelong learning (formation tout au long de la vie) is a national obligation of the State. It covers both initial education and training (general, technological/professional and vocational streams, including apprenticeship) as well as continuing vocational training for adults and young people already engaged in working life ([17]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid217/la-formation-tout-au-long-de-la-vie.html).

 

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 has been steady since 2014, slightly increasing by 0.2 percentage points (from 18.4% in 2014 to 18.6% in 2018); it is higher than the EU 28 average (10.8% and 11.1% respectively)

According to national statistics, in 2015-16 73% of people aged 14-22 were in education, i.e. a little more than 15 million learners in total ([18]Insee - Bilan formation-emploi 2018 [Assessment of training and employment 2018]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/2526273
). In 2016, one in two employees participated in a training programme.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Repères et références statistiques 2018, Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, p. 253 ([19]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf)

 

Share of learners in vocational and vocationally-oriented programmes either in school-based education or in apprenticeship in 2014-16:

  • in VET EQF level 3 programmes (CAP, BEP): 11%
  • in VET EQF level 4 programmes (vocational baccalaureate): 17%
  • in EQF level 4 technological programmes (vocational-oriented): 6%
  • in EQF level 5 post-secondary non-university programmes (DUT, BTS etc.): 13%

National statistics make no differentiation between academic and professional bachelor and master degrees.

The following levels are included in initial education and training:

  • pre-primary (ISCED level 0);
  • primary (compulsory) education for children aged 6-11, (ISCED level 1);
  • lower secondary education for learners aged 12-16 in collèges (ISCED level 2);
  • upper secondary education for learners aged 16-18 (ISCED level 3);
  • tertiary (ISCED level 5) and higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8)

Pre-primary education is optional, but in practice is attended by all children aged three to six.

Primary education is the first part of compulsory education (five years, learners aged 6 to 11); lower secondary marks the end of compulsory education (learners aged 12 - 16) and is delivered in junior high schools (collèges).

In 2017, 5 629 800 pupils were in public and private secondary institutions in mainland France and in the overseas territories ([20]Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmark and statistics, 2018], p.86.
http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf
). In initial education, each pathway prepares students for an exam to obtain a qualification. Altogether, there are around 15 000 IVET qualifications referenced in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) ([21]http://www.intercariforef.org/formations/recherche-formations.html;
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/projet_ra2017ga2.pdf
) and more than 500 000 CVET training programmes referenced by information centres ([22]Database managed by a network of regional information centers:
http://www.intercariforef.org/formations/recherche-formations.html
).

Lower secondary offers general education, but vocational courses preparing students to enter an apprenticeship are also offered. At the end of the cycle, learners pass an exam to obtain the end of lower secondary education certificate (diplôme national du brevet) which is not essential to access upper secondary.

In upper secondary (three years, learners aged 16-18) learners may choose between

  • the general path leading to the end of secondary education general exam (and Baccalauréat degree), opening up access to higher education and tertiary level studies;
  • the technological path leading to the technological baccalaureate which opens up the possibility to follow VET studies offered at EQF levels 5 or 6;
  • the vocational path that includes a two-year path to obtain a professional skills certificate at EQF level 3 (CAP) and a three-year path leading to a vocational baccalaureate at EQF level 4 (BAC-pro). Those with a CAP may also continue in one-year school-based programme to receive the applied arts certificate (EQF level 4).

In tertiary non-academic education there are two-year VET programmes

  • in university technology institutes (IUTs) attached to universities to prepare an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT, EQF level 5);
  • in an advanced technician section in vocational high schools to prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS).

Professional bachelor (EQF 6) and master (EQF 7) programmes are also offered in parallel to higher education academic studies (EQF levels 6 to 8); the latter are delivered in universities and in public or private higher colleges of excellence (grandes écoles).

In Initial VET the following learning options are available:

  • full-time education in VET schools;
  • work-based learning in school-based VET; which length varies depending on the type and education level of the programme:
    • 50% in EQF 4 upper secondary VET programmes (BAC-pro);
    • 30% in EQF 5 VET programmes (DUT, BTS);
    • 10% in EQF 6 professional bachelors;
    • 30% in EQF 7 professional masters
  • work-based learning delivered as apprenticeship. This type of learning is delivered partly in apprenticeship training centres (CFA) and partly in companies under an apprenticeship (employment) contract.
    • the share of work-based learning (in-company practical training) is 67%.

Types of learning in school-based programmes:

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

Learning forms in continuing VET:

Lifelong learning (formation tout au long de la vie) is a national obligation. It includes both initial education and training (general, technological and vocational streams, including apprenticeship) offered from upper secondary to higher education levels; and continuing vocational training for adults and young people already engaged in working life ([23]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid217/la-formation-tout-au-long-de-la-vie.html). Under this concept, vocational education and training is offered as:

  • initial vocational training for young people, including apprenticeship; it is offered from upper secondary to tertiary education enabling young people to obtain qualifications for the labour market;
  • continuing vocational training for young people who have left or completed initial education ([24]Initial education includes pre-elementary to higher education levels.) and to adult employees, job seekers, civil servants, self-employed workers and business owners. It promotes and supports labour market (re)integration, encourages skills and career development through acquiring new qualifications and contributes to economic and cultural development and social advancement;
  • a scheme that allows adults to gain vocational qualifications through knowledge and skills acquired at work ([25]http://skillpass-game.com/sites/default/files/doc/assembleenationale.pdf).

Since 2009 ([26]Act No 2009-1437 of 24 November 2009 on lifelong career guidance and vocational training:
http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000021312490
), every working person has a right to a professional qualification. Under this right, the (self-) employed and job seekers may choose a training course that enables them to progress in a career by at least one level, by acquiring a qualification corresponding to the short- or medium-term needs of the economy. This qualification should either be

  • included in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP - Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles);
  • recognised in the professional sector classifications;
  • a certificate of professional qualifications (CQP) recognised by the branches but not attached to a qualification level.

The legal definition of training action was broadened by the law of September 2018, including position tests, distance learning and on-the-job training (Action de formation en situation de travail, AFEST).

The State is the only body that develops qualifications that can be accessed through initial education. All the qualifications developed by the State can also be accessed via lifelong learning and validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience).

Beside formal IVET programmes leading to qualifications issued and recognised by the State, different bodies offer training programmes leading to sectoral vocational qualifications and certificates issued by them.

The methods for accessing different qualifications are flexible. They can be accessed through the initial education system, but also through apprenticeship, continuing vocational training, and validation of non-formal and informal learning ([27]Art L335-5 du Code de l’éducation:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006071191&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006524828
). A qualification acquired through continuing vocational training has exactly the same value as one obtained in initial education.

All VET qualifications offered in school-based and classroom VET programmes may be obtained in apprenticeship; in the latter case, practical training spend in a company covers 60 to 75% of the total programme duration.

A major reform of the vocational training system is under way ([28]The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
) affecting CVET governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision. The 2018 Bill defines for apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) the same obligations and quality standards as those for IVET training centres and a new funding model for CFAs and apprenticeship contracts.

All training providers, including apprenticeship training centres, will have to be quality certified by 2021, as long as the training they offer is financed by public funds and mutual funds.

Since 2018, France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing ([29]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...) that will replace and absorb several national instances ([30]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).).Gradual implementation is foreseen as of 2019. It will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([31]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions. Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([32]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees. Full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

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

Governance of the French VET system

Vocational training in France is a matter of shared competences between the State, the regions and representatives of the business world ([34]http://media.eduscol.education.fr/file/dossiers/61/5/formation_professionnelle_VF_151615.pdf).

At State-level, initial VET is mainly regulated by the Ministries of Education (upper secondary VET) and Higher Education (tertiary VET). Different ministries develop VET qualifications and nationally valid certificates. Continuing VET is under the remit of the Ministry of Labour ([35]Adapted from Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Initial vocational education and continuing vocational training are managed by different ministries, have different funding sources and even different objectives. There are qualifying requirements for VET teachers and trainers, and various funding IVET schemes.

IVET

Governance of initial VET

Initial education covers all levels of education from pre-primary to higher education. Initial VET is offered from upper secondary to higher education (EQF levels 3 to 7).

The Ministry of Education and other ministries that develop VET qualifications in their remit:

  • develop standards for IVET qualifications in consultation with business representatives;
  • define examination regulations;
  • issue/award VET qualifications and diplomas;
  • offer various types of training in their institutions for school learners and apprentices;
  • recruit, train and pay teachers;
  • monitor quality of training and training delivery (results and resources used).

The Regions are responsible for the planning and coherence of vocational training in their territories, except for apprenticeship provision. They define their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and the social partners.

Social partners are the main stakeholders systematically involved in VET implementation. They:

  • contribute to the elaboration of VET qualifications;
  • participate in examination boards;
  • offer in-company training;
  • contribute financially to VET provision (technological and vocational training paths) by paying the apprenticeship tax.

In practice, ministerial advisory professional committees are formed with the participation of social partners to plan the revision of VET qualifications in line with labour market needs.

The national commission for collective bargaining (CNNC) issues opinions on draft legislation (laws, decrees, ordinances) for employment policies, guidance, IVET and CVET policies and training actions financed though calls (training plans) organised by the State ([36]Art. L2227-1 of the Labour Code.
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do?idArticle=LEGIARTI000019870676&idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006177940&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006072050&dateTexte=20121101
).

IVET providers

IVET is offered from upper secondary to tertiary/higher education in public and private establishments. In upper secondary three paths are offered: general, technological and vocational (respectively, teaching staff specialise as upper secondary teacher, technological path teacher and VET teacher).

In 2017, upper secondary VET programmes were running in 1456 schools (lycées professionnels) (834 public and 622 private establishments). Upper secondary VET prepares learners for VET qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4; in an advanced technician section learners may also prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS) (EQF level 5).

Higher education comprises:

  • universities, public establishments which do not have selection processes;
  • university technology institutes (IUTs) attached to universities offering VET programmes leading to an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) at EQF level 5;
  • a non-university sector made up of higher education elite establishments (Grandes Ecoles), which are only accessible via competitive entrance competitions, and preparatory classes for those establishments ([37]Grance ecoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes Ecoles programmes is possible through a competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary – Baccalaureate - graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled (for a validity of six years), through the Commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion (CEFDG). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years. Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad.).

Reforming upper secondary VET

Reforming the upper secondary vocational path started in May 2018; it is part of the national skills strategy and will be developed in line with the regional development strategy ([38]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
). The organisation of the vocational baccalaureate will evolve in September 2019. Whatever the specialty, a set of key skills will be common.

54 hours per year are dedicated to the career guidance project for the transition from upper secondary to higher level studies ([39]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid2604/la-voie-technologique-au-lycee.html#Vers_le_nouveau_baccalaureat_2021). Personalised support focuses on written and oral expression and guidance. It includes:

  • two weeks of orientation dedicated to the discovery of professional sectors;
  • training in higher education;
  • personalised guidance interviews.

A personalised guidance service is in place (reviens te former) ([40]http://reviensteformer.gouv.fr/) for those aged 16-25 with at most an upper secondary baccalaureate but no vocational qualification, wishing to return to education and training to acquire a VET qualification.

CVET

Governance of continuing VET

The vocational training system is managed within the framework of a ‘four-party system‘: the State, the Regions and the social partners (employer representatives and trade unions) contribute to the development and implementation of continuing vocational training and national apprenticeship policy.

The State develops the standards and strategies for vocational training. It guides CVET/apprenticeship policies in order to secure professional careers and access to employment. Three ministries are particularly concerned with continuing vocational training and apprenticeship:

Since 2014, the Regions have been in charge of

  • training specific audiences ([44]People with illiteracy, people with disabilities, prisoners, French people living outside France.) previously under the responsibility of the State;
  • appointing operators to provide professional development advice, as part of the regional public guidance services;
  • organising and financing the regional public service for vocational training ([45]Art. L214-12 à L214-16-2 du Code de l'éducation.).

Social partners have an essential role in regulatory, policy and financial aspects of lifelong learning programmes (IVET and CVET). They:

  • sign inter-professional agreements which are used in shaping reforms and are reflected in legislative and regulatory documents;
  • manage 11 bodies called ‘skills operators’ (OPCOs - Opérateurs de compétences) organised by professional sector. Among their tasks, skills operators can help benefit from mutual funds the SMEs employing fewer than 50 persons, to develop training programmes for their employees (plans de développement des compétences). OPCOs are also responsible for developing apprenticeship and funding the training costs of apprenticeship pathways leading to a qualification.
  • contribute to the development of diplomas by taking part in boards of examiners.

Reforming continuing vocational training

A major reform of the vocational training system is under way. It aims to improve VET attractiveness and responsiveness to the labour market by restructuring its governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision.

New governance: the 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future ([46]https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id) established France Competences, a new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([47]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...). This is a single, four-party public institution operating under the supervision of the Minister in charge of vocational training. France Compétences replaces and absorbs several national bodies on VET implementation and financing ([48]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).).

France Compétences will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([49]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions. Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([50]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees.

The activities of France compétences and the new OPCOs start from the first quarter of 2019; full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([51]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

The national framework of vocational qualifications (RNCP): the 2018 Bill foresees that, from 2019 onwards, the levels of qualification in the national nomenclature are to be aligned with EQF. Implementing provisions came into force in January 2019 ([52]Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).). France Compétences assumes the responsibilities of the national commission for vocational certifications ([53]CNCP - Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle.).

CVET training – main characteristics

Continuing vocational training comprises lifelong learning programmes and training schemes for vulnerable groups. It targets the unemployed and people already engaged in working life (private sector employees, civil servants, self-employed). The aim of CVET is to support workers to adapt more quickly to the changing labour market needs and acquire a (new) VET qualification. There are various routes and progression opportunities while training is offered from a range of VET providers. The type of training programme depends on the status of the beneficiary. A list of available lifelong learning programmes is presented in the table below.

Lifelong learning programmes by target groups, objectives and funding sources

Programme name

Target group

Target qualification

Funding

sources

Professional development contract

Young people

Jobseekers

People on basic

welfare benefits

RNCP registered diploma or qualification 74% other than:

- certificates of vocational qualification (CQP): 11.8%

- Or qualification recognised in the classification of a non- RNCP registered collective agreement: 14.2%

Social partners, employers and State

Skills development plan

Employees

These training initiatives mainly aim to adapt, develop, acquire, maintain or enhance skills.

Mainly employers and social partners

Promotion or transition through apprenticeship (new in 2019)

Mainly employees

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners, employers

Personal training account with professional transition (new in 2019)

Employees, Jobseekers who have previously held a temporary contract

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners

Personal training account

Employees, jobseekers, unqualified young people

Notably:

- Courses providing basic

knowledge and skills;

- Courses leading to a RNCP registered qualification or to an

identified part of a vocational

qualification, classified in the list,

for the purpose of acquiring a et of skills;

- CQP;

- work experience accreditation

(VAE) support initiatives

All funding sources: Regions, local job centres, social partners, learners, etc.

Courses funded by the Region

Mainly jobseekers, sometimes employees

Courses leading to and preparing for qualifications, professional development courses 85.4%

Social and professional integration courses 16.6%

Regions, joint funding by State social partners

is possible

Courses funded by local job centers

 

Jobseeker courses for qualifications,

Professional development,

Job adaptation

Regions,

joint funding by

State, social partners

is possible

Source: Appendix to the finance white paper 2018 – Vocational training ([54]http://www.performancepublique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2015/pap/pdf/jaunes/jaune2015_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

CVET providers

The training market in France is free. In 2016, 68 000 CVET providers had a turnover of EUR 14.3 billion. Their number and turnover are relatively stable compared to 2015.

 

Breakdown of the number of training providers, learners and annual turnover by status of training providers (%), 2016

Source : Appendix of the draft budget bill – November 2018 ([55]https://www.performance-publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

 

Employment policies relevant to VET

A major investment plan for a skills society 2018-22 aims to train one million low-skilled jobseekers. This plan is implemented in the form of national calls for projects and regional skills investment pacts. It follows the 2016 initiative to offer 500 000 additional training places, which mainly involves the employment agency in sponsoring training for jobseekers ([56]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/actualites/l-actualite-du-ministere/article/plan-d-investissement-2018-2022-former-2-millions-de-demandeurs-d-emploi).

There are several training schemes targeting the low qualified. They aim to facilitate (re)integration into the labour market, leading or not to a qualification; the most representative are:

  • support scheme for NEET’s ([57]People not in education, employment, or training.) aged 16-18 to reengage in education and training;
  • supporting measures through the national youth guarantee scheme, which is integrated into the investment plan for a skills society 2018-22 and received increased funding;
  • a training scheme for teachers and school staff on strategies/tools to prevent drop outs, leading to a certificate (award);
  • a key competences scheme of tailored training modules to acquire five basic skills ([58]Written comprehension and expression, initiation to a foreign language, mathematics and basic scientific and technological skills, numeracy, the ability to develop knowledge and skills.). The scheme is implemented by the regions and targets mostly jobseekers and young people aged 16-25; it may take place in parallel with a subsidised contract for a training action leading to qualifications;
  • the CléA ([59]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/cs/news-and-press/news/france-clea-certificate-key-competences-demand-among-jobseekers-and-employees), an inter-professional certificate attesting to proficiency in basic knowledge and vocational skills. The scheme is leading funded certification in CPF ([60]CPF (Compte personnel de formation / personal training account) is an individual right to training for all those entering the working life (the unemployed and employees).) training.

IVET funding

Education funding includes:

  • teaching and training (including in apprenticeships);
  • administration and educational research;
  • catering and lodging, counselling and medical service;
  • transportation, purchase of books and other educational materials.

All funding sources combined, expenses for general, technological and vocational education were estimated, in 2016, at EUR 149.9 billion (State funds 54.6%, 23.8% regional funds, 1.3% household and 8.5 % company funds).

Funding of initial education and training, 2016

Funding category

Share of total funding

Teaching and training

85.3%

Catering and lodging

7.2%

Administration, guidance, transports and other expenses

7.5%

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 316 ([61]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

CVET funding

Companies are the main CVET funding source (30.8% of total expenditure, see table below), through their contributions to skills operators (Opérateur de compétences, OPCO) and the apprenticeship tax.

The Regions are the second largest funder (18.7%). The appropriations allocated to training (excluding public officials) by local and regional authorities other than the Regions (departments, municipalities, etc.) account for less than 1%.

State intervention expenditure on CVET/apprenticeship training decreased by 7.1%, along with the expenditure of other administrations or bodies with a public service mission, including Agefiph (association managing the fund for the professional integration of people with disabilities), Unédic ([62]The Unédic (Union nationale interprofessionnelle pour l'emploi dans l'industrie et le commerce / National Professional Union for employment in industry and trade) is managed by social partners. From consultancy to evaluation, to piloting and deployment, management or communication. Unédic implements unemployment insurance through support and sharing expertise services.) and Pôle Emploi.

Individual spending, consisting of individual training purchases, was dynamic (+3.0%).

The expenditure of the State, territorial and hospital public services for the training of their staff, representing 22%, is stable overall. Expenditure by the civil service is down (-4.0%) but expenditure by civil servants in the territorial and hospital sectors is up by 2.3% and 3.1% respectively.

Overall CVET expenditure by main financers

 

2014

(EUR millions)

2015

(EUR millions)

Structure 2015 (%)

Évolution 2015 / 2014 (%)

Companies (excluding direct expenses)

7 992

7 677

30.8 %

-3.9

Unédic/Pôle emploi and other public administrations

2 135

2 104

8.4

-1.5

Regions

4 500

4 647

18.7 %

3.3

State

3 748

3 483

14.0 %

-7.1

Other local authorities

116

113

0.5%

-2.8

Private individual

1 362

1 403

5.6%

3.0

State, territorial and hospital public services

5 481

5 469

22%

-0.2

TOTAL

25 334

24 896

100.0

-1.7

Source : Annex of the draft finance law on vocational training 2018 ([63]https://www.performance-publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

In 2017 a major investment plan (2018-22 Plan d’investissement dans les compétences, PIC) aimed at mobilising EUR 57 billion over a five-year period was set up. One of the objectives of this plan is to raise the level of employment by building a skills company: to this end, EUR 15 billion managed by a High Commissioner for Skills and Inclusion through Employment ([64]Haut-commissaire aux compétences et à l’inclusion par l’emploi. See
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/grands-dossiers/plan-d-investissement-dans-les-competences/article/le-haut-commissaire-aux-competences-et-a-l-inclusion-par-l-emploi
) are allocated to training actions for skills development targeting mostly long-term jobseekers and young people without qualifications.

Reforming CVT governance and funding mechanisms A major reform of the continuing vocational training system is under way. It aims to improve VET attractiveness and responsiveness to the labour market by restructuring its governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision ([65]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill 
).

Since 2018, France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([66]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences  
). Gradual implementation is foreseen as of 2019. France Compétences replaces and absorbs several national bodies on VET implementation and financing ([67]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).). It will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([68]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions.

Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([69]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees.

Full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([70]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

The following categories of VET teachers and trainers are in place:

  • VET school teachers;
  • apprenticeship general courses teachers;
  • apprenticeship technical, theoretical and practical courses teachers;
  • in-company apprenticeship mentors (in-company trainers) ([71]Centre Inffo (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU –France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_TT.pdf
    ).

Requirements for VET school teachers A national entrance examination has been set up for teachers wishing to work as vocational teachers in upper secondary vocational programmes (lycée professionnel). To participate, candidates must demonstrate either a level of qualification in the subject to be taught or a number of years of professional practice in the relevant profession.

Requirements for teachers in apprenticeship training centres (CFA) and in-company trainers For apprenticeship, there is no national examination to become a teacher; each apprenticeship training centre (CFA – centre de formation des apprentis) does its own recruitment, and candidates should apply directly to it. Formal requirements for CFA teaching staff:

  • VET teachers (general teaching roles) must demonstrate a qualification equivalent to that required for a similar post in a public establishment;
  • in-company trainers, called apprenticeship mentors (maîtres d’apprentissage) (performing technical, theoretical and practical teaching roles) must have a relevant qualification that is at least at the same level as the qualification that the apprentices are working towards and have several years of working experience in the relevant speciality/skills.

In IVET

Teachers may benefit from continuing training schemes.

Every year the Ministry of Education prepares a National training plan (Plan national de formation, PNF), which sets out guidelines for continuing training of State education staff ([72]http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid285/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=131780
http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/26/85/0/perso149_annexe_972850.pdf
).

In 2018, a circular for 2018/19 is supporting initiatives to encourage regional education authorities support training activities for VET school teachers, reinforce contacts with trades and professions and relationships between schools and businesses ([73]https://www.education.gouv.fr/pid285/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=131780).

In CVET

CVET trainers may benefit from dedicated training programmes for their continuing professional development.

A range of CVET programmes exist, such as pedagogy adapted to adult education, to the conception and management of training actions and other skills development paths. These are accessible throughout the main CVET training schemes (the skills development plan at the initiative of the employer and the personal training account (CPF) scheme at the initiative of the employee). Participation of their staff in continuous training actions is a criterion required for the quality accreditation of the training providers. Professional skills and continuing professional development of VET instructors are among quality criteria required for training providers, so that their programmes can be funded by the main CVET funding bodies.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([74]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The role of skills operators in skills anticipation

Following the 2018 reform ([75]Loi n° 2018-771 du 5 septembre 2018 pour la liberté de choisir son avenir professionnel [The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future]:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
), Skills operators (OPCO) ([76]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) is a new body which is managed by social partners and supervised by France Competence ([77]France Competences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing: https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...). As part of their mandate, OPCO will support skills anticipation in the labour market by:

  • supporting companies and professional sectors to build forward-looking management of jobs and skills;
  • providing technical support to professional branches and a local service to small and medium-sized businesses;
  • helping companies and industries to anticipate technological changes and needs in their businesses;
  • supporting companies involved in apprenticeships ([78]Joint construction of vocational qualifications (that may be acquired in IVET or in apprenticeships), definition of the cost of the contract for diplomas and professional titles, payment of CFAs, etc.) to plan and implement their training provision.

Regional employment and training observatories ([79]Oref - Observatoire régional de l’emploi et de la formation:
http://reseau.intercariforef.org/
) provide regionally based systems for analysis and research on the relationship between employment, training and qualification requirements. Using data provided by their national and regional VET stakeholders, they conduct research and provide expertise to anticipate economic changes and skills for the future. They focus on:

  • training needs;
  • job trends;
  • links between employment and training;
  • sectoral approaches;
  • professional mobility and economic development.

Financial support to SMEs

Public subsidies are in place to support very small and small companies anticipate their human resources management skills.

--------

Information on skills anticipation in France is also available in Cedefop skills panorama, 2017 ([80]Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in France. Analytical highlights series. Available at
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-france
).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([81]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([82]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Designing VET qualifications

The framework for establishing professional qualifications is based on certification processes in place since 2002 when the national committee on vocational qualifications (Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle- CNCP) and the national register of vocational qualifications (Registre national de la certification professionnelle, RNCP) were put in place ([83]See also Cedefop (2016). European inventory on NQF, 2016: France. Cedefop country specific report.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/france_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
).

Certification process refers to a description of skills, abilities and knowledge associated with a qualification that is necessary to exercise this profession, function or professional activity. It’s a document, obtained by an individual following a set procedure, which confirms these professional skills according to given criteria. In 2017, there were around 18 000 identified qualifications. More than 15 500 vocational qualifications were listed in the RNCP ([84]CNCP (2017). Rapport au Premier Ministre, 2017 [Activity report 2017].
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/projet_ra2017ga2.pdf
). These processes lead to a variety of vocational qualifications:

  • IVET certificates and qualifications (EQF levels 3 to 7), which are awarded on behalf of the State by ministries;
  • CVET sectoral qualifications recognised by the social partners and issued by other bodies:
  • certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) (certificat de qualification professionnelle) created by the social partners of a branch;
  • the title of ‘qualified engineer’ (titre d’ingénieur diplômé) created and controlled by the CTI (Commission des titres d’ingénieur – engineering qualification committee) ([85]https://www.cti-commission.fr/);
  • the vocational certificate (certificat professionnel) created by public or private training providers ([86]Such as: (a) consular schools placed under the control of the chambers of trades and crafts or the chamber of commerce and industry;(b) the National Conservatory of Arts and trades - CNAM (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers) or the national association for adult vocational training - AFPA (Association pour la formation des adultes); (c) private establishments awarding vocational qualifications and diplomas in their own name.).
  • Most of these CVET qualifications are registered in the RNCP.

Designing IVET qualifications

Ministries design and create VET qualifications on the basis of opinions from consultative bodies:

  • vocational advisory committees (CPC - commissions professionnelles consultatives), mainly collaborating with the education ministry, but also those of employment, social affairs, agriculture, youth and sport, and culture;
  • national bodies responsible for assessing training courses on behalf of the Ministry of Higher Education.

Vocational advisory committees (CPC)

CPCs are a place of consultation between VET stakeholders for State-issued VET qualifications. Members include representatives of employers (large companies, business federations), trade union organisations in the sectors concerned, teachers, the government and other qualified professionals). CPSs are divided into major spheres of economic activity and decide on needs for qualifications based on skill needs in the labour market. One CPC per ministry is mandatory for all ministries delivering VET qualifications. By 2018, 14 committees were set up by the education ministry representing the main sectors (over 560 members); seven by the labour ministry; one in each of the ministries of social affairs, agriculture, youth and sport and culture. CPCs operating under the ministry of labour cover the following fields:

  • construction and public works;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • industry;
  • management and data processing;
  • the tourism, leisure, hotel and restaurant sectors;
  • transport and logistics;
  • ‘other services to businesses, local authorities and individuals’;

The education ministry publishes its own certification processes in two guides: the Guidelines for the development of professional qualifications; and the Guidelines for members of the vocational advisory committees. To design a new or update a VET qualification the following steps are necessary:

  • a study ([87]Outside research bodies can be commissioned to pursue the work.) analyses economic data and sectoral trends to define (future) needs in jobs and skills;
  • a directory listing professional activities relevant to the qualification is drawn up; certification processes are detailed in a certification directory (expected skills outcomes, associated knowledge, assessment and approval procedures);
  • the file is submitted for consultation by two advisory bodies, the higher council for education (CSE) ([88]Conseil supérieur de l’éducation.) and the advisory inter-professional committee (CIC) ([89]Comité interprofessionnel consultatif.); the latter focuses on upper secondary technological and vocational qualifications and on future trends in education. CIC work affects the work of all vocational advisory committees (CPCs). CPCs are represented on the CIC board.

Certification processes under the Ministry of Higher education

Except for the BTS (advanced technician certificate) and the DUT (undergraduate certificate of technology), EQF level 5 qualifications, there is no standardised description of the content and duration of courses or the procedures for assessing students.

The higher education qualification system is exclusively regulated by an assessment process (which forms a quality assurance process), conceived as an evaluation of the quality of training content: the quality of training programmes in terms of aims and objectives, the level of education, the quality of the education teams, the job prospects of students. The main assessment bodies are:

  • the high council for the evaluation of research and higher education for training programmes provided by universities and certain schools;
  • the engineering qualification committee (CTI) for engineering courses and qualifications;
  • the management training and qualification assessment committee for business and management schools (Grandes ecoles).

Assessment is based on a set of criteria, notably the link with research, relevance to the training offer of the HE institution, and subsequent professional opportunities.

The decision establishing a (new) qualification is published in the official Journal of HE and Research. For engineering qualifications a ‘decision’ is taken by the CTI for private engineering schools, and a notice is given for State engineering schools.

Certification processes in CVET

Professional sectors may create their own qualifications through two main bodies: the joint employment and vocational training committees and the observatories of trades and qualifications.

The joint employment and vocational training committees (CPNEF) ( [90]Commission paritaire nationale de l’emploi et de la formation professionnelle.) was created by employers and trade unions in 1069 and its scope widened to vocational training. Based on research on quantitative and qualitative data on trends in employment ([91]Backed up by the Employment and qualifications observatories.) they identify priority areas in sectors. Certain branches have delegated to CPNEF the responsibility for creating sector-specific CQPs/ certificates of professional qualifications. For a CQP to be registered to the national register of qualifications (RNCP) the request should be initiated by CPNEF and not the branches themselves.

Since 2004 ([92]The 2004 Law on lifelong learning and social dialogue.) each industrial sector (one or several branches) must create its own observatory of trades and qualifications (OPMQ,Observatoires Prospectifs des Métiers et des Qualifications). OPMQs help businesses define their training policies and employees develop their skills ([93]In other words, in establishing their professional projects – projet professionnel in the national context.). Their work focuses on:

  • studies on topics associated with the management of jobs and skills in the sector (diversity and gender equality, training, ageing management, skills replacement, etc.);
  • statistical databases on sectoral economics, jobs and workforce, basic or lifelong training;
  • job maps or directories (job descriptions, job lists).

There is no fixed or mandatory methodology for establishing sectoral qualifications. A 2012 methodological guide produced by CPNFP for the development of certificates of professional qualifications/CQPs suggests:

  • conducting a study on the need for a new qualification;
  • listing the set of competences and skills (and if possible, relevant training content) a learner should possess to be awarded a vocational certificate for a given sector;
  • developing assessment tools and processes;
  • defining the process for implementing relevant training (including apprenticeships)

The results from OPMQ studies are used by both the vocational advisory committees (CPC), which are advisory bodies on VET established by the Ministries, and the joint employment and vocational training committees (CPNEF) (see above) to identify training needs and sectoral skills requirements. France Compétences, as the new VET governance State body, should support and promote the work on the observatories.

The national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) is a centralised repository of all IVET and CVET vocational qualifications issued by public and private institutions and professional bodies. In the new governance setting (CVET 2018 reform), France Compétences shall monitor certification processes for RNCP qualifications:

  • IVET qualifications awarded by the State (ministries, assisted by vocational advisory committees, CPCs);
  • sector-specific certificates of professional qualifications (certificats de qualification professionnelle, CQP) developed by the social partners; these are not automatically registered to the RNCP; the professional body concerned makes a request (application form), subject to CNCP approval; this is the only body that may request the inclusion in the RNCP register;
  • other vocational qualifications, described as ‘qualifications voluntarily registered with the RNCP’, produced by training organisations, professional bodies and ministers without CPC backing. The registration of qualifications in the RNCP is subject to approval by the national committee on vocational qualifications (CNCP).

Qualifications in the RNCP register are nationally recognised and are classified by field of activity and level of qualification. Private training organisations have no obligation to register their professional qualifications in the RNCP ( [94]Provided that they do not use terms in the description such as licence, master or diplôme d’État. See: CNCP (2015). Rapport au Premier Ministre, 2015 [Activity report 2015].
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/rapport_premier_ministre_cncp_2015_0.pdf
).

Modularisation of RNCP qualifications From 1 January 2019, it became mandatory that all RNCP vocational qualifications are structured into skills sets (blocs de compétences).

A skills set is a minimum, homogeneous and coherent set of competences contributing to the autonomous exercise of a professional activity that can be credited.

The measure aims to facilitate equivalences and bridges between qualifications. These blocks can be assessed through validation of prior learning ([95]The vocational aptitude certificate (CAP), the vocational baccalaureate and the advanced technical diploma (BTS) are already offered in skills set in adult education.). An online database for referencing qualifications in skill blocks is in place ([96]www.certifications-blocs-competences.fr/inscription).

The 2018 reform ([97]The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
) has put emphasis on transparency and efficiency through new obligations for all training providers using mutual funds to inform and monitor their training actions. France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([98]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...) responsible for the quality of vocational training and apprenticeship. It will evaluate the actions carried out by skills operators ([99]OCPO (former OPCA) are joint bodies organised by professional sector managed by social partners, and supervised by France Compétences. They shall distribute funds for training, support skills anticipation in SMEs and be involved in apprenticeship provision.), the evolution of costs, and can alert the State to possible malfunctions.

France Compétences shall monitor implementation of quality arrangements. All training organisations, including apprenticeship training centres, will have to be quality certified by 2021, as long as the training they offer is financed by public funds and mutual funds.

Training providers shall be ‘quality’ certified: the process and body that will run it is to be defined (an ad hoc national reference framework is under development in 2019). The use of specific indicators to assess the quality of the training offer and associated audit procedures are also considered.

The methodology used for certification processes is a quality assurance mechanism in itself ([100]For instance, ministries develop standards for professional diplomas in consultation with professionals/experts, define examination regulations, award diplomas, offer various types of training in its institutions, recruit, train and pay teachers, monitor the quality of training and reports on the results and resources used.).The need for the training organisation to be accredited or recognised by the awarding authority is conceived as an important element of quality ([101]Ministère du Travail (2018). Les opérateurs de compétences : transformer la formation professionnelle pour répondre aux enjeux de compétences [Skills operators: transform vocational training to meet skills challenges]. A report by Marx, M. and Bagorski, R. published on 6.9.2018.
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/documentation-et-publications-officielles/rapports/article/rapport-les-operateurs-de-competences-transformer-la-formation-professionnelle
).

Since the social modernisation act of 17th January 2002, validation of non-formal and informal learning (Validation des acquis de l’expérience) (VAE) has offered a third route to qualifications and vocational certificates, alongside initial education and training and lifelong learning.

In order to obtain accreditation, the applicant (self-employed, employees or volunteers) must submit a dossier and potentially undergo an interview with the jury for the relevant qualification, which then decides whether to award the chosen qualification fully or partially. The interview is used to complete and clarify the information contained in the application dossier. It allows the jury to check the authenticity of the file, to check the level of proficiency of all the skills required to obtain the (partial) qualification and to discuss the experience and practice acquired in respect of the activities or functions that the applicant has exercised or held.

Through VAE, anybody can obtain a full qualification or certificate based on his or her professional experience ([102]Around 24 600 qualifications and degrees awarded. See DARES (2017). La VAE en 2015 dans les ministères certificateurs: le nombre de diplômés par la voie de la VAE continue de diminuer [VAE in 2015 in the accrediting ministries : the number of people who have obtained a degree through the VAE process is decreasing]. DARES results series, June 2017, No 038.
https://dares.travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2017-038v2.pdf
).

All vocational qualifications registered in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning. This includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners.

Since 2016, three IVET qualifications are accessible in adult education for certification through VAE ([103]The vocational aptitude certificate (CAP) (EQF level 3); the vocational Baccalaureate (EQF level 4) and the advanced technical diploma (BTS) (EQF level 5).), and can possibly be partly validated in skills set (blocs de compétences). Offering more IVET qualifications in a modular form depends on (high) demand for such qualifications in adult education. An online database for referencing qualifications in skill blocks is in place ([104]www.certifications-blocs-competences.fr/inscription).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([105]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

The personal training account

The personal training account scheme is a personal right to training (CPF, compte personnel de formation) that can be used by any employee, throughout working life, to follow qualifying training. From 2019, the account is funded in Euro at the end of each year and by additional financing, also fixed in Euro. The amount of acquired rights is fixed by decree. Part-time employees have the same rights as full-time employees. The amount of the fees should be EUR 500 per year to a maximum of EUR 5000 over a period of 10 years. Entitlements will always be increased for employees with low qualifications (below NQF level V / EQF level 3) (EUR 800 per year to a maximum of EUR 8 000).

The 2018 Bill sets up a new mechanism, the personal training account scheme (CPF) for career transition. An employee may use his CPF account to enrol in training actions intended to bring about change, including by benefiting from specific leave if the training is carried out, in whole or in part, over working time. The remuneration of the beneficiary of the career transition project is then paid by the employer (for firms employing 50 persons or more), who is reimbursed by one regional joint body (joint body regional committee called transition pro), or paid directly by the regional joint body if employed in a firm of fewer than 50 persons ([106]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/formation-professionnelle/formation-des-salaries/article/projet-de-transition-professionnelle
https://www.defi-metiers.fr/breves/un-ani-precise-les-missions-des-transitions-pro-les-commissions-paritaires
).

Training aids for jobseekers

There are many training aids for jobseekers. For example, Pôle emploi regularly buys training places in different training organisations. It selects and finances training programmes that support skills development at local level, in targeted sectors of the economy where there is insufficient demand for employment (jobs in tension) ([107]https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/l-action-de-formation-conventionnee-par-pole-emploi-afc--@/article.jspz?id=60683).

Individual training aid

The individual training aid (AIF, aide individuelle à la formation) provided by Pôle emploi indirectly helps to finance vocational training. The training must have a direct professional aim (award a VET qualification, such as BTS, EQF level 3 or master degree) and be of between one and three years maximum duration. Depending on the cost of the training, Pôle emploi reimburses the costs directly to the training organisation where it takes place ([108]https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/l-aide-individuelle-a-la-formation-aif--@/article.jspz?id=60856).

The government provides public subsidies for companies, primarily small and very small, and for professional organisations, to promote training, employment and skills.

Public subsidies

The purpose of these subsidies varies. National credits can be granted for:

  • encouraging and helping SMEs to anticipate their human resources management needs;
  • public employment service support to jobseekers in accompanying economic change and securing career paths;
  • training and adaptation agreements of the National Employment Fund (FNE-Formation). Vocational training measures are implemented to support workforce employability in a changing work environment;
  • support for employees to adapt to new jobs due to technological innovation, technical developments or changes in the production sector ([109]Annexe au projet de loi de finances pour formation professionnelle 2018 [Annex to the Bill on the VET budget 2018]: publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

Financial incentives to engage in apprenticeship Regional or government subsidies encourage apprenticeship contract take-up, which is a major priority of public youth employment policy.

Since 2018 a one-off subsidy is available for small businesses (fewer than 250 employees) that recruit an apprentice, if this prepares for certification up to Baccalaureate level (EQF 4 or less).

Another complementary financial incentive takes the form of an internship bonus; this is a subsidy granted to companies employing 250 people or more, if they go beyond the minimum threshold for employees on work study contracts.

In addition to these subsidies, apprenticeship contracts are fully or partially exempt from social security charges, the costs of training apprentice supervisors are supported by the skills operators (Opérateurs de competences, Opco), and specific subsidies are granted for the recruitment of apprentices with disabilities.

Training aid for job creation In some cases, an employer who hires a jobseeker who needs training to carry out the requested tasks may benefit from training aid financed by Pôle emploi. Operational employment preparation (POE, préparation opérationnelle à l’emploi) is financial assistance allowing jobseekers to be trained in order to be able to respond to a job offer. This assistance may be granted to the employer who undertakes to recruit the jobseeker after the training period ([110]https://www.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/F17485).

Targeted support to SMEs Following the 2018 reform (the 2018 Bill), the former OPCA became skills operators (OPCO) ([111]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
), managed by social partners. Their new responsibilities include supporting companies and professional sectors to anticipate and create forward-looking management of jobs and skills.

OPCO will provide technical support to professional branches and a local service to small and medium-sized businesses in skills anticipation and apprenticeship provision (joint creation of vocational diplomas, definition of the cost of the contract for diplomas and professional titles, payment for apprenticeship training centres).

Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([112]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with fewer than 50 employees.

Lifelong career guidance was established by law in 2009 ([113]Framework law on (vocational) training of November, 24 2009.). A public career information and guidance service (SPO, service public de l’orientation) is in place including online and telephone services ([114]A web portal (
www.orientation-pour-tous.fr) and a single national number (08 11 70 39 39).
); local career information and advice services are based on regionally approved partnership agreements backed by the Regional Council. The right to career guidance depends on different organisations and instruments, depending on age and individual status.

Career guidance in IVET

Throughout secondary education, an individualised vocational guidance service is offered to every learner to discover the world of work, professions and training pathways leading to (sectoral) skills and qualifications.

Parcours avenir ([115]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid83948/le-parcours-avenir.html), a support programme set up for pupils and their families, informs and guides education choices to ensure a smoother transition from lower secondary general education to upper secondary paths.

In grade 9 (last year of lower secondary), a preparatory vocational guidance subject has been added to raise awareness of the upper secondary vocational pathway and apprenticeship opportunities offered ([116]The 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future [LOI n° 2018-771 du 5 septembre 2018 pour la liberté de choisir son avenir professionnel]:https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/loi/2018/9/5/MTRX1808061L/jo/texte).

The 2018 law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future supported integration into employment and the value of diplomas from all apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) and vocational high schools. It assigned regions a strengthened role in their territories; they coordinate the ‘discovery of sectors and professions’ guidance scheme.

Dedicated bodies such as the National Office for Information on Curricula and Professions - ONISEP ([117]Office national d’information sur les enseignements et les professions.) and the Youth information and documentation centre – CIDJ ([118]Centre d’information et de documentation jeunesse (CIDJ).) provide their services to young people. The 2018 law allows collaboration between ONISEP and the Regions to develop and distribute career guidance material to the young.

Career guidance for adults, employees or jobseekers

The public lifelong career guidance service guarantees universal access to free, full and objective information on careers, training, qualifications, outlets and pay scales and access to high-quality, network-based career advice and support services. Various systems support this, both within and outside companies:

  • compulsory professional development interviews run every two years in companies, including ([119]Following the 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future.) information on validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE);
  • the personal training account scheme, CPF ([120]Compte personnel de formation.);
  • the professional development counselling service, CEP ([121]Conseil en évolution professionnelle.);
  • career development interviews, career assessment reports, appraisals, etc., are used to evaluate career prospects.

These career guidance services are provided by career information and guidance bodies such as local support services, career advice institutions, employment and training centres, the Pôle emploi, and the joint collecting bodies.

The professional development counselling service, CEP ([122]Conseil en évolution professionnelle.), in place since 2013, supports career development and security for all individuals engaged into working life. It provides information on the work environment and the evolution of jobs in the territory, on the necessary skills to acquire and develop, and on available training schemes. A set of specifications adopted by the Minister of Labour will specify the evolution of the CEP, which will always be free of charge.

Counselling is provided by the four national operators for specific audiences (disabled, managers, young people and jobseekers). In January 2020, employees will be advised by new operators, selected at regional level, on the basis of the national specifications. The selection of these new operators will be orchestrated by France Compétences.

Public and private career guidance and counselling actors at national level

Job-related information

Public bodies produce quantitative and qualitative studies on employment and training: France Stratégie ([123]http://www.strategie.gouv.fr), the Centre for studies and research on certifications (Céreq) ([124]Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications.), the Centre for employment and labour research (Ceet) ([125]Centre d’études de l’emploi et du travail:
http://recherche.cnam.fr/ceet/centre-d-etudes-de-l-emploi-et-du-travail-ceet--859105.kjsp
), the national institute for statistics and economic research (INSEE) and the research and statistics management department (Darès) ([126]La Direction de l'animation de la recherche, des études et des statistiques.). Results support public debate; they are used by public authorities and VET stakeholders developing and implementing VET policies at national and regional level, and by ministries and social and economic actors determining (new) labour market needs, IVET (including technological) policies and CVET training needs and policies ([127]See also Observatory of trades and qualifications (OPMQ - Observatoires prospectifs des métiers et des qualifications) in Section
12. Shaping VET Q - design
).

Centre Inffo in partnership with the main career information and guidance providers ([128]Different ministries, the regions, the professional bodies, the CARIF-OREF, Pôle emploi, the national office for education and career information (Onisep) or the youth information and documentation center (CIDJ).) runs the national online career guidance for all platform. The online service provides real-time data on careers and jobs, training courses, events, videos and personal stories. It offers more than 2 000 job descriptions, 200 000 basic education and lifelong learning courses, directory of approved training providers, practical information on schemes, entitlements and procedures.

Information on training sources

Such information is subject to new requirements for clarity and visibility. Since May 2012, the Government has published and updated the list of registered and approved training structures on the website https://www.data.gouv.fr

The ‘ offre-info’ portal is a national reference for training centres and training programmes run by the Carif-Oref (Centre Animation Ressources d'Information sur la Formation / Observatoire Régional Emploi Formation).

Public and private career guidance and counselling actors at regional/local levels

Carif – Training management, resource and information centres operate in all regions collecting, producing and disseminating information on training options, entitlements and access to training. They assist local information providers in their role. The information sources they provide guide the general public, training providers and operators in career and training opportunities and processes in place.

Oref – Regional employment and training observatories provide regionally based systems for analysis and research on the relationship between employment, training and qualification requirements. Using data provided by their national and regional partners, they conduct research and provide expertise in order to anticipate economic changes and adjust skills to projected employment needs. They deal with training needs, job trends, the link between employment and training, sectoral approaches, professional mobility, and economic development.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher technician

programmes (BTS, DUT)

WBL 30%,

2 years

ISCED 554

Tertiary VET programmes leading to EQF 5, ISCED 554 (DUT- Diplôme universitaire technologique – Undergraduate certificate of technology) (BTS – Brevet de technicien supérieur – advanced technician certificate)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

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

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

Information not available ([150]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en )

Other credit system: 120 ECTS points ([151]French referencing report to the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning, 2010:
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/sites/eac-eqf/files/Report-FR-NQF-EQF-VF.pdf
)

 

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

In classrooms (WBL 30%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies (1 or 2 for BTS programmes).

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public and private education schools (Advanced technician certificate - BTS - Brevet de technicien supérieur);
  • In university technology institutes attached to universities (IUTs) (DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique - Undergraduate certificate of technology);
  • apprenticeship training centres (CFAs);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 30% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education

Learners with an upper secondary technological baccalaureate usually continue their studies in tertiary VET programmes in selected fields. Those with a vocational baccalaureate may also access these programmes.

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

All learners having completed upper secondary general, technological or vocational programmes may enrol in VET programmes at EQF level 5 in selected fields.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners follow programmes in an advanced section of high schools preparing for an advanced technician certificate - BTS - Brevet de technicien supérieur;

Learners enrolled in VET programmes offered by university technology institutes (IUTs) prepare an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique).

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications
  • bank – customer adviser (Bank- conseiller de clientèle) (BTS), EQF 5;
  • librarian (documentaliste) (DUT), EQF5

Information on 88 BTS ([152]BTS, Brevet de technicien supérieur [advanced technician certificate],
https://www.sup.adc.education.fr/btslst/ [accessed 15.3.2019].
) diplomas across all fields; DUT ([153]DUT, Diplôme universitaire technologique [undergraduate certificate of technology],
http://www.iut.fr/formations-et-diplomes/les-specialites/les-specialites-de-dut.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) diplomas in 22 specialities is available online.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

BTS (Brevet de technicien supérieur) ([154]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20183/brevet-de-techniciensuperieur-b.t.s.html) - the Advanced technician certificate provides specialist education and training. While the purpose of the BTS is immediate entry into work, it is nevertheless possible to continue studying.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a vocational Bachelor’s degree (EQF 6);
  • access is also possible to:
    • preparatory courses for the selective admission to Grandes Ecoles (elit HE schools);
    • access to some engineering schools (after examination or interview or through admission of an application file).

DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique Undergraduate certificate of technology ([155]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20192/diplome-universitairetechnologie.html#specialites-dut). These qualifications prepare people for technical and professional management roles in certain sectors of production, applied research and the service sector. It is also possible for students to pursue their education, for example towards a Bachelor degree.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a Bachelor or vocational Bachelor degree (EQF 6);
  • acces is also possible to some engineering schools (after examination or interview or through admission of an application file).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([156]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

13% ([157]2014-16) of graduates with a BTS, DUT or equivalent EQF 5 qualification as a share of all graduates from initial education ([158]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.
).

In terms of gender, there are more men than women.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([159]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 6

Bachelor programmes

WBL 10%,

3 years

ISCED 655

Vocational Bachelor leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (Licence professionnelle)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

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

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In full time university programmes (WBL 10%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public universities (EPSCPs) ([161]EPSCPs are scientific, cultural and professional public institutions (établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel). They consist of universities and some 71 other establishments (mainly public engineering schools). Only EPSCPs may award Bachelor’s and Master degrees, therefore private universities may only award such diplomas if they have signed a partnership agreement with an EPSCP.),
  • private higher education institutions;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 10% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • learners with an upper secondary general baccalaureate may enrol in three-year vocational bachelor programmes;
  • those with an advanced technician certificate (BTS) or an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) (EQF level 5 qualifications) may continue their studies to acquire a vocational bachelor in selected fields. The programme requires two semesters (one year), a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

For holders of a BTS or DUT (EQF level 5 VET qualifications) a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project are also necessary.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational Bachelor (Licence professionnelle), EQF level 6, ISCED 655.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Digital marketing (E-commerce et marketing numérique), tourism and leisure sports (Tourisme et loisirs sportifs).

Information on 173 vocational Bachelor degrees across all fields is available online ([162]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20181/licence-professionnelle.html [accessed 15.03.2019]).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The vocational Bachelor degree was designed to allow people to move directly into a profession. It relates to European undertakings on the provision of a degree course that reflects the demands of the labour market in Europe and to the need for new qualifications between advanced technician level and advanced executive-engineer level. It enables students who wish to acquire quickly a professional qualification corresponding to clearly identified needs and jobs.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a vocational Master degree (EQF 7).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([163]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

9% ([164]2014-16.) of graduates with a bachelor degree programme as a share of all graduates from initial education ([165]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.).

Available national statistics do not differentiate between different types of bachelors.

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research(2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([166]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

EQF 7

Master programmes

WBL: up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 757

Vocational Master leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757 (Master)
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

16

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

22

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

120 ECTS credits, spread over four semesters.

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

In full time university programmes (WBL 50%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies
Main providers
  • public universities (EPSCPs) ([167]EPSCPs are scientific, cultural and professional public institutions (établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel). They consist of universities and some 71 other establishments (mainly public engineering schools). Only EPSCPs may award Bachelor’s and Master degrees, therefore private universities may only award such diplomas if they have signed a partnership agreement with an EPSCP.);
  • private higher education institutions;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 50% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice)
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In higher education institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners with a bachelor degree, EQF level 6.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

To be awarded a Master degree, learners must demonstrate good knowledge of a modern foreign language ([168]Source:
http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20193/le-master.html
).

For holders of a BTS or DUT (EQF level 5 VET qualifications) a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project are also necessary.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational Master (Master professionnel), EQF 7, ISCED 757.

The course content includes theoretical, methodological and applied (vocational) elements and, when required, one or more internships. It also includes an initiation to research and, in particular, the completion of a dissertation or other original research work.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The Master degree provides access to high-level jobs for people with five years of education following the baccalaureate or access to PhD studies. Some regulated professions, i.e. professions which can only be exercised with certain qualifications, require a Master degree.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing PhD studies (EQF 8).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([169]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

14% ([170]2014-16) of graduates with a Master or a PhD as a share of all graduates from initial education ([171]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.). National statistics do not differentiate between Master and PhD degrees, and do not specify the share of graduates with a vocational Master.

In terms of gender, there are considerably more women than men.

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([172]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 7

Qualified engineer

Master degree programmes

at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

5 years,

ISCED 756

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 756 (titre d’ingénieur diplômé).
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

756

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

education is compulsory until age16)

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

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Full-time classroom programmes (Formation initiale sous statut d'étudiant);
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • interships in companies.
  • delivered as part of lifelong learning programmes (formation continue) ([174]The delivery modes for each accredited HE institution are available at:
    http://www.enic-naric.net/france.aspx; http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20256/liste-des-ecoles-d...
    )
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • interships in companies.
  • delivered in apprenticeship (Formation initiale sous statut d'apprenti) (WBL 67%):
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public or private engineering schools accredited by CTI ([175]CTIs (Commission des titres d’ingénieur / Engineering qualification committee) was established in 1934. CTI role is to assess and accredit HE institutions that may award the title of Qualified Engineer, they main tasks include periodical assessment of all engineering programmes offered nationwide, define the job profile (and award criteria for the title) of a qualified engineer and award the relevant degree and the ‘Quality label’ award:
    https://www.cti-commission.fr/en/la-cti/histoire-et-missions
    );
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 16% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education (formation continue)
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The 5-year programme is accessible to learners holding general baccalaureate (EQF level 4), ISCED 344.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree (titre d’ingénieur diplômé), EQF 7, ISCED 747.

The title of ‘qualified engineer’, which has both an academic and professional quality, is protected and controlled by the CTI (commission des titres d’ingénieur – engineering qualification committee). Only institutions that are accredited by the CTI are allowed to award the title of ‘qualified engineer’ ([176]https://www.cti-commission.fr/).

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree (titre d’ingénieur diplômé)

The list of higher education accredited institutions offering the Qualified Engineer Master degree is published each year in the Official Journal of the French Republic and is available online ([177]http://cache.media.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/file/Formations_et_diplomes/09/6/MENS1637878A_-_JO_30_du_040217-arr_fixant_liste_ecoles_accredit_titre_inge_2016_718096.pdf [accessed 17.3.2019].).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a PhD degree (EQF 8).

Possessing the title ‘qualified engineer’ (titre d’ingénieur diplômé) allows a person to work as an engineer.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([178]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

14% ([179]2014-16) of graduates with a Master or a PhD as a share of all graduates from initial education ([180]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.). National statistics do not differentiate between Master and PhD degrees, and do not specify the share of graduates with a vocational Master.

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([181]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 6 -7

Programmes at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

degree or certificate in

business and management (State-labelled)

3 years,

ISCED 655

Degree or Master in

business and management (State-labelled)

5 years,

ISCED 756

Degree or certificate in business and management (State-labelled) leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 655 (Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+3). Degree or Master in business and management(State-labelled)leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 756 (Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+5).
EQF level
6 (three-year programmes) 7 (five-year programmes)
ISCED-P 2011 level

655 (three-year programmes)

756 (five-year programmes)

Usual entry grade

13 or 15 ([182]There are several types of schools of commerce and management. Some of them select students coming from two-year preparatory schools (CPGE). Others recruit directly after a baccalaureate (EQF 4):
http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid70660/les-ecoles-de-commerce-et-de-gestion.html
)

Usual completion grade

15 - 17

Usual entry age

18 – 22 (three-year programmes)

18 (five-year programmes)

Usual completion age

21 - 23

Length of a programme (years)

3 - 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public higher education is free

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In full time university programmes:

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • interships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • elite business and management schools (Grandes écoles) ([184]Grandes écoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes écoles programmes is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary –Baccalaureate- graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad. NB: Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled, through the CEFDG (la commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion,
    https://www.cefdg.fr/). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years.
    );
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL >15% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In business and management higher education institutions (Grandes écoles) ([185]Grande écoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes écoles programmes is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary –Baccalaureate- graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad. NB: Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled, through the CEFDG (la commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion,
https://www.cefdg.fr/). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years.
):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in Grandes écoles;
  • people in adult education.

Grandes écoles are non-academic tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure ([186]Upper secondary – Baccalaureate – graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year).). Business and management Grandes écoles are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. There must be accredited by the State to be able to award degrees and certificates that have national validity. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of 6 years.

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

There are several types of business and management schools (Grandes écoles) ([187]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid70660/les-ecoles-de-commerce-et-de-gestion.html):

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Degree or certificate in business and management

(Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+3);

EQF level 7, ISCED 655.

Degree or Master in business and management;

(Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+5) ;

EQF 7, ISCED 756.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State ([189]Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited (validity is for six years) by the State, through the Commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion (CEFDG). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years. Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad.).

Examples of qualifications

Degree in marketing and management (Diplôme en gestion et marketing bac+3);

Degree in marketing, finance and international business management (Diplôme de responsible marketing, finance et commerce international bac+4);

Master in Management science (Diplôme en sciences de gestion bac+5).

135 State-labelled business and management degrees are offered nationally ([190]https://www.cefdg.fr/fr/ecoles-et-formations-visees [accessed 17.3.2019].).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • entry to the labour market;
  • move on to further studies, along the LMD model.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Among these VET qualifications, only the ones registered to the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) are accessible through validation of prior learning (VAE).

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([191]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

2.4 % ([192]In 2017. Calculated by Centre Inffo, based on: CGE; ENSAI (2018). Insertion des diplomés des Grandes écoles [Integration of the Grandes écoles degree holders], p. 12.
https://www.cge.asso.fr/themencode-pdf-viewer/?file=https://www.cge.asso.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-06-19-Rapport-2018.pdf and Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmarks and statistics, 2018], p. 13.
https://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/28/7/depp-2018-RERS-web_1075287.pdf
)

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Upper secondary technological

programmes,

3 years,

ISCED 344

Technological upper secondary programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED level 344 (baccalauréat technologique)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

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)
  • full-time education in VET schools;
Main providers
  • public and private education schools;
  • apprenticeship training centres (WBL 67%);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 0% in school-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (in apprenticeship training centres)
Main target groups
  • young people between 16-18;
  • people over 18 in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

All learners having completed lower secondary general education, with or without the end of lower secondary certificate (Brevet des collèges) may move on to upper secondary general, technological or vocational pathways.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate (Baccalauréat technologique)

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The technological curriculum leads to the end of secondary education technological degree (baccalaureat technique) (EQF level 4). This degree opens up access to two-year studies in higher education to obtain a higher technician certificate (BTS) or a technological university diploma (DUT) (EQF level 5), and moving on to engineering bachelor and master studies (respectively, EQF levels 6 and 7). Those with a good high school record (baccalauréat technique, EQF 4) may also access engineering studies (EQF level 6), on the condition they follow a preparatory class ([132]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid2604/la-voie-technologique-au-lycee.html).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE, validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Y

The first year (grade 10) is common with the general upper secondary stream (general subjects); in grades 11 and 12 students prepare mainly for higher VET studies (BTS and DUT).

There are eight different specialisations in grades 11 and 12.

In grade 12, learners may choose between four streams:

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([134]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

6% ([135]2014-16.) of graduates with a technological baccalaureate as a share of all graduates from initial education ([136]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.)

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([137]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

Upper secondary VET

programmes,

WBL ca 50%,

2 or 3 years

ISCED 353,354

Upper secondary vocational programmes in VET schools leading to EQF level 3 or 4, ISCED 353 or 354 (lycées professionnels).
EQF level
3 (professional skills certificate, CAP) 4 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)
ISCED-P 2011 level

353 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

354 (vocational baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

12 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

18 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

3 (vocational baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

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)

In schools (WBL 50%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public and private education schools;
  • apprenticeship training centres (CFAs);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 50% in school-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In schools:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • young people between 16-18;
  • people over 18 in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

All learners having completed lower secondary general education, with or without the end of lower secondary certificate (Brevet des collèges) may move on to upper secondary general, technological or vocational pathways.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

There are two programme cycles in the upper secondary vocational stream.

In two years, learners may prepare a professional skills certificate (CAP, certificat d’aptitude professionnelle); in a third year, those with a CAP may prepare:

  • an advance diploma (BM - brevet de maîtrise, or
  • a BMA-applied arts certificate (brevet des arts et métiers).

In a three-year programme learners may prepare a vocational baccalaureate (BAC–pro, baccalauréat professionnel)

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications
  • security officer (agent de sécurité) (CAP), EQF 3
  • baker-pastry cook (boulanger-pâtissier) (Bac-Pro), EQF4
  • cabinetmaker (ébéniste) (BMA), EQF 4

Up to 200 CAP specialities ([139]CAP, certificat d’aptitude professionnelle [professional skills certificate]:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47637/le-certificat-d-aptitude-professionnelle-cap.html
); 100 BAC-pro specialities ([140]Baccalauréat professionnel [vocational baccalaureate], EQF 4:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47640/le-baccalaureat-professionnel.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) and 20 BMA specialities ([141]BMA, Brevet des métiers d’arts [applied arts certificate]:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47643/le-brevet-des-metiers-d-art-bma.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) are available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The professional skills certificate- CAP (Certificat d’ aptitude professionnelle) (EQF 3) ([142]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47637/le-certificat-d-aptitude-professionnelle-cap.html [accessed 15.03.2019]) demonstrates a first level of qualification to its holder as qualified worker or employee in a given employment sector. CAP provides direct access to employment and/or to upper secondary vocational studies (EQF level 4) in order to prepare for a brevet de maitrise (BM – advanced diploma) or a vocational baccalaureate, either at school or through an apprenticeship.

The vocational baccalaureate (Baccalauréat professionnel, EQF 4) is a qualification that allows successful candidates to enter a profession. Access to tertiary VET in selected fields is also possible to prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS) in an advanced technician sector or an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) in university technology institutes (IUTs) (EQF level 5). Prior VET knowledge may be recognised affecting programme duration.

BMA (Brevet des métiers d’arts - Applied Arts certificate) ([143]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47643/le-brevet-des-metiers-d-art-bma.html) is a national qualification in a specific skill, which aims to preserve and pass on traditional techniques while promoting innovation. It is available to holders of a CAP in the same professional sector. The programme consists of vocational training specific to each BMA speciality, general education, and work placements lasting between 12 and 16 weeks. It gives direct access to employment.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Y

Vocational programmes provided for pupils in vocational lycées (high schools) combines general education with a high level of specialised technical knowledge ([144]French referencing report to the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning, 2010:
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/sites/eac-eqf/files/Report-FR-NQF-EQF-VF.pdf
).

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([145]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

In 2018, one-third of upper secondary students (665 000) are enrolled in the vocational stream.

In years 2014-2016 the share of VET graduates compared to all graduates from initial education ([146]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.) was:

  • 11% ([147]2014-16) for those with a CAP or equivalent EQF level 3 qualification;
  • 17% ([148]2014-16) for those with a vocational baccalaureate or equivalent EQF level 4 qualification.

In terms of gender, there are more men than women.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([149]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Certificates of

professional qualifications (CPQ)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

Certificates of professional qualifications (Certificats de qualification professionnelle - CQP). Certificates of professional qualifications may be acquired as part of an apprenticeship, in different continuing training programmes and through validation of prior learning. They are accessible through a variety of programmes designed for different learner group (the unemployed, employees, the self-employed, specific groups etc.).
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

People in adult education (over 18 who have left initial education and training)

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Information not available

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

There is a variety of training schemes preparing CQPs, mostly targeting jobseekers and employed people. CVET is mostly financed by employers’ contributions; training courses are most of the time free for beneficiaries (or taken as part of the individual right to training (the so-called compte personnel de formation – CPF).

Is it available for adults?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) enable employees to acquire an operational qualification. The credential may be granted by:

  • a ‘professionalisation contract’ (one of the two existing alternance training programmes, with the apprenticeship contract);
  • continuing training;
  • through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE - validation des acquis de l’experience) if the CQP is registered in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP).

The CQP are recognised by the collective or branch agreement it relates to; it is thus created and issued within an industry sector by a joint industry body, usually the CPNE (National Joint Employment Committee).

The CQP can only be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by a body created and managed by the branch in question. As of 2019, these certificates are under the responsibility of France compétences.

The CQPs are not attached to a level of qualification, but are classified separately (when registered) in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP), by sector of activity.

Main providers

The training market is free.

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) enable employees to acquire an operational qualification. A CQP, recognised by the collective or branch agreement it relates to, is thus created and issued within an industry sector by a joint industry body, usually the CPNE (National Joint Employment Committee) ([194]Article L6113-4 of the Labour Code:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do;jsessionid=80F0D87426DBC7277F61C5EF06EF7E4C.tplgfr37s_1?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006072050&idArticle=LEGIARTI000037374062&dateTexte=20181005&categorieLien=cid#LEGIARTI000037374062
).

  • they can only be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by a body created and managed by the branch in question;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE – validation des acquis de l’ expérience) is also possible.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

  • young people not in initial education and training;
  • the unemployed (job seekers);
  • employees.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

CVET training offer is designed (and then financed) on the basis of the status (unemployed, job seeker, employee etc.). of the beneficiary. Programmes that lead to a CQP are available through:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQPs – certificats de qualification professionnelle).

Up to 2018, CQPs are not attached to a level of qualification, but are classified separately in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP), by sector of activity ([196]http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/site/cncp/Accueil35701/Repertoire). The 2018 Bill ([197]And Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).) foresees that, from 2019 onwards, all vocational qualifications included in RNCP will be (gradually) associated with a level of qualification in the national nomenclature (NQF levels V to I/EQF levels 3 to 8). France Compétences ([198]New governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing:
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences
) assuming the responsibilities of the national commission of vocational certifications (CNCP) is in charge of the process.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates
  • (re)entry to the labour market;
  • progress in own career;
  • career mobility.
Awards through validation of prior learning

All vocational qualifications registered in the RNCP (this includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional diploma

(titre professional)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

‘Professional diploma’ (Titre professionnel). Professional diplomas are accessible through a variety of programmes designed for different groups of learners (the unemployed, employees) (see section learning form). They may be acquired as part of an apprenticeship, in continuing training and through validation of prior learning.
EQF level
3-6
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

People in adult education (over 18 who have left initial education and training)

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

Is it offered free of charge?

There is a variety of training schemes preparing Titre professionel [professional diploma], mostly targeting job seekers and employed people. CVET is mostly financed by employers’ contributions; training courses are most of the time free for beneficiaries (or taken as part of the individual right to training (the so-called compte personnel de formation, CPF).

Is it available for adults?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The credential may be granted by

  • apprenticeship;
  • continuing training;
  • through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE - validation des acquis de l’ experience).

The ‘Titre professionnel’ [professional diploma] is a State certificate designed and issued by the Ministry of Labour. It certifies that his holder masters the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to perform a job. It enables the acquisition of specific professional skills to support employability and professional development of workers ([200]In 2017, 7 out of 10 job seekers found a job after obtaining a titre professionnel.).

This qualification is made up of modules (blocks of competences ([201]CCP: certificats de compétences professionnelles.). From 1 January 2019, it become mandatory that all RNCP ([202]RNCP: Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles [the national register of vocational qualifications].) vocational qualifications are structured into skills set (blocs de compétences) ([203]Α skills set is a minimum, homogeneous and coherent set of competences contributing to the autonomous exercise of a professional activity that can be credited.), therefore these certificates are already compatible with the new arrangements.

They cover all sectors (building, human services, transport, catering, commerce, industry, etc.) and different levels of qualification (EQF levels 3 to 6).

Main providers

The training market is free.

Professional diplomas are certificates issued by the Ministry of Labour certifying that the holder masters the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to perform a job. They enable the acquisition of specific professional skills to support employability and professional development of workers.

  • they can be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by semi-public and public training providers like the National association for adult vocational training (AFPA) ([204]Association pour la formation des adultes:
    https://www.afpa.fr/
    ) or the Consortium of local public education institutions (GRETA) ([205]Groupements d’Établissements:
    https://www.education.gouv.fr/cid261/les-greta.html
    )
  • They may be delivered as apprenticeships offered by apprenticeship training centres;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE – validation des acquis de l’ expérience) is also possible
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

  • young people not in initial education and training;
  • the unemployed (job seekers);
  • employees.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

CVET training offer is designed (and then financed) on the basis of the status (unemployed, job seeker, employee etc.) of the beneficiary. Programmes that lead to a professional qualification are available through:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional diploma (Titre professionnel)

Professional diplomas are listed in RNCP which includes all nationally recognised vocational qualificationsThe 2018 Bill ([207]And Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).) foresees that, from 2019 onwards, all vocational qualifications included in RNCP will be (gradually) associated with a level of qualification in the national nomenclature (NQF levels V to I/EQF levels 3 to 8). France Compétences ([208]New governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing:
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences
) - assuming the responsibilities of the national commission of vocational certifications (CNCP) - is in charge of the process.

Examples of qualifications

driving school instructor (enseignant de la conduite et de la sécurité routière); fitters assembler in aviation (monteur câbleur en aéronautique); driver in building, civil engineering works (conducteur de travaux du bâtiment et du génie civil).

By end of 2017, 249 professional diplomas were available in:

  • building and public work (35%);
  • industry (35%);
  • transport and logistics (6%);
  • trade and distribution (6);
  • other services (21%).

Overview of professional diplomas in 2017 (in French) ([209]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/bilan-titresprofessionnels2017.pdf)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates
  • (re)entry to the labour market;
  • progress in own career;
  • career mobility.
Awards through validation of prior learning

All vocational qualifications registered in the RNCP (this includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

General themes

VET in Austria has the following main features:

  • VET ranks high; about 70% of each age cohort opt for a VET path at the end of compulsory education ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    ).
  • early leaving is comparatively low at 7.3% in 2018 and a ‘safety net’ for young people has been in place for many years. In 2017, the training obligation until age 18 was introduced: all young people who are not in education and training, or in a job, must participate in mainstream school-based programmes, apprenticeships or other recognised training;
  • school-based VET and apprenticeships (dual track training) coexist. They cover nearly all economic sectors and lead to different qualification levels (either EQF 4 or 5).
  • there is a variety of VET programmes at tertiary level and for adults.

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
):

  • the broad range of available VET programmes is not only reflected in the various types of training and qualification levels but also in the fields of study, which include business, engineering, tourism, fashion, design, arts, and agriculture. Programmes can be adapted to regional economic contexts and skill needs, and allow learners to develop their strengths and talents in the best possible way.
  • all programmes at upper secondary level, whether school-based or dual-track, combine VET with general education and theory with practice. Work-based learning is central to VET, particularly in apprenticeships where learners spend 80% of their training time in a company. School-based VET is also practice-oriented, including learning in workshops, labs, training restaurants and practice firms, complemented by mandatory work placements in companies. Project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam of the five-year VET programme (EQF 5) are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration. Many teachers have experience in business and industry, which, for certain areas, is also an admission requirement;
  • much attention is paid to the acquisition of key competences (e.g. team work, digital and entrepreneurial skills). At least one foreign language is mandatory − in some study fields (such as tourism) up to three − and is also used as a working language at several schools. Competence-orientation is a key principle in VET;
  • the number of apprentices (within the dual VET-track) being trained is driven by company demand. On completion of compulsory education, young people apply for apprenticeship places in companies and conclude a training contract with them. Apprentices are also assigned to the respective school-based programme, which is mandatory;
  • many VET programmes are offered outside the formal education system. A diverse range of institutions offers continuing training and progression opportunities to complement or upgrade people’s initial qualifications.

Despite its wide recognition, VET faces several challenges:

  • basic skills: OECD-PISA results in recent years suggest that the share of learners with low achievement in reading literacy and maths is comparatively high. Companies tend to point to young apprentices’ basic skills gaps. This drives the current government’s goal that no young person should leave compulsory education without having achieved basic competence levels in reading, writing and maths. 
  • early leaving from education and training: early leaving rates from education and training have been comparatively low and a ’safety net’ for young people has been in place for many years. What used to be an offer became a training obligation until age 18 in 2017: all young people who are not in post-compulsory education and training, or in a job, must participate in mainstream school-based programmes, apprenticeships or other recognised training until the age of 18.
  • value of non-formal training: Austria has a relatively segmented education system; permeability is limited, particularly between non-formal and formal programmes at higher levels. Public perception of formal and non-formal qualifications is not the same. The national qualifications framework (NQR) is expected to provide a new perspective on them, as assignment to NQF levels is based on learning outcomes, irrespective of the institutional context in which they were acquired.

Data from VET in Austria Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 8 822 267 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

The continuous increase in the size of the population since the mid-1980s is mainly due to the growing influx of foreign nationals, rising particularly sharply in recent years. Overall, roughly 16% of the Austrian population are foreign nationals ([5]Cedefop (forthcoming). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office.).

It increased since 2013 by 4.4% mainly due to migration ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019]). According to the projection of Statistics Austria, based on assumptions on fertility, mortality and migration, the population will continue to grow to nine million people by 2022, to over 9.3 million by the year 2030 and to 9.53 million people by 2040 (+8% compared to 2018) ([7]Statistics Austria (2018). The Austrian population will grow to 10 million inhabitants by 2080; labour force increases by 5%. Press release 11.903-214/18 published on 22.11.2018.
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/PeopleSociety/population/119618.html .
).

The demographic development reveals that the population is ageing, as in many other EU countries. In 2015 only 18.5% of the Austrian population were aged 65 years or older; the share of this population segment in the population overall is expected to increase to over 29% by 2060.

The old-age dependency ratio ([8]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).) will also continue to rise. In 2016 the number of people aged 65 and above, in relation to the 15 to 64 year-olds, was still slightly more than one to four (27.4%); projections show this ratio reaching about one to two by 2060. This means there will be less than two people in employment for every pensioner ([9]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The demographic structure and dynamics in Austria – mainly driven by migration and an aging society – will have an impact on available resources as well as on the demand for education ([10]Oberwimmer, K. et al. (2019). Nationaler Bildungsbericht Österreich 2018, Band 1 [National education report, Volume 1]; Das Schulsystem im Spiegel von Daten und Indikatoren [Education in facts and figures], p. 25.
https://www.bifie.at/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NBB_2018_Band1_v3_final.pdf
).

Because of migration, support structures (such as classes in German) have been created for the acquisition of German as a foreign language (language of instruction) and measures have been taken to make it possible for migrants to complete VET programmes: these include transition courses, the ‘b.mobile’ programme ([11]See
https://www.wko.at/site/fachkraeftepotenzial/b_mobile.html
) of the Austrian economic chambers.

The demographic development towards an ’aging society’ will have an impact on the education sector. In order to keep pace with the (future) requirements of the economy, lifelong learning (LLL) will become imperative. Therefore it is/will be necessary to encourage participation of older employees in further and higher qualification (VET) programmes ([12]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Austrian Economy: 99.6% of all enterprises are SMEs. Around 330 000 such enterprises employ nearly two million people (2016) ([13]Austrian Institute for SME Research (2019). KMU-Daten 2016 [Key figures on SMEs, 2016].
https://www.kmuforschung.ac.at/zahlen-fakten/kmu-daten/
).

87% of them are micro-enterprises with fewer than ten employees. 11% are small enterprises employing between ten and 49 people, around 2% are medium-sized enterprises with 50 to 249 employees. Overall more than 1.9 million people are self-employed or work in dependent employment in Austrian SMEs. This means that SMEs provide work to around two thirds of the entire workforce. The share of large enterprises in the total number of Austrian companies is only 0.4%. But they employ roughly one third of all employees. Especially for SMEs – and particularly for micro and small enterprises – vocational education and training (VET) that is properly differentiated and adjusted to current and future requirements is very important because these companies, as a rule, do not have their own in-house HR (development) and research departments ([14]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Since the 1960s, the Austrian economy has undergone fundamental changes. In 1960, agriculture and forestry still boasted an 11% share in the gross value added. The services sector, at around 42%, was behind the manufacturing sector (47%). In the 1970s, structural change started and continues today; it has led to a shrinking of the primary and secondary sectors to the benefit of the tertiary sector. Today more than 70% of the value added is created in this sector, which also employs around 70% of the workforce. In response, new specialisations and qualifications have been introduced in the education sector (mainly in wholesale and retail trade, tourism, healthcare) to meet the requirements of the economy. In addition, increasing attention is being paid to teaching key competences, which play a major role in the services-oriented economy ([15]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The most important manufacturing sectors (by turnover 2017) and export sectors of the Austrian economy with the dominance of SMEs are ([16]WKÖ- Austrian Economic Chamber (2018). Statistical Yearbook 2018.
http://wko.at/statistik/jahrbuch/2018_Englisch.pdf.
):

  • energy supply;
  • machinery and motor vehicles;
  • metals and metal products;
  • electrical and electronic equipment;
  • food and feed;
  • petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical products;
  • plastic, glass, wood, paper products.

In terms of foreign trade, tourism, environmental technology, construction and infrastructure, creative industries, training and the service sector are strong sectors ([17]WKÖ-Austrian Economic Chamber (2019). Österreichische Exportwirtschaft 2019/2020 [Austrian foreign trade 2019-20], S. 12f.
https://www.wko.at/service/aussenwirtschaft/oesterreichische-exportwirtschaft.pdf [accessed 23.5.2019].
).

In Austria around 200 professions are regulated ([18]See
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm
); they require a specific professional qualification when accessing or exercising them. Certificates/diplomas are generally very important, although for most jobs they are not a formal requirement.

Total unemployment (2018): 4.3% (6 % in EU-28); it increased by 0.9 % percentage points compared to 2008 ([19]Source: 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 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 differs strongly for persons with low-, medium- and high-level formal education.

In 2018 the unemployment rate of persons (aged 25-64) without an upper secondary qualification was 10.9%, almost three times higher than of persons with at least upper secondary education (3.8%) and even higher than of people with tertiary education background (3%).

Younger people (aged 15-24) with no or lower formal qualifications are especially affected by significantly higher unemployment risks and rates. However, in 2018, Austria had the sixth lowest unemployment rate (13.9%) in an EU-28 comparison (21.9%) among young people (15 to 24 year-olds). This is particularly due to the varied VET programmes offered at the upper secondary level ([20]Cedefop (forthcoming). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description. Luxembourg: Publications Office).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 86.3% in 2014 to 88.6% in 2018; it is 8.1 percentage points above the EU 28-average (80.5%) ([21]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates of ISCED levels 3 and 4 increased to 88.6% (+2.3 pp) between 2014 and 2018 ([22]NB: Beaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

This is due to the wide range of vocational programmes at upper secondary level, which make it possible for graduates to enter the labour market directly ([23]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The employment rate and the change between 2014 and 2018 in the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 is higher compared to that for all 20-34 year-old graduates (2014: 83.5%, 2018 84.5%) ([24]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018 more than half of 25 to 64 year-olds (52.6%) acquired a qualification in an education programme at ISCED Level 3 or 4, i.e. an apprenticeship diploma or a qualification from a school for intermediate vocational education or a general secondary school. This also reflects the importance of the upper secondary sector within the Austrian education system.

About one third of the population (32.7%) between the ages of 25 and 64 years completed a tertiary education programme, also including ‘short programmes’ (ISCED 5) below the bachelor degree, such as the qualification obtained at a five-year school-based VET programme or at an industrial master college.

But many programmes aiming at vocational further and higher qualifications (such as the engineer qualification, the financial accountant qualification, qualifications obtained in the police force) are offered outside the formal education system and are not included in ISCED ([25]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

The share of the population with no or low-level qualifications (ISCED 0-2) is significantly lower (14.7%) compared to the EU-28 average (21.8%), and the share of the medium-qualified (52.6 % at levels 3-4) significantly higher (EU-28: 45.7%). The shares of the high-qualified (ISCED 5-8) are almost balanced (AT: 32.7%, EU-28: 32.2%).

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].
 

For more information about VET in higher education in Austria please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [25a]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 Austria. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/austria_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

In Austria nearly 70% of all upper secondary education VET learners (ISCED level 3) are enrolled in vocational programmes compared to 47.2% in the EU-28 average (2017) ([26]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
).

This is primarily due to the high attractiveness and inflow of approximately 40 % – a relative constant rate since the mid- 1990s – of an age cohort to the apprenticeship training in Austria.

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

68.6%

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].

 

Around 70% of each age cohort opts for a VET programme at the end of compulsory education ([27]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
). There are more male learners in these programmes (80% choose a VET programme) than female ones (70%) ([28]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 - Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/.
).

Education choices of females and males in IVET differ:

  • young males are traditionally overrepresented in apprenticeship training (77 %) with the main focus on technical trades and crafts. They also favour technical branches in school-based VET;
  • young females generally prefer school-based VET with commercial, economic, social, healthcare and pedagogical programme orientation.

In Austria the share of early leavers from education and training – 18 to 24 year-olds, who have not graduated from upper secondary level and are currently not in education and training – has further decreased from 8.8% in 2009 to 7.3% in 2018. The national target of 9.5% in 2020 has already been passed and is clearly below the EU-28 average (10.6%) with the European benchmark of less than 10% for 2020.

This relatively favourable figure in comparison to the EU-28 is attributed to the wide and differentiated range of education and training programmes after compulsory schooling, especially apprenticeship training and the VET school sector.

 

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].

 

Austria has already achieved, even exceeded, the EU benchmark for lifelong learning of 15%, reaching 15.1% in 2018. The Austrian government in 2011 upgraded the national target for adults aged 25 to 64 years to take part in lifelong learning to 20% by 2020 ([29]https://www.qualifikationsregister.at/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Strategie1.pdf).

LLL participation is generally higher among women than men and is clearly above the EU-28 average (11.1%) ([30]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

Especially in an aging society, lifelong learning (LLL) will become imperative to keeping pace with the (future) requirements of the economy. Encouraging participation of older employees in further and higher qualification programmes is essential ([31]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
).

 

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].

 

 

Adults in education and training by age group

Source: National data (Statistics Austria, Micro Census – Labour force survey).

 

According to the labour force survey, around 400 000 people between 15 and 19 were in education and training (IVET) in 2016. Just below 430 000 people aged 20 to 29 were in IVET or CVET; more than 590 000 people at the age of 30 and above participated in an education and training programme.

Structure of the Austrian education system:

  • kindergarten or preschool education (ISCED 0);
  • primary level (ISCED 1);
  • lower secondary level (ISCED 2);
  • upper secondary level (ISCED 3-4);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary level (ISCED 5);
  • tertiary level (ISCED 5-8).

General compulsory schooling starts at the age of six and lasts nine years. To promote equality of opportunity and employability, a training obligation up to the age of 18 has been established after completion of compulsory schooling; this means that young people are obliged to take part in a training programme or attend an educational measure up to the age of 18.

  • primary level (four years, learners aged 6 to 10): before entering the four-year primary school, half-day attendance at nursery school/kindergarten is obligatory. For children with special educational needs (SEN) integrative classes are set up at primary school or there are specific special needs schools which are geared towards the education requirements of individual types of disability;
  • lower secondary level (four years, learners aged 10 to 14): at this education level learners can choose to follow general secondary education offered at the academic secondary school (AHS) or at the new secondary school (NMS). In these school types, the learners with SEN can either attend integrative classes or the fifth to eight grade of a special needs school. To switch from primary school to NMS or the lower cycle of AHS, learners need a positive final certificate of the fourth class of primary school; for entering the lower cycle of AHS, additional performance requirements (such as specific marks in the main subjects) and possibly an entrance examination are foreseen;
  • upper secondary level (one to five years, learners aged 15 to 19): the first school year of upper secondary education is, at the same time, the final year of compulsory education. Compulsory education ends after attendance of nine school years; there is no separate compulsory school certificate. At the upper secondary level, learners can choose between general and (pre-)vocational education programmes. Many of these programmes support direct entry to the labour market, provide access to post-secondary programmes and/or lead to the tertiary sector either directly or upon acquisition of higher education entrance qualifications;
  • post-secondary and tertiary level (different durations; learners aged 19+): higher VET programmes (which aim to provide further and higher qualifications, especially for holders of initial VET qualifications), many of which are organised in cooperation with work-based learning in companies, are offered in the formal education context (schools and universities) but also the non-formal context (outside schools in adult education institutions). Higher education programmes, which lead to Bologna qualifications and are primarily academically oriented and designed as pre-professional, are offered at universities, universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education;
  • education outside the formal education system: many adult education establishments provide programmes for personal and professional continuing education. There are also programmes which make it possible for adults to acquire qualifications in the formal education sector. For the unemployed and those threatened by unemployment, programmes are offered as part of active labour market policy.

At secondary level, learners can choose from various pre-VET and VET options in different occupations/ sectors:

  • different types of one- or two-year pre-VET (Polytechnische Schule, PTS, ISCED 341; berufsbildende mittlere Schule, BMS, ISCED 351): learners acquire general education, key competences and basic vocational skills preparing them for further school-based VET, apprenticeships and simple jobs on the labour market;
  • three- to four-year school-based VET (berufsbildende mittlere Schule, BMS, ISCED 354, EQF 4): learners strengthen their general education and acquire the respective occupational competences and qualifications to perform medium-level jobs. Those who complete an add-on programme or take the Berufsreifeprüfung (exam for people whose initial VET does not automatically qualify them for entry into higher education) also obtain general access to higher education studies;
  • five-year school-based VET (berufsbildende höhere Schule, BHS, ISCED 354-554, EQF 5): combining theory and practice, these programmes offer high-quality occupation-related training while strengthening learners’ general education. They lead to double qualifications for senior positions in business and general access to higher education at the same time (Reife- und Diplomprüfung);
  • apprenticeships (dual track training) (ISCED 354, EQF 4) in some 200 occupations and trades for learners from age 15 onwards, after compulsory education. They lead to qualifications at medium level. Graduates can progress to qualify, for instance, as master craftsperson or, following additional exams, access tertiary level training in a related field. By completing the Berufsreifeprüfung or an add-on programme they can also obtain general access to higher education;
  • training for occupations in the health sector: access to programmes preparing for care and medical assistant professions (ISCED 351 and 353) and other occupations in the health sector (ISCED 351) requires completed compulsory education, being of minimum age, and/or a specific qualification. Training to become a specialist and general care nurse (ISCED 454) is being upgraded to bachelor level. This process will be completed by 2023.

VET at post-secondary level

The introduction of ISCED-2011 has had the result that a series of VET programmes which had formerly been classified as ‘post-secondary, non-tertiary’ are now considered as ‘tertiary’. Due to this change in classification, the number of post-secondary programmes is now reduced while the number of tertiary programmes has risen. ISCED Category 4 basically only comprises schools for healthcare and nursing (ISCED 454). However, the programme to become a specialist and general care nurse offered in this school is being upgraded to a bachelor programme at universities of applied sciences. This process will be completed by 2023, so no VET programmes at ISCED level 4 will be provided in the future.

VET at tertiary level

At tertiary level (ISCED 5 to 8) a wide range of VET programmes are offered. These are provided at higher education institutions, in particular by universities of applied sciences and university colleges of teacher education.

  • Bachelor and master programmes provided at the universities of applied sciences (FH, ISCED 665 / 767) are offered both as full-time and also as part-time in the evening (with extended overall programme duration). A period of work placement is a mandatory part of the bachelor programme curriculum. The programmes are completed with an academic thesis followed by a final exam. Successful completion of an FH master’s programme entitles graduates to access subject-related PhD courses at university.
  • Teacher education programmes offered by university colleges (PH, ISCED 665) aim to train compulsory school teachers for the type of education selected in a four-year bachelor programme. These PH programmes focus on imparting knowledge and skills related to teaching and didactics as well as their application in school life. There are practical teacher training phases within the bachelor programme as well as an induction period, a one-year phase in which graduates teach at a school under the supervision of a mentor.

Tertiary VET is also provided in special schools or in adult learning centres. This includes add-on courses (Aufbaulehrgänge) and post-secondary VET programmes (Kollegs), which both lead to the same qualification as offered by the five-year school-based VET programme at secondary level. There are also special schools offering the industrial master programme (Werkmeisterschule) and the building craftsperson programme (Bauhandwerkerschule). Preparation for the master craftsperson examination (Meisterprüfung) is offered by master craftsperson schools (Meisterschulen) within the formal education system or by adult learning centres, which are not considered to be part of the formal system.

Learners can acquire qualifications in one of the 200 legally recognised apprenticeship programmes with different area specialisations (construction, electro, information technology, wholesale and retail) offered at ISCED 354 level (EQF 4). Apprenticeship training takes place at two places of learning: in the training company and at vocational school. A prerequisite for taking part in an apprenticeship is the successful completion of nine years of compulsory education. Learners need to find themselves an apprenticeship place in a company to be able to access this programme. Once a training company is found, leaners need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with the authorised apprenticeship trainer, which is recorded by the apprenticeship offices (Lehrlingsstellen).

There is an Austrian-wide training regulation (Ausbildungsordnung) for every apprenticeship. It includes the job profile (Berufsbild), a type of curriculum for the company-based part of training, which lays down the minimum knowledge and skills to be taught to apprentices by companies. The competence profile (Berufsprofil), which is also part of the training regulation, formulates in a learning- outcome-oriented manner the competences apprentices acquire by the end of their training in both learning sites. The social partners are essentially in charge of taking decisions about what in-company curriculum and/or competence profile an apprenticeship occupation is based on and they exert a decisive impact on the structure and content of apprenticeship training via their work in relevant advisory councils.

At the end of the apprenticeship period, every apprentice can take the apprenticeship-leaving examination (LAP), comprising practical and theoretical parts. The apprenticeship qualification can also be acquired via a so-called exceptional admission. For this purpose, relevant periods of professional practice and attendance of relevant course events are credited as a substitute for formal apprenticeship training.

Following successful completion of the LAP, graduates have various progression options, such as taking the master craftsperson exam for a skilled craft. Access to HE programmes can be acquired by taking the exam called Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) during or after the apprenticeship training. For many, an apprenticeship also forms the basis for a self-employed career. Almost 40% of managers in the business sphere have completed an apprenticeship.

The increasing tendency for young people to want to acquire a professional qualification, preferably in apprenticeship training, combined with the fact that the willingness of companies to train apprentices has decreased, has led to the expansion of supra-company training (ÜBA, Überbetriebliche Berufsausbildung). Originally conceived as a temporary education offer until entry to a regular, company-based apprenticeship, ÜBA was incorporated as an equivalent part of dual VET in 2008. Now it is possible for young people who do not find a company-based apprenticeship post or have not been accepted by a VET school to spend the entire duration of the training in an ÜBA, which is funded publicly through Public Employment Service Austria. The school-based part of apprenticeship training is provided at the regular vocational school.

The heterogeneity of people interested in dual VET has also resulted in the establishment of inclusive VET in 2003. Inclusive VET is mainly intended for young people who, at the end of compulsory schooling, have special educational needs and have not graduated from lower secondary level. It can be implemented in two variants, either the training period can be extended by one or two years, or only selected competences of an apprenticeship are taught (partial qualifications). Partial qualifications are supported by vocational training assistance (Berufsausbildungsassistenz). This advises and supports the training companies and young people before and during the training.

A relevant apprenticeship training scheme has also been set up for especially talented young people who find learning easy: in 2008 the ‘apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate’ scheme (Lehre und Matura) was introduced; this enables apprentices to acquire the Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) parallel to their apprenticeship training and to attend preparatory courses and complete partial exams free of charge. Since 1997 they have also had the option to complete the entire BRP after obtaining their apprenticeship diploma ([32]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf).

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

The responsibilities for VET at the upper secondary level are widespread: pre-vocational schools and most of the mainly school-based VET programmes are under the responsibility of the education ministry. This ministry is responsible for tasks such as preparing important school legislation, elaborating framework curricula, selecting, paying and providing further training for teaching staff, and maintaining schools.

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for building and maintaining five-year school-based VET programmes in agriculture and forestry and for selecting and paying teachers at these schools. The costs for teachers at three- to four-year VET schools of agriculture and forestry are shared equally by the Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces.

The education directorates in the provinces are responsible for enforcing school legislation, including quality assurance, school supervision and education control.

The competences for dual VET are within the spheres of the Ministry of Economy, which is responsible for the legal bases and content of the company-based part, and the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the complementary school-based training (curricula, selection of staff).

The social partners are also involved significantly in the governance structure of apprenticeship training (designing the training regulations, carrying out the assessment procedures).

The funding of the company-based part of apprenticeship training is taken on by the training companies; State subsidies are also available. The school-based part is funded by the Ministry of Education. The costs of paying teachers are shared with the provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces are responsible for dual VET in agriculture and forestry.

The health ministry is responsible for the legal basis of programmes in the healthcare sector. The provinces pay the teachers who are employed in these training establishments. Their construction and maintenance is also largely taken on by the provinces on behalf of the Federation.

For VET ([33]Cedefop (2018). Vocational education and training in Austria: short description [unpublished working paper].
) at the upper secondary level, the education ministry is responsible for paying teachers and providing further training for teaching staff, and maintaining schools.

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for building and maintaining five-year school-based VET programmes in agriculture and forestry and for selecting and paying teachers at these schools. The costs for teachers at schools of agriculture and forestry are shared equally by the Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces.

The funding of the company-based part of apprenticeship training is taken on by the training companies; State subsidies are also available. The school-based part is funded by the Ministry of Education. The costs of the paying teachers are shared with the provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and the provinces are responsible for dual VET in agriculture and forestry.

Teachers in programmes in the healthcare sector are payed by the provinces. The construction and maintenance of the training establishments is also largely taken on by the provinces on behalf of the Federation.

The funding of CVET depends on what type of training is attended. In most cases, the costs of CET are borne by the participants and/or companies. There are, however, a number of measures (such as educational leave) and financial subsidies (in the form of grants and tax relief) in order to (partially) cover expenses. All these initiatives aim to serve as incentives to take part in CET in order to improve the companies’ economic situation and strengthen the CET participants’ position in the labour market.

Model calculation: Comparison of the public expenditure for IVET, per learner/apprentice for one year (2016)

Programme

Costs per person/apprenticeship place and year (in EUR)

Total public expenses per person/ apprenticeship place and year (in EUR)

Dual VET (company and VET school)

VET school: 4 927

State subsidies: 1 548

6 475

Supra-company training (training in a state-funded workshop and at VET school)

VET school: 4 927

PES: 12 018

Province: 1 148

18 092

School-based VET programmes

10 660

10 660

Source: Dornmayr/Nowak 2018 ([34]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 - Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/. For more information on the model calculation, see p. 95ff.
).

VET has the following types of teacher:

  • general subject teachers (in school-based VET programmes, including VET schools of apprenticeship training);
  • VET-subject teachers (in school-based VET programmes, including VET schools of apprenticeship training;
  • IVET trainers (in-company trainer in apprenticeship training);
  • trainers (in adult learning centres).

Teachers

The training of teachers ([35]For detailed information about the training of teachers and trainers in Austria, see Eurypedia:
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/teachers-and-education-staff-1_en and
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
) changed when the Federal Act on the New Teacher Training Scheme came into force in July 2013. Since then, all teachers have been trained as part of tertiary bachelor and master programmes (ISCED 6 and 7) at universities and university colleges of teacher education.

The study offer for teachers at secondary level comprises the following two programmes:

  • teacher training programme for secondary general education programmes (ISCED 2 to 5): this programme qualifies graduates to teach learners aged between 10 and 19 years old in the general education subjects offered at a secondary level programme;
  • teacher training programme for secondary VET (ISCED 2 to 5): this programme qualifies graduates to teach learners aged between 14 and 19 years old in the VET subjects or packages of subjects of secondary VET chosen in the study programme.

 

All teacher training programmes require a one-semester introductory and orientation period (Studieneingangs- und Orientierungsphase or StEOP).

The master programme can be completed immediately after the bachelor programme. In any case, new teachers are accompanied by a mentor in their first year of service (one-year induction year). From 2029 it will no longer be possible to complete the master programme on a part-time basis.

IVET trainers:

As well as having a minimum age of 18 years, an IVET trainer needs to furnish proof of certain qualifications. This proof can take the form of the IVET trainer exam, the IVET trainer course, or a substitute for exam or course attendance (such as the master craftsperson exam, or completion of the industrial master college). Most IVET trainers carry out their training as part of their main work but larger companies often have full-time trainers.

IVET trainer courses are offered by the adult education establishments of the social partners. In 40 periods of instruction completed with an expert interview, they aim to impart the necessary pedagogical, psychological, training plan-related and training method-specific as well as legal knowledge and skills required for the training of apprentices. The course contents are the same as those of the IVET trainer exam.

CVET trainers:

There are no regulations on the required qualifications of trainers in adult learning centres/CVET provider institutions, though relevant know-how in the subject they teach is essential. In many cases these are individuals who practise a profession and impart relevant specialisations. Commercial and technological courses, for example, are taught by practitioners from business, and language classes by native speakers. Didactic skills are not required, but people with teaching practice are preferred. Trainers mainly exercise their profession in a self-employed capacity.

CPD for teachers:

According to the new Service Code (Dienst- und Besoldungsrecht) ([36]See
https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokument.wxe?Abfrage=BgblAuth&Dokumentnummer=BGBLA_2013_I_211
), all teachers – irrespective of the school at which they teach and which subject they teach – are obliged to undergo further development measures to improve their profession-oriented competences. By order they are required to attend in-service training events for up to 15 hours per school year while there are no lessons. In-service training programmes may be connected with absence from teaching only if in the significant interest of the service.

CPD events are primarily offered by university colleges of teacher education (PHs). Teachers can register for these events via the system ‘PH-Online’ in order (depending on the duration of the event) to be granted leave by the school management or the school supervision to attend this event.

CPD measures are financed by provincial funds. These funds are provided directly to the provider establishment so that participation is free of charge for the teachers.

CPD for trainers:

There is no CPD obligation for IVET trainers. However, CPD programmes are offered at adult education establishments; in some cases, in-house CET programmes are also available. In recent years so-called IVET trainer colleges (Ausbilderakademien) and IVET trainer forums have been set up in most Austrian provinces with the aim of providing CPD specifically for IVET trainers. For the most part they are coordinated by the regional economic chambers in cooperation with the respective chamber’s CET institution. Most of them offer certification in various stages. They also promote experience exchange and networking between IVET trainers. The latter is also the goal of regional and sector-specific get-togethers for IVET trainers.

The Economic Chamber funds measures related to the CPD of IVET trainers in their interaction with apprentices, such as pedagogy, didactics, personal development, diversity. A prerequisite for support is minimum participation of eight hours. The funding covers 75% of the course fees but no more than € 1 000 per trainer and calendar year.

Existing VET programmes are regularly developed, updated and adjusted to guarantee that VET is business- and labour-market-oriented. One major goal of this adjustment process is to achieve congruency between VET and employment as well as between qualification supply and demand, attempting to appraise future developments at an early stage and respond to them. In Austrian VET there are different anticipation processes that lead to curriculum adjustments. Major stakeholders in this process include the social partners, which can frequently support coordination between educational provision and qualification requirements and/or make statements on curriculum drafts. The outcomes of various analyses of qualification requirements are also considered in this process.

Mechanisms and processes to anticipate qualification requirements

The most important include:

  • skill needs studies: these are mostly conducted for specific sectors and industries (e.g. timber, IT), but also for regions (such as federal provinces) and education programmes (certain specialisations of colleges for higher vocational education, dual VET, etc.). The main beneficiaries of these studies are stakeholders in these sectoral/regional areas as well as staff responsible for the curriculum and other areas in the VET pathways that are of relevance for the specialisations;
  • skills barometer of PES Austria (AMS-QB) ([37]See
    http://www.ams.at/qualifikationsbarometer
    ): this online system, which was set up in 2002, summarises current and foreseeable labour market trends and qualification requirements and makes them accessible to the general public in a structured format via the internet. The AMS-QB uses existing written data (e.g. from skill needs studies) and information gathered in interviews with experts from the various occupational areas. Contents refer to the whole of Austria, and they are complemented by summary information presented for every province and analyses of job ads;
  • ’New skills’ activities: in 2009 a standing committee on news skills was founded at PES Austria. This committee, in which relevant ministries, the social partners and their CET provider establishments are represented, functions as advisory board for PES Austria in questions concerning the design of education offers within active labour market policy and the activities to be undertaken to identify future skills needs. Since the committee’s foundation, roundtable discussions have been held in which company experts from various vocational areas (such as HR) and education experts (e.g. representatives of providers) have discussed and exchanged information about current and future skills needs/trends. This should give providers a first-hand picture on skills requirements of the economy to be able to design or adjust their offers adequately. Besides these roundtable (group) discussions, one-to-one/in-depth expert interviews (mainly with key companies of a vocational area) have also been conducted. Other New skills activities have included presentations and information events, to inform learners, employers and CET interested people about skills requirements and trends. Since 2018 the New skills activities have focussed on the subjects ’digitalisation’ and ’Industry 4.0’.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([38]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([39]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

In the following, the processes during the development of curricula are presented for various VET programmes.

School-based VET

The educational objectives and content of VET schools at the upper secondary level are laid down in framework curricula. They are issued by the education ministry. Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012 as a result of the development of the national qualifications framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes. The competence-oriented curricula specify the knowledge and skills that learners have acquired by the end of their training and which qualify them to act appropriately in different situations at work. As well as subject-related competences, interdisciplinary competences are also listed as they are considered of major importance in Austrian VET.

Initiatives towards curriculum reforms and/or the introduction of new subjects/area specialisations are launched by the education establishments themselves or by the Ministry of Education. In so-called curriculum steering groups and working groups, teachers and experts of the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with representatives of the economy, prepare draft curricula for the respective subjects. As well as a number of other institutions, the social partners also receive the drafts to issue their statements. In the implementation of the framework curricula, schools are entitled to change the number of lessons of individual sub-jects autonomously within a given framework or develop their own focuses, taking account of (regional) economic requirements.

Special curricula can be established for individual school locations as school pilot projects to be able to respond swiftly and flexibly to current developments such as in technology, society or on the labour market.

Dual VET (apprenticeship)

The training content for every apprenticeship occupation is laid down in training regulations (for the company-based part) and curricula (for the school-based part). The Ministry of Economy issues the in-company curriculum and the competence profile (the activity description formulating the competences which apprentices need to have acquired by the end of their training at the company and vocational school) as part of the training regulation. The initiative to modernise existing and develop new in-company curricula/competence profiles (new apprenticeship occupations) is usually launched by companies or the social partners. The Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeship (BABB) – which comprises social partner representatives and advises the Ministry of Economy in dual VET issues – also introduces proposals or prepares expert opinions about possible reforms. The specific designing of in-company curricula/competence profiles, and the orientation towards current and future qualification requirements, is generally conducted by BBAB subcommittees or the education research institutes of the social partners, mainly ibw Austria – Research & Development in VET. Framework curricula for vocational schools within the framework of apprenticeship training are designed in a similar way to those for school-based VET. Framework curricula are laid down in analogy to company-based training.

Programmes at universities of applied sciences (UAS)

The initiative to modify existing or introduce new fields of study at UAS frequently comes from the business sphere. For the curriculum, which is prepared by a development team, an application for accreditation needs to be submitted to the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria). An important part of this application is proof that the economy has a demand for graduates and the planned degree programme can expect demand from potential participants. This proof can be furnished, for example, in the form of needs and acceptance analyses. The accreditation of a degree programme is granted for a maximum of six years by the Ministry of Education following a decision by AQ Austria. During that time it is possible to make necessary adaptations by submitting change applications. Upon expiry of this period, it is necessary to submit an application for reaccreditation, which follows the same rules as the initial accreditation.

Continuing vocational education and training (CVET)

CVET finds it easiest to adjust programmes to skills requirements and to respond to the economy’s needs most quickly. Providers often cooperate with professional organisations and companies to tailor their offers to needs. They also use the information from skills needs analyses and the results of the New skills activities.

Quality assurance in VET is a highly differentiated and permanent process.

The regular updating of curricula and training plans is a major part of quality assurance and many other measures are taken to maintain the attractiveness of VET among learners and companies and to safeguard the recognition of the qualifications.

The VET Quality Initiative (QIBB) for school-based VET ([40]See
http://www.qibb.at
) was introduced in 2004, setting up the framework conditions in a way that successful teaching and learning is guaranteed. For this purpose, processes have been defined and instruments introduced which enable systematic planning, observation, documentation, evaluation of and reflection on the quality of procedures and results ([41]With the Education Reform Act (Federal Law Gazette, I No 138/2017
https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2017_I_138/BGBLA_2017_I_138.pdfsig), in force since autumn 2017, new regulations regarding quality assurance at schools have been introduced. This act foresees the establishment of a monitoring system which comprises quality management and resource controlling. QIBB is to be merged with SQA, the quality management system of general education schools, and further developed. First results of this extensive reform are to be expected for 2020.
).

Another major element of quality assurance at five-year school-based VET programmes is the partly standardised final examination, which was introduced in the school year 2015/16. It consists of standardised exams in the language of instruction (most often German, but also Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian), in applied mathematics and in a foreign language (English, French, Italian or Spanish). The assignments for these exams, as well as the duration and time of their implementation, are laid down centrally for the whole of Austria. The uniformly defined exam assignments and assessment criteria mainly aim to ensure the objectivity and reliability of the exam results and promote the transparency and comparability of the final exam.

In dual VET, many quality-assuring measures are carried out in addition to the regular adjustment of apprenticeship occupations to economic and technological developments. These measures include the accreditation of training companies: every company that wants to train apprentices is obliged to undergo an accreditation process. This consists of an examination by the apprenticeship office with the cooperation of the Chamber of Labour to check if the company meets the legal and corporate prerequisites for apprenticeship training to teach the knowledge and skills foreseen in the competence profile.

In 2013 the Ministry of Economy set up a clearing office for apprenticeship-leaving examinations at ibw Austria – Research and Development in VET ([42]See
http://www.ibw.at [accessed 23.4.2019].
). This office’s main task is to safeguard a uniform quality standard by examining the assignments of the apprenticeship-leaving examination, the evaluation guidelines and proposed solutions for compliance with the respective examination regulation, subject-related correctness, practical relevance and didactic quality. The apprenticeship-leaving examination is organised by the apprenticeship offices and is taken before a board of examiners. This ensures that training and validation are separated, which significantly contributes to objectivity and quality assurance.

Also in 2013 the quality management in apprenticeship training initiative (QML) was launched by the social partners with the objective of reducing the number of apprenticeship dropouts and increasing the success rate in apprenticeship-leaving examinations. The QML builds on annually evaluated indicators of apprenticeship dropouts, the number of those who (do not) attempt to take the apprenticeship-leaving examination as well as (un)successful apprenticeship-leaving exams. In the case of apprenticeship occupations where the dropout rate or the failure rate in the apprenticeship-leaving examination are relatively high, more in-depth analyses are carried out jointly with the competent sectoral representations to find the reasons as far as possible and take related measures (such as adapting the in-company curricula, improving career guidance, and measures to support apprentices including private tutoring or coaching, IVET trainer courses, and supporting materials for training companies).

Quality-assurance measures are also taken in the post-secondary and tertiary sectors, as in the definition and implementation of master craftsperson and proof of competence examinations. The main basis for this is formed by the European guidelines on quality assurance in higher VET ([43]UEAPME (ed.) (2018). European guidelines on quality assurance in higher VET.
https://www.ibw.at/bibliothek/id/356/
), which have been developed in analogy to the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European higher education area (ESG) with substantial involvement of Austria.

Validation of non-formal and informal (prior) learning is a topic gaining international importance. In Austria, major importance is traditionally attached to formal education qualifications from the school-based, dual and higher education sectors. However, learning also increasingly takes place outside formal education in adult learning institutions, on the job, and within the framework of voluntary activities. Rapid changes on the labour market – due to technology and globalisation – require a formal pathway to be followed by the need to learn, brush up and deepen existing knowledge. To promote competence acquisition outside the formal education context and encourage lifelong learning, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, published a strategy to validate non-formal and informal learning in 2017 ([44]See
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/euint/eubildung/vnfil.PDF [accessed 20.4.2019].
). This strategy introduces a framework for the further development, coordination and network formation of existing validation approaches. The goal is to promote quality and foster trust as well as enhance visibility and access to validation offers.

There are various incentives for VET learners (or their families) irrespective of the type of education and training they have chosen ([45]For more information about funding in education, see Eurypedia:
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/funding-education-1_en
):

  • for learners who have reached full legal age and attend a school or HE institution, family allowance is prolonged and still granted until their 24th birthday; in certain cases this entitlement can be further prolonged;
  • learners for whom family allowance is received may apply to a public transport authority for free transport on the route between their home and school/training company (Schülerfreifahrt); in this case, they need to pay a flat-rate contribution of EUR 19.60 a year. Where no public means of transport is available, they may apply for a school or home commuting grant;
  • required school textbooks are provided to learners free of charge;
  • the Schooling Allowances Act (Schülerbeihilfengesetz) ([46]See
    https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10009531
    ) provides for the following three types of allowance:
  • school allowance is granted to learners from grade 10 onwards who attend an upper secondary programme and are in need of financial support;
  • boarding school and travel allowance (Heim- und Fahrtenbeihilfe) are offered to learners from grade 9 onwards, in case that they cannot stay in their parents’ house because the school location is too far away. Financial need must also be proven. The basic amounts of school allowance and boarding school allowance are EUR 1130 and EUR 1380 per year; they can be increased or reduced depending on financial needs. Travel allowance is EUR 105 per year. A further extraordinary allowance may be granted in cases of ‘social hardship’;
  • special allowance is granted to learners, who have been working for at least one year and for the last six months before their final exam, where they stop working to prepare for the exam.

In IVET, the following financial incentives are available for apprentices ([47]See
https://www.wko.at/service/bildung-lehre/Lehrlinge.html
):

  • apprentices can apply for state funding for attending a preparatory course for the apprenticeship-leaving examination (up to 100 % of the course fees);
  • the second or third attempt to sit the apprenticeship-leaving examination is free of charge (no examination fees or material costs);
  • language courses and foreign work placements organised within the Erasmus+ programme are part-funded by the state (EUR 15 per day).

Attending CVET programmes is financially supported (directly and indirectly) by the state, the provinces or municipalities. The social partners provide the following funding as do individual companies:

  • provinces and municipalities, as well as social partners, provide funding for course fees in various forms (education cheques, educational accounts, education vouchers). Preferred funding target groups are employees, young people, and those at a disadvantage on their respective regional labour markets;
  • companies often partly fund the CVET activities of their employers by providing direct funding or allowing their employers to attend courses during paid working hours;
  • PES Austria finances skills training and retraining measures within the framework of active labour market policies;
  • PES Austria is also responsible for the education leave scheme. Any employee who has been employed within the last twelve months for a minimum period of six months may take educational leave. During this, IVET or CVET as well as language courses may be attended, resumed or completed both in Austria and abroad. Written proof must be furnished that education measures of at least 16 to 20 weekly hours have been taken. During the leave period, subsidies are granted to the level of the unemployment benefit that the employee would get in the event of unemployment. There is a minimum and a maximum daily rate, depending on prior earnings;
  • employees have the possibility to write off costs as expenses for occupationally relevant CVET measures when filing their tax returns at the end of each year.

In 2008 a new funding scheme was introduced for training companies offering apprenticeship posts. This scheme is not only intended to increase the number of apprenticeship posts offered but also improve the quality of training. Within this funding scheme, there are various types of support ([48]See
https://www.wko.at/service/bildung-lehre/Gesamtuebersicht_Foerderarten_lehre.html
):

  • basic support (Basisförderung): every training company is entitled to basic support. This comprises three gross apprenticeship remunerations in line with the collective agreement in the first apprenticeship year, two in the second year, and one each in the third and fourth years. The training company can apply for basic support at the end of the respective apprenticeship year;
  • training alliances and additional VET courses: subsidies also cover inter-company and supra-company VET measures and the acquisition of competences which go beyond the in-company curriculum. Attending a preparatory course for the apprenticeship-leaving exam can also be funded;
  • apprenticeship for adults: the training of adults (18+) is funded if they are paid as unskilled workers, i.e. more than apprenticeship remuneration.
  • companies where apprentices pass the apprenticeship-leaving exam with good results or distinction can also apply for grants;
  • subsidies are also available for CET measures for IVET trainers;
  • financial means are also available for measures taken for apprentices with learning difficulties (such as tutoring courses).

Other benefits cover non-wage labour costs:

  • there are reduced rates for the company’s health insurance contribution for apprentices (3.35 % instead of 7.65 %) and for the unemployment insurance contribution (2.4 % instead of 6 %);
  • the contribution to accident insurance for apprentices is waived throughout the entire apprenticeship.

Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) also runs apprenticeship post support schemes designed to integrate problem groups into the labour market. Companies receive a flat-rate grant towards the costs of an apprenticeship. The grant includes the following categories of apprentice:

  • young women in apprenticeships with a low proportion of women (below 40%)
  • disadvantaged apprenticeship post seekers (young people who have mental or physical disabilities or emotional problems, learning deficits, or who are socially maladjusted)
  • adult apprentices (18+) with qualification/employment problems (e.g. dropouts)

In CVET, training providers can also receive subsidies in order to be able to offer courses free of charge. Two initiatives are relevant in connection to vocational training:

  • adult learning initiative ([49]See
    https://www.initiative-erwachsenenbildung.at/initiative-erwachsenenbildung/was-ist-das/
    ): financed by national and ESF means, the aim is to enable young people and adults to acquire basic skills (reading skills, basic skills in German or in another language, mathematical and digital skills) and the compulsory schooling qualification free of charge.
  • apprenticeship training and HE entrance exam ([50]See
    https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/bm/index.html
    ): from autumn 2008 apprentices can attend preparatory courses for the Berufsreifeprüfung (HE entrance examination for graduates of NQF level 4 VET qualifications) and take the four partial exams free of charge.

There is considerable diversity of institutions, providers and initiatives in the field of information, counselling and guidance on learning and occupations. The main providers are the education institutions, the public employment service and the social partners. Counselling and guidance is offered at the following levels in education institutions:

(a) all schools of lower and upper secondary level offer counselling and guidance from the fifth school grade through counsellors and career guidance officers. They are available for schoolchildren and parents and provide information about possible education paths, access requirements, as well as the qualifications and entitlements to be acquired. They also give young people a basic overview of continuing education and training options. Guidance is conducted by teachers who have the relevant qualifications and who are termed, depending on the school type, school counsellor (Schülerberater/in) or education counsellor (Bildungsberater/in) and provide their counselling services in addition to their teaching activity. In the final two years of lower secondary level, career guidance is a compulsory subject totalling 32 hours a year. The aim of these lessons includes improving the learners’ decision-making competence, social skills, determination and perseverance. Short periods of work placement at companies and personal contacts with people from different occupations aim to help learners examine their career aspirations and take independent decisions;

(b) career guidance plays a particularly important role at prevocational schools as this school type is at the interface between obligatory and further schooling. Career guidance aims to inform learners and parents about regional possibilities in apprenticeship training and, in vocational guidance classes, prepares them for so-called real-life encounters (such as days of practical work experience) as well as important information events and job information fairs;

(c) in school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level (BMS and BHS) ([51]BMS (Berufsbildende mittlere Schule): school for intermediate vocational education; BHS (Berufsbildende höhere Schule): college for higher vocational education.) teachers with specialist qualifications also work as career guidance officers. Learners at BMS and BHS have already taken their first decision about their professional career. But, thanks to the good level of general education provided at schools, the entire range of professional development options is also open to them;

(d) most universities offer both psychological counselling offices and career planning centres, bodies which are within the sphere of responsibility of the science ministry. The psychological student counselling services at universities and university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) offer general course guidance, psychological counselling, psychotherapy, aptitude diagnostics, coaching, and supervision, etc. to holders of the upper secondary school-leaving certificate and HE students. Career planning centres at universities support students on their entry into the world of work by offering one-to-one counselling, information events on topics such as job applications and CVs, as well as individualised career planning. The centres also organise seminars on areas such as presentation techniques, rhetoric and IT, as well as events such as careers fairs and company presentations;

(e) in the CET sector education counselling and career guidance is becoming increasingly important. This is particularly evident in the establishment of comprehensive education databases ([52]http://www.erwachsenenbildung.at ;
http://www.eduvista.com
), an Austria-wide platform for education counselling, and the merger of institutions to guarantee independent and supra-institutional information and guidance services. Major adult learning establishments, such as the institutions run by the social partners frequently offer their own guidance services. More than 60 career guidance centres (BIZ) of AMS offer comprehensive information about occupations, their contents and requirements, about initial education and training, CET paths, the labour market and employment options across Austria. Apart from information material in the form of brochures, information leaflets and videos, The Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) also develops information databases on occupations and on initial and continuing education and training programmes for different target groups ([53]Accessible online at
http://www.ams.at/berufsinfo
). For apprenticeship post seekers, AMS operates the online apprenticeship post platform http://www.ams.at/lehrstellen jointly with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

EURES (European job mobility portal) advisors who are employed at AMS provide information about job offers and working conditions in other countries of the European Economic Area. Anyone who is interested can use the information and service offers provided by BIZ free of charge. Print media, videos and online databases are available for customers to obtain information themselves. For young people in need of career guidance there is a selection of tools (e.g. the compass for apprenticeship occupations, interest test). The advisors working at BIZ provide support in information search and are available for one-on-one counselling talks to assist in career and education decisions. BIZ also provides services for specific target groups (learners, teachers, parents) and on specific topics (career guidance, presentations of occupations, job applications, days of technology for girls). AMS offers one-on-one counselling talks for people registered as unemployed. These talks aim to match the jobseekers’ personal requirements, strengths and intentions with the situation on the labour market. There is also the possibility to take part in training programmes and courses (vocational guidance courses, training for job applications, job trials, skills training and qualification courses). In special cases, (young) women can take advantage of assistance in career choice, skills training and qualification. AMS also supports school-based information activities by means of a large number of brochures, career guidance films, occupational information and CET databases on the internet, and by organising events and trade fairs.

The different chambers offer education counselling and career guidance. The chambers of labour and trade unions provide these services mainly via their joint adult learning institutions: the vocational training institutes (bfi). They publish information material and organise information events. The counselling services of the economic chambers and their adult education institutions, the institutes for economic promotion (WIFIs), focus on IVET and CVET. These services are offered across Austria at several locations in the BIZ. With the career guidance tool ([54]http://www.bic.at) the economic chambers have their own web portal where job descriptions, VET and CVET options, tips on career choice and job applications, as well as a large variety of service materials, are offered, in some cases in several languages. The career guidance centres of the Economic Chambers provide comprehensive information material on a self-service basis and organise events geared towards the world of work, such as sector presentations, school and information events, as well as training for job applications. As well as information for groups (such as school classes), one-on-one counselling talks are also offered. The institutes for economic promotion’s career guidance officers offer individualised counselling services on the basis of comprehensive psychological testing procedures ([55]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf
).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Add-on VET programmes

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Add-on VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Aufbaulehrgänge) Add-on VET programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20 to 21

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 to (mostly) 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

To access this programme, learners need to have an IVET qualification.

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programme is accessible to adults with relevant IVET or professional experience.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y School programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

For schools of private provider organisations tuition fees need to be paid.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Add-on programmes lead graduates of intermediate (EQF 4) VET programmes (school-based and dual VET programmes) to the same qualification as obtained in five-year school-based VET programmes (berufsbildende höhere Schulen, BHS)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • practice-oriented
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements (except for programmes for people in employment)
  • project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam (often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration)([121]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Most schools offering these post-secondary programmes are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([122]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main target groups

These programmes are mainly targeted at adults.

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

The entry requirements are:

  • successful completion of initial VET (school-based or dual VET programme in the respective field);
  • VET graduates with a non-field related qualification have to attend a bridge course prior to entering an add-on course.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • HE entrance examination

If learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis, i.e. HE entrance qualification and higher VET qualification (= double qualification)

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

After successfully completing an add-on programme, graduates can carry out higher-level tasks in the vocational field which the programme was about (i.e. in engineering, in management and service industries, in agriculture and forestry, in administration, etc.). Add-on programmes do not lead to specific professions. The qualification (Abschlusszeugnis) opens up a broad range of activities in a specific vocational field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • obtain general access to tertiary education (studies at universities, universities of applied science and universities of teacher training);
  • can enter a range of CVET options;
  • can directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([123]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

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

Information not available

Post-secVET

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Post-secondary VET school programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Kollegs). Post-secondary school programmes provide high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20 to 21

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 (mostly) to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programmes are accessible to adults with a higher education entrance qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Kolleg programmes are financed by the public, attendance is free of charge for learners.

For programmes of private provider organisations tuition fees need to be paid.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Post-secondary VET school programmes lead graduates of general education programmes to the same qualification as obtained in five-year school-based VET programmes (berufsbildende höhere Schulen, BHS)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • practice-oriented
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements (except for programmes for people in employment)
  • project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam (often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration)([124]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Most schools offering these tertiary programmes are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([125]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main target groups

These programmes are mainly targeted at adults.

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

Higher education entrance qualification

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • diploma examination (Diplomprüfung)

If learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Diplomprüfungszeugnis

In combination with the higher education entrance qualification (Reifeprüfung), graduates of the post-secondary VET school programmes have the same qualification as graduates from five-year school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level (berufsbildende höhere Schule, BHS).

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

After successfully completing a post-secondary VET school programme, graduates can carry out higher-level tasks in the vocational field which the programme was about (i.e. in engineering, in management and service industries, in agriculture and forestry, in administration, etc.). Post-secondary VET school programmes do not lead to specific professions. The qualification (Abschlusszeugnis) opens up a broad range of activities in a specific vocational field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of post-secondary VET school programmes

  • obtain general access to tertiary education (studies at university, universities of applied science, universities of teacher training);
  • can enter a range of CVET options and
  • can directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria. ([126]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

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

Information not available

Master craftsperson et al.

programmes

and qualifications

ISCED 554

Master craftsperson et al. programmes and qualifications offered at ISCED level 554. There are various programmes subsumed under this category: master craftsperson programme (Meisterschule); industrial master programme (Werkmeisterschule, WMS); building craftsperson programme (Bauhandwerkerschule).
EQF level
EQF: 6 (master craftsperson qualification); the other qualification in this VET programme category are not yet classified
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13 to 14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

19 to 20

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years

Duration varies among the different specific programmes:

  • master craftsperson programmes: 1 to 2 years
  • industrial master programme: mostly 2 years
  • building craftsperson programme: mostly 2 years
  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • special tuition in theory and practice
  • instruction by experts from the specific professions/fields
  • some programmes are full-time, some are part-time
Main providers
  • CET providers of the social partners (e.g. WIFI, bfi)
  • public schools (offering also school-based VET programmes at upper secondary level)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • focus on learning from real-work situations
Main target groups

These programmes target adults with relevant IVET qualifications plus professional practise and the intention of acquiring intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship competences.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • minimum age of 18 years
  • successful completion of an initial VET path at upper secondary level
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • in industrial and building craftsperson programmes: final examination
  • graduates of master craftsperson programmes can sit the master craftsperson examination offered by Master Craftsperson Authorities
Diplomas/certificates provided

Final certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The qualifications are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications
  • industrial master
  • building craftsperson
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can

  • directly enter the labour market (asset for improving in-company career options or changing companies);
  • set up one’s own company or take over a business;
  • can enter a range of CVET options;
  • on certain conditions can obtain access to a bachelor degree programmes at a University of Applied Science;
  • have access to the Berufsreifeprüfung (BRP) which grants access to higher education institutions.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([127]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

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

Information not available

Bachelor programmes

(FH)

3-4 years

ISCED 665

Bachelor programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, FH) leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 665
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Yes and no

depending on the qualification obtained before entering a bachelor programme

Is it continuing VET?

Yes and no

depending on the qualification obtained before entering a bachelor programme

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In general, bachelor programmes offered at Universities of Applied Sciences are financed by the public, so attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Providers of study programmes are, however, entitled by law to charge tuition fees (2019: 363.36 EUR per semester) ([130]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Bachelor programmes are research- and practice-oriented
  • a period of work placement is a mandatory part of the curriculum.
  • some are based on the dual principle, where theory and practice in enterprises alternate ([131]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Universities of Applied Sciences

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40 %

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • mandatory work placements
  • bachelor thesis is often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Main target groups

Bachelor programmes target adults with a higher entrance qualification (Matura). However, also graduates of intermediate VET programmes, which do not end with a HE entrance examination, can – under certain conditions (work experience, entrance examination) – enter bachelor programmes at UAS.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • HE entrance qualification
  • work experience, if required
  • entrance examination, if required
Assessment of learning outcomes

A failed course or bachelor exam can be repeated twice. A single repetition of a study year is possible ([133]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf [accessed 15.5.2019].).

Diplomas/certificates provided

A bachelor degree is given to learners who successfully completed their bachelor thesis and passed the bachelor examination.

The bachelor qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities so graduates can follow further studies or enter the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications in accordance to the specific study field.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to a master programme offered at ISCED level 767.

Destination of graduates

Information not available.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

Master programmes

(FH)

1-2 years

ISCED 767

Master programmes at Universities of Applied Sciences (Master-Studiengänge an Fachhochschulen) leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 767
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

767

Usual entry grade

16+

Usual completion grade

17+

Usual entry age

21+

Usual completion age

22+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years:

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

In general, master programmes offered at Universities of Applied Sciences are financed by the public, so attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Providers of study programmes are, however, entitled by law to charge tuition fees (2019: 363.36 EUR per semester) ([136]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Master programmes are research-oriented.
  • some programmes are based on the dual principle, where theory and practice in enterprises alternate ([137]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    )
Main providers

Universities of Applied Sciences

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20 %

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • master thesis is often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Assessment of learning outcomes

A failed course or master exam can be repeated twice. A single repetition of a study year is possible ([139]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung/Bundesnormen/10009895/FHStG%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2006.04.2017.pdf).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master thesis followed by a master examination before an exam commission/diploma

The Master qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications in accordance to the specific study field ([140]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can further progress to doctoral programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Apprenticeships

WBL 80%

2-4 years

ISCED 354

Apprenticeship training leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Lehrlingsausbildung)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11 to 13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17 to 19

Length of a programme (years)

From two to four years, usually three years (two thirds of apprenticeship professions)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Apprenticeship starts after compulsory education. A prerequisite for taking up apprenticeship training is completion of nine years of compulsory schooling. About one third of apprentices complete this period by attending a one-year prevocational school.

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

Attendance at a vocational school for apprentices is free of charge. The training company is obliged to grant leave of absence to the apprentice for attending the programme offered at the vocational school while continuing to pay the apprenticeship remuneration. As compensation the company has the possibility to apply for public subsidies (‘basic funding’).

The training at the company is funded by the companies themselves. The young people are paid an apprenticeship remuneration by their employer; this is usually regulated in the (sectoral or company) collective agreement. As support for training companies, however, a number of public subsidies are available.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Around 23% start an apprenticeship at age 18 and above ([69]See statistics on page 23 of Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018 [Apprenticeship overview, 2018]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193.
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual programmes consist of 80% workplace training in a company, 20% training in a vocational school
Main providers

Training companies (enterprises, free professions such as lawyers, and supra-company training providers on behalf of Public Employment Service Austria)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 80%

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

Apprenticeships as dual track training combine:

  • company-based training (80%);
  • attendance of VET school for apprentices (20%).
Main target groups

Apprenticeship training is accessible to young people and adults.

Apprenticeship training is also available for learners with special educational needs either by:

  • prolongation of the apprenticeship period by one or at maximum two years;
  • acquisition of a partial qualification.

Young people who are trained in a prolonged apprenticeship period are also obliged to attend a vocational school. The training is completed with the apprenticeship-leaving examination.

The acquisition of partial qualifications is restricted to selected competences of an in-company curriculum. There is also an obligation to follow a programme offered at a vocational school, the extent being adjusted to the individual situation of the apprentice. The final examination covers the previously determined competences. The level achieved is determined by professional experts and one member of the vocational training assistance. The partial qualification is accompanied by vocational training assistance; this aims to advise and support the training companies as well as the young people before and during the training.

Both forms of training are offered by training companies. (Young) people who do not find an apprenticeship post in a company, can complete apprenticeship training at supra-company training providers (überbetriebliche Berufsausbildung, ÜBA), which offer company-like conditions in workshops on behalf of the Public Employment Service Austria as part of active labour market policy. As for the school part, ÜBA-apprentices attend the regular VET school for apprentices.

People with migrant background made up less than 11% of all apprentices in 2017 ([70]Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018, Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/
).

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

The only entry requirement to enrol in apprenticeship training is the fulfilment of compulsory schooling (nine school years).

Assessment of learning outcomes

After fulfilling the apprenticeship period, apprentices normally register for the apprenticeship-leaving examination (Lehrabschlussprüfung / LAP).

This exam aims to establish whether the candidate has acquired the skills and competences required for the respective apprenticeship occupation and is able to carry out the activities specific to the occupation himself or herself in an appropriate manner.

The exam consists of a practical and a theoretical examination. Provided that the apprentice has met the education objectives of the last year of the programme offered at the vocational school, he is only required to do the practical part of the exam.

The subjects the exam covers are laid down in the national exam regulation (Prüfungsordnung) for each apprenticeship occupation ([71]See
https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrberufeInOesterreich/ListeDerLehrberufe/Seiten/liste.aspx [accessed 20.4.2019].
). If the candidate fails parts of his exam, he can retake these parts.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After passing the apprenticeship-leaving examination (Lehrabschlussprüfung / LAP) the graduate receives the apprenticeship diploma (Lehrabschlussprüfungszeugnis / LAP-Zeugnis).

It certifies that the holder has the skills and competences required for the respective apprenticeship occupation and is able to carry out the activities particular to the occupation himself or herself in an appropriate manner ([72]BMWFW (2014). Apprenticeship: dual vocational education and training in Austria: modern training with a future.
https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrlingsUndBerufsausbildung/Documents/HP_Die%20Lehre%20Englisch_2014_27%208.pdf
).

Apprenticeship diplomas are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated in the labour market and economy.

All apprenticeship-leaving exams are assigned to EQF level 4 ([73]For more details, see the Austrian qualifications register:
https://www.qualifikationsregister.at/nqr-register/nqr-zuordnungen/
).

Examples of qualifications

In 2018, there were 218 state-recognised apprenticeship occupations ([74]Including 15 agricultural and forestry apprenticeships occupations. See: BMDW; WKO (2018). Lehrberufe in Österreich – Ausbildungen mit Zukunft. [Apprenticeship in Austria: training with a future ].
https://www.bic.at/downloads/de/broschueren/lehrberufe_in_oesterreich_2018.pdf
See also: ibw (2019). Lehrberufsbezeichnungen Deutsch-Englisch [Dual VET qualifications German-English].
https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/278/
), such as brick layer, bank clerk, hotel and catering assistant or dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After passing the apprenticeship-leaving examination, graduates can either remain in the labour market or acquire further qualifications:

  • master craftsperson or aptitude examination;
  • add-on courses (ISCED 554) (Aufbaulehrgänge) with a duration of three years that lead to the qualification of a five-year school-based VET programme (BHS);
  • higher entrance exam (Berufsreifeprüfung, BRP), which grants access to higher education programmes.
Destination of graduates

Apprenticeship training focusing on different specialist areas (construction, electronic engineering, information technology, wholesale and retail trade, etc.) aims at the acquisition of a vocational qualification at intermediate level.

For many, apprenticeship training is also the basis for a career as an entrepreneur. Around 35% of executives in business have completed apprenticeship training.

The education-related employment career monitoring (Erwerbskarrierenmonitoring, BibEr) of Statistics Austria done for the graduation year 2013/14([75]The aim of this project is to render the employment career statistically evaluable of all persons living in Austria after their leaving a formal educational institution. Especially the transition from education to the labour market represents an important chapter in the employment biography. The variety of attributes allows for analyses of various aspects of those careers at the start as well as during their further development on the labour market.
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/PeopleSociety/education_culture/monitoring_education_related_employment_behaviour/index.html
), analysed labour market status 18 months after graduation. Results show that graduates are primarily orientated to the labour market entry (compared to other education pathways):

  • 73% of the apprenticeship graduates were employed and only 5% continued in (formal) education;
  • approximately 12% were registered as jobseekers at the public employment service (AMS) ([76]For the remaining 10% no data are available. Dornmayr, H.; Nowak, S. (2018). Lehrlingsausbildung im Überblick 2018: Strukturdaten, Trends und Perspektiven [Apprenticeship overview 2018: structural data, trends and perspectives]. Vienna: ibw. Research report; No 193.
    https://ibw.at/bibliothek/id/481/See also http://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bil...
    ).

This can be considered as positive indication of the job mobility of apprenticeship graduates due to a high labour demand for skilled workers and qualified specialists.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Training Act (Berufsausbildungsgesetz, BAG) ([77]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10006276) also opens access to the apprenticeship-leaving exam to those who have not completed any formal training (apprenticeship or school), providing them with the possibility of acquiring a formal professional qualification. In concrete terms, they must meet the following conditions:

  • be above 18 years old;
  • furnish evidence that they have acquired the knowledge and skills required for the respective apprenticeship occupation, such as by exercising a relevant semi-skilled or other practical activity of appropriate length or by attending a relevant course event;
  • completion of at least half of the period stipulated for the respective apprenticeship occupation is accepted as evidence if there is no other possibility of entering into an apprenticeship contract for the remaining apprenticeship period.

The 2011 amendment to the Vocational Training Act has extended access to the apprenticeship-leaving exam. The new regulation specifies that apprenticeship offices can arrange for the practical apprenticeship-leaving examination to be taken in two parts. The first part comprises identification of the exam candidate’s existing qualifications while in the second part he/she is required to prove the remaining skills. This provision applies if exam candidates

General education subjects

Y

The focus of education at vocational schools is on occupation-oriented specialist instruction (with about 65%), which also includes practical training in workshops and/or laboratories. The rest covers general subjects (such as German, mathematics) ([79]https://www.bmdw.gv.at/Nationale%20Marktstrategien/LehrlingsUndBerufsausbildung/Documents/HP_Die%20Lehre%20Englisch_2014_27%208.pdf).

Key competences

Y

The competence-oriented curricula specify the knowledge and skills that learners need to have acquired by the end of their training and which qualify them to act appropriately in different situations at work. As well as subject-related competences, related key competences are also listed which vary according to the specific apprenticeship training (e.g. team work, digital and entrepreneurial sills). At least one foreign language is mandatory in all programmes. Key competences are considered of major importance in the VET sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The competence profile (Berufsprofil), which is also part of the training regulation, formulates in a learning outcome-oriented manner the competences apprentices acquire by the end of their training in both learning sites. Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012; this is a result of the development of the national qualifications framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes ([80]Tritscher-Archan, S. (2016). Vocational education and training in Europe – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/2016_CR_AT.pdf
).

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

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([81]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeship programmes;

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level);

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level);

24%: general education programme.

School-based VET programmes

1-2 years

ISCED 351

School-based VET programmes (berufsbildende mittlere Schulen, BMS), leading to ISCED 351. These programmes are offered as one- to two-year programmes, which primarily aim to provide pre-professional qualifications rather than a full VET qualification. These programmes focus on areas such as hospitality services, agriculture, nutrition, social activities, etc. They serve as preparation for certain apprenticeship trades or as bridge courses to VET programmes which require a certain entry age (e.g. health programmes which can only be accessed at the age of 17).
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9 to 10

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

15-16

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory schooling covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). One- to two-year school-based pre-VET programmes are usually attended by 14 to 16-year old learners.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

These programmes include general education, basic vocational competences and key competences which prepare learners for more specific VET pathways (at upper secondary schools or in dual training) and for simple tasks on the labour market.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

These programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

These programmes can also be attended by adults. However, most of the learners are between 14 and 16 when they attend these schools ([65]Statistics Austria:
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

One- to two-year pre-VET programmes are

  • full-time and
  • practice-oriented.
Main providers

Public schools (and a few private schools)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practice-oriented tuition (e.g. in workshops at school, in school kitchens etc.)
  • practical experiences (e.g. work shadowing, company tours, company-based practical days)
Main target groups

Most learners enter these programmes at the age of 14. However, they are also open for adults.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 27% of all school-based VET programmes learners (one to two-year programmes plus three to four-year programmes) in the school year 2016/17. ([66]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
)

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

The entry requirements are

  • positive completion of the eight grade,
  • a minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The certificates of the one- to two-year pre-VET programmes are recognised by VET and labour authorities, i.e. graduates can enter further education programmes or the labour market for carrying out simple tasks.

Examples of qualifications

These one- and two-year school-based VET programmes prepare learners for carrying out simple tasks on the labour market in different areas such as hospitality services, agriculture, nutrition, social activities, etc. The programmes take place in respective schools such as Schools of Social Care Professions (Schulen für Sozialbetreuungsberufe) ([67]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates may progress to

  • dual VET programmes;
  • school-based VET programmes (three- to four-year programmes and five-year programmes);
  • postsecondary/tertiary VET programmes (e.g. healthcare);
  • CVET programmes;
  • training programmes within the ‘training obligation until 18’;
  • labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas.

Key competences

Y

One of the key aims of these programmes is to develop and foster key competences in all subjects and through various teaching methods (project work, open forms of teaching, etc.).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all VET programmes.

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

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17): ([68]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
)

36%: dual VET programmes

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

Pre-VET (PTS)

1 year

ISCED 341

Pre-VET programme (Polytechnische Schule, PTS), leading to ISCED 341
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

341

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

15

Length of a programme (years)

1 year

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory schooling covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). The pre-VET programme is accessible to learners from age 14.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

The pre-VET programme offers both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas. Every learner is obliged to choose one specialist area from all areas offered at the respective school location. In principle, there are six specialist areas (metal, electronic engineering, construction, wood, wholesale and retail trade/office, services/tourism), with every school being entitled to offer other specialist areas autonomously while taking the needs of the local economy into account (e.g. mechatronics, healthcare and social affairs). A mix of theoretical information and practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes) aims to help learners to become familiar with the world of work and additionally provide them with targeted orientation and preparation for their future profession, which they still need to choose.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

However, 96 % (2017) are 14 when they start the pre-VET programme ([58]Statistics Austria:
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • one-year full-time school-based programme
  • covers theoretical teaching and practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes);
  • career guidance plays a particularly important role be-cause this school type is at the interface between obligatory and further schooling
Main providers

Public schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • a mix of theoretical teaching and
  • practical experiences (e.g. as part of company tours and days of company-based practice in training workshops or companies, or as part of practical work experiences in classes)
Main target groups

Programme is accessible to young people and adults. People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 33% of all learners who followed this pre-VET programme in the school year 2016/17 ([59]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

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

For entering this programme learners need to have completed eight school years.

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • if a learner fails a subject (i.e. receives a ‘not sufficient’ in the end-of-term report, i.e. performance does not meet minimum pass level) he can (voluntarily) repeat the school year to get a positive certificate. In case the learner does not repeat the school year, he has to attend another training programme until the age of 18 (training obligation until 18)
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

On successful completion of this programme, learners receive the certificate, which is recognised by VET and labour market authorities as graduates can enter further education programmes or the labour market for carrying out simple tasks.

Examples of qualifications

With a certificate of this pre-VET programme holders can enter the labour market to carry out simple tasks.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to

  • further education programmes at upper secondary level (general education and VET);
  • CVET programmes;
  • training programmes within the ‘training obligation until 18;
  • labour market (for carrying out unskilled work).
Destination of graduates

According to Statistics Austria (2016/17) ([60]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
), graduates choose the following options:

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It offers both general-education and subject-specific classes in different specialist areas.

Key competences

Y

One of the key aims of the programme is to develop and foster key competences in all subjects and through teaching methods (project work, open forms of teaching, etc.) ([63]See curriculum of PTS:
https://pts.schule.at/fileadmin/Polytechnische_Schule/Lehrplan_Fachbereichsinfos/PTS_Lehrplan-2012_Auflage_2018.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The curriculum is currently under revision. One aim of this curriculum reform is to introduce learning outcomes. However, also the present curriculum foresees competences which learners should acquire. Nevertheless, as a result of the development of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which was formally introduced in 2016, competences/learning outcomes have to be defined explicitly in all new curricula.

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

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 9th school grade (2016/17) ([64]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

17%: pre VET programme 16%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes at intermediate level

37%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

28%: general education

2%: special needs school/inclusive education

School-based VET (BMS)

WBL 40%

3-4 years

ISCED 354

School-based VET programmes offered at intermediate vocational schools (berufsbildende mittlere Schulen, BMS) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354. The three- to four-year VET programmes offered at intermediate vocational schools aim to impart full VET qualifications that entitle graduates to immediately exercise professional activities at intermediate qualification level/skilled worker’s level. These programmes are offered in different specialist areas, including in technology, the business sphere, fashion, tourism, agriculture and forestry and in the social sphere.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11 to 12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

17 to 18

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory education covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). Learners can start the three- to four-year BMS programmes at age 14, so in this case it still covers compulsory education.

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

These programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

These programmes can also be attended by adults. However, most of the learners are between 14 and 17 when they enter these programmes. ([82]Statistics Austria: https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/bildung_und_kultur/formales_bildungswesen/schulen_schulbesuch/index.html [accessed 7.5.2019].
)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Three- to four-year VET programmes at intermediate level are:

  • offered full-time at VET schools;
  • practice-oriented tuition (e.g. learning in workshops and labs) in some fields;
  • obligatory work placements during the summer months,
  • in technical three and a half-year programmes; (Fachschulen mit Betriebspraktikum): obligatory work placement in the last semester ([83]BMBWF - The educational offer of technical, commerce, arts and crafts schools:
    https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/bbs/tgkg.html
    ).
Main providers

Most of these intermediate vocational schools are public schools, some are private schools with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs
  • work placements during the summer months and in some fields also during the tuition period
Main target groups

These school-based VET programmes are accessible to young people and adults. For people in employment programmes are organised in the evening.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up 27% of all BMS learners (one to two years programme plus three- to four-year programmes) in school year 2016/17 ([84]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

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

The entry requirements are

  • positive completion of the eight grade;
  • depending on previous qualifications (e.g. obtained at new secondary school or the lower cycle of academic secondary school), the desired programme type and places on offer, previous educational performance (i.e. the marks achieved in the main subjects) or an entrance examination are additional selection criteria;
  • minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • qualification exam
  • if learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the qualification exam, they can re-do it.
Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate (Abschlusszeugnis)

The school leaving certificates are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Three- and four-year programmes for intermediate vocational education providing professional education in different specialist areas (business, technology, agriculture, social affairs, tourism, etc.) lead to professional qualifications at the intermediate level. Programmes can be offered, e.g.at :

  • Schools of Engineering, Arts and Crafts (Technische, gewerbliche und kunstgewerbliche Fachschulen)
  • Schools of Agriculture and Forestry (Land- und forstwirtschaftliche Fachschulen)
  • Schools of Business Administration (Handelsschule)
  • Schools of Management and Services Industries (Fachschule für wirtschaftliche Berufe)
  • Schools of Tourism (Fachschulen für Tourismus) ([85]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/
    )
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates have the following progression possibilities:

  • add-on programmes
  • post-secondary VET courses
  • Berufsreifeprüfung: exam for people whose initial VET does not automatically qualify them for entry into higher education
  • dual VET programmes
  • subject specific CVET options (e.g. master craftsperson examination, aptitude examination, industrial master school etc.)
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The curricula and training contents focus on deepening of general education and VET at intermediate qualification level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all programme types of the VET sector in Austria ([86]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series. https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Although the acquisition of professional competences has always been a key goal of VET in Austria, competences have been defined explicitly in the curricula since 2012 – which is a result of the development of the National Qualifications Framework and its orientation towards learning outcomes.

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

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([87]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeships

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

School based (BHS)

WBL 30%

5 years

ISCED 354/554

School based VET programmes offered at colleges for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS), leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 354/554. Programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas including in technology, the business sphere, fashion and design, arts and crafts, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as elementary pedagogy. This programme type belongs to the upper secondary level. In ISCED, however, it is divided between two levels: the first three years are classified as ISCED 354 (no interim qualification is offered at this level), year four and five are classified as ISCED 554.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

ISCED 354 (programme duration 1-3 years)

ISCED 554 (programme duration 4-5 years)

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

The compulsory E & T age is 15. Obligatory education covers a period of nine years (i.e. from 6 years until 15 years). These school-based VET programmes are usually attended by learners between 14 and 19.

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

These five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The degree obtained at a college for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS) can, as an alternative to the five-year day form, also be acquired by way of three other education programmes:

  • add-on courses (ISCED 554, Aufbaulehrgang): these modular courses usually cover three years and lead graduates of intermediate VET tracks (from schools and dual VET) to the BHS qualification. Learners with non-subject-specific VET qualifications have to attend a one- to two-semester bridge course (Vorbereitungslehrgang) before entering an add-on course;
  • post-secondary VET courses (ISCED 554, Kollegs): Kollegs mainly target graduates of general education schools, i.e. people who have not completed an initial VET pathway. A prerequisite for admission to Kollegs is successful completion of the HE entrance examination. Kollegs are provided in a modular two-year day form or a three-year evening form and are completed with a qualification examination;
  • courses offered at colleges for higher vocational education for people in employment (ISCED 554, BHS for professionals): this programme type, which is organised in the evening, leads to a BHS-qualification. Access requirements are a minimum age of 17 years and active employment.
ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification:

  • are full-time and practice-oriented,
  • include learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms,
  • are complemented by mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months,
  • comprise project and diploma assignments as part of the final exam that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration([88]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Austria. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8127_en.pdf
    ).
Main providers

Most colleges for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schulen / BHS) are public schools, some are private school with public status.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • learning in workshops and labs, training restaurants, and practice firms
  • mandatory work placements of several weeks during the summer months
  • project and diploma assignments as part of final exams that are often set by companies or carried out with their collaboration
Main target groups

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are accessible to young people and adults (e.g. for people in employment organised in the evening.

People with migrant background (non-German first language) made up nearly 19% of all school-based higher VET programmes learners in school year 2016/17 ([89]BMBWF (2018). Statistical guide 2017: key facts and figures about schools and adult education in Austria. Vienna: BMBWF.
https://bildung.bmbwf.gv.at/schulen/bw/ueberblick/zahlenspiegel_2017.pdf?6mfso8
).

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

The entry requirements are:

  • positive completion of the eight grade;
  • depending on previous qualifications (e.g. programmes offered at new secondary school or at the lower cycle of academic secondary school), the desired programme type and places on offer, previous educational performance (i.e. the marks achieved in the main subjects) or an entrance examination are additional selection criteria;
  • a minimum age of 14 years.
Assessment of learning outcomes
  • regular assessments (written, oral exams) during the school year in each subject
  • mid-term and end-of-term reports
  • higher education entrance examination ([90]See https://www.refernet.at/images/02_News_AT_RDP_neu_05_2016_EN.pdf [accessed 8.5.2019].
    )
  • if learners fail a subject (e.g. after the first year), they can take an exam at the beginning of the following year. If they fail more than three subjects, they have to repeat the entire class. If learners fail the Matura exam, they can re-do (parts of) it
Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduation with a Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis, i.e. HE entrance qualification and higher VET qualification (= double qualification).

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market and economy.

Examples of qualifications

Five-year VET programmes leading to higher VET and HE entrance qualification are available in different areas which are offered by different providers, e.g.:

  • Colleges of Engineering, Arts and Crafts (Höhere technische, kunstgewerbliche und gewerbliche Lehranstalten)
  • Colleges of Business Administration (Handelsakademien)
  • Colleges of Management and Service Industries (Höhere Lehranstalten für wirtschaftliche Berufe)
  • Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry (Höhere Land- und Forstwirtschaftliche Schulen)
  • Colleges for Elementary Pedagogy (Bildungsanstalten für Elementarpädagogik) ([91]https://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/vet-schools-and-higher-colleges-in-austria/
    )
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • graduates obtain general access to postsecondary and tertiary education (studies at university, UAS, universities of teacher training).
  • they can also enter a range of CVET options.
  • they can also directly enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Programmes provide in-depth general education and high-quality specialist training in different specialist areas

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all programme types of the VET sector in Austria ([92]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series. https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all VET programmes.

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

Allocation of learners at upper secondary level / 10th school grade (2016/17) ([93]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
):

36%: apprenticeship

13%: one to four-year school-based VET programmes (intermediate level)

27%: five-year school-based VET programmes (higher level)

24%: general education

Healthcare

1-3 years

ISCED 351, 353

Healthcare programmes leading to ISCED 351, 353. Following specific programmes are offered in the field of healthcare: Care assistance programmes: care assistance programme, level 1 (Pflegeassistenz); care assistance programme, level 2 (Pflegefachassistenz). Medical assistance programmes: disinfection assistance (Desinfektionsassistenz); plastering assistance (Gipsassistenz); laboratory assistance (Laborassistenz); mortuary assistance (Obduktionsassistenz); operating theatre assistance (Operationsassistenz); surgery assistance (Ordinationsassistenz); radiology assistance (Röntgenassistenz); medical assistance (Medizinische Fachassistenz)
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

Care assistance programmes: 351

Medical assistance programmes: 353

Usual entry grade

10 to 11

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistance programme, level 1: 10
  • care assistance programme, level 2: 11

Medical assistance programmes: 10

Usual completion grade

10 to12

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistance programme, level 1: 10
  • care assistance programme, level 2: 12

Medical assistance programmes: 10-12

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Care assistance programme, level 1: 16

Care assistance programme, level 2: 17

Medical assistance programmes: 16

Usual completion age

18 to 19

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 3 years

Care assistance programmes:

Medical assistance programmes:

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

concerning the care assistance programme, level 1

Yes and no, concerning the care assistance programme, level 2 and the medical assistance programme.

Is it continuing VET?

Yes and no, concerning the care assistance programme, level 2 and the medical assistance programmes.

Is it offered free of charge?
  • programmes offered in public schools are financed by the public, attendance is free of charge for the learners
  • training courses for adults offered by different providers are fee-based with different funding opportunities
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Theoretical instruction in schools/training courses and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main providers

Care assistance programmes:

  • public schools for healthcare (mostly at hospitals);
  • public schools for social professions;
  • different providers offering training courses for adults (also upskilling programmes).

Medical assistance programmes:

  • public schools for medical assistant professions;
  • different providers offering training courses for adults.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Theoretical instruction in schools/training courses and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main target groups

Programmes are open to young people, adults and unemployed (training courses financed by the Public Employment Service).

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

Entry requirements differ among the specific programmes:

Care assistance, level 1:

Care assistance, level 2:

Medical assistance programmes:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Ongoing und regular assessment during the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Care assistance, level 1:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

Care assistance, level 2:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

Medical assistance programmes:

  • final exam before an examination commission / certificate

The qualifications are fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Care assistance programmes:

  • care assistant (Pflegeassistent/in)
  • (special) care assistant (Pflegefachassistent/in)

Medical assistance programmes:

  • disinfection assistance (Desinfektionsassistenz)
  • plastering assistance (Gipsassistenz)
  • laboratory assistance (Laborassistenz)
  • mortuary assistance (Obduktionsassistenz)
  • operating theatre assistance (Operationsassistenz)
  • surgery assistance (Ordinationsassistenz)
  • radiology assistance (Röntgenassistenz)
  • medical assistance (Medizinische Fachassistenz)
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of care and medical assistance programmes can progress to:

Graduates of level 2 of the care assistance programme can additionally take the:

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Competences acquired non-formally or informally must be validated by the principle of the school or the head of the training provider offering care/medical assistance programmes by way of procedures accepted by the health ministry ([106]https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung and https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/site/attachments/0/8/1/CH4043/CMS1538051085664/gesundheitsberufe_2019.pdf/Bundesnormen/20009672/PA-PFA-AV%2c%20Fassung%20vom%2009.05.2019.pdf).

For care assistance programmes, level 1: the duration of the training course is reduced for persons who successfully completed studies of human medicine or dental medicine: 680 hours ([107]https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/9/0/5/CH4138/CMS1411979671365/healthcareprofessions_in_austria_2017.pdf).

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([108]See Tritscher-Archan, S., Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

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

Information not available

Nursing

3 years

ISCED level 454

Nursing programme leading to ISCED level 454 (Diplomierte/r Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger/in, GuK)
EQF level
Not yet assigned to the NQF
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

This programme is being upgraded at the moment. Until the end of 2023 this secondary-level programme will be transferred into a tertiary bachelor’s programme offered at universities of applied sciences ([109]https://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/9/0/5/CH4138/CMS1411979671365/healthcareprofessions_in_austria_2017.pdf)

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

3 years (4 600 hours)

  
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

(for adults with relevant IVET or professional experience)

Is it offered free of charge?

School programmes are financed by the public, school attendance is free of charge for the learners.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Theoretical instruction in schools and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main providers
  • public schools for nurses ([110]As from 1.1.2014 it is foreseen that this programme will be provided only by universities of applied sciences (UAS) and not any longer by public schools for nurses.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Theoretical instruction in schools and work placements in hospitals etc. alternate during the entire training.

Main target groups

Programmes are accessible to young people and adults.

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

Schools for nurses (until 31.12.2023):

UAS bachelor programmes:

  • general university entrance qualifications or relevant professional qualifications;
  • professional aptitude and medical fitness.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Ongoing und regular assessment during the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Schools for nurses (until 31.12.2019):

  • written thesis, diploma examination before an examination commission/diploma

UAS bachelor programmes:

  • bachelor examination

The qualification is fully recognised by VET and labour authorities and highly appreciated by labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Qualified nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

  • short training course for care assistants, level 2: 2 years
General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences play a crucial role in all school types of the VET sector in Austria ([118]See Tritscher-Archan, S.; Petanovitsch, A. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Austria. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_AT_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

With the development of the National Qualifications Framework learning outcomes have been made more explicit in the curricula of all schools in the VET sector.

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

In 2016/17 19 598 learners were registered in healthcare schools. Data on the allocation of learners to different programmes are not available ([119]Statistics Austria (2018). Bildung in Zahlen 2016/17, Tabellenband [Education in numbers: 2016/17]. Vienna: Statistics Austria.
https://www.statistik.at/web_de/services/publikationen/5/index.html?includePage=detailedView&sectionName=Bildung&pubId=509
).

At the UAS in the study year 2018 2 767 learners were registered in bachelor nursing programmes ([120]https://suasprod.noc-science.at/XLCubedWeb/WebForm/ShowReport.aspx?rep=004+studierende%2f002a+fachhochschulen%2f010+ordentliche+studierende+an+fhs+-+zeitreihe+wintersemester.xml&toolbar=true).

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available