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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 the UK:

  • skills development is a major priority of all four countries ([1]See: Strategic development of VET under Section
    12. Shaping VET qualifications - design
    );
  • there is an increased demand for apprenticeships and skills-for-work;
  • across the UK there is a high participation rate (66%)([2]66% of UK workplaces that responded to the UK
    Employer Skills Survey 2017 had arranged on-the-job or off-the-job training for employees in the preceding 12 months, with on-the-job training slightly more popular. Adult and continuing education is part of the formal education system, but is also offered as non-formal training by employers and training providers.
    ) in adult and continuing education;
  • early leaving from education and training has decreased in the last decade and is slightly above the national target set at 10% ([3]Drop-outs under 15 years old are redirected to VET earlier that other school-age learners.).

Distinctive features: ([4]Cedefop ((2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in the United Kingdom. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8111_en.pdf
)

The UK government has devolved decision-making powers in several areas of policy responsibility, including governance of VET, to the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While there are similarities between the systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, reforms are creating greater divergence and the Scottish system has always been different in many ways from those of the rest of the UK.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different governance, regulation and quality assurance bodies. There is a complex institutional framework in the UK VET sector, with the policymaking authority for VET in England being the Department for Education, while the Department of Education and the Department for the Economy are responsible in Northern Ireland, and the Scottish and Welsh governments in Scotland and Wales respectively. The qualifications market in the UK is jointly driven by government policies and private interests. This has led to a large choice of qualifications and awarding organisations.

Matching qualifications with employer needs and increasing employer engagement with education and training are high priorities in the UK. The government’s July 2016 Post-16 skills plan proposes to simplify college-based VET in England by creating clear routes to occupations through qualifications developed with input from employers by 2019. The Regulated Qualifications Framework introduced in 2015 gives awarding organisations increased freedom and flexibility to develop qualifications that meet specific labour market needs. Qualifications are now expected to be validated and supported directly by employers rather than follow prescriptive rules and structures imposed by government agencies.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework retains its credit and unit-based structure. Colleges in Scotland align their provision to the needs of employers and the Scottish economy through outcome agreements and a broad range of qualifications through their new regional governance structure. The Scottish Funding Council works with colleges to ensure outcome agreements address priority needs within their regions and contribute to improving young people’s life chances. The Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce also encourages colleges to develop more productive partnerships with local employers, schools and authorities.

The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales continues to add clarity on the qualifications system and recognises all forms of learning across all levels and abilities. Vocational qualifications have also been classified as either IVET or CVET to clarify their purpose and whether they are introductory or lead to occupational competence. In 2015, Qualifications Wales was established as an independent agency tasked with ensuring that the Welsh qualifications system and qualifications meet the needs of learners, and promoting public confidence in the qualification system. The 2016 framework for post-compulsory education in Wales proposes to develop stronger links between education policy, providers and provision, and social and economic goals to ensure the future needs of Wales are met.

Youth training, further education, and apprenticeship reforms in Northern Ireland aim to raise skill levels of young people and will provide clear pathways from introductory VET to apprenticeships – which will start at upper secondary technician level – and higher education. Employers will be connected to education and training providers through a strategic advisory forum and sectoral partnerships to ensure curriculum design and training structure meet their needs. Further, the entitlement framework now encourages collaboration between post-14 school provision and vocational further education college provision. Centres of specialism and expertise will be set up in colleges that will develop networks of experts who will share the latest developments in curriculum and skills training.

Data from Spotlight on VET United Kingdom 2016/17 ([5]Cedefop ((2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in the United Kingdom. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8111_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 66 273 576 ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Population increased since 2013 by 3.7% due to natural growth and migration ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The UK old age dependency ratio is showing a trend towards an aging population, with more people reaching pension age. It is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 43 in 2060 ([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).).

 

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

The amount of job roles requiring intermediate and higher skills and education is rising in the UK and it is expected that it will become even more important to possess specialist skills and higher education in the coming years, in order to qualify for a more technologically advanced labour market.

The demographic trend towards an ageing population raises challenges for VET. There may need to be a renewed focus on adult education and upskilling to keep up with the needs of the labour market. ‘As working lives are getting longer and the pace of technological change is increasing, the number of significant changes an individual will have to adapt to during their working life will increase.’([9]Government Office for Science (2015). Future of education in an ageing population. Presentation for the Expert meeting, York, 13 July 2016.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/555576/future-of-ageing-education-expert-meeting-york.pdf [accessed 13.6.19].
)

Furthermore, efforts to curb immigration may result in a need to supply a greater number of intermediate skilled workers from the native labour force. The UK has relied on EEA skilled labour and curbs on immigration will impact on the skills profile of the workforce. ([10]Savour, B.; Keohane, N. (2019). Leading skills, exploring leadership in further education colleges: paper 1. London: SMF, p.14
http://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Leading-skills-Exploring-leadership-in-Further-Education-colleges-Paper-1.pdf
)

 

Information not available

The UK has a market-based economy and is a major international trading power. Financial services as well as pharmaceutical, petroleum, automotive, aerospace, telecommunications and other technological industries play an important role in the UK’s economy, with the services industry being the largest contributor.

The UK labour market is demand-led and amongst the least regulated in the world. Skill shortages exist in various sectors.

The top five occupations experiencing shortages are currently finance, medicine associate professionals, nursing and midwifery, other health professionals and ICT ([11]Skills Panorama (2018).
Mismatch priority occupations in the United Kingdom. Cedefop analytical highlights.
https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/united-kingdom-mismatch-priority-occupations [accessed 3.8.2018].
).

The UK Government lists shortage occupations for work permit purposes and currently includes various engineering and technician jobs, medicine, health, science, teaching (secondary level), IT/computing, chefs and arts amongst other professions ([12]Home Office (2018
). UK Immigration rules - Appendix K: shortage occupation list from 6 July 2018 [accessed 3.8.2018]. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix...
).

UK NARIC ([13]UK NARIC is the National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and opinion on academic, vocational and professional qualifications and skills from all over the world:
https://www.naric.org.uk/naric/
) works with the UK immigration authority by providing recognition of formal qualifications from abroad to the most appropriate level within the UK education system.

 

Employment in the UK by industry

Source: Office for National Statistics (2018: employment by industry [accessed 6.7.2018].

 

Total unemployment ([14]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3% (6% in EU28); it decreased by 0.9 percentage points since 2008 ([15]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].

 

People with low qualifications experience higher unemployment rates compared to those with middle or higher level qualifications. Unemployment increased during the economic crisis (especially among young people aged 15-24 with low qualifications), but has regained the pre-crisis levels. Moreover, in 2018 unemployment rates are lower than in 2008 in all age groups.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 78.0 % in 2014 to 80.5% in 2018 ([16]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+2.5 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+3.2pp) in the same period in the United Kingdom ([17]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

See Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in England. [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in England. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/england_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

In 2018, the share of population aged up to 64 with higher education in the UK was the sixth highest in the EU28+(43.1%) and well above the EU average (32.2%)in the same group. The share of those with low level qualifications (19.6%) is below the EU average (21.8%) while middle-level qualifications is rather low (37.1%) compared to the EU average (45.7%) and the seventh lowest in the EU, following Spain, Portugal, Malta, Luxembourg, Iceland and Ireland.

 

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

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

See 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 United Kingdom. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_cedefop_chang...

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

17.5%

46.6%

Not applicable

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

The share of learners in VET increased since 2013, by 5.7% and 2.9% respectively in lower and upper secondary education.

The share of upper-secondary VET learners compared to the total number of learners in upper secondary education increased from 43.8% in 2013 to 46.6% in 2017 (+2.9 pp) in the UK. UK was among the eleven EU28+ countries that had a positive change in the VET population while nineteen countries had seen a decrease in the share of upper-secondary VET population in the same period ([18]Data not available for the Netherlands.).

 

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].

 

Information not available

The share of early leavers from education and training has dropped by 5 percentage points from 15.7% in 2009 to 10.7% in 2018, close to the national target set for 2020 (10%) and close to the EU average share (10.6%) in 2018.

 

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].

 

Education or training is compulsory up to age 16 (18 in England). Most VET programmes can be accessed from age 15/16, although learners can be introduced to VET earlier after dropping out of compulsory schooling ([19]In 2019, national achievement (completion) rates in the 19+ education and training and in apprenticeships were 88.3% and 67.3% respectively:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789589/201718_NARTs_MainText.pdf
).

More information on early leaving from education and training is available in the Cedefop report 2017: United Kingdom - Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage ([20]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_-_leaving_education_early.pdf)

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning decreased (-1.7 percentage points) from 16.3% in 2014 to 14.6% in 2018, at 3.5 percentage points above the EU-28 average (11.1%) in 2018.

In England, 2.2 million people registered with further education (FE) colleges in 2017/18, 1.4 million of those VET learners (63.3%) were adults ([21]Association of Colleges (2017). College key facts 2017/18. https://www.aoc.co.uk/sites/default/files/Key Facts 2017-18_1.pdf).

Adult and continuing education is part of the formal education system, but is also offered as non-formal training by employers and training providers.

 

Participation of 16-18 year olds in education and training in England in 2017 (%)

Source: Department for Education (2018). Participation in education, training and employment: 2017 [accessed 15.11.2018].

 

 

Participation of 16-19 year olds in education and training in Scotland in 2018 (%)

Source: Skills Development Scotland (2018). Annual Participation Measure for 16 – 19 year olds in Scotland 2018 [accessed 15.11.2018].

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1);
  • lower secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3)
  • upper secondary education (ISCED 4);
  • higher/tertiary education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education is provided in nurseries and children centres (years 0-5) (years 0-4 in N. Ireland).

Primary education is offered in schools:

  • from age 4 for 7 years in N. Ireland; or
  • from age 5 for 6 years in England and Wales; and
  • from age 5 for 7 years in Scotland.

Secondary school starts after completion of primary schooling. Lower secondary programmes last:

  • three years (grades 7-9) (Key Stage 3) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; or
  • two years (grades 8-9) (National 1-4/Intermediate 1) in Scotland.

Upper secondary programmes (grades 10 and 11) are available to learners over 14. (Key Stage 4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 5/ Intermediate 2 in Scotland).

[….]

Education or training is compulsory from the age of 5 (4 in N. Ireland) up to age 16 (18 in England).

There is a range of education and training providers within the UK VET sector. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, providers include lower secondary schools, school sixth forms, sixth form colleges ([22]Sixth form programmes are offered in years 12 and 13 in secondary general of vocational (college-based) programmes to often acquire an A level (EQF 4), but also vocational qualifications at the same level:
https://www.aoc.co.uk/sixth-form-colleges
), further education (FE) colleges ([23]See
https://www.gov.uk/further-education-courses. Further education colleges are accessible to both young people below 18 and adults; programmes include general academic study, key competences, general vocational programmes, study that may be focused on a specific sector as well as off-the-job apprenticeship training.
) and higher education institutions (HEIs) in addition to private training organisations and work-based learning providers ([24]See also Section VET governance/education providers for a full list of all education providers in the UK and the devolved administrations.).

Most VET programmes can be accessed from age 15/16, although learners can be introduced to VET earlier after dropping out of compulsory schooling or combining vocational subjects with general secondary study. Vocational education and training (VET) is available at secondary and higher education levels in the UK; (EQF levels 2 to 7).

Vocational education and training (VET) is available at secondary and higher education levels in the UK; (EQF levels 2 to 7). Most VET qualifications are taken at EQF level 3 and EQF 4 ([25]See also:
https://www.gov.uk/further-education-courses
) in the further education (FE) sector ([26]FE programmes are accessible to learners over 16 (end of compulsory schooling); a great number of adult learners follow such programmes.).

VET qualifications exist in a wide variety of sectors and prepare learners for work and further study. Programme duration varies by subject area, level of study and type of learning and is between one and four years.

School-based VET is provided in schools and colleges and includes:

  • predominantly school-based programmes that combine general academic study with VET elements;
  • broad VET programmes ([27]Broad vocational programmes cover a field of employment rather than an occupation. For example, students can take BTEC national qualifications in areas such as sport or performing arts.);
  • specialist occupational programmes;
  • work-based learning (technical and occupational learning) may take place both in a VET provider setting and a workplace, in the following forms:
    • (school) workshops;
    • in-company training for VET learners;
    • on-the-job apprenticeship training.

Learning options in formal (school-based) VET:

  • full-time;
  • part-time (evening classes;
  • distance learning;
  • in-company training on a block- or day-release basis;
  • combined with an apprenticeship, where technical and occupational learning takes place:
    • on the job,
    • of the job.

Apprentices are employed and are taught core, transferable skills. A national qualification is awarded upon completion ([28]See Section: Apprenticeships.).

Adult and continuing education is part of the formal education system, but is also offered as non-formal training by employers and training providers:

  • in formal VET, the same learning options apply for adults as for minor learners:
    • full-time;
    • part-time;
    • dual (apprenticeship) learning;
  •  
    • distance learning;
  • non-formal training is delivered:
    • on-the job;
    • off-the job.

Main vocational qualifications offered in the UK ([29]See also table UK national qualifications frameworks in relation to the EQF in Section
8. VET governance; and the
European inventory of NQF 2018
)

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

  • GCSEs: General Certificate of Secondary Education (RQF/CQFW levels 1 and 2 corresponding to EQF levels 2 and 3 respectively). GCSEs in vocational subjects are available in all three countries;
  • BTEC: Business and Technology Education Council qualifications RQF level 2 are offered in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (see also; Pearson What is a BTEC?)
    • BTEC Awards;
    • BTEC National Awards;
    • BTEC First Awards. (Pearson. About BTEC Firsts);
    • BTEC certificates;
    • BTEC Diplomas.
  • NVQ: National Vocational Qualifications are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. NVQs sit within the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland in place since 2015) and CQFW (Credit and qualifications framework of Wales).

In Scotland:

  • SVQ: Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. SVQs sit within the SCQF(Scottish credit and qualifications framework).
  • National Certificates are offered in both vocational and academic subjects mostly in full-time education
  • NPAs: National Progression Awards are usually short, more flexible programmes for employees or people returning to work, though are also taken as part of a wider curriculum of qualifications within the school or college setting

[National Certificates and National Progression Awards are National Qualifications Group Awards in which students accumulate credits towards distinctive group awards (EQF level 3 programmes). They allow entry to more advanced study and employment.]

  • Professional Development Awards
  • HNCs: Higher National Certificate
  • HNDs: Higher National Diploma

Recent developments ([30]See also Section: VET governance/apprenticeships.)

Apprenticeships in the UK are offered as basic training at secondary level to advanced education and training at higher education level. The table below shows at which levels training is available.

 

NQFs and apprenticeship levels in relation to the EQF

NB: EQF: European qualifications framework.
CQFW: Credit and qualifications framework of Wales.
NQF: National qualifications framework.
RQF: Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland.
SCQF: Scottish credit and qualifications framework.
Source: ReferNet UK, 2018.

 

Apart from the new apprenticeship standards in England ([31]In England most apprenticeship frameworks are in the process of being replaced by new apprenticeship standards developed by groups of employers from 2015/16. The new standards are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations, and apprentices are assessed by an independent assessor from industry or a separate training provider to the one the student attended at the end of the training.) it is the qualifications within the apprenticeship frameworks that are benchmarked to the NQFs ([32]National qualifications frameworks.), not the frameworks as a whole.

All UK apprentices are employed and off-the-job training is available from colleges and independent training providers and training organisations with which colleges subcontract. Independent training providers must be registered with the Register of Training Organisations to be eligible to deliver education and training services under the adult education budget in England.

-------------

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 VET in the UK rests with the UK Government and Government departments in the Devolved Administrations ([33]The UK Government has devolved decision-making powers in a number of areas of policy responsibility to the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, such as governance for all levels and types of education, including VET. Whilst there are similarities between the systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, reforms are creating greater divergence and the Scottish system has always been significantly different in many ways to those of the rest of the UK.). Devolved Government legislation does not include detailed regulations, such as lists of approved qualifications, but the law provides for the respective

Government Ministers to issue the lists following advice from the relevant advisory body.

VET regulators and inspection/accreditation agencies in formal VET

Different inspection and review bodies exist in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; they are list in the table below:

England

Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) – schools and further education colleges

Scotland

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) - school, further education and higher education qualifications not awarded by HEIs

Education Scotland - schools and further education colleges

Wales

Qualifications Wales - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) - schools and further education colleges

Northern Ireland

Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) – schools, further education colleges and other providers delivering publicly-funded training programmes

Source: ReferNet UK.

In England, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) holds responsibility for inspection of schools and further education colleges. Ofsted considers the overall effectiveness of the outcomes for learners, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, in addition to the effectiveness of leadership and management. Schools and colleges are inspected by Education Scotland in Scotland, Estyn in Wales and the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) in Northern Ireland. Education Scotland evaluates the outcomes and impact of education provision, the service delivery, as well as the vision and leadership of providers. Estyn reports on the quality of education and training provided, the standards achieved by students, and whether colleges provide value for money. ETI Northern Ireland focuses on the learners’ achievements, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and the quality and effectiveness of the leadership and management of the curriculum.

Higher education provided at UK further education (FE) colleges is subject to quality review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and QAA Scotland through their Higher Education Review that involves peer review, student involvement, as well as analysis of core and thematic elements.

In Scotland, HE in the form of HNCs ([34]Higher national certificate.) and HNDs ([35]Higher national diploma.) in tertiary colleges is subject to inspection and review by Education Scotland, not QAA Scotland. However, for those colleges which are constituent parts of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) or Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), their HNC and HND provision is subject to inspection and review by Education Scotland and review by QAA Scotland.

The Integrated Quality Enhancement Review methodology in Northern Ireland includes peer review, developmental engagement and summative review.

The Hazelkorn report ([36]Welsh Government (2016).
A framework for building a world-class post-compulsory education system for Wales [accessed 15.11.2018].
) recommends creating a new single body for regulation, oversight and co-ordination for the entire post-compulsory education and training sector in Wales. The Welsh Government White Paper Public Good and a Prosperous Wales – Building a reformed PCET system ([37]Welsh Government (2017).
Public good and a prosperous Wales: building a reformed PCET system [accessed 15.11.2018].
) set out how the new body, referred to as the Tertiary Education and Research Commission, would manage allocating resources, assuring and assessing quality, monitoring and managing performance and risk, regulation of the system and accreditation of institutions as well as strategic planning, co-ordinating, steering and providing advice of policy including a responsibility for research and innovation which all is envisaged to form a more coherent and integrated post-compulsory system.

National qualifications frameworks

Formal VET in the UK is organised within several national qualifications frameworks. The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) was introduced in England and Northern Ireland in 2015 and encompasses academic and vocational qualifications. The RQF gives awarding organisations increased freedom and flexibility to develop qualifications that meet specific labour market needs. Qualifications are now expected to be validated and supported directly by employers to ensure qualifications measure the knowledge and skills necessary for industry, rather than follow prescriptive rules and structures imposed by government agencies. Level descriptors have been revised, but the same eight framework levels (plus entry levels, see table below) remain from the previous Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), and the existing qualifications continue to be offered until they are withdrawn by the awarding organisation.

The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) also has the same levels as the QCF/RQF. The CQFW is a meta framework which comprises three pillars. These are regulated qualifications, higher education qualifications and lifelong learning qualifications, which include workplace continuing professional development and bespoke business training, as well as non-formal learning, recognition of prior learning (RPL), and assigned accreditation for learning.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) comprises 12 levels and includes formal, and an increasing volume of non-formal qualifications.

The CQFW, SCQF and the previous QCF describe levels, qualifications and units in terms of learning outcomes as well as credits and notional learning hours. RQF qualifications have, from 31 December 2017, been described in terms of total qualification time ([38]Ofqual (2015).
Total qualification time criteria [accessed 22.2.2017].
) as credit allocation to units and qualifications is not compulsory within the RQF. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. While NVQs sit within the RQF and CQFW, SVQs sit within the SCQF.

The UK qualifications frameworks correspond to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) as described in the table below.

UK national qualifications frameworks in relation to the EQF

EQF

RQF

SCQF

CQFW

8

8

12

8

7

7

11

7

6

6

10/9

6

5

5/4

8/7

5/4

4

3

6

3

3

2

5

2

2

1

4

1

1

Entry 3

3

Entry 3

 

Entry 2

2

Entry 2

 

Entry 1

1

Entry 1

Source: QAA (2014). Qualifications can cross boundaries: a guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland [accessed 4.6.2019].

There is not always an automatic right to progression from one level to the next within the frameworks as education providers retain the right to set the entry requirements to individual qualifications based on individual awarding organisations’ (see also ‘Shaping qualifications – design’) requirements. However, the unit-based structure of many qualifications opens up the possibilities for validation of prior learning and transfer of credit between qualifications (see section Validation of prior learning).

RQF levels are still to be referenced to EQF levels. An update on developments in England and Northern Ireland was presented in the EQF advisory group in February 2019, and an updated referencing report to reference the RQF and FHEQ to the EQF is planned to be presented in June 2019 ([39]Source: Cedefop (2019). European inventory on NQF 2018: UK - England and Northern Ireland, p. 16.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf
); an updated referencing report has been prepared by the SCQF Partnership and presented to the EQF advisory group in December 2018 ([40]Source: Cedefop (2019). European inventory on NQF 2018: UK- Scotland, p.14.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_scotland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf
); Wales is currently in the process of updating the referencing report due to the changes in the level descriptors, the creation of Qualification Wales and the changes to quality assurance in higher education. This report will be presented to the EQF advisory group in June 2019 ([41]Source: Cedefop (2019). European inventory on NQF 2018: UK- Wales, p.15.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_wales_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf
).

Apprenticeships in England ([42]See also section ‘ apprenticeships’)

The latest reform of apprenticeships in England is based on the Richard Review (2012). New apprenticeship standards are being developed by employer-led consortia (Trailblazer groups) ([43]See also: Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education: Trailblazer apprenticeship groups:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-develop-an-apprenticeship-standard-guide-for-trailblazers [accessed 26.8.2019].
) and the quality of the standards are being regulated by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education ([44]Changed name as of 31 January 2019:
https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/about/news-events/name-change-ushers-in-exciting-new-dawn-for-t-levels-preparations/
) (see section Quality assurance). New apprenticeships must include a work contract and at least 20% off-the-job training in addition to English and mathematics, but there is no longer a requirement to include an occupational qualification within the programme. Standards are linked to single professions and the unit-based structure of the previous apprenticeship frameworks has been replaced with holistic end-point assessment. The new apprenticeship standards are currently being phased in and run in parallel with the previous frameworks.

Policy making authorities

There is a complex institutional framework in the UK VET sector with the Department for Education (DfE) having policy-making responsibilities in England; the policy-making authorities for VET in Northern Ireland are the Department of Education (DE) and the Department for the Economy, in Wales the body is the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Public Services and Department for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, and, in Scotland, the Department of Learning and the Department of Lifelong Learning of the Scottish Government are responsible. The table below presents an overview of policy making authorities in the UK VET sector.

England

Department for Education (DfE) – all levels of education

Scotland

Scottish Government – all levels of education

Wales

Welsh Government – all levels of education

Northern Ireland

Department of Education (DE) – schools and teacher training

Department for the Economy – further education colleges and higher education

Source: ReferNet UK.

Education (and training) providers

There is a range of education and training providers within the UK VET sector. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, providers include lower secondary schools, school sixth forms, sixth form colleges ([45]Sixth form programmes are offered in years 12 and 13 in secondary general of vocational (college-based) programmes to often acquire an A level (EQF 4), but also vocational qualifications at the same level (
https://www.aoc.co.uk/sixth-form-colleges).
), further education (FE) colleges ([46]See
https://www.gov.uk/further-education-courses. Further education colleges are accessible to both young people below 18 and adults; programmes include general academic study, key competences, general vocational programmes, study that may be focused on a specific sector as well as off-the-job apprenticeship training.
) and higher education institutions (HEIs) in addition to private training organisations and work-based learning providers. An overview of education providers is presented in the table below.

England

Schools/academies – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Independent training providers – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Scotland

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Tertiary colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Private training providers – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Wales

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education institutions – secondary and tertiary VET

Colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Northern Ireland

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Private, community and voluntary sector providers – secondary and post-secondary VET

Training organisations - – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Source: ReferNet UK.

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, FE colleges represent the largest group of VET providers, offering education to learners that are predominantly 16 years old and upwards, including a large number of adult learners. FE colleges offer vocational learning at entry level (EQF 2) through to higher VET (EQF level 7). Students may attend FE colleges on a full-time or part-time basis and combine the study with an apprenticeship.

In Scotland, VET is mostly offered in colleges providing vocational secondary from EQF level 2 and higher education and by private training providers, but also in secondary schools (EQF 2 – 4) and higher education institutions (HEIs). The recent introduction of graduate apprenticeships ([47]Degree apprenticeships (in Scotland: Higher and Graduate apprenticeships) create a different pathway to obtaining university degrees. Whilst academic ability, including grades and numerical and reasoning skills are considered by the university or college, candidates are also interviewed for a job with a company (unless they are already employed with the company). Both employers and universities must be satisfied the applicant meets their respective requirements. There may therefore be a joint recruitment process.) means that VET is now increasingly being provided by HEIs in Scotland.

A large number of colleges exist in the UK, but many have in recent years merged to form larger regional units, a process that is still on-going in England.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) (EQF 2-4) are VET institutions for 14-19 year olds in England. UTCs are formed through partnerships between universities, colleges and businesses to match national curriculum requirements to local needs and include work placements. UTCs combine core skills with early subject specialisation and links to higher education. Similarly, Studio Schools have been introduced in 2010([48]UK NARIC (2014).
Innovation in VET and the concept of Studio Schools A report prepared within Cedefop ReferNet network.
) for the same age range in England. These are small institutions offering vocational qualifications (at EQF levels 2-4), general qualifications (such as GCSEs) ([49]General Certificate of Secondary Education (RQF/CQFW levels 1 and 2 corresponding to EQF levels 2 and 3 respectively). See also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
) as well as teaching through enterprise projects and work placements ([50]UK NARIC (2014).
Innovation in VET and the concept of Studio Schools A report prepared within Cedefop ReferNet network.
).

To meet labour market demand for higher technical skills, a network of Institutes of Technology is being created in England focussed on skills development at qualifications framework levels 3-5 (EQF 4-5). These institutes will be sponsored by employers, registered with professional bodies and aligned with apprenticeship standards, and be both empowered and expected to design clear routes to employment in cooperation with employers and professional organisations. Moreover, funding from the government and employers was confirmed for five National Colleges in 2016. These National Colleges will focus on delivering technical skills at levels 4 to 6 (EQF levels 5-6) in the areas of digital skills, high speed rail, nuclear, creative and cultural, and onshore oil and gas.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is an executive agency sponsored by the DfE in England. Aside from funding learners aged between 3 and 19 and adult further education and skills training, the ESFA supports the building and maintenance programmes for schools, academies ([51]See also
https://www.gov.uk/types-of-school/academies
), free schools ([52]See also
https://www.gov.uk/types-of-school/free-schools
) and sixth-form colleges. A simplified, learner-led funding system is in place since 2013/14. Much of school-based VET is Government funded, but employers fund an increasing part of workplace training, such as in-company training and learning through specialist consultants and agencies.

An apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017 to create long-term, sustainable investment in apprenticeships ([53]The levy is paid across the whole UK and a proportion of funding is distributed to all four nations according to population; however, the portions allocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not need to be used exclusively to fund apprenticeships and can be allocated to other VET training needs.). The levy is paid by all large employers in the UK with a paybill of over £3m a year. Levy payers and non-levy paying employers are able to access funding to support their apprenticeship training. In England a growing number of education providers now receive funding directly from the Government rather than through local authorities. These are academies, free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools (see section Apprenticeships). Privately funded training providers also operate within the UK VET sector.

The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council, commonly known as the Scottish Funding Council, is the strategic body for the funding of teaching, learning, research and other activities across all levels of tertiary education in Scotland. Public (VET) schools are funded through and accountable to local authorities, with one exception being directly funded by the Scottish Government. Skills Development Scotland funds Modern apprenticeship programmes and other government funded programmes of learning.

Funding of VET in the Northern Ireland further education sector and for providers of specific Government-funded programmes is the responsibility of the Department for the Economy.

VET funding in Wales is traditionally the responsibility of the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (also sponsored by the Welsh Government). In January 2014 the Welsh Government published its Policy statement on skills which set out its long term vision for employment and skills policy in Wales. This work was supplemented by the development of the Framework for co-investment in skills, also introduced in 2014, which sets out the principles for government and employer investment in skills ([54]Welsh Government (2014).
Framework for co-investment in skills [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The framework aims to provide a foundation for shifting the emphasis from a government-led approach to skills investment to a system influenced and led by employers. The investment made by employers, supported by the co-investment framework, will place them in a stronger position to challenge the skills system in Wales.

Learning opportunities for vulnerable groups (targeted measures)

Formal VET targeted at vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities and learning difficulties are mostly offered in the same providers as other students; however, additional funding is available.

Lifelong Learning Partnerships (LLPs) consist of a variety of education providers ranging from voluntary sector providers to further and higher education institutions as well as employers and trade unions. LLPs often reach out to disadvantaged communities and assist disadvantaged learners to engage with education and training again.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) updated its Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland and the Equality Challenge Fund in 2017 ([55]SDS (2017).
Equalities action plan for modern apprenticeships in Scotland [accessed 19.2.2019].
) for projects aimed at widening access to Modern apprenticeships. Organisations including charities, colleges and training providers have received funding to help boost Modern apprenticeship numbers among under-represented groups such as individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people and care leavers as well as tackling gender imbalance in certain sectors. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) outcome agreements require colleges and universities to produce access and inclusion strategies that define their inclusive practices and the impact this has on learners. The SFC expects colleges to evidence how they use funds to support students with educational support needs, including disabled students, to ensure they have an equal chance of successfully completing their programme of study ([56]Scottish Government (2016).
A fairer Scotland for disabled people See also: Scottish Funding Council (2016).
Guidance for the development of College Outcome Agreements: 2017-18 to 2019-20 [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Incentives for providers

VET providers across England continue to have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their adult education budget (AEB), working with Local Enterprise Partnerships and local commissioners to determine what the appropriate distribution of funding should be to best meet local needs. From 2019/20 academic year, approximately 50% of the AEB will be devolved to six Mayoral Combined Authorities and delegated to the Greater London Authority who will be responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision for learners resident in their areas.

The Scottish Funding Council bases funding of VET providers on Outcome Agreements with colleges and universities. These Agreements include learner retention, articulation and progression into further and higher education and other positive destinations, such as employment. More emphasis within the Outcome Agreements is now being put on areas including widening access, gender, skills, innovation and apprenticeships.

In VET, categories of teachers and trainers are:

  • FE teaching staff ([57]Those teaching in FE colleges are usually referred to as lecturers (VET teachers) and those teaching work-based learning are normally called VET trainers.) in England are called teachers, trainers, lecturers, tutors, assessors, advisors and instructors;
  • teaching staff in the VET sector in Northern Ireland use the professional titles of lecturer, teacher, trainer, tutor and assessor;
  • teaching staff in the Scottish VET sector use the professional titles of teacher, lecturer, tutor, assessor and trainer;
  • VET teaching staff in Wales use the professional titles of lecturers, teachers, tutors, assessors and trainers.

Different training and registration requirements exist at secondary education level to further and higher education level across the UK:

In England VET teachers working in maintained secondary schools must meet the requirements of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), which includes a degree level qualification, GCSE ([58]General Certificate of Secondary Education (RQF/CQFW levels 1 and 2 corresponding to EQF levels 2 and 3 respectively); see also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
) level subjects in English, mathematics and science in addition to obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and completing an induction year. The same statutory requirement to hold QTS is not in place for VET teachers employed by publicly-funded free schools and some academies.

In Wales, those training to teach in local authority funded secondary schools are required to gain QTS and complete an induction period by meeting professional standards set by the Welsh Government. There is also a requirement in Wales to complete an undergraduate or postgraduate programme of Initial Teacher Education, which includes assessment against the QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). In addition there are minimum requirements for GCSE attainment including a standard equivalent to a grade B in the GCSE examination in English and/or Welsh and in mathematics.

Those teaching in FE colleges ([59]See
https://www.gov.uk/further-education-courses. Further education colleges are accessible to both young people below 18 and adults; programmes include general academic study, key competences, general vocational programmes, study that may be focused on a specific sector as well as off-the-job apprenticeship training.
) in the UK are usually referred to as lecturers (VET teachers) and those teaching work-based learning are normally called VET trainers. In England the criteria to teach at FE level are flexible in line with the criteria for teaching at higher education level, where the education provider decides upon the suitability of the teaching staff. Only voluntary professional registration exists (with the Society for Education and Training) ([60]Professional membership organisation for teachers and trainers in the UK. See:
https://set.et-foundation.co.uk/
). Advice about professional standards for teachers and trainers in education and training in England is provided by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) ([61]European training foundation (2014).
Professional standards for teachers and trainers in education and training – England [accessed 15.11.2018].
). In England it is not mandatory to obtain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status to teach in FE colleges, but it can be beneficial for teachers that also wish to teach at secondary level in maintained schools.

Teaching qualifications for the FE sector in England are available from higher education institutions and Ofqual-recognised awarding organisations ([62]Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual
). Teacher training also takes place in-house, and in both colleges for further and higher education. Associate Teachers work with less responsibility than Full Teachers/Lecturers in terms of curriculum development and delivery. In the FE sector, Associate Teachers are often known as instructors or trainers and should work under the supervision of a Full Teacher. FE lecturers in Northern Ireland must possess a degree level qualification or a qualification at QCF level 5 ([63]QCF qualifications (N. Ireland, see also Section
8. VET governance) continue to be offered until they are withdrawn by the awarding organisation.
) in a subject area relevant to the subject taught, plus three years relevant industrial experience. Lecturers must also possess or be enrolled in a teaching qualification, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (FE). In Wales, lecturers are required to hold a Certificate of Education, PGCE (FE) qualifications or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and those employed as teachers in institutions in the FE sector in Wales are required to have, or to be working toward, these relevant teaching qualifications.

In Scotland, teachers must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which sets the standards and qualifications required by teachers for professional practice. Scottish secondary VET teachers must hold a first degree, a teaching qualification such as the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), or an undergraduate equivalent, such as the Bachelor of Education (BEd) or a concurrent degree, where a teaching qualification is studied alongside another specialism, e.g. a science or English. Additionally, English or English as a second or other language at Higher (SCQF ([64]Scottish credit and qualifications framework.) level 6/EQF level 4) and mathematics or applications of mathematics at National 5 (SCQF level 5) level is a mandatory requirement. The Scottish College for Educational Leadership provides programmes of learning for teachers after they have qualified; most notably the new Into Headship programme at SCQF level 11 (EQF 7) will be mandatory for all new head teachers from 2019. VET Trainers and VET teachers/lecturers in tertiary colleges do not need to register with the GTCS, although it is desirable and strongly suggested by the Inspectorate of Education – Education Scotland. It is moreover considered preferential to hold a GTCS recognised further education teaching qualification or be working towards one.

The Education Workforce Council (EWC) is the independent regulator in Wales for VET teachers in local authority funded schools, further education (FE) VET teachers and learning support staff in both school and FE settings. From April 2015, the requirement for professional registration was extended to FE teachers, and from April 2016 registration is also compulsory for school/FE learning support workers. Secondary VET teachers must possess a university degree, GCSE ([65]General Certificate of Secondary Education (RQF/CQFW levels 1 and 2 corresponding to EQF levels 2 and 3 respectively). See also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
) subjects and a teaching qualification.

FE VET teacher qualifications available in England, N Ireland and Wales include the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE for FE), which is a postgraduate programme leading to Full Teacher status, and in England the Level 3 Award in Education and Training, which is a short introduction to FE teaching, the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training, and the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, which is the minimum qualification needed to obtain Full Teacher status.

There is no legal requirement for teachers in FE in England and N Ireland to complete CPD. On average, teachers completed 15 hours of CPD per year ([66]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/continuing-professional-development-teachers-and-trainers-working-adult-education-and-78_en)

The Education and Training Foundation operates in England to improve professionalism and standards in the FE and skills sector and provides opportunities for CPD. Ofsted is the inspection agency for the quality of teacher education in England.

The Scottish College for Educational Leadership provides programmes of learning for teachers after they have qualified; most notably the new Into Headship programme at SCQF level 11 (EQF 7) will be mandatory for all new head teachers from 2019. In Scotland, it is recommended that VET teachers undertake six days of CPD annually ([67]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/continuing-professional-development-teachers-and-trainers-working-adult-education-and-80_en)

In Wales, FE teachers should undertake 30 hours of CPD annually.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([68]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Various methods are in place to anticipate skill needs:

  • the Labour Force Survey (LFS) results, published regularly by the Office for National Statistics, contain labour market statistics;
  • other national, regional and sectoral surveys and audits, such as the Employer Skills Survey ([69]Department for Education (2018).
    Employer Skills Survey 2017: UK [accessed 12.10.2018].
    ) and Working Futures ([70]UKCES (2016).
    Working Futures 2014 to 2024 [accessed 22.2.2017].
    ), used along with the LFS to determine labour market needs and gaps;
  • skills audits and surveys of employers’ opinions.

Other stakeholders involved in providing information and recommendations for skills provision include:

  • the Confederation of British Industry, whose research anticipates a growing skills gap with a particular need for higher level skills ([71]CBI/Pearson (2016).
    The right combination [accessed 22.2.2017].
    );
  • the Department for Education (DfE) launched a model to anticipate future demand for, and cost of, apprenticeships in initial and continuing VET in a system driven by employer demand in 2017 ([72]Department for Education (2017).
    Long-term apprenticeship model appraisal [accessed 15.11.2018]
    );
  • the Long-term Apprenticeship Model forecasts apprenticeship starts and costs for both levy and non-levy paying employers.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are independent, employer-led organisations working towards defining skills needs and skills standards in their industries. National Occupational Standards (NOS) ([73]See Section
12. Shaping VET qualifications - design.
) have been developed by SSCs and Standards Setting Organisations working with employers and national and regional organisations to specify competences required in the workplace.

In England, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) work towards improving local needs and bring together local and regional stakeholders in business and local authorities. LEPs and the new powers to English cities in the Localism Act are designed to give more freedom and a greater voice to local enterprises, in order to create a more demand-led qualification and skills system with a local focus.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has developed Skills Investment Plans for key sectors in collaboration with Industry Leadership Groups and other key industry players by analysing labour market and skills supply research. Regional Skills Assessment Plans take into consideration regional challenges and opportunities. The Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning Analytical Services Unit is part of the Scottish Government and conducts research that supports policy developments in VET, higher education and lifelong learning. Topics for research include skills shortages and gaps and training opportunities. In Wales these functions are carried out by Knowledge and Analytical Services and the Labour Market Information Unit within the Welsh Government.

The Department for the Economy requires further education colleges in Northern Ireland to submit annual development plans in line with the Government’s priorities and adhere to Public Service Agreements and Funded Learning Unit models regarding finances in relation to strategic priorities. The skills barometer project built a model to estimate future skill needs and gaps by level, sector and subject area across a range of economic outcomes ([74]The project was undertaken as part of a three-year sponsorship arrangement between the Department for the Economy and the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre.).

VET qualifications - designers and concepts

The Regulated Qualifications Framework (England and N. Ireland) removed the requirements to structure qualifications in terms of units and learning outcomes ([75]The RQF gives awarding organisations increased freedom and flexibility to develop qualifications that meet specific labour market needs. Qualifications are now expected to be validated and supported directly by employers to ensure qualifications measure the knowledge and skills necessary for industry, rather than follow prescriptive rules and structures imposed by government agencies. Level descriptors have been revised, but the same eight framework levels (plus entry levels, see Table UK national qualifications frameworks in relation to the EQF in section
8) remain from the previous qualifications and credit framework (QCF), and the existing qualifications continue to be offered until they are withdrawn by the awarding organisation.
); however, qualifications currently available are largely unit- and outcomes-based and allow for flexibility in delivery of training, except for new apprenticeships in England ([76]In England most apprenticeship frameworks are in the process of being replaced by new apprenticeship standards developed by groups of employers from 2015/16. The new standards are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations, and apprentices are assessed by an independent assessor from industry or a separate training provider to the one the student attended at the end of the training.).

The qualification frameworks in Scotland and Wales continue to be learning outcomes and unit based. Adult learning in particular is often centred on individual learners’ needs both in terms of content and delivery method. Training programmes aimed at young people usually follow a more standardised structure. Qualifications and their broad content, unit and credit structure, learning outcomes and assessment standards are developed by independent awarding organisations in line with regulators’ regulatory requirements and industry experts’ and other stakeholders’ input.

Assessment of VET qualifications

Study programmes leading to formal qualifications at secondary and tertiary, non-university level are internally assessed within education providers and workplaces if appropriate, but are not awarded until assessments have been externally verified by awarding organisations (also called examination boards) in the UK. Education providers that are registered as examination centres by one or more awarding organisations can conduct examinations for qualifications awarded by these awarding organisations.

Assessment of practical training

Work-based learning is also assessed in workplaces by qualified assessors. Assessors are usually trained staff with industry experience and knowledge of assessment approaches. In order to assess some qualifications, the assessors are required to possess relevant assessor qualifications as well.

Apprentices completing the new apprenticeship standards in England ([77]See Section
7. Apprenticeships
) are assessed at the end of the programme of training by an Independent End Point Assessor who is required to have up-to-date and thorough knowledge and experience of the specific occupation and ideally possess a Level 3 (EQF 4) assessor qualification.

Validation of prior learning is also possible, see Section 14. Validation of prior learning

Awarding bodies

Awarding organisations are also responsible for awarding the final qualifications and organising external moderation of student achievement. These organisations are recognised to operate in England and Northern Ireland by Ofqual and CCEA ([78]Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.) Regulation respectively. Recognised Awarding Organisations are entitled to award accredited qualifications which are listed in the Register of Regulated Qualifications and part of the RQF.

Awarding organisations with approved qualifications registered on the CQFW ([79]Credit and qualifications framework of Wales.) must be recognised by Qualifications Wales and are listed on the Qualifications in Wales database.

The main awarding organisation in Scotland is the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which is a quasi-autonomous non-departmental public body and fulfils the roles of both an awarding body and an accreditation body. There are mechanisms in place to manage the potential conflict of interest between both parts of SQA; the Awarding Body is directly accountable to Scottish Government Ministers and the Accreditation function (SQA Accreditation) is accountable to a statutory Accreditation Committee and thence the Scottish Government. There are also a considerable number of other awarding organisations (including all higher education institutions with degree awarding powers) offering qualifications within the SCQF and also other organisations awarding qualifications often subject to accreditation by SQA Accreditation.

Occupational standards design - the role of employers

Most education and training programmes for young people that are publicly funded lead to a formally recognised qualification. This is part of the quality control process of VET. Education providers create curricula and deliver qualifications created by awarding organisations.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) ([80]Independent, employer-led organisations working towards defining skills needs and skills standards in their industries.) and other standard setting organisations, in association with employers, develop, maintain and update National Occupational Standards (NOS) to specify competences required to perform occupations and professions. NOS consist of units describing what individuals must be able to do, know and understand to perform specific jobs. NVQs/SVQs ([81]National vocational qualifications / Scottish vocational qualifications.) and many other vocationally related qualifications are entirely or largely based on NOS or, if relevant, learning outcomes that need to be met for certification. NOS are reviewed to ensure programmes and qualifications include new technologies, innovations and working methods used in the labour market. The Government in England have no longer been mandating the use of NOS within their vocational qualifications system after the end of 2016; however, qualifications designers in England can continue to use NOS if they wish. The development and review of NOS are still continued by the three Devolved Administrations, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Following the change from state funding of the SSCs to self-funded organisations, only the most effective SSCs that are valued by industry have remained operational.

National Skills Academies (NSAs) are employer-led organisations developing the infrastructure and learning resources needed to deliver specialist skills to industry sectors in England. NSAs also strive for training programmes resources to be up-to-date and relevant in the current job market.

VET reform in England - more direct employer engagement in VET design ([82]Department for Education (2018).
Introduction of T levels: policy paper [accessed 15.11.2018]. See also: Institute for Apprenticeships (2019).
What is an apprenticeship standard? [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The design process of VET is changing in England by moving away from a system in which a large number of awarding organisations develop qualifications based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) to a system where the outline content of new vocational qualifications (T levels) based on the knowledge, skills and behaviours related to occupations will be developed by employer-led consortia within 15 main technical routes. New apprenticeship standards (Trailblazers) are already being developed within the same 15 pathways. T level qualifications will be developed by a single awarding organisation for each of the occupational pathways. T levels, designed to be delivered in classroom-based settings, will be phased in from 2020 whilst apprenticeship trailblazers are currently run in parallel with the traditional apprenticeship frameworks.

The Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) is led by employers to strengthen their engagement in apprenticeships and aims to ensure that apprenticeships will be closely linked to areas of economic growth and job opportunities. SAAB oversees the development of apprenticeship frameworks and standards. The Wales Apprenticeship Advisory Board, have taken up a key role in developing policy objectives to ensure that apprenticeships are aligned to changing needs of the industry in Wales.

The Strategic Partnership strategy provides the background for UK Government financed projects in which enterprises, employer federations, trade unions, trade associations, public bodies and other stakeholders collaborate to solve sectoral and regional issues including learning and skills.

Strategic development of VET in England

Strategic development of skills and lifelong learning in England is the remit of the Department for Education (DfE). Design of future VET in England is influenced by reviews such as the Wolf Review of pre-19 vocational education, the Whitehead Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications ([83]Whitehead, N, UKCES (2013).
Review of adult vocational qualifications in England [accessed 15.11.2018].
) and the Richard Review of Apprenticeships ([84]Richard, D. (2012).
The Richard review of apprenticeships [accessed 22.2.2017].
). The former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the Skills for Sustainable Growth strategy ([85]BIS (2010).
Skills for sustainable growth [accessed 15.11.2018].
) in response to the Wolf Review with details of a planned skills reform. The Plan for Growth ([86]HM Treasury and BIS (2011).
The Plan for growth [accessed 22.2.2017].
) strategy mentions that ‘the creation of a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe’ is one of the key skills actions and measures to be achieved. Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills sets out how Apprenticeship reforms, and funding only good quality VET in England, will be accelerated ([87]BIS/DfE (2013).
Rigour and responsiveness in skills [accessed 15.11.2018].
) (see VET learning options about Tech Levels and the Technical Baccalaureate under 4. EQF 4, ISCED 351, 354 [college-based VET]). Fixing the foundations – the UK Government’s productivity plan from 2015 – puts focus on the need to develop a highly skilled workforce to increase productivity ([88]BIS (2015).
Fixing the foundations[accessed 22.2.2017].
). Most recently the Post-16 Skills Plan sets out to streamline VET in England into 15 clear routes leading to skilled employment, either through two-year college courses or apprenticeships ([89]DfE/BIS (2016).
Post-16 skills plan [accessed 15.11.2018].
) as recommended in the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education ([90]Sainsbury, D. (2016).
Report of the Independent panel on technical education [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Strategic development of VET in Scotland

The Scottish Government provides details of skills support in the Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth ([91]Scottish Government (2010).
Skills for Scotland: accelerating the recovery and increasing sustainable economic growth [accessed 15.11.2018].
), the Review of Post-16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland ([92]Scottish Government (2011).
Review of post-16 education and vocational training in Scotland [accessed 15.11.2018].
), the National Youth Work Strategy ([93]Scottish Government (2014b).
National youth work strategy 2014-19 [accessed 22.2.2017].
) and Adult Learning in Scotland: Statement of Ambition ([94]Scottish Government (2014c).
Adult learning in Scotland, statement of ambition[accessed 22.2.2017].
). The Government started a reform of the post-16 education which aims to increase efficiency and flexibility in learner provision and value for money as well as better meet regional needs. A further aim is to simplify the skills system so it is easier to understand for both individuals and employers. The Curriculum for Excellence includes more skills-for-work options for young people in addition to a greater emphasis on entrepreneurship ([95]Scottish Government (2009).
Innovation for Scotland [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The group responsible for the review of the curriculum comprised representatives from national and local Government, Education Scotland, higher and further education institutions, schools and the Scottish Qualifications Authority in addition to business interest groups, teacher unions and parent organisations. The Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce’s final report ([96]Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce (2014).
Education working for all! Final report [accessed 15.11.2018].
) from June 2014 includes recommendations on preparing school leavers for work, college education focused on employment and progression in learning, Apprenticeships focused on higher level skills and industry needs, and engaging employers with education and recruiting young people.

Strategic development of VET in Wales

The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government emphasises the importance of skills development in relation to economic growth and sustainable jobs. Qualifications are developed according to the CQFW high level principles. Future VET will be shaped by the Review of Qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales ([97]Welsh Government (2012).
Review of qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales [accessed 22.2.2017].
) (see Section 2.2.3 regarding the Welsh Baccalaureate), the policy statement on skills ([98]Welsh Government (2014).
Policy statement on skills [accessed 22.2.2017].
) and the Welsh Government’s Skills implementation plan ([99]Welsh Government (2014).
Skills implementation plan [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The latter emphasises the importance of aligning skills provision with the current and future jobs market, local needs and employer engagement. Welsh Government published Towards 2030: a Framework for Building a World-Class Post-Compulsory Education System for Wales in March 2016 ([100]Welsh Government (2016).
A framework for building a world-class post-compulsory education system for Wales [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The report’s recommendations include the aim to develop clear and flexible learner-centred learning and career pathways and to introduce more state regulation into the current market-demand driven education system.

Strategic development of VET in Northern Ireland

The Department for Employment and Learning’s (now: Department for the Economy) vision for skills development is articulated within the Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland, Success through Skills – Transforming Futures ([101]DEL (2011).
Success through skills: transforming futures [accessed 4.6.2019].
), which sets the overarching strategy for the development of skills (including vocational education and training) in Northern Ireland. This strategy will be realised by focusing on those entering the labour force for the first time; up-skilling the existing workforce; and ensuring that those currently excluded from the labour force are provided with the skills to compete for jobs, retain jobs and progress up the skills ladder. To help achieve these ambitions, the Department works closely with the Department of Education to ensure there is a strong collaboration between schools, further education colleges, universities and employers.

Other reviews in Northern Ireland aiming to enhance and shape future VET policy include the new Northern Ireland Strategy for Apprenticeships ([102]DELNI (2014).
Securing our success: the Northern Ireland strategy on apprenticeships [accessed 4.6.2019].
) which recommends that Apprenticeships should be at least two years long and start from level 3 (EQF level 4) (see 3. EQF 4, ISCED 354 [Apprenticeship]). The Strategy for youth training from 2015 describes plans to create a baccalaureate-style curriculum that includes work-based learning that also replaces apprenticeship provision at level 2 ([103]Department for the Economy (2015).
Generating our success [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The 2016 Further Education (FE) Strategy gives colleges in Northern Ireland a major role in delivering apprenticeships and youth training as well as featuring prominently in strategic advisory forums and sectoral partnerships tasked with matching skills demand and delivery ([104]Department for the Economy (2016).
Further education means success [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Strategies to support learning opportunities for vulnerable groups

In Wales, the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) recognises lifelong learning such as vendor/industry/professional qualifications and smaller ‘bite size’ units of accredited learning. Such achievements can be highly positive and help to raise the aspirations of disadvantaged learners. The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) also recognises lifelong learning and bite size pieces of learning from all sectors and all types of organisations, including many aimed at disadvantaged and vulnerable learners. The SCQF includes two levels which are below level 1 of the EQF. At these levels the emphasis is placed on the learning which takes place as a result of learners’ participation in, and the experience of, situations as well as the carrying out of basic tasks. The inclusion of these lower levels allows the SCQF to be an inclusive NQF for all learners including those who may not have been successful in mainstream education.

The Northern Ireland Strategy for Further Education, Further Education Means Success published in January 2016, recommends that colleges, in partnership with organisations in the voluntary, community, public and private sectors, support diversity and social inclusion through widening access to provision for those with low or no skills or who experience other barriers to learning. The strategy commits the colleges to adopting international best practice in the use of technology enhanced learning to support and improve teaching and learning, and adopt flexible approaches to learning to meet the needs of learners and employers.

Additional funding for learning opportunities of vulnerable people is also available in England and Scotland in section: 9. VET financing mechanisms

Most education and training programmes for young people that are publicly funded lead to a formally recognised qualification. This is part of the quality control process of VET.

VET regulators and inspection/accreditation agencies in formal VET

Different inspection and review bodies exist in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; they are list in the table below (see also section 8 VET governance):

England

Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) – schools and further education colleges

Scotland

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) - school, further education and higher education qualifications not awarded by HEIs

Education Scotland - schools and further education colleges

Wales

Qualifications Wales - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) - schools and further education colleges

Northern Ireland

Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) - school, further education and non-degree higher education qualifications

Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) – schools, further education colleges and other providers delivering publicly-funded training programmes

Source: ReferNet UK.

QA arrangements for VET qualifications

Qualifications are designed and issued by independent awarding organisations. Those organisations set question papers or other assessments for their qualifications and examine candidates as well as reviewing examination centres’ assessment of candidates and reviewing and verifying the work and standards of the centres. The processes of external review of assessment in examination centres are often referred to as verification. Verification is conducted by qualified individuals with quality assurance of assessment qualifications at level 4 (EQF level 5).

During the review leading to the withdrawal of the regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), for England, Ofqual ([105]The regulator of all vocational qualifications within the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland).) removed the requirement for awarding organisations to submit new vocational qualifications for accreditation before they are registered within the qualifications framework. Secondary school qualifications such as GCSEs ([106]General Certificate of Secondary Education (RQF/CQFW levels 1 and 2 corresponding to EQF levels 2 and 3 respectively). See also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
) and technical qualifications with detailed design rules are still subject to a spot check of the qualifications’ specification and a set of specimen assessment papers and mark schemes ([107]Ofqual.
Accreditation requirement [accessed 20.2.2019].
). The responsibility for quality assurance and relevance of other qualifications rests with the awarding organisations, although periodic Ofqual audits take place.

In 2016, CCEA ([108]Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.) Regulation took over the regulation responsibility of vocational qualifications, within the RQF, that are exclusively provided in Northern Ireland. The work includes the recognition and monitoring of awarding organisations that operate in Northern Ireland and the accreditation of the qualifications they offer in Northern Ireland against published criteria and conditions.

Organisations which provide non-university qualifications can elect to be accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority Accreditation in accordance with the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) regulatory principles, but this is not mandatory. All programmes accredited by SQA will be credit rated and included on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). However, organisations can also get programmes credit rated and included on the SCQF through a range of organisations which carry out this function. SQA’s Accreditation function has a mandatory remit to accredit certain vocational qualifications, including all Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). In addition, if an alternative competence based qualification is to be used as the mandatory qualification in a Modern apprenticeship framework then it must also be accredited by SQA. Certain other “licence to practice” qualifications must be accredited by SQA including the security sector and the licenced trade sector ([109]SQA Accreditation (2014).
Regulatory principles [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Qualifications Wales was established in 2015 to take over the responsibility of approving and reviewing qualifications, in addition to developing the design of new qualification requirements and commissioning awarding organisations to develop new qualifications, in Wales. Qualifications Wales is undertaking a long term programme of review and reform of vocational qualifications in each major sector of employment. Four out of eight sector reviews have been or are close to be completed ([110]Qualifications Wales.
Sector reviews [accessed 20.2.2019].
). The reviews aim to find out whether current qualifications are effective in meeting the needs of learners as well as addressing the needs of employers, learning providers and professional bodies.

QA arrangements in apprenticeship

The Institute for Apprenticeships started operations in England in 2017 as an independent statutory body with a remit to develop and maintain quality criteria for apprenticeships and assessment plans, support employer-led development of new apprenticeship standards and regulate the quality of apprenticeships, including both approval functions for apprenticeship standards and quality assurance of assessment ([111]Institute for Apprenticeships.
What we do [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The institute is due to also take over responsibility for implementing the T level reform and change its name to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in 2019.

Employer-led sectoral partnerships are being set up in Northern Ireland as part of the apprenticeship reform to inform the approach for ongoing assessment and testing at the end of apprenticeships.

Non-formal training

Training organisations offering non-formal qualifications may register with the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education. Investors in People (IiP) is a nationally recognised business standard encouraging enterprises to invest in training. IiP certification gives an indication that an employer is committed to the development of workers.

There are generally less transfer opportunities to further and higher education for qualifications obtained outside a formal qualifications framework in the UK. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is granted at institutional discretion based on the RPL policy of individual awarding organisations in England.

Guidelines for the Recognition of Prior Informal Learning form part of the SCQF ([112]Scottish credit and qualifications framework.) in Scotland. There was previously a RPL network connected to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership which published a RPL toolkit ([113]SCQF (2010).
Facilitating the recognition of prior learning: toolkit. https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/RPLToolkitUpdatedDecember2010.pdf [accessed 15.11.2018].
) and an online guide that aims to increase and improve recognition of non-formal and informal learning as well as formal learning. While the RPL Network is no longer in operation, the tools and supporting workshops continue to be available.

In England, RARPA (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement in non-accredited learning) was furthermore devised by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (now: the Learning and Work Institute) and the former Learning and Skills Development Agency to aid recognition and validation of learning that does not lead to a formal award. RARPA includes a staged process in assessing individual learners’ achievement by taking into consideration their starting point, identification of learning objectives, recording of progress and end of programme assessment.

Lifelong Learning mechanisms have been developed to allow non-formal education and training, such as community learning, in-company training and continuing professional development, to be recognised in accordance with the high level principles of the Credit and Qualifications Framework of Wales ([114]CQFW (2015). Quality assured lifelong learning (QALL) - Formal and non-formal learning. Department for Education and Skills, Welsh Government.
https://gweddill.gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/151013-qall-e-brochure-en.pdf
).

The Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland aims to encourage more people, who may have less in the way of formal qualifications, to consider applying for places in higher education on the basis of accredited prior experiential learning (APEL). The Northern Ireland University and College Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) Guidelines ([115]Belfast Metropolitan College [s.d].
Higher education accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) process [accessed 15.11.2018].
) were developed to facilitate entry to higher education – particularly Foundation degrees – for those who lack the required formal academic qualifications for higher education entry by accepting vocational qualifications and experiential learning partly or in full. The guidelines were endorsed by the universities and college sector and draw upon good practice within the sector and across the UK.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([116]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Across the UK, austerity measures have seen many cuts in state funding in recent years. Whilst the pre-16 schools budget has remained largely protected, reductions have occurred in the 16 to 19 and 19+ further education and skills budgets. However, various initiatives to raise numbers and the status of VET are in place in the UK ([117]The UK Government and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set individual budgets regarding education and skills funding.).

Training leave (England)

The Right to Request Time to Train initiative is a legal right in England to allow workers in businesses with more than 250 employees to request time to take up work-related training that will benefit the business. Training can be both formal and non-formal and take place in-house, at an external training organisation or be delivered through e-learning. Whether the business will pay for the training or pay the employee’s salary during the training is left up to the discretion of the employer.

Trade Union Learning Funds (all four countries)

The Trade Union Learning Fund in England is administered by Unionlearn and provides funding to develop the capacity of trade unions and Union Learning Representatives to work with employees, employers and learning providers, to encourage workplace learning. The Scottish Union Learning Fund, the Wales Union Learning Fund and the Union Learning Fund for Northern Ireland fulfil similar roles.

The Youth Engagement and Employment Action Plan (Wales)

The action plan goal is to help young people move back into education, training and employment. Measures taken to achieve this include the Jobs Growth Wales initiative that supports training and work experience. An evaluation of the action plan based on 2015 data found indications of a reduction in the rates of young people who are NEET, but that it was too early to determine the overall success of the plan ([118]Welsh Government (2016b).
Youth engagement and progression framework: formative evaluation follow-up study [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Financial support measures for specific target groups

Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) were replaced with Individual Training Accounts (ITA) ([119]https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/what-we-do/employability-skills/sds-individual-training-accounts/) in October 2017. ITAs are payments for the unemployed and not currently in education or those in low paid work in Scotland who wish to learn a new skill or develop their skills further within recognised training programmes. ITAs focus on vocational courses and qualifications in a curriculum area aligned with the Scottish Government’s Labour Market Strategy.

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is available to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish students between the ages of 16 and 18 depending on the students’ and their families’ financial situation. Bursary Funds are available via schools and colleges for 16-18 year olds who struggle to afford the cost of participating in their studies in England. Bursary Funds are specifically targeted towards vulnerable young people, such as those in care, on income support or those with disabilities, but also to other students struggling to afford transport, food or equipment costs. FE providers also receive learner support funding to support eligible adult learners with a specific financial hardship which is preventing them from taking part and/or continuing in learning.

Free lunches for disadvantaged students were extended to 16-18 year old learners at further education colleges (that offer predominantly vocational courses) in England from the autumn of 2014. These free meals were previously only available for disadvantaged students in secondary schools with sixth form provision.

The Entitlement Framework (Northern Ireland)

The Entitlement Framework (EF) came into force in Northern Ireland in 2015, building on the Vocational Enhancement Programme which encouraged collaboration between post-14 school provision and vocational FE college provision. The EF guarantees in law that all learners in Northern Ireland have access to a broad and balanced curriculum with a minimum of 21 courses at lower and upper secondary level, a third of which must be applied and a third, general. Qualifications under the EF contain a range of courses that can be individually tailored to enhance students’ employment chances and meet Government priority skills areas. Post-primary schools work together in local Area Learning Communities alongside further education colleges to plan and provide the full range of general and applied course choices for the young people in an area.

Use of EU tools to support mobility actions

The UK has the main building blocks in place to support the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). ECVET aims to give people greater control over their individual learning experiences and promote mobility between different countries and different learning environments. ECVET activities are included in the UK Erasmus+ National Agency (the British Council and Ecorys (UK)) yearly work programme. UK ECVET Experts, appointed by Ecorys UK, raise awareness of ECVET to key stakeholders and promote and encourage organisations involved in mobility to use ECVET in geographical mobility linking ECVET to Erasmus+.

The Apprenticeship Delivery Board (England)

The board consists of representatives from Barclays Banks, Fujitsu UK, the TV company Channel 4 and the City of London amongst others, that will meet and advise the government on how best to expand apprenticeships ([120]UK Government (2018).
Apprenticeship delivery board [accessed 15.10.2018].
). The board furthermore works with the National Apprenticeship Service and the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network ([121]Department for Education [s.d.].
Apprenticeship Ambassador Network [accessed 15.11.2018].
) to stimulate interest in and take up of apprenticeships in England.

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (Scotland)

The fund is delivered by the Scottish Funding Council and is available to Scottish businesses that contributed towards the UK Government’s apprenticeship levy. Funding can support up-skilling and re-training of individual employees in partnership with Scottish colleges. Employers in Scotland are eligible for a payment of up to £4 000 when employing an unemployed young person as an apprentice through Scotland’s Employer Recruitment Incentive. This initiative is targeting young people facing barriers to employment, such as care leavers, carers, ex-offenders and disabled people.

Financial support for apprenticeships

Access is a Welsh Government programme that provides financial support of up to £3 000 to employers to take on unemployed adults (age 18+) as apprentices. The financial support may be used as a contribution towards wages and up to £1 000 in addition may be used for job-related skills training.

An Employer Incentive Payment of between £250 and £1 500 is available to employers whose apprentices successfully completes a full apprenticeship framework in Northern Ireland.

Careers advisors

Careers advice is offered by a range of professionals, including teachers and careers advisers employed in the education, social work and youth work sectors as well as job centre personnel. Their training varies from in-service training to formal and professional careers guidance qualifications. The Careers Profession Task Force’s report Towards a strong careers profession ([122]Careers Profession Task Force (2012).
Towards a strong careers profession [accessed 15.11.2018].
) made detailed recommendations on raising the professional nature of the workforce. One area of concern identified was that careers advisers were too often under-qualified. Following on from this, the Institute of Employability Professionals has introduced qualifications in employability services along with Education Development International. A unified professional body for the careers profession, the Careers Development Institute, maintains a register of Career Development Professionals and a framework for professional development of careers advisors in the UK.

Qualifications in Career Development, such as those developed by the former sector skills council Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), are available at RQF levels 4, 5 and 6, but the Careers Profession Alliance’s current voluntary registration requires a level 6 qualification for full registration. Qualifications at postgraduate level are also being developed.

Scottish Careers Advisors are required to hold a postgraduate qualification in career guidance and development in addition to an SDS training plan. Advisers in the Northern Ireland Careers Service similarly should possess a relevant postgraduate level qualification as well as a work-based qualification.

Careers advice services

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) provides a Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) service across Scotland. SDS works in partnership with education providers and job centres. Targets specified in the More Choices, More Chances strategy include young people at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training). SDS has also set up the My World of Work website containing CIAG resources. The Commission on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce recommends incorporating careers advice before subject specialisation in secondary schools, to involve employers more closely with schools, educate teachers to provide comprehensive advice, and include career management skills in the curriculum.

In December 2017 the Careers Strategy for England was published. It sets out a long term plan to build a world class careers system that will help young people and adults choose the career that’s right for them. The strategy has been developed in partnership with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation which has developed a set of benchmarks, based on rigorous national and international research, which define excellence in careers guidance ([123]Gatsby Charitable Foundation (2013).
Good career guidance [accessed 15.11.2018].
). The strategy is co-ordinated through an expanded role for the Careers & Enterprise Company, working across all the Gatsby Benchmarks to help schools and colleges deliver the ambitions in the strategy.

The National Careers Service (NCS) provides advice on learning, training and employment for young people and adults in England. The service is delivered by local area based contractors who provide access to face-to-face and telephone advice to adults 19 years (or 18 if unemployed or in custody) and over. The NCS also comprise the National Careers Service Helpline (NCH), which offers web chat, text and telephone support to adults and young people, and National Careers Service website gives customers access to information and advice. The National Apprenticeship Service in England runs an Apprenticeship and a Traineeship Vacancy Service, which includes an online search function and mobile app.

Careers Wales offers an all age careers guidance service. The Welsh strategy for further development of careers services is outlined in Future ambitions: Developing careers services in Wales ([124]Welsh Government (2010).
Future ambitions: developing careers services in Wales [accessed 15.11.2018].
). Careers Wales also maintains an Apprenticeship Matching Service available for employers and individual applicants.

The Northern Ireland Careers Service provides an all age, impartial careers education and guidance service to promote employment, education and training opportunities. Careers advisers operate throughout Northern Ireland from Job Centres, Jobs and Benefits Offices and stand-alone careers offices. The Careers Service also offers careers guidance via other channels such as telephone, email and webchat. Careers advisers use evidence outlined in the Department for the Economy’s Skills Barometer to highlight the skills and qualifications most valued by employers and the sectors expected to experience employment growth, thus helping to balance skills supply and demand. Advisers also work with careers teachers in schools and further education colleges to provide impartial advice and guidance to pupils from 14-19. In Northern Ireland, careers education is a statutory area of learning in the common curriculum for all grant-aided post-primary schools. In addition, further education colleges and higher education institutions offer careers guidance to their students. The strategy for careers education and guidance in Northern Ireland, Preparing for Success 2015-2020 which was published in March 2016 sets out a coherent and forward thinking strategic vision for the careers system in Northern Ireland ([125]DfE (2018)
Preparing for success 2015-20 [accessed 15.11.2018].
).

Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) is also offered in schools, colleges, higher education institutions and third sector bodies across the UK. Careers advice is available from trade unions as well and Unionlearn has developed their Strategy for Supporting Learners through their Union Learning Representatives, specifically targeting those who are disadvantaged in the workplace. Schools and colleges in England have a duty to provide access to independent careers guidance for pupils in school years 8 to 13 (ages 12-18) and for 19 to 25 year-olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Government funding for careers provision forms part of overall school and college budgets and it is left up to the discretion of the education provider how much is spent. Local authorities no longer have an obligation to provide careers guidance, but still have a duty to encourage, enable and assist young people to take part in education and training. Careers education and guidance is also provided by schools and colleges in Wales for students aged 14-19. The Careers and the World of Work Framework also forms part of the curriculum for 11-16 year-olds in maintained schools in Wales.

Jobcentre+ advisers work within schools in England to deliver impartial career advice intended to support schools in engaging young people (aged 12 to 18) identified as being at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) or who face potential disadvantage in the labour market. The initiative, known as the Pathfinder programme, will provide students with information on traineeships and apprenticeships, accessing work experience, the local labour market and soft skills that employers expect.

Ofsted’s Learner View website allows FE college students in England to rate their college. The results are available for users to search and view to gather an indication of the performance of a college.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has added information about vocational courses and general careers advice to their website under the name UCAS Progress.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5, 6

Higher apprenticeships

ISCED 551, 554, 665

Higher apprenticeships leading to EQF level 5 and 6, ISCED 551, 554, 665
EQF level
5, 6
ISCED-P 2011 level

551, 554, 665

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

18 (16 in Scotland)

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

24 (22 in Scotland)

Length of a programme (years)

1 – 6 (1-4 in Scotland) ([186]Apprenticeships at this level usually last one to six years (one to four years in Scotland), with the duration varying depending on the programme, employment contract and the needs of the apprentice. In Northern Ireland, Higher level apprenticeships must be a minimum of two years duration.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both:

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised:

  • as one or two days per week at an education and training provider; or
  • through longer, less frequent blocks of learning;
  • evening classes are also offered.

Learning options

Higher Apprenticeships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks ([188]Which include a work contract, a technical/occupational qualification within the RQF/CQFW and other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.).

In England, new apprenticeship standards developed by groups of employers from 2017/18 are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations.

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include:

  • a work contract;
  • SVQs (as mandatory components) or alternative competence based qualifications; and
  • Work Place Core Skills that comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others;
  • Sectors may decide to include other qualifications, such as HNCs/HNDs or other vocational qualifications either as a mandatory or optional enhancement.

Scottish Technical and Professional apprenticeships do not include Work Place Core Skills; rather they include a range of SVQ units designated as career skills. Technical and Professional apprenticeships may include work-based qualifications other than SVQs (or alternative competence based qualifications) such as SQA HNDs or professional qualifications as the mandatory qualification.

Main providers

Colleges, independent training providers, universities

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

The programme is delivered as apprenticeship (minimum 20% - one day a week for a full-time apprentice- is ‘off the job’ training).

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • on-the-job apprenticeship training;
Main target groups

Higher apprenticeships are for adult (18+) learners, many of whom may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

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

Entry to these non-degree higher education qualifications are usually based on possession of an EQF level 4 qualification from school or college in either vocational or academic subject areas. Entry is allowed at the discretion of the college guided by the awarding body.

Specific entrance requirements to apprenticeships vary depending on the occupational area and the level of the apprenticeship framework/standard.

Degree apprenticeships (in Scotland: Higher and Graduate apprenticeships) create a different pathway to obtaining university degrees. Whilst academic ability, including grades and numerical and reasoning skills are considered by the university or college, candidates are also interviewed for a job with a company (unless they are already employed with the company). Both employers and universities must be satisfied the applicant meets their respective requirements. There may therefore be a joint recruitment process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of framework Higher apprenticeships (see Section 18. LEARNING FORM): In England, new apprenticeship standards currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning and are linked to specific occupations. Apprentices are continually assessed by an independent assessor from industry or a separate training provider to the one the student attended at the end of the training. Apprentices also undergo end-point assessment via a government-approved end point assessment organisation.

Assessment of Scottish Modern apprenticeships (see Section 18. LEARNING FORM): In Scotland, end-point assessment is not mandatory for Scottish Modern Apprenticeships. As Scottish Modern Apprenticeships are offered across a broad range of sectors, the format of the training and assessment varies considerably across the apprenticeships available.

Assessment of Technical and Professional apprenticeships (see Section 18. LEARNING FORM): As with the Scottish Modern Apprenticeships, for the Technical and Professional apprenticeships end-point assessment is not mandatory for Scottish Modern Apprenticeships. The format of the training and assessment varies considerably across the apprenticeships available.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

  • higher apprenticeships,
  • higher level apprenticeships,
  • degree apprenticeships,
  • graduate apprenticeships,
  • professional apprenticeship,
  • technical apprenticeships and modern apprenticeships.

A certificate may be awarded along with a vocational qualification, such as:

  • Foundation degree;
  • BTEC Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, along with NVQs and SVQs.

Degree and professional apprenticeships result in the award of a Bachelor degree (EQF 6).

Examples of qualifications

Economist, project manager, quantity surveyor ([189]UCAS: Find a Job (Apprenticeships: Degree/Higher):
https://careerfinder.ucas.com/jobs/degree/#browsing [accessed 11.6.19].
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

There are good articulation options for progression from higher VET programmes at RQF levels 4 and 5/SCQF levels 7 and 8 (EQF level 5), such as HNC and HNDs, to the second or third year of a Bachelor degree in a related field in the UK.

However, admission and transfer arrangements are made at the discretion of the admitting institution. See VET programme box ‘College-based higher VET for information about progression opportunities in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland all Higher level apprenticeship opportunities must offer a linear progression pathway from EQF Level 4 to 5 to 6 to 7, either to further vocational learning, or to part-time provision.

Possession of a Bachelor degree allows entry to postgraduate programmes at universities and other qualifications at EQF level 7.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

information not available

General education subjects

Y

Apprenticeships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks ([190]A work contract, a formal technical/occupational qualification.) and include

  • general subjects relevant to the occupational profile
Key competences

Scottish Modern apprenticeship include (see also learning options in section 18)

  • Work Place Core Skills comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 5

College-based

higher VET

ISCED 551, 554

College-based higher VET leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 551, 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

551, 554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to) ([191]Although short courses and individual units of study can be completed, most full-time VET programmes at this level take between one and two years to complete. BTEC/SQA higher national programmes are vocational short-cycle higher education programmes under the framework for qualifications in the European higher education area (FQ-EHEA) and are either certificates (approximately one year) or diplomas (two years). Programmes can take longer when studied part-time.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programme is also available in adult education/continuing training.

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Learners entering these programmes are over 18.

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

VET learning options include:

  • full-time school-based learning;
  • part-time in adult/continuing education;
  • classroom-based programme in conjunction with an apprenticeship.

VET learning options per qualification type:

  • BTEC/SQA ([193]Scottish Qualifications Authority.) Higher Nationals are often studied part-time;
  • SVQs/NVQs are often taken by employed people or in conjunction with an apprenticeship, but are also available in college settings.
Main providers

Colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops;
  • in-company training;
  • on-the-job apprenticeship training ([194]All the options listed may all be included in programmes of this type, but the inclusion and amount depends on the programme.).
Main target groups

Vocational study at this level encompasses stand-alone qualifications for applicants aged 18+.

These study programmes may also be completed by employees looking for career progression.

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

Entry to these non-degree higher education qualifications are usually based on possession of an EQF level 4 qualification from school or college in either vocational or academic subject areas.

Entry is allowed at the discretion of the college guided by the awarding body.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

A wide variety of qualifications exist at this level ([195]See also Main vocational qualifications offered in the UK under Section 6. VET within education and training system)

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

  • BTEC Higher Certificates and Diplomas;
  • NVQs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland:

  • National Progression Awards;
  • National Certificates;
  • Professional Development Awards;
  • SVQs in Scotland.
Examples of qualifications

Quantity surveyor, education administrator, paramedic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

There are good articulation options for progression from higher VET programmes at RQF levels 4 and 5/SCQF levels 7 and 8 (EQF level 5), such as Higher National Certificates (HNC) and Higher National Diplomas (HND), to the second or third year of a Bachelor degree in a related field in the UK.

However, admission and transfer arrangements are made at the discretion of the admitting institution, though in Scotland the Government and Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have provided strategic funding to help build more substantive and sustained articulation arrangements through the use of regional ‘articulation hubs’. This funding and the hubs are no longer in place, but universities and tertiary colleges have built into their Outcome Agreements with the SFC ([196]http://www.sfc.ac.uk/funding/outcome-agreements/outcome-agreements.aspx) the requirement to sustain and ideally increase such articulation activity. This is also supported by recommendations from the Commission on Widening Access set up by the Scottish Government, with a Commissioner on Fair Access in place to help drive such activity.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Qualifications frameworks in England and the devolved administrations ([197]Credit and qualifications framework in Wales (CQFW), Scottish credit and qualifications framework (SCQF) and the previous qualifications and credit framework in Northern Ireland (QCF).) describe levels, qualifications and units in terms of learning outcomes as well as credits and notional learning hours.

Qualifications included in the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland in place since 2015) have, from 31 December 2017, been described in terms of total qualification time ([198]Ofqual (2015).
Total qualification time criteria [accessed 22.2.2017].
) as credit allocation to units and qualifications is not compulsory within the RQF.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. While NVQs sit within the RQF and CQFW, SVQs sit within the SCQF.

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Higher apprenticeships

ISCED 767

Higher apprenticeships leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 767. Higher apprenticeships at Doctoral level have not yet been developed.
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

767

Usual entry grade

Information not available

Usual completion grade

Information not available

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to) ([199]Programmes at this level usually take between six months to a year to complete.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

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

Learners in these programmes are over 18.

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised

  • as one or two days per week at an education and training provider; or
  • through longer, less frequent blocks of learning;
  • evening classes are also offered.

Learning options

Higher Apprenticeships in England, and Wales are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks ([201]Which include a work contract, a technical/occupational qualification within the RQF/CQFW and other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.).

Higher level apprenticeships frameworks in Northern Ireland consist of an academic element, which contains a strong work-based element, combined with on-the-job training, and may include technical work-based qualifications as appropriate.

In England, new apprenticeship standards developed by groups of employers from 2017/18 are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations.

Scottish apprenticeships include a work contract. Technical and Professional apprenticeships include career skills and may include work-based or alternative competence based qualifications or professional qualifications as the mandatory qualification.

Main providers

Colleges and higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Work-based learning and in-company training are included in programmes of this type, but the amount depends on the programme.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • on-the-job apprenticeship training;
Main target groups

Higher apprenticeships are for adult learners, who may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

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

Degree apprenticeships were introduced to create a different pathway to obtaining university degrees. Whilst academic ability, including grades and numerical and reasoning skills are considered by the university or college, candidates are also interviewed for a job with a company (unless they are already employed with the company). Both employers and universities must be satisfied the applicant meets their respective requirements. There may therefore be a joint recruitment process.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of Higher apprenticeships (see Section 18. LEARNING FORM): Higher Apprenticeships have end-point assessment, where apprenticeships are assessment on both their academic learning and occupational competences.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

  • higher apprenticeships;
  • higher level apprenticeships;
  • graduate apprenticeships;
  • degree apprenticeships; and
  • professional apprenticeships.

An apprenticeship certificate may be awarded along with a Master’s degree.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Higher apprenticeships at Doctoral level have not yet been developed.

Possession of a Master’s degree awarded from a university with degree awarding powers in the UK allows progression to Doctoral study in the UK at institutional discretion.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Y

Technical and professional apprenticeships include career skills.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Higher VET

ISCED 767

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

767

Usual entry grade

Information not available

Usual completion grade

Information not available

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to) ([202]Programmes at this level usually take between six months to a year to complete.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The programme is also available in adult education/continuing training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

Learners in these programmes are over 18.

  
ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Programmes are often studied part-time by employed people, but are also available in college settings that include work experience.
  • Courses are often also offered through distance learning.
Main providers

Colleges and higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Work-based learning and in-company training are included in programmes of this type, but the amount depends on the programme.

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

Many students will be in employment whilst studying.

Main target groups

These study programmes are, in the main, completed by employees looking for career progression and to improve professional practice.

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

Entry to these non-degree higher education qualifications are usually based on possession of a university degree or other non-degree higher qualifications. Work experience in a related subject is often also taken into consideration.

Entry is allowed at the discretion of the college guided by the awarding body.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

A wide variety of qualifications exist at this level, including BTEC Professional qualifications, such as Extended Level 7 Diplomas along with NVQs (National vocational qualifications) and SVQs (Scottish vocational qualifications).

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These study programmes are, in the main, completed by employees looking for career progression and to improve professional practice.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

General education subjects

General subjects are not usually included as the programmes are narrowly specialised to meet the skills demands of a specific profession.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Qualifications frameworks in England and the devolved administrations ([204]Credit and qualifications framework in Wales (CQFW), Scottish credit and qualifications framework (SCQF) and the previous qualifications and credit framework in Northern Ireland (QCF).) describe levels, qualifications and units in terms of learning outcomes as well as credits and notional learning hours.

Qualifications included in the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland in place since 2015) have, from 31 December 2017, been described in terms of total qualification time ([205]Ofqual (2015).
Total qualification time criteria [accessed 22.2.2017].
) as credit allocation to units and qualifications is not compulsory within the RQF.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. While NVQs sit within the RQF and CQFW, SVQs sit within the SCQF.

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

1 605 000 students in England in the 16-18 age group participated in education and training at various levels in 2017, which accounts for 86% of all young people in this age group.

 

Participation of 16-18 year olds in education and training in England in 2017 (%)

Source: Department for Education (2018). Participation in education, training and employment: 2017 [accessed 15.11.2018].

50 500 students in Scotland in the 16-19 age group participated in education at various levels in 2018, which accounts for 71% of all young people in this age group. Apprenticeship and non-formal and informal training are not included in this number.

Participation of 16-19 year olds in education and training in Scotland in 2018 (%)

Source: Skills Development Scotland (2018). Annual Participation Measure for 16 – 19 year olds in Scotland 2018 [accessed 15.11.2018].

 

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2/3

Apprenticeship,

ISCED 351,352

Apprenticeship programmes leading to EQF level 2 and 3, ISCED 351/352
EQF level
2/3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 352

Usual entry grade

10 (also available to adults)

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to) ([128]Apprenticeships at this level usually last one year, but the duration can be longer depending on the programme, employment contract and the needs of the apprentice. There is a requirement for apprenticeships to last at least 12 months in England.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

([130]Also available in adult education/continuing training.)

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

([131]Apprentices are employees. For learners up to 18, the programme is 100% government funded. From age 19, 50% is funded, but the remainder is paid by the company, therefore it is free of charge to the learner/apprentice.)

Is it available for adults?

Y

Apprentices may complete this type of study at age 16, but many apprentices are adult learners who may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised

  • as one or two days per week at an education and training provider; or
  • through longer, less frequent blocks of learning;
  • evening classes are also offered.

Learning options

Apprenticeships at this level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks ([132]Which include a work contract, a formal technical/occupational qualification and Functional Skills/Essential Skills/Key Skills/GCSEs in English, mathematics and other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.).

In England ([133]New apprenticeship standards are being developed by employer-led consortia (Trailblazer groups); see Section: VET governance/apprenticeships in England.), new apprenticeship standards are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations, and apprentices are assessed by an independent assessor from industry or a separate training provider to the one the student attended at the end of the training.

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include a work contract and are required to include as mandatory components SVQs ([134]Scottish vocational qualification.) or alternative competence based qualifications and Work Place Core Skills that comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others.

Main providers

Colleges, independent training providers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

The programme is delivered as apprenticeship (minimum 20% - one day a week for a full time apprentice- is ‘off the job’ training)

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults. Apprenticeship programmes at this level have different target groups depending on the programme:

Traineeships in England are designed to provide young, unemployed people who possess little work experience and low qualifications with skills and work experience in preparation for apprenticeships and employment. The core content comprises literacy and numeracy, work preparation training and a work placement. This programme is tailored to individual candidates’ needs and should be completed in less than six months.

Traineeships are being introduced in Northern Ireland at EQF level 3 and will allow progression to RQF level 3 (EQF 4) apprenticeships. A baccalaureate-style curriculum is being created, which will include work-based learning and allow students to continue into an apprenticeship or further education or be skilled enough to find sustained employment.

Scottish learning providers offer additional skills and employability training opportunities, through the Employability Fund that prepare young people for Modern Apprenticeships or employment. Training is targeted towards seven key sectors and programmes include employability skills, basic occupational skills, employer experience and lead to a recognised vocational qualification or certification ([135]Qualifications vary depending on the needs of the person and the local area, more information at:
https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/what-we-do/employability-skills/employability-fund/
).

Traineeships are available for 16-18 year olds in Wales and provide needs-based training to help learners progress to further learning, apprenticeships and employment through provision at three levels.

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

Apprentices may complete this type of study at age 16, but many apprentices are adult learners who may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

Entrance requirements to apprenticeships vary depending on the occupational area and the level of the apprenticeship framework/standard. Competition for some apprenticeship places is fierce and good secondary qualifications at EQF level 3 in English and mathematics are sometimes necessary.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Qualifications offered within Scottish and Welsh apprenticeship frameworks and in the apprenticeship frameworks that include QCF qualifications in England and Northern Ireland ([136]Level descriptors have been revised, but the same eight framework levels remain from the previous qualifications and credit framework (QCF), and the existing qualifications continue to be offered until they are withdrawn by the awarding organisation.), are unit-based which enables credit transfer.

The new apprenticeship standards in England are; however, not unit-based and are assessed through a final examination, which makes the process of credit transfer more dependent on the discretion of the learning provider.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

  • intermediate apprenticeships (RQF);
  • foundation apprenticeships (CQFW); and
  • modern apprenticeships (SCQF).

An apprenticeship certificate ([137]Attesting that the qualification was delivered as part of an apprenticeship programme) is awarded along with a vocational qualification, such as BTEC First Awards, Certificates and Diplomas, NVQs and SVQs ([138]National vocational qualifications and Scottish vocational qualifications.).

Examples of qualifications

Bricklayer, motor vehicle technician and legal secretary

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Apprenticeship programmes and VET qualifications at this level usually provide entry to the labour market and whilst apprenticeships are linked to a profession ([139]Such as bricklayer, motor vehicle technician and legal secretary.), not all qualifications are linked to an occupational standard.

Some apprenticeships at this level provide the first step towards a more narrowly defined apprenticeship or training programme at a more advanced level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Apprenticeships in England ([140]New apprenticeship standards are being developed by employer-led consortia (Trailblazer groups); see Section: VET governance/apprenticeships in England.), Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks which include a work contract, a formal technical/occupational qualification and

  • Functional Skills/Essential Skills/Key Skills/GCSEs in English, mathematics; and
  • other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.

Traineeships in England:

  • the core content comprises literacy and numeracy ([141]The programme is tailored to individual candidates’ needs and should be completed in less than six months.).
Key competences

Scottish learning providers offer additional skills and employability training opportunities, through the Employability Fund that prepare young people for Modern Apprenticeships or employment. Training is targeted towards seven key sectors ([142]Programmes lead to a recognised vocational qualification or certification. Qualifications vary depending on the needs of the person and the local area, more information at:
https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/what-we-do/employability-skills/employability-fund/
) and programmes include

  • employability skills ([143]As well as basic occupational skills, and employer experience.).

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include ([144]In addition to a work contract and SVQs Scottish vocational qualifications as mandatory components, or alternative competence based qualifications and employability skills.):

  • work place core skills that comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 3

School-based VET,

ISCED 351, 352

School-based VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351, 352
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 352

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to) ([145]Although short courses and individual units of study can be completed, most full-time VET programmes at this level take between one and two years to complete. In Scotland National Certificates and National Progression Awards are National Qualifications Group Awards in which students accumulate credits towards distinctive group awards. Programmes can take longer when studied part-time.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

([147]Also available in adult education/continuing training.)

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For learners up to 18, VET is funded by government agencies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is also available in adult education/continuing training.

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

VET learning options include:

  • full-time school-based learning;
  • part-time in adult/continuing education;
  • school-based programme in conjunction with an apprenticeship.

VET learning options per qualification type:

  • BTEC Firsts (RQF level 2 qualifications) ([148]BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) qualifications are offered in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. For a detailed description of the BTEC Firsts, see: Pearson.
    About BTEC Firsts [accessed 15.2.2018].
    ) are often studied part-time and in conjunction with other qualifications;
  • National vocational qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish vocational qualifications (SVQs) are often taken by employed people or in conjunction with an apprenticeships; also available in college settings;

GCSEs ([149]General certificate of secondary education.) in vocational subjects can normally be studied alongside general academic subjects.

Main providers

Colleges, secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school workshops;
  • in-company training;
  • on-the-job apprenticeship training ([150]All the options listed may all be included in programmes of this type, but the inclusion and amount depends on the programme.).
Main target groups

VET programmes may be taken as:

  • alternatives to compulsory general academic study at secondary schools; or
  • as stand-alone qualifications completed after moving sideways from secondary school to starting VET at a college;
  • adults may also start VET at this level.

In Scotland:

  • National Certificates are primarily aimed at people in full-time education and National Progression Awards are usually shorter, more flexible programmes for employees or people returning to work, though are also taken as part of a wider curriculum of qualifications within the school or college setting.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

No specific entry requirements apply.

Students may complete this type of VET at age 15/16. Age 16 marks the end of the compulsory schooling age, although the age to which individuals are required to take part in education or training, either part-time or full-time, was raised in England to 18 in 2015 in a bid to improve the skill levels of the work force.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

A wide variety of qualifications exist at this level (see also Section VET governance):

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

  • BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) Awards, Certificates and Diplomas ([151]See also Pearson:
    What is a BTEC? [accessed 15.2.2019].
    );
  • the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in vocational subjects.

In Scotland:

  • NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) ([152]National qualifications are offered in both vocational and academic subjects.);
  • SVQs (Scottish Vocational Qualifications);
  • National Certificates (vocational qualifications);
  • NPAs (National Progression Awards) (vocational qualifications).
Examples of qualifications

Heating and ventilation engineer, motor vehicle technician, care worker ([153]Qualifications not all linked to an occupational standard.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Qualifications at this level may provide entry to the labour market in professions such as heating and ventilation engineer, motor vehicle technician or care worker, but are not all linked to an occupational standard and are mostly intended to prepare students for further vocational specialisation at a higher level.

In Scotland, National Progression Awards are National Qualifications Group Awards that allow entry to more advanced study and employment.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

GCSEs in vocational subjects can normally be studied alongside general academic subjects.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Qualifications frameworks in England and the devolved administrations ([154]Credit and qualifications framework in Wales (CQFW), Scottish credit and qualifications framework (SCQF) and the previous qualifications and credit framework in Northern Ireland (QCF).) describe levels, qualifications and units in terms of learning outcomes as well as credits and notional learning hours.

Qualifications included in the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland in place since 2015) have, from 31 December 2017, been described in terms of total qualification time ([155]Ofqual (2015).
Total qualification time criteria [accessed 22.2.2017].
) as credit allocation to units and qualifications is not compulsory within the RQF.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. While NVQs sit within the RQF and CQFW, SVQs sit within the SCQF.

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

Information not available

EQF 4

Apprenticeship

ISCED 354

Apprenticeship programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12 (also available to adults)

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to) ([156]Apprenticeships at this level usually last one year, but the duration can be longer depending on the programme, employment contract and the needs of the apprentice. There is a requirement for apprenticeships to last at least 12 months in England.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

(in England)

N

(in N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland)

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England)

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

([158]Apprentices are employees. For learners up to 18, the programme is 100% government funded. From age 19, 50% is funded, but the remainder is paid by the company, therefore it is free of charge to the learner/apprentice.)

Is it available for adults?

Y

Apprentices may complete this type of study at age 18, but many apprentices are adult learners who may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised:

  • as one or two days per week at an education and training provider; or
  • through longer, less frequent blocks of learning;
  • evening classes are also offered.

Learning options

Apprenticeships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks ([159]Which include a work contract, a formal technical/occupational qualification and Functional Skills/Essential Skills/Key Skills/GCSEs in English, mathematics and other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.)

In England ([160]New apprenticeship standards are being developed by employer-led consortia (Trailblazer groups); see Section: VET governance/apprenticeships in England.), new apprenticeship standards are currently run in parallel with the frameworks and comprise on-the-job and off-the-job training and learning, linked to specific occupations, and apprentices are assessed by an independent assessor from industry or a separate training provider to the one the student attended at the end of the training.

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include a work contract and are required to include as mandatory components SVQs- Scottish Vocational Qualification or alternative competence based qualifications and Work Place Core Skills that comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others.

Scottish young people on Foundation apprenticeships

  • are not employed;
  • spend time in school and on work placements (approximately one day per week);
  • Successful students may transfer to a modern apprenticeship on completion.
Main providers

Colleges, independent training providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

The programme is delivered as apprenticeship (minimum 20% - one day a week for a full time apprentice- is ‘off the job’ training) Information not available.

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Apprentices may complete this type of study at age 18, but many apprentices are adult learners who may already be employed prior to starting the apprenticeship programme.

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

Most pupils take examinations for the GCSE ([161]General certificate of secondary education.) at age 15/16 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The grades achieved here play an important role in determining the future study opportunities within VET.

In Scotland, National 4 and 5 qualifications (EQF 2/3), normally also taken at age 15/16, are the most common entrance qualifications to VET.

Entrance requirements to apprenticeships vary depending on the occupational area and the level of the apprenticeship framework/standard. Competition for some apprenticeship places is fierce and good secondary qualifications at EQF level 3 in English and mathematics are sometimes necessary.

Aligned with the Scottish Government’s policy agenda of Developing the Young Workforce, Foundation apprenticeships have been created to offer school pupils (at EQF level 4) the chance to undertake some components of a Modern apprenticeship in Scotland whilst still in school studying other subjects like National 5s and Highers. These apprenticeships are linked to key sectors of the Scottish economy, so young people are getting industry experience which will help them kick-start a successful career in their chosen field.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Qualifications offered within Scottish and Welsh apprenticeship frameworks and in the apprenticeship frameworks that include QCF qualifications in England and Northern Ireland ([162]Level descriptors have been revised, but the same eight framework levels remain from the previous qualifications and credit framework (QCF), and the existing qualifications continue to be offered until they are withdrawn by the awarding organisation.), are unit-based which enables credit transfer.

The new apprenticeship standards in England are; however, not unit-based and are assessed through a final examination, which makes the process of credit transfer more dependent on the discretion of the learning provider.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

  • Level 3 apprenticeships;
  • advanced apprenticeships; and
  • in Scotland: foundation apprenticeships and modern apprenticeships.

An apprenticeship certificate ([163]Attesting that the qualification was delivered as part of an apprenticeship programme.) is awarded along with a vocational qualification, such as BTEC National Awards, Certificates and Diplomas along with NVQs and SVQs ([164]National vocational qualifications and Scottish vocational qualifications.).

Examples of qualifications

Electrician, veterinary nurse and dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Apprenticeship programmes and VET qualifications at this level are designed to provide entry to the labour market and are linked to a profession.

Progression opportunities to higher apprenticeship or training programmes at a more advanced level also exist.

Entry to first level university degree study is also possible depending on the qualifications achieved.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Apprenticeships in England ([165]New apprenticeship standards are being developed by employer-led consortia (Trailblazer groups); see Section: VET governance/apprenticeships in England), Wales and Northern Ireland are offered in the shape of apprenticeship frameworks which include a work contract, a formal technical/occupational qualification and

  • Functional Skills/Essential Skills/Key Skills/GCSEs in English, mathematics; and
  • other general subjects relevant to the occupational profile.
Key competences

Scottish learning providers offer additional skills and employability training opportunities, through the Employability Fund that prepare young people for Modern Apprenticeships or employment. Training is targeted towards seven key sectors ([166]Programmes lead to a recognised vocational qualification or certification. Qualifications vary depending on the needs of the person and the local area, more information at:
https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/what-we-do/employability-skills/employability-fund/
) and programmes include

  • employability skills ([167]As well as basic occupational skills, and employer experience.).

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include ([168]In addition to a work contract and SVQs Scottish vocational qualifications as mandatory components, or alternative competence based qualifications and employability skills.)

  • work place core skills that comprise ICT, problem solving, numeracy, communication and working with others.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 4

College-based VET

ISCED 351, 354

College-based VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 351, 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to) ([169]Although short courses and individual units of study can be completed, most full-time VET programmes at this level take between one and two years to complete. Programmes can take longer when studied part-time.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

(in England)

N

(in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland)

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England).

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

For learners up to 18, VET is funded by government

agencies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is also available in adult education/continuing training.

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

VET learning options include:

  • full-time school-based learning;
  • part-time in adult/continuing education;
  • school-based programme in conjunction with an apprenticeship.

VET learning options per qualification type:

  • BTEC Nationals are often studied part-time and in conjunction with other qualifications;
  • SVQs/NVQs ([171]Scottish vocational qualifications / national vocational qualifications.) are often taken by employed people or in conjunction with an apprenticeship, but are also available in college settings.

VET learning options

In England, 16-19 year olds are expected to follow a 16-19 study programme consisting of a main vocational qualification (or general academic qualification) and including work-related learning as well as English and mathematics, unless the required level has already been achieved in these two subjects.

Qualifications taught in England at RQF level 3 may be categorised as either technical or applied general qualifications. Qualifications receiving sufficient endorsements from employers and trade and professional associations are categorised as Tech levels (Technical level qualifications as a mark of quality and relevance to the labour market. Applied general qualifications provide a broader study of a vocational area, and need the public backing of three universities to achieve the quality mark. Students completing a study programme started in 2014 or later that includes one of the Tech levels, a level 3 core mathematics qualification and an extended project will achieve the Technical Baccalaureate ([172]See also Department for Education (2014).
The Technical Baccalaureate Performance Table Measure
).

The Welsh Baccalaureate contains academic and vocational qualifications alongside a wider programme of learning that includes an individual project and three challenges that enable young people to develop critical skills including problem solving and creativity. This programme comprises literacy, numeracy, digital literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving, planning and organisation, creativity and innovation and personal effectiveness, as well as general academic and/or vocational qualifications in addition to the skills challenges that require learners to demonstrate research skills, entrepreneurship and participate in community activities.

Main providers

Colleges, secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school workshops;
  • in-company training;
  • on-the-job apprenticeship training ([173]All the options listed may all be included in programmes of this type, but the inclusion and amount depends on the programme. BTEC and NVQ/SVQ programmes combine theoretical and practical vocational education and can form part of an apprenticeship programme.).
Main target groups

VET programmes may be taken as:

  • alternatives to compulsory general academic study at secondary schools; or
  • as stand-alone qualifications completed after moving sideways from secondary school to starting VET at a college;
  • adults may also start VET at this level.

Target groups and education strategies in place:

The ‘Opportunities for All’ pledge offers a guaranteed place in education or training for 16-19 year olds in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, a guarantee of training towards level 1-3 qualifications (EQF levels 2-4) is offered through the Training for Success programme for all unemployed 16-17 year old school leavers with extended eligibility for those with a disability and from an in-care background.

The Northern Ireland Strategy for Youth Training includes a policy commitment for the future system that all 16–24 year olds who require training at level 2 (EQF 3) will have the opportunity to participate.

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

Most pupils take examinations for the GCSE ([174]General certificate of secondary education.) at age 15/16 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The grades achieved here play an important role in determining the future study opportunities within VET.

In Scotland, National 4 and 5 qualifications (EQF levels 2/3), normally also taken at age 15/16, are the most common entrance qualifications to VET.

Students may complete this type of VET at age 18/19. Age 16 marks the end of the compulsory schooling age, although the age to which individuals are required to take part in education or training, either part-time or full-time, was raised in England to 18 in 2015.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

A wide variety of qualifications exist at this level (see also section VET governance):

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

  • BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) National Awards, Certificates and Diplomas;
  • NVQs (National vocational qualifications);
  • applied subjects at upper secondary level are also available in the General Certificate of Education Advanced level (GCE A level) and Advanced Subsidiary programmes and the Welsh Baccalaureate.

In Scotland:

  • National Progression Awards;
  • National Certificates;
  • Professional Development Awards;
  • SVQs (Scottish vocational qualifications);
  • National Qualifications, such as Higher and Advanced Higher are offered primarily in academic, but also some vocational subjects.
Examples of qualifications

Electrician, veterinary nurse, dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Candidates holding RQF level 3 ([175]RQF levels are still to be referenced to EQF levels.
- ‘An update on developments in England and Northern Ireland was presented in the EQF advisory group in February 2019, and an updated referencing report to reference the RQF and FHEQ to the EQF is planned to be presented in June 2019’. Source: Cedefop (2019). European inventory on NQF (2018) UK- England and N. Ireland, p.16.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf
- ‘An updated referencing report has been prepared by the SCQF Partnership and presented to the EQF advisory group in December 2018.’ Source:
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_scotland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf p. 14.
- ‘Wales is currently in the process of updating the referencing report due to the changes in the level descriptors, the creation of Qualification Wales and the changes to quality assurance in higher education. This report will be presented to the EQF advisory group in June 2019.’ Source:
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_wales_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf p. 15.
) or SCQF level 6 vocational qualifications (EQF level 4) may be allowed access to selected first cycle university programmes at institutional discretion.

The Curriculum for Excellence ([176]See also:
https://www.gov.scot/policies/schools/school-curriculum/
) in Scotland creates opportunities for students to combine a wider range of qualification types, which means that a larger variety of secondary qualifications are used to apply for tertiary education.

Vocational RQF qualifications at level 3 that are classified as Applied General qualifications are designed to provide a clear route from vocational education to higher education in England.

The majority of young university entrants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland hold general academic A level (RQF/CQFW level 3) ([177]CQFW level 3 are referenced to EQF level 4, RQF levels are still to be referenced to EQF levels.) qualifications ([178]RQF levels are still to be referenced to EQF levels.
- ‘An update on developments in England and Northern Ireland was presented in the EQF advisory group in February 2019, and an updated referencing report to reference the RQF and FHEQ to the EQF is planned to be presented in June 2019’. Source: Cedefop (2019). European inventory on NQF (2018) UK- England and N. Ireland, p.16.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_and_northern_ireland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf
- ‘An updated referencing report has been prepared by the SCQF Partnership and presented to the EQF advisory group in December 2018.’ Source:
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_scotland_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf p. 14.
- ‘Wales is currently in the process of updating the referencing report due to the changes in the level descriptors, the creation of Qualification Wales and the changes to quality assurance in higher education. This report will be presented to the EQF advisory group in June 2019.’ Source:
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_wales_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2018.pdf p. 15.
), but recent years have seen a steady rise in applicants being accepted with only vocational qualifications and a mixture of academic and vocational qualifications ([179]UCAS (2015).
End of cycle report 2015 [accessed 10.1.2019].
).

In Scotland, the majority of young university entrants will hold Scottish Higher qualifications (SCQF level 6 / EQF level 4). However, the final report of the Commission on Widening Access in 2016 recommended that the admissions processes of post-16 institutions recognise alternative pathways to higher education and do not unnecessarily disadvantage those who choose them, and that by 2018 a Framework for Fair Access should be published ([180]Scottish Government (2016b).
The final report of the Commission on Widening Access [accessed 15.11.2018].
). This was published in May 2019 ([181]Scottish Government (2019).
Fair access framework. [accessed 4.6.2019].
).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

([182]BTEC and NVQs do not include general subjects.) ([183]See more on the study programmes curriculum under Section: Assessment of learning outcomes, above.)

In England, 16-19 study programmes include English and mathematics, unless the required level has already been achieved in these two subjects.

In England, RQF level 3 Tech level (quality mark) qualifications include level 3 core mathematics.

The Welsh Baccalaureate includes general academic qualifications.

Key competences

The Welsh Baccalaureate comprises:

  • literacy,
  • numeracy,
  • digital literacy,
  • critical thinking and problem-solving,
  • planning and organisation,
  • creativity and innovation,
  • personal effectiveness, and
  • entrepreneurship.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Qualifications frameworks in England and the devolved administrations ([184]Credit and qualifications framework in Wales (CQFW), Scottish credit and qualifications framework (SCQF) and the previous qualifications and credit framework in Northern Ireland (QCF).) describe levels, qualifications and units in terms of learning outcomes as well as credits and notional learning hours.

Qualifications included in the RQF (Regulated qualifications framework in England and N. Ireland in place since 2015) have, from 31 December 2017, been described in terms of total qualification time ([185]Ofqual (2015).
Total qualification time criteria [accessed 22.2.2017].
) as credit allocation to units and qualifications is not compulsory within the RQF.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are competence-based, practically oriented qualifications that are based on National Occupational Standards and often assessed in the work place. While NVQs sit within the RQF and CQFW, SVQs sit within the SCQF.

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available