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General themes

VET in Croatia comprises the following main features:

Distinctive features ([4]Adopted from: Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Croatia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8108_en.pdf
):

VET in Croatia has two main roles. Alongside preparation for labour market entry, it enables progression to tertiary education, primarily through four-year VET programmes, where learners spend approximately half of their time acquiring general competences. Almost 80% of four-year VET graduates take matura exams and around 60% of VET graduates continue to higher education.

The level of participation in VET at upper secondary level is one of the highest in the EU (69.6 % compared to the EU average of 47.8 % in 2017). Work based learning is present in all forms of VET, while work placements are present mostly in apprenticeship programmes.

Croatia has the lowest rate of early school leaving in the EU (3.3 % in 2018, compared to the EU average of 10.6 %) and has already met its Europe 2020 national target of 4%.

Support services are available for learners at all VET schools. Legislation requires schools to employ either a psychologist or a specialist in pedagogy, who monitors teaching and learning processes and oversees extra-curricular activities. Most schools employ both types of support staff. Some have other professionals that help learners address learning difficulties.

Self-assessment at VET schools is part of the quality assurance system, which has been developed in line with the EQAVET. Systematic collection of information and follow-up of quality improvement processes at VET schools is possible thanks to the comprehensive online tool e-Kvaliteta. The tool also allows comparison between schools.

The education ministry and Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education ASOO are continuing with the VET curriculum reform that begun in 2008 with the introduction of the first unit-based and credit-rated qualifications and learning-outcomes-oriented modular curricula. New curricula are based on occupational and qualifications standards developed in cooperation with employers. The system for recognition of prior learning/validation of non-formal and informal learning is being prepared.

Determined VET reform efforts are necessary to update curricula in order to be more relevant to labour market needs. The share of work-based learning and its quality needs to be increased. More effort will be placed on widening VET reform with the support of EU structural funds in 2014-20. Special emphasis will be put on curriculum reform, the development of sectoral and VET curricula, and improving work-based learning in all types of VET. The VET system development programme 2016-20, adopted in September 2016, addresses these issues with measures, which, among others, aim to align VET with labour market needs, develop new curricula and strengthen the work-based learning model.

Youth unemployment has been gradually decreasing (23.8% in 2018 among 15 to 24 year-olds), as well as the share of youth (aged 15 to 24) neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET) to 13.6% in 2018. Youth guarantee schemes are expected to help young people get into employment, apprenticeship, traineeship or get the chance to continue their education or training within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed. Both the education, science and technology strategy (October, 2014) and the VET system development programme 2016-20 aim to improve the skills and competences of Croatia's citizens and the country’s economic competitiveness.

Participation in adult learning/continuing training was 2.9% in 2018, among the lowest in the EU. There are incentives for entrepreneurs in the form of tax deductions of up to 60% of adult education and training costs (80% for small and medium-sized enterprises).

However, uptake by companies is low, due to lack of awareness and the complexity of administrative procedures involved. New measures to address these issues are foreseen in the EU Structural Funds operational programmes for 2014-20.

Data from VET in Croatia Spotlight 2016 ([5]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Croatia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8108_en.pdf
), updated in May 2018.

Population in 2018: 4 105 493 ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 3.7% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and emigration that has been steadily intensifying since Croatia joined the EU in 2013 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing. The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unfavourable demographic trends combined with obsolete enrolment principles, higher educational aspirations of learners and parents and the deterioration of crafts and industry sectors has made a big impact on enrolment in three-year VET upper secondary programmes. The increased economic migration in the period that followed accession to the EU also contributed to this trend. Overall decrease in the number of learners at upper secondary level has been reflected in a sharp decline in enrolment rates in three-year VET programmes over the past years. Specifically, the number of students finishing three-year programmes has fallen from 21 000 in 1998 to 9 965 in 2017, declining as a share of upper secondary education graduates from 40% to 22%.

There is only a small number of VET providers that offer education in minority languages (9 institutions, 618 enrolled students). Language options include Serbian and Italian, followed by Hungarian, and VET providers are located in regions with higher representation of minority communities.

In 2016, the number of small and medium enterprises equalled 92% of all SMEs registered in 2008.

SMEs’ contribution to the Croatian ‘non-financial business economy’ is of key importance. In 2017, 60.8% of overall value added and 68.1% of employment is generated by SMEs, exceeding the respective EU averages of 56.8% and 66.4%.

In 2017, the positive trend in business registrations that started in 2016 continued. 16 759 businesses were registered, 8.3% more than in 2013. SMEs are concentrated in major urban centres (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek) and the surrounding areas.

According to total revenues, the leading industrial branches are the production of food, drinks and tobacco, chemical and oil industries.

Tourism is an important driver of the economy and generates strong multiplying effects spilling over to other economic fields. The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP is of 25.0% for the year 2017, which grew to 25.1% of GDP until October 2018 and is expected to increase by 3.3% until the end of 2018. The prediction the World Travel and Tourism Council makes for 2028 is that tourism will constitute 31.7% of the Croatian GDP.

The Operational program ESF Efficient Human Resources 2014 - 2020 identified five priority areas in VET: tourism and hospitality, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT, health care and agriculture.

Besides a fair number of regulated professions, the labour market is flexible to some extent.

Regulated professions extend over a range of sectors relevant to VET, including occupations in crafts and trades, medical care, tourism, transportation, etc.

The list of regulated professions is published by the Ministry of Labour: https://mrms.gov.hr/UserDocsImages/dokumenti/Uprava%20za%20tr%c5%bei%c5%a1te%20rada/Popis%20reguliranih%20profesija%20u%20Republici%20Hrvatskoj_3.1.2019.pdf 

Total unemployment ([8]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 7.1% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([9]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The figure above shows unemployment rate is significantly higher among young people (aged 15-24) then among those aged 25-64 and it is distributed unevenly between those with low and high-level qualifications.

Since 2013, for the 25-64 age group, the gap has increased, with unemployment rate steadily decreasing for the unskilled workers (11.4%) and still high in comparison to those with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (7.2%) and to those with tertiary education (5.7%) in 2018.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 67.9% in 2014 to 77.7% in 2018 ([10]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 (+9.8 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.0 pp) in the same period in Croatia ([11]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018, 14.9% of population (aged 25-64) in Croatia attained lower education level (ISCED 0-2), 59.7% attained medium education level (ISCED 3-4) and 25.4% attained tertiary education (ISCED 5-8).

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

10.3%

69.6%

Not applicable

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

At tertiary level, 29% of higher education students attended professional programmes in 2017 ([12]Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrt02 [extracted 21.5.2019].).

In 2017, there were 55% male students enrolled in initial VET, against 45% female students ([13]Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs05 [extracted 21.5.2019].).

Male students are more represented in 3-year industrial programmes in IVET, whereas female students are more represented in 5-year programme for general care nurses.

Croatia traditionally has very low rate of early school leaving, 3.3% in 2018. It is significantly lower than 10.6%, the EU28 average.

 

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].

 

 

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].

 

The share of adults participating in training programmes in 2018 remains among the lowest in the EU (2.9%) and significantly below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

The national target for participation in lifelong learning is set at 5% by 2020 ([14]The Strategy for Science, Education and Technology from 2014.).

In general, all IVET learners are under 19 years old, with some exceptions, such as students with disabilities.

The majority of CVET learners are in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups. The available data on IVET and CVET learners by age is not comparable.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED level 2) (hereafter basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Early and preschool education is offered from very early age of six months and is provided at childcare institutions (dječji vrtići). One-year pre-school education is compulsory before enrolling into primary education.

Primary end lower secondary education is integrated and lasts eight years; typically from age 6 to 15, the latest till 21 for special education needs learners.

Upper secondary education includes four-year general education gymnasium programmes, art education and initial VET programmes that might last from one to five years.

VET specialist development programmes (strukovno specijalističko usavršavanje i osposobljavanje) are envisaged as further education programmes (specialization) at the post-secondary level (CROQF/EQF 5, 120 ECVET/ECTS) for learners who completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher). Up to the present moment, these programmes have not been developed, nor delivered by VET providers in Croatia.

Access to tertiary education is ensured through achieving adequate results in State matura (exams) (državna matura) for general education, art education and four-year programmes VET graduates. The majority of the three-year VET programmes are offered as apprenticeship and lead to labour market. Graduates can enter an optional one-to two-year bridge programme, and if successful, take matura exams to qualify for tertiary education. In order to enrol into higher education, VET graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Professional higher education is offered at polytechnics in the form of short-cycle undergraduate programmes (ISCED 5), professional undergraduate programmes (ISCED 6) and graduate professional specialists programmes (ISCED 7).

Initial and continuous VET is offered. The majority of initial VET programmes are three-year or four-year programmes leading to formal upper secondary VET qualifications. These programmes might be delivered as:

  • apprenticeships (alternation schemes);
  • school-based, with training periods at employers;
  • dual education programmes (in experimental phase since 2018/19 school year in four occupations only).

Delivery modes of upper secondary IVET programmes

IVET programmes

Delivery modes offered

 

Apprenticeship programmes

School-based VET with periods of training at the workplace

Dual education programmes)

Three-year VET programmes for crafts (WBL performed through practical training in licenced crafts and/or legal entities and school workshops)

x

   

Three-year VET programmes for industry and related education programmes (WBL is performed through practical training in school workshops, in the workplace and in school laboratories, and through professional practice performed in the workplace (included in most programmes))

 

x

x

Four-year VET programmes (WBL is performed through practical training in school workshops and laboratories and through professional practice performed in the workplace (included in most programmes))

 

x

x

Five-year VET programme – general care nurse (WBL is performed through training in school facilities, laboratories and clinical training)

 

x

 

Source: Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education.

IVET at upper secondary level lead to VET qualifications at levels 3 and 4 that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF). There is an offer of one-to two-year VET programmes leading to levels 3, but these are minor pathways, for less than 1% of upper secondary learners. There is one five-year programme only (general care nurse) with the implementation mode different from other programmes (two-year general education training and three-year VET programme)

Four-year VET programmes combines general and vocational education on average in the same shares. Therefore, they have good progression opportunities to tertiary education if learners successfully pass the matura exams that are entrance exams.

Most three-year programmes are delivered as apprenticeships leading to labour market. Graduates who want to progress to tertiary education will take one-to two-year bridging programme that will allow them to take matura exams.

Professional education and training programmes at tertiary non-university level are not considered VET.

Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning regulated by the Adult Education Act ([15]Zakon o obrazovanju odraslih (NN 17/07, 107/07, 24/10):
https://www.zakon.hr/z/384/Zakon-o-obrazovanju-odraslih
).

Currently, there are two types of apprenticeship programmes in Croatia:

  • Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO);
  • experimental dual education programme based on the Model of Croatian Dual Education.

Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO)

As of school year 2004/05, the apprenticeship scheme is implemented in three-year initial VET programmes for crafts and trades, also known as the Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO).

Previously, programmes in dual education were introduced in the school year 1995/96. Their main characteristic was the separation of the general education from the vocational theoretical and practical education. In consequence, students were issued two certificates: one for general education and the other for vocational education. Due to the complexity, dual education programmes were replaced by the Unified Model of Education (JMO).

JMO programmes consist of two parts - general education part and apprenticeship. Apprenticeship consists of professional-theoretical part and practical training and exercises. The share of work-based learning at apprenticeship providers is about 60% of the programme.

Apprenticeship providers are normally business entities such as craft business workshops or trade associations, institutions or cooperatives, licenced to offer practical training and exercises for apprentices. In order to get the licence, apprenticeship providers must ensure conditions for students to acquire competencies in the real work environment, including a student mentor with adequate qualifications and pedagogical competences.

The student in JMO programme has the status of regular student and apprentice in craft. Entry requirements include completed primary education, demonstrated medical fitness for particular profession, as well as placement and apprenticeship contract with a licenced apprenticeship provider.

The apprenticeship contract in writing is concluded between the apprenticeship provider and the student or his/her parents or guardian if the student is not of legal age. It is not a contract of employment. The apprenticeship contract also prescribes the obligation to pay monthly awards to the student.

JMO programmes end with formal qualification at EQF level 4, ISCED 353. Students finish their education with the preparation and the presentation of the final practical assignment and their school issues a certificate of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu). After successful completion of JMO programmes students also take journeyman exams (pomoćnički ispit). The main destination of graduates is the labour market. As of 2014, graduates from three-year VET programmes can enter an optional one- to two-year bridge programme and, if successful in gaining a second VET qualification, can also take matura exams to access higher education. JMO graduates can also apply for the master craftsman exam after two to three years of work experience in the field.

Various stakeholders are involved in the implementation of JMO programmes. The Ministry of Science and Education has the overall responsibility. It also decides on enrolment quotas, approves VET curricula and adopts the programmes with prior consent of the ministry in charge of crafts. The ministry responsible for crafts shares the responsibility with the ministry in charge of education. It defines and supervises the licencing procedure for apprenticeship providers, maintains the database of licensed crafts, sets minimum conditions for apprenticeship contracts and keeps record of the contracts; it also defines the method and process of the journeyman exams and issues journeyman certificates. The Agency for VET and Adult Education is responsible for organising journeyman exams. The chamber of trades and crafts issues licenses to apprenticeship providers and publishes lists of licenced apprenticeship providers. Apprenticeship providers offer practical training and exercises to students. VET schools enrol students in JMO programmes, implement the general, vocational theoretical part and a smaller part of the practical training of the programme, organise the preparation and presentation of the final practical assignment and issue certificates of completion.

In the school year 2018/19, 9 830 students were enrolled in 42 JMO programmes delivered by 100 VET providers, which equals 6.7% of all secondary school students, and 10.1% of all VET students. JMO programmes are facing a steady decline in participation, with the number and share of JMO students in all VET programmes decreasing by more than a half in the past 10 years. JMO programmes are offered in nine sectors: agriculture, food and veterinary medicine; forestry and wood technology; textiles and leather; mechanical engineering, shipbuilding and metallurgy; electrical engineering and computing; construction and geodesy; economy and trade; tourism and hospitality; and personal and other services. The most popular qualifications in 2018/19 were hairdresser, car mechanic, car mechatronic, cook and carpenter.

Experimental dual education programme based on the Model of Croatian Dual Education

In 2018, the Ministry of Science and Education (MoSE) launched the experimental dual education programme based on the document Model of Croatian Dual Education ([16]https://mzo.gov.hr/UserDocsImages//dokumenti/Obrazovanje/StrukovnoObrazovanje/ReformaStrukovnog/StrukovniKurikulum//Strukovni%20kurikulum%20za%20stjecanje%20kvalifikacije%20soboslikar%20li%C4%8Dilac%20dekorater%20prema%20modelu%20dualnog%20%20obrazovanja.pdf  
). The responsible institution for the implementation of the programme is MoSE, with other ministries, agencies, economic and crafts chambers, employers’ associations and with the support from partner institutions from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Key participants in dual education represent students, VET schools and business entities. The partnership of VET schools and business entities reflects in cooperation in planning and implementation of work-based learning, continuous professional development of VET teachers and mentors in business entities, exchange of new technologies and know-how, monitoring and assessment of students’ progress in work-based learning activities and the organisation of final exams. VET schools are responsible for teaching and learning activities in line with vocational curricula, planning work-based learning activities with business entities, preparing students for work-based learning, supporting and supervising mentors in business entities, etc. In the first year of the programme, work-based learning is mostly organised in VET schools, while in the following years, most work-based learning is undertaken in business entities. The entities are required to employ and provide training and continuous professional development to mentors, as well as to ensure quality assurance of work-based learning. Students sign contracts with business entities and are entitled to monthly allowance for the period of work-based learning undertaken in business entities. The experimental phase of the programme is planned to happen over two years, starting in the 2018/19 school year. It is conducted in four programmes at EQF level 4 (three-year programmes for sales assistant, glazier, chimney sweeper and 4-year programmes for beautician) in 11 VET schools. The programme is financed from the State Budget and from the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Programme as part of the project Modernisation of VET Programmes.

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

Please, see also Cedefop Thematic country review on apprenticeship in Croatia ([17]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4173
).

Although several governmental ministries have an influence on the development of VET for the sectors under their remit, the Ministry of Science and Education (Ministarstvo znanosti i obrazovanja) is responsible for the overall VET policy. As such, it monitors the overall compliance of the VET system with legislation and coordinates multiple executive agencies in the field of education.

Since mid-2000s, the government established several new agencies. Establishing Agency for VET in 2005 marked the beginning of profound reforms in VET. In 2010, VET and adult education agencies merged into Agency for VET and adult education (Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih, ASOO) ([18]Act on Agency for VET and Adult Education (Zakon o Agenciji za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih); Official Gazette No 24/2010.). As an executive body in charge of the overall development and organisation of the VET system, ASOO is responsible for the following:

  • development of VET programmes/curricula;
  • ensuring stakeholders involvement in VET;
  • supporting and follow-up the self-assessment of VET schools;
  • monitoring the work of VET and adult education institutions;
  • provision of advice and counselling services for VET and adult education institutions;
  • professional exams for new, and promotions for experienced VET teachers, offering continuous professional development opportunities for VET teachers;
  • foreign VET qualification recognition process;
  • organising national skills competitions..

Other stakeholders in VET are:

  • Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (Ministarstvo gospodarstva, poduzetništva i obrta) defines conditions for taking learners into apprenticeship, issues apprenticeship exam certificates, oversees journeyman exam procedure, etc.;
  • Ministry of Labour and Pension System (Ministarstvo rada i mirovinskog sustava) is in charge of employment policies and labour market forecasting;
  • Council for VET (Vijeće za strukovno obrazovanje) consists of 21 members from various stakeholders. The role of this body is to coordinate activities of all stakeholders in VET, initiate the development of new curricula and revision of existing curricula, recommend new developments in VET, and to provide its assessment for the establishment of the network of regional centres of competence;
  • Adult Education Council (Vijeće za obrazovanje odraslih) is a counselling body of the government for monitoring and proposing improvements in adult education, issue opinions on legislative proposals and suggestions on financing of adult education;
  • Education and Teacher Training Agency (Agencija za odgoj i obrazovanje, AZOO) – responsible for development of general education part of VET curricula;
  • Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts issues licenses to apprenticeship providers and publishes lists of licenced apprenticeship providers. It is also a partner in the experimental programme in dual education, launched as of school year 2018/2019.
  • Croatian Chamber of Economy (Hrvatska gospodarska komora) is an independent organisation of all legal bodies performing business activities. The chamber advocates for the advancement of VET in Croatia and it is also a partner in the experimental programme in dual education, launched as of school year 2018/2019.
  • Croatian Employers' Association (Hrvatska udruga poslodavaca) is an independent organisation of all legal bodies performing business activities. Its tasks are to represent interests of members during the development of economic system, assess means and conditions of economic growth, improve the development of entrepreneurship, develop business relations with foreign partners, support innovation and development, etc.;
  • Industrial trade unions (six confederations of trade unions) are key stakeholders in social dialogue in Croatia who represent the position of Croatian labour force.

IVET providers are public and private secondary vocational schools that can be vocational or polyvalent (offer both gymnasium and VET programmes). The majority of schools are public, with the share of private VET schools of 4%. Local authorities are legal founders and owners of the public schools. Vocational schools can be technical, industrial, craft and others, based on the type of programmes and their duration (two-, three- (industrial and crafts schools), four- or five-year (technical schools)). Some VET schools offer programmes from a single education sector or subsector, such as health and medicine, economy, commerce, administration, forestry, carpentry, agriculture, veterinary medicine, maritime, traffic, aviation, hospitality, tourism, engineering, electrical engineering, construction, etc.

Based on new legislative provision in 2018 ([19]Amendments to the Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 25/2018.), 25 schools from the sectors of tourism and hospitality, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT, health care and agriculture have been chosen in the process of establishing the network of regional centres of competences.

Since 2001, the financing of public upper secondary VET schools has been decentralised.

The State budget finances:

  • salaries for teachers and other employees in education;
  • in-service training of teachers and other specialists;
  • education of at-risk groups (ethnic minorities, learners with special needs) and gifted learners;
  • transportation costs of learners;
  • teaching materials and equipment;
  • information and communication technology infrastructure and software for schools;
  • school libraries;
  • capital investments (buildings, infrastructure).

Local and regional governments cover:

  • costs related to school premises and equipment;
  • operating costs of secondary schools;
  • transportation costs of employees;
  • co-financing of food and lodging in learner residences;
  • capital investments (buildings, infrastructure) according to criteria determined by the Minister of Education ([20]Local authorities as the legal founders and owners of the schools can also be investors regarding buildings/infrastructure.).

If local/regional governments cannot ensure minimum funding, the centrally managed equalisation fund (Fond za izravnavanje) provides the deficit amount.

In 2015, the distribution of education expenditure ([21]Eurydice (2015). National sheets on education budgets in Europe 2015: facts and figures. See: Croatia education budget by type of expenditure and level of education 2015, p.22.
https://eurydice.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/194EN.pdf
) indicates that the largest share (38.6%) of the education budget was spent on primary education (ISCED 1-2), while 14.0% was spent on pre-primary education (ISCED 0), 22.4% on secondary education (ISCED 3, both general and vocational) and 17.9% on higher education (ISCED 5-8).

In CVET, adult learners usually cover the expenses of the education programmes they attend. The exception are primary education programmes, which are free of charge for adults and financed by the Ministry of Science and Education. The public employment service as a part of ALMP covers for the education expenses of the unemployed, and some adult education programmes have recently been financed through different ESF-funded projects.

The foreseen reforms of IVET and CVET ([22]VET System Development Programme 2016-20.) strongly rely on EU structural funds.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers and trainers.

Teachers of general subjects, e.g. Mathematics, English, etc. are qualified according to general regulations on teachers set by education ministry. These require graduate university or professional studies, as well as pedagogical competencies.

Teachers and trainers in IVET and formal CVET([23]Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 30/2009.):

  • teachers of theoretical vocational subjects (nastavnik stručno-teorijskih sadržaja) require higher education (180 ECTS or more) and completed supplementary pedagogical-psychological education (60 ECTS) and other requirements according to the VET curriculum;
  • teachers of practical training and exercises (nastavnik praktične nastave i vježbi) require an undergraduate university or professional degree (180 ECTS or more), pedagogical competencies and holding a qualification of a required profile;
  • vocational teachers (strukovni učitelj) require a level of education defined by VET curriculum (at least a secondary vocational education of the corresponding profile) pedagogical competencies and at least five years of work experience in the appropriate profession;
  • teaching associate (suradnik u nastavi) requires a secondary education,pedagogical competencies and at least five years of work experience, unless regulated differently by the vocational curricula.

In three-year VET programmes (JMO), apprenticeships providers (crafts and legal entities) have to assign a mentor, usually a qualified staff member who accompanies apprentices during their work at employers. According to the legislation ([24]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 143/2013. Regulations on minimum conditions for contracts on apprenticeship (2014).) and, mentors can be either:

  • master craftspersons;
  • persons who have the same rights as the persons who have passed the master craftsman’s exam and also have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching;
  • persons with the appropriate high school qualification who have their trades and crafts businesses registered in the regions of particular national interest and have three years of experience in the profession for which they conduct apprenticeships, and have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching;
  • persons who have the appropriate high school qualification and at least ten years of work experience in the profession for which they conduct apprenticeship, and have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching ([25]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
    https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
    ).

In IVET schools, there are approximately 12 000 teachers, trainers and assistants. Due to difficulties in recruiting the appropriate teaching staff, caused by the lack of in-service training of VET teachers, a proportion of vocational subjects teaching is carried out by teachers not holding the required qualification.

The continuing professional development and in-service training of VET staff is mainly provided by the Agency for VET and Adult Education and is based on an annually updated catalogue for in-service training (Katalog stručnog usavršavanja). VET schools are also expected to provide in-house staff development activities. However, there is currently no data available on the quality or effectiveness of these activities (see also below for school-based developmental projects and mobility projects funded by EU programmes). Data related to the in-service teacher training of VET school teachers are regularly recorded in the VETIS, where teachers register their participation at in-service teacher training events. Travel and accommodation costs of in-service training for teachers are covered by VET institutions, which affect the numbers of teachers attending training. Overall, the provision of in-service training for VET staff is extremely underfinanced and generally perceived as insufficient.

Apart from the State-funded in-service training described above, in-service training of VET teachers is also implemented by:

  • professional associations and other non-governmental organisations offering training (fee-based or free of charge);
  • public open universities (Pučka otvorena učilišta);
  • the Chamber of Crafts and Trades;

These in-service trainings do not require programme or provider accreditation.

The system enables promotion in the profession of teachers, vocational trainers and teaching associates. The Regulation on the Promotion of Teachers in Primary and Secondary Education ([26]Pravilnik o napredovanju učitelja i nastavnika u osnovnom i srednjem školstvu (Regulation on the Promotion of Teachers in Primary and Secondary Education), Official Gazette No. 89/1995
) guides the promotion in the profession, and teachers can acquire title of mentors and advisors.

In addition, they can be awarded for outstanding achievements in education. The above mentioned Regulation prescribes levels, conditions and ways of progression. Evaluation elements of expertise and teaching excellence are: teaching success (e.g. methodological creativity in teaching, application of the latest working methods in teaching and the latest sources of knowledge, etc.); extracurricular expert work (e.g. lecturing in teacher training events on at least county level, mentorship of a trainee up to in-service professional exam, mentorship of students that won one of first three places in international competitions, authorship of a textbook, etc.); in-service teacher training. Requirements for promotion are proscribed with the number of years of work experience, grade, number of points and regular in-service teacher training. The school initiates the process of VET teacher promotion, with evaluation of teachers work by school director and with the consent of teacher council and the process is implemented by the Agency for VET and Adult Education.

Teachers are elected into positions of mentor and advisor for the period of five years and can be re-elected.

In 2018, the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education (AVETAE) produced the concept for the new model of continuing professional development (CPD) and open programme of CPD for VET school teachers ([27]As part of the national project Modernisation of the continuous professional development of VET teachers, launched by AVETAE in 2017 and co-funded by the European structural and investment fund.). The concept significantly expands the scope, the quality and the modalities of CPD and defines general and elective modules delivered through guided training, individual assignments and assessment activities. Modules are directed at developing teaching competencies, teaching talented students and students with disabilities, quality assurance, class management, innovative teaching methods, adult education, service learning, as well as strengthening peer- and lifelong-learning, digital and project management competencies.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([28]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Based on the Government’s Decree on the monitoring, analyses and prediction of labour market needs and the development of an educational enrolment policy ([29]Government’s decree on the monitoring, analyses and prediction of labour market needs and the development of an educational enrolment policy (Uredba o praćenju, analizi i predviđanju potreba tržišta rada za pojedinim zvanjima, te izradi i uzimanju u obzir preporuka za obrazovnu upisnu politiku); Official Gazette No 93/2010.), PES ([30]Public employment service.) (Hrvatski Zavod za zapošljavanje) conducts an annual analysis and prediction of labour market needs for specific qualifications. This analysis is based on relevant statistical data and employment indicators of currently unemployed persons with specific qualifications, data from the Employers questionnaire (anketa poslodavaca) and regional and local development strategies and plans. PES publishes the Recommendations for educational enrolment and stipend policies (Preporuke za obrazovnu upisnu politiku i politiku stipendiranja). These recommendations are regionally and locally determined and are qualitative, rather than quantitative in nature, indicating only if there is a need for an increase or decrease in the enrolment in a specific VET programme. As such, these recommendations have not always taken into account whilst determining the enrolment vacancies in the specific VET programmes and the need for a more efficient and precise system was recognised.

Legislation on NQF ([31]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013 provided a new tool for qualification development and the reshaped the structure for labour market anticipation and feedback loops between occupational standards, qualification standards and curricula. The process of adjusting education to labour market needs begins with an estimation of future needs for knowledge and skills, as outlined in key strategic documents ([32]Strategy of regional development, Industrial strategy, Smart specialisations strategy, Innovation Strategy and Strategy of Science, Education and Technology.). The process of adjustment between education and labour market needs is based on the development of occupational standards (standard zanimanja) and subsequently upon the development of qualification standards (standard kvalifikacija). The occupational standards are empirically founded upon the sector profiles (profil sektora) and the occupation standard survey (anketa o standardu zanimanja).

Both development and accreditation of VET curricula are based on the qualification standards.

In order to support qualification development, the Ministry of Labour has in previous years launched the Croatian Qualifications Framework (CROQF) web portal ([33]http://hko.poslovna.hr/) as the central portal with labour market and education indicators. The CROQF portal is designed to serve as the central tool for labour market monitoring, mid-term and long-term skills anticipation and the main evidence base for the development of sector profiles and occupational standards as the key mechanisms of CROQF. The portal offers data visualization, statistics and analyses by CROQF sectors. In particular, it integrates data on employment, unemployment, enrolment in secondary and higher education programmes, key economic activities and corresponding employment rates, and distribution of different occupations in sectors in relation to economic activities. The portal associates data on unemployment from the Croatian Employment Service, data on employment from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, enrolment in secondary and higher education programmes from the Ministry of Science and Education and the relevant statistical indicators from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([34]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

VET qualifications

The three major elements of qualification development are foreseen:

  • occupational standards (standard zanimanja)

The occupational standards are a tool developed to identify the skills and associated knowledge required to be ‘competent’ in a particular job role. The standards are broken into units, which classify different sets of skills and knowledge. For VET qualifications, the occupational standards are being developed to a level of detail that highlights and describes the broad skills and knowledge sets that may be applied across a number of sub-sectors and related job roles within a particular industry.

  • qualification standard (standard kvalifikacija)

The qualification standards take the skills identified and described within the occupational standards and translate them into criteria against which learners are evaluated. The qualification standards are broken down into a series of logical ‘units’. Each unit is comprised of a set of ‘learning outcomes’ and ‘assessment criteria’. The learning outcomes describe what a learner should be able to achieve once a programme of study has been completed. The assessment criteria establish the activities and benchmarks that must be achieved by the learner in order to demonstrate that learning outcomes have been achieved. Each unit is also given a credit value that identifies the amount of time required by an average learner to complete all relevant learning and assessment activities to achieve the required learning outcomes. Finally, when a range of qualification standards has been developed, a decision is made as to which units need to be ‘mandatory’ or ‘elective’.

  • VET curriculum (strukovni kurikulum)

The final phase of the development process is associated with the production of VET curricula, which set out what needs to be taught in order to ensure that learning outcomes can be achieved.

The qualification development in VET follows the general process for qualification development at all levels, described in the CROQF Act ([35]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) and the Ordinance on CROQF Register ([36]Ordinance on CROQF Register (Pravilnik o Registru Hrvatskog kvalifikacijskog okvira); Official Gazette No 62/2014.). The CROQF Register represents the central repository of approved occupational standards, qualification standards and units of learning outcomes, organised in corresponding sub-registers. In order to be approved, the proposals for occupational standards and qualification standards follow the prescribed procedure for the enrolment in the CROQF Register.

Consequently, the first stage of qualification development consists in the development and enrolment of the relevant occupational standard for the qualification. According to the CROQF Act, any legal entity or natural person, as well as public administration body, with legitimate interest, may propose an occupational standard for enrolment in the CROQF Register. The proposed occupational standard needs to be empirically founded upon relevant development strategies, sector profiles and occupational standard survey, which ensures the input of employers. The proposed occupational standard is submitted to the Ministry of Labour and then evaluated by the relevant CROQF sector council. If approved by the council and appropriately revised if requested, the Ministry of Labour decides on the enrolment of the occupational standard in the CROQF Register.

Qualification standard development follows a similar process, with the Ministry of Science and Education responsible for the enrolment of the qualification standard in the CROQF Register and the sector councils responsible for the evaluation of qualification standards.

The final stage comprises the development of vocational curriculum, which is based on the qualification standard and aligned to the occupational standard. The proposed vocational curricula should be aligned with the National curriculum for VET and the relevant sectoral curricula. Based on the learning-outcome approach, the National curriculum for VET from 2018 describes teaching and learning processes, including work-based learning and learning cycles. It encompasses qualifications on CROQF/EQF levels 2-5 and defines the curricular framework for VET, which comprises sectoral curricula, vocational curricula and VET school curricula. The document sets out the structure for each qualification level in terms of the proposed teaching time devoted to general content, vocational modules, elective modules and work-based learning in line with sectorial and vocational curricula. Finally, the National curriculum for VET defines enrolment, permeability and assessment in VET. It allows for learning flexibility and specialisation through elective modules integrated in qualifications at CROQF level 4.1. and 4.2. / EQF level 4 for up to 30% of vocational curricula. The sectoral curricula set out the framework for all vocational curricula for qualifications on EQF levels 2-5 within particular education sectors. This way, the sectoral curricula ensure the attainment of broader competences relevant for all occupations within a sector. The sectoral curricula development is envisaged within the current AVETAE project for the modernisation of vocational education and training system in Croatia.

 

Managing qualifications

Several bodies are involved in designing, updating and awarding qualifications:

  • 25 CROQF sectoral councils (HKO sektorska vijeća): as advisory bodies on the sector-level, the sectoral councils evaluate proposals for occupational standards, qualification standards and units of learning outcomes. They also analyse existing and necessary competences on the sector level and propose changes to qualification standards based on changes in occupational standards;
  • Ministry of Science and Education: as the national coordinating body responsible for CROQF, the Ministry of Science and Education is also in charge of the sub-registers of qualification standards and learning outcomes. It offers methodological guidelines for the development of qualification standards and decides on the enrolment of the proposed qualification standards in the CROQF Register. It also coordinates quality assurance of qualifications and learning outcomes, and is responsible for developing a system for the recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • Ministry of Labour: as the responsible authority for the labour market, the Ministry of Labour is in charge of the sub-register of occupational standards. It offers methodological guidelines for the development of occupational standards and decides on the enrolment of the proposed occupational standards in the CROQF Register. It is also responsible for producing evidence-base for the development of occupational standards by collecting information about the current and the future labour market needs and the necessary competences. The Ministry of Labour is expected to monitor the labour market needs and propose corresponding development of qualification standards and occupational standards;
  • Agency for VET and Adult Education (AVETAE): as the public administration body in charge of VET, AVETAE proposes occupational standards, qualification standards and curricula in VET. Currently, AVETAE leads a large-scale project for the modernization of vocational education and training system in Croatia, as the largest initiative for update of VET qualifications and reform of VET curricula. AVETAE representatives also sit in the CROQF sectoral councils relevant to VET;
  • The National Council for the Development of Human Potential (Nacionalno vijeće za razvoj ljudskih potencijala): as the strategic advisory body responsible for CROQF, the National Council offers recommendations for policies relevant to qualification development and the alignment of education to the labour market.

Developing a coherent system

Currently, the area of quality assurance is informed by:

  • external assessment of student competencies and VET providers, administration of the State Matura exams and national exams in VET, based on the VET Act and the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education Act ([37]National Centre for External Evaluation of Education Act (Zakon o Nacionalnom centru za vanjsko vrednovanje obrazovanja); Official Gazette No 151/2004.), by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education;
  • external assessment of institutions ([38]Ordinance on the Means of Implementing External Evaluation and Using the Results of External Evaluation of Education Providers (Pravilnik o načinu provedbe vanjskog vrednovanja i korištenju rezultata vanjskog vrednovanja školskih ustanova); Official Gazette No 23/2011.), inspection ([39]School Inspection Act (Zakon o prosvjetnoj inspekciji); Official Gazette No 61/2011 and 16/2012.) performed by the Ministry of Science and Education and professional-pedagogic supervision of VET providers ([40]Professional-Pedagogical Monitoring Act (Zakon o stručno-pedagoškom nadzoru); Official Gazette No 73/1997.) by the Agency for VET and Adult Education;
  • quality assurance of programmes for acquiring qualifications by the Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Science and Higher Education through the CROQF ([41]Ordinance of CROQF Register (Pravilnik o Registru Hrvatskog kvalifikacijskog okvira); Official Gazette No 62/2014.);
  • surveillance over organising and implementation of apprenticeships ([42]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 77/93, 90/96, 102/98, 64/01, 71/01, 49/03, 68/07, 79/07, 40/10.) by the Ministry of Economy, SME and Crafts and the Ministry of Science and Education;
  • external assessment of journeyman exam by the Agency for VET and Adult Education and the National Centre for External Assessment of Education ([43]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 77/93, 90/96, 102/98, 64/01, 71/01, 49/03, 68/07, 79/07, 40/10.);
  • self-assessment of VET providers ([44]Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 30/2009, 24/2010, 22/2013, 25/2018.), based on the VET Act and relevant methodology([45]Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih (2011b). Hrvatski okvir za osiguranje kvalitete u strukovnom obrazovanju i osposobljavanju: Priručnik za samovrjednovanje [Croatian framework for quality assurance in VET: manual for self-assessment].
    http://www.asoo.hr/UserDocsImages/Priru%C4%8Dnik%20za%20samovrjednovanje.pdf
    ) , organised and supported by the Agency for VET and Adult education. VET schools do self-assessment once a year, within the six assessment areas:

    • planning and programming of work;
    • teaching and support to learning;
    • learning outcomes;
    • material & human resources, including continuing professional development of staff;
    • cooperation within the VET school and with stakeholders; and
    • administration and management.

Each area is further broken down into quality areas, which are described using individual quality criteria. All areas are applied primarily to IVET. In 2011, secondary VET schools launched a self-assessment process and the first annual reports were produced and analysed. To assist VET schools in the process, the VET agency developed a comprehensive manual and an online ’E-quality’ tool ([46]http://e-kvaliteta.asoo.hr) (e-kvaliteta) that enabled secondary VET schools to effectively present their self-assessment data and plans for improvements. Both measures are evidence-based.

The strategic documents call for the establishment of a coherent, unified system of VET quality assurance at the national level, at the level of VET providers and at the level of qualifications developed in line with EQAVET recommendations. This system is to be used for both IVET and CVET. Strong argumentation for a coherent, unified system comes from analyses indicating the existence of parallel and uncoordinated structures that are insufficiently used for the amelioration of school practice and the development of VET policy.

Formal qualifications cannot be acquired through recognition of non-formal and informal learning ([47]The legislation has foreseen an ordinance on recognition of non/formal and informal learning which is still under preparation. Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013.).

Allowances in apprenticeship

In the three-year VET programmes for crafts and trades, the contract for apprenticeship (ugovor o naukovanju) regulates learner allowances as stipulated by the legislation ([48]Regulation on Minimum Requirements for Apprenticeship Contracts; Official Gazette No 63/2014.).

Scholarships for shortage occupations

In 2018, the Ministry of Economy, SME and crafts awarded 3,020 scholarships to learners in three-year VET programmes in crafts and trades (jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO) for which there is a labour market shortage. The total amount awarded was around EUR 3.6 million, indicating a sharp increase from 2017, when the amount was EUR 2.8 million. The list of eligible programmes was determined nationally, but allows regional modification. Local communities, as well as professional associations and private firms, also provide incentives and stipends for learners.

In Croatia, the main employment policy relevant to VET is the Active Labour Market Policy (Mjere aktivne politike zapošljavanja, ALMP).

Tax exemptions

Companies that provide apprenticeships for three-year VET programmes learners have tax breaks reducing their taxable income ([49]Act on State Aid for Education and Training (Zakon o državnoj potpori za obrazovanje i izobrazbu); Official Gazette No 109/2007, 134/2007, 152/2008, 14/2014.). Entrepreneurs that train one to three learners per year on their premises may reduce their taxable income by 5%; an additional learner further reduces the taxable income by one percentage point, up to a limit of 15%.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) systematically organises activities aimed at giving information, guidance and counselling for students in the final years of primary and upper secondary education (including VET).

Several elements developed by CES within this comprehensive guidance and counselling system are aimed at young persons. In recent years, CES has organised a regional network of 13 centres for career information and guidance under the name of CISOK ([50]See
http://www.cisok.hr
) (Centri za informiranje i savjetovanje o karijeri). This allowed for a tailor-made approach to guidance and counselling. The services are free of charge and open to both students and parents. Trained guidance counsellors provide services. Guidance is provided to learners in transition from primary to secondary and from secondary to higher education through open days and career fairs. These initiatives are supported by chambers, employers, former students and parents.

Career guidance for learners is conducted through the joint efforts of school counsellors and CES career guidance counsellors. Particular attention is devoted to learners who, according to the evaluations, might face labour market problems after they complete their education, i.e. those with developmental and health issues, learning disabilities or behaviour disorders. CES pays special attention to vocational guidance for VET students with disabilities. Furthermore, secondary school students who achieve poor results are referred to an expert team for career guidance. Here, expert opinions concerning the most adequate choice for further education, labour market needs and educational opportunities are taken into account, as well as the learner's individual abilities and needs. If needed, a team evaluation is carried out, which might include psychological assessment, an interview and a medical examination by a physician specialising in occupational health.

CES has also developed a web portal e-Guidance ( www.e-Usmjeravanje.hzz.hr) to offer the information needed for the selection of education programmes and to provide assistance in setting and reaching professional goals and searching for jobs.

Finally, CES conducts a yearly survey of the vocational intentions of primary and secondary schools’ students. Using the results of this survey, expert teams of school and CES representatives define target groups that need specific services for career guidance. The aggregate results of the survey indicate the trends in the intentions of learners and are forwarded to stakeholders in the fields of education and employment at both regional and national level.Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Short-cycle professional

undergraduate programmes

2-2.5 years

ISCED 554

Short-cycle professional undergraduate programmes (kratki stručni studij)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2-2.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year. Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 -150 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers

Higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

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

For full-time studies: young people, secondary school graduates at EQF level 4

For part-time studies: young people and working adults

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

Previously acquired EQF level 4 qualification or higher (3-year or 4-year general education or IVET programmes)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional associate (stručni pristupnik)

Examples of qualifications

Professional associate in chemical engineering (stručni pristupnik kemijskog inženjerstva)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates may continue their education at professional undergraduate programmes.

Depending on the curricula, graduates may also enrol in university graduate programmes or specialist graduate professional programmes; under condition they successfully pass additional and supplementary exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

General education subjects are normally taught only in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Some courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Not consistent

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

In 2017/18, there were 51 students enrolled in short-cycle professional undergraduate programmes, representing 0.11% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 0.03% of all students in higher education.

EQF 6

Professional

undergraduate studies,

3-4 years

ISCED 655

Undergraduate professional studies leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655, (preddiplomski stručni studij)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

3-4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year.

Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180-240 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers
  • colleges (visoke škole)
  • polytechnics (veleučilišta)
  • universities (sveučilišta)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

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

• practical training at education institution

• in-company training

Main target groups

For full-time studies: young people, secondary school graduates at EQF level 4

For part-time studies: young people and working adults

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

Entry requirements consist in the completion of secondary education and successful completion of the State Matura exam. Higher education providers may set additional requirements and different weights to average secondary school GPA, Matura exams or entry exams independently. Work experience may be considered for enrolment in part-time programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level.

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • professional bachelor (baccalaureus, prvostupnik) in occupation, or
  • professional bachelor engineer (prvostupnik inžinjer) in occupation
Examples of qualifications

Professional bachelor (baccalaureus) in economy (stručni prvostupnik (baccalaureus) ekonomije) (bacc. oec.)

Professional bachelor (baccalaureus) engineer in information technology (stručni prvostupnik (baccalaureus) inženjer informacijske tehnologije) (bacc. ing. techn. inf.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Upon graduation, students are allowed to progress to specialist professional graduate studies or university graduate programmes, EQF 7.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Higher education providers are required to set internal guidelines for recognising prior learning at EQF levels 6 and higher.

General education subjects

Some general education subjects may be taught in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Depending on the programme, courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

In 2017/18, there were 40 117 students enrolled in professional undergraduate programmes, representing 84.9% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 24.3% of all students in higher education.

EQF 7

Specialist graduate professional studies leading to EQF 7, ISCED 757

Specialist graduate professional studies leading to EQF 7, ISCED 757 (specijalistički diplomski stručni studij)
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1-2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year. Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers
  • colleges (visoke škole)
  • polytechnics (veleučilišta)
  • universities (sveučilišta)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

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

• practical training at education institution

• In-company training

Main target groups
  • for full-time studies: young people, graduates of undergraduate professional programmes
  • for part-time studies: young people and working adults
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements are the completed undergraduate professional studies or completed undergraduate university studies.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • professional specialist in occupation (stručni specijalist), or
  • professional specialist engineer (stručni specijalist inžinjer) with the addition of the name of the occupation
Examples of qualifications

Professional specialist engineer in civil engineering (stručni specijalist inženjer građevinarstva) (struč. spec. ing. aedif.)

Professional specialist in accounting and finances (stručni specijalist računovodstva i financija) (struč.spec.oec.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Specialist graduate professional studies are designed as a terminal professional degree leading to the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Higher education providers are required to set internal guidelines for recognising prior learning at EQF levels 6 and higher.

General education subjects

General education subjects are normally taught only in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Some courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

In 2017/18, there were 7 062 students enrolled in specialist graduate professional programmes, representing 14.95% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 4.28% of all students in higher education.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET specialist development

programmes

ISCED 453

VET specialist development programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (programi stručnog obrazovanja i osposobljavanja nakon srednjeg obrazovanja). These programmes are legally foreseen and not introduced yet.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Not defined. Qualifications at this level are foreseen by the NQF, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for programmes at EQF level 5 is a minimum of 120 ECVET or ECTS credits, with at least 60 ECVET or ECTS credits of the level 6 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes ([75]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. Each ECVET credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

ECTS credits are awarded for higher education at EQF levels 5-7. Each ECTS credit includes 25 to 30 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

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

VET specialist development programmes may include:

• school-based learning

• practical training at school and in-company

Main providers

VET schools or higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 50% ([76]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share for VET specialist development programmes of at least 50%.)

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

VET specialist development programmes may include:

• practical training at school

• in-company practice (preferred)

Main target groups

Learners who completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher)

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

Completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Not defined.

Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([77]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET post-secondary development and training certificate (strukovno specijalisticko usavrsavanje i osposobljavanje)

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications at this level were foreseen in 2013 by the Act on NQF ([78]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.), yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These programmes have strong labour market orientation. Progression mechanisms to higher education are not defined at this point.

Destination of graduates

Information not applicable since programmes are not introduced yet.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Not defined. Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([79]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Application of learning outcomes approach

All future qualifications, developed in line with the National curriculum in VET, should be outcome-based.

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

Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([80]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

1- 2 year programmes

ISCED 351

IVET 1-year and 2-year programmes leading to EQF levels 3, ISCED 351 (jednogodisnji i dvogodisnji strukovni programi).
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9-10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for acquiring a qualification at EQF level 3 is a minimum of 60 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the EQF level 3 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes. ([53]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

The total workload for acquiring a qualification at EQF level 2 is a minimum of 30 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the EQF level 2 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes.

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
Main providers

Upper secondary VET schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 50% ([54]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in qualifications at EQF level 2 at over 60%, and WBL share for 1-2 year programmes at EQF level 3 at over 50%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.)

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

Vocational training programmes at EQF level 2 are particularly popular with adult learners in CVET.

2-year programmes at EQF level 3 are particularly suitable for young people aiming to enter the labour market upon completion of the programme, or learners at risk of early leaving.

Students with disabilities may enrol adapted two-year VET programmes, which could extend for up to three years.

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

Entry requirements include a certificate of completion of primary education and good physical and mental health, as required by the curricula.

Assessment of learning outcomes

In case of 1-2 year programmes at EQF level 3, VET providers perform the final assessment of learners, which consists in production and presentation of the final practical assignment (završni rad).

Diplomas/certificates provided

For vocational training at EQF level 2, training certificate (uvjerenje o osposobljavanju) represents a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

For 1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represents a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

For 1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3: welder (zavarivač), administrator (administrator).

For vocational training at EQF level 2: trained forklift operator (osposobljen za rukovatelja viličarom), trained for bartending jobs (osposobljen za poslove barmena), trained for simple jobs in the occupation of butcher (osposobljen za jednostavne poslove u zanimanju mesar).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Students holding this certificate normally enter the labour market meeting requirements to execute simple tasks in familiar conditions. Furthermore, after completing two-year VET programmes, learners have the possibility of vertical mobility and continuing their education at a higher level in the status of regular learners. They can enrol in a three-year VET programme and pass additional and supplementary examinations.

Destination of graduates

1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3 are labour market-oriented, which is the primary destination of graduates.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for 1-2-year programmes ranges from 20-40% ([55]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for qualifications at EQF levels 2-3 should include up to 20% general education content. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.).

Key competences

Depending on the curricula, key competences in programmes at EQF level 3 usually encompass competences in Croatian and foreign languages, mathematics and ICT.

Vocational training programmes at EQF level 2 generally do not comprise key competence development.

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

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

In the school year 2018/19, 10 VET providers enrolled 163 students (0.2% of all IVET learners) in 7 programmes at EQF level 3.

In 2018, estimated 14 000 adult learners ([56]Andragogical General Data Registry (Andragoški zajednički upisnik podataka, AZUP); data from May 2019.) enrolled in vocational training programmes at EQF level 2, as the most popular education pathway in CVET.

EQF 4

School-based and

apprenticeship programme,

3 years,

WBL 30-60%

ISCED 353

Initial VET three-year apprenticeship programmes for crafts and trades, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, Unified Model of Education-JMO (jedinstveni model obrazovanja – JMO programi); Initial VET three-year Industrial and industry-related programmes, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353 (industrijski strukovni programi)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

as school-based programmes only

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for 3-year programmes is a minimum of 180 ECVET and / or HROO credits, with at least 120 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the level 4 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes ([57]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

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

JMO programmes:

  • apprenticeships

Industrial programmes:

  • school-based learning with practical training at school and in-company
Main providers

JMO programmes:

VET secondary schools

Companies (licenced craft workshops or legal entities)

Industrial programmes:

VET secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

JMO programmes: 60%

Industrial programmes:

5%-10% ([58]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in 3-year industrial programmes at 30-40%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.)

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

JMO programmes:

  • apprenticeships
  • practical training at school

The education is implemented according to a VET curriculum that consists of two parts, the general education part and the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship consists of a professional-theoretical part and practical training and exercises. The general education and the professional-theoretical parts are implemented in VET schools. The practical training and exercises are implemented mainly in the work process, in craft business workshops or in a trade association, institution or cooperative and to a lesser extent in VET school workshops in a certain number of hours, according to the curriculum for each qualification.

Industrial programmes:

  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults (as a school-based option only).

Many curricula at this level, for example for assisting professions, are also suitable for learners with special educational needs, such as moderate and severe disability. Special arrangements are available for them in VET schools and social welfare institutions.

Programmes are also suitable for learners at risk of early school leaving.

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

The entry requirements for three-year programmes include:

  • certificate of completion of primary education
  • adequate physical and mental health, as required by the VET teaching plans and programs

For JMO programmes, an apprenticeship contract is also required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

For the completion of the educational programme learners need to take a final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. The final assessment is organised and conducted by schools ([59]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate.

The final exam ([60]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) is a small project composed of the theoretical part, the practical part and the defence. Each school can have different timelines regarding the organisation of the final exam as well as the specificities regarding the choice of topics. Learners choose topics (tema) themselves or with the teacher support (usually by 1 October of the third year) and consult with the mentor in craft whether he/she can accomplish that. The final exam covers both the theoretical and practical part, both in written form. In the practical part, the learner describes what he/she did and also defends it in front of the commission; in some schools the practical part takes place at the craft or legal entity. These commissions usually consist of VET teachers. Some schools include in-company mentors; from those interviewed no one took part.

Additionally, JMO graduates can take also a journeyman exam (pomoćnički ispit ([61]Pravilnik o postupku i načinu polaganja pomoćničkog ispita [Regulation on the procedure and way of implementation of journeyman’s exam]. (2014). Official Gazette No 63/14, 86/15.
http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2014_05_63_1209.html
)) afterwards. A journeyman exam ([62]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) is taken after the successful completion of the educational programme; it is organised by Agency for VET (Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih, ASOO) and takes place in schools. The journeyman exam is free for learners for two years after they graduate. In addition, during one school year after graduation, the practical part of their final exam is usually recognised and they do not have to do it again as a part of the journeyman exam. The implementation includes a number of activities: Croatian Chamber of Crafts (Hrvatska Obrtnička komora) suggests the commission members to ASOO; VET schools send applications of learners, organise the exam on their premises, prepare documentation and fill the online system (e-naukovanje); Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (Ministarstvo gospodarstva, poduzetništva i obrta, MoEEC) finances members of the commissions and issues certificates signed by the minister. ASOO organises, supervises and coordinates all these activities.

Learners in JMO programmes can also take an intermediate test (kontrolni ispit) in the second year [63]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
. Some learners call this test ‘small matura’ (mala matura).

Diplomas/certificates provided

For 3-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

JMO programmes:

Chef, hairdresser, auto-mechanic, carpenter, photographer,

Industrial programmes: CNC operator

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

According to the legislation ([64]Act on VET (2009) and the Amendments to the Act on Primary and Secondary Education (2008) of 2012.), both horizontal and vertical pathways are stipulated. As of 2014, graduates from three-year VET programmes can enter an optional one- to two-year bridge programme ([65]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) and, if successful in gaining a second VET qualification, can also take matura exams to access higher education. JMO graduates can also apply for the master craftsman exam after two to three years of work experience in the field. In 2016, an additional regulation on the conditions and the pathways of continuing education for obtaining higher level of qualifications has been introduced, specifying that learners can continue education for two years after acquiring the lower level qualifications, conditional on previous educational achievements, i.e. the minimum average score achieved during the period of their three-year education. Schools providing JMO programmes are obliged to organise a tuition-free fourth year for learners wishing to continue their education.

According to the findings of the Cedefop review ([66]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
), provisions for access to higher levels of education are not widely used in practice. It is very hard for JMO learners to continue with their education: schools reported approximately 10 per cent of their third year learners continuing their studies. Learners have to take many exams to catch up with learners from other programmes and enrol in the regular fourth year: according to some, about 20-25 exams, or equal to two years of schooling, the successful graduation of which gives access to the State matura (državna matura) exams. Most schools offer, and learners opt for, adult education programmes that are not free of charge but are provided as evening school option allowing learners work full-time. The learners who decide to continue their education are mostly learners with higher grades achieved during the three-year period of the JMO programme.

Destination of graduates

Students holding this certificate generally enter the labour market. In the school year 2018/2019, 225 students are recorded to have enrolled a 4-year VET programme with supplementary examinations, after having completed a 3-year programme, which equals 0.3% of students in 4-year VET programmes. The trend is similar for previous years.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

JMO:

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for JMO programmes is around 20%.

Industrial programmes:

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for 3-year school-based programmes is 20-40 % in the 1st and the 2nd year, and 25-40% in the 3rd year ([67]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for 3-year school-based programmes should include up to 20-25% general education content. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.).

Key competences

Depending on the curricula, key competences in 3-year programmes at EQF level 4 usually encompass competences in Croatian and foreign languages, mathematics and ICT.

Application of learning outcomes approach

In the school year 2018/19, one 3-year outcome-based programme for salespersons is in implementation in Croatian VET schools. Other qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the learning-outcome approach are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.

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

In the school year 2018/19, 214 VET providers enrolled 26 791 students (27.6% of all IVET learners) in 136 programmes. Over the last 15 years, student participation in these programmes has been steadily declining. Specifically, the number of students finishing three-year programmes has fallen from 21 000 in 1998 to 9 965 in 2017, declining as a share of upper secondary education graduates from 40% to 22%.

EQF 4

School-based programmes,

4-5 years,

WBL 10%

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354, four-year programmes mainly; one five-year programme for general nursing qualification (četverogodišnji strukovni programi; jedan petogodišnji program - za medicinsku sestru opće njege)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12-13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

4-5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for 4- and 5-year programmes is a minimum of 240 ECVET and / or HROO credits, with at least 150 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the level 4 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes([68]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

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

For four-year programmes:

  • school-based learning with practical training at school and in-company

Five-year programme for general nursing qualification follow the different structure:

  • school-based general education in the first two years;
  • school-based vocational theoretical and practical parts in schools and practical training in hospitals in the second three years.
Main providers

VET schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In 4-year programmes: Less than 10% ([69]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in 4-year programmes at around 10%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.)

5-year programme:

60% in the final three years of the programme.

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

In 4-year programmes:

  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice

For five-year general nursing qualification programme, practical trainings are organised in hospitals and other teaching healthcare institutions.

Main target groups

Young people

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

The entry requirements include a certificate of completion of primary education and adequate physical and mental health, as required by the occupational standards.

Assessment of learning outcomes

For the completion of the educational programme learners need to produce and present final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. A final assessment is organised and conducted by schools ([70]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate.

In order to enrol into higher education, VET graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Diplomas/certificates provided

For 4-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent the formal award recognized by the education and training and labour authorities.

For 5-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) equally represent the final formal award. However, after completing the first two years of the nursing programme, which focuses on the general education content exclusively, the candidates also receive a certificate of completion of 2-year general education programme for attainment of medical care qualification (uvjerenje o završenome dvogodišnjem općeobrazovnom programu za stjecanje zdravstvene kvalifikacije).

Examples of qualifications

In 4-year programmes:

beautician, mechanical engineering technician, ICT technician, commercialist

in 5-year programme:

general care nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. Students holding the certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) as well as a certificate on the passed State Matura exams (potvrda o položenim ispitima državne mature) can apply to higher education. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (higher) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently. National data from 2016/17 suggest that over 80% of four- and five-year VET programme students expressed a wish to study at the tertiary level by enrolling in the national information system and taking the three obligatory State matura exams (Croatian language, mathematics, foreign language).

Destination of graduates

In the academic year 2018/19, fewer than 60% of VET graduates enrolled higher education studies, including over 40% of VET graduates that finished upper secondary education in 2018.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

The programmes consist of general education and vocational parts in approximately equal shares.

The share of the general education content in the total teaching load in 4-year programmes ranges from 40-70% in the 1st year, 40-60% in the 2nd year and 30-40% in the 3rd and the 4th year.

The National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for 4-year programmes in IVET should comprise up to 45% of general education content.

For five-year general nursing programme, the general education ratio is 100% the first two years, and VET part ratio is 100% in the second three years.

Key competences

Depending on individual curricula, 8 key competences ([71]As per Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December for lifelong learning (2006/962/EC).) are integrated in 4-year programmes at EQF level 4 to different extents.

Application of learning outcomes approach

In 2018/19, 25 outcome-based curricula were in implementation in Croatian schools in 4-year IVET programmes.

All other programmes are content-based teaching programmes ([72]New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the learning-outcome approach are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.).

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

In 2018/19, 290 VET providers enrolled 65 125 students (67.1% of all IVET learners) in 129 4-year programmes.

In addition, 24 VET providers enrolled 5 034 students (5.2% of all IVET learners) in 1 (general care nurse) 5-year programme.

EQF 4

Bridging programme

ISCED 354

Bridging programme in initial VET leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354, 1 or 2-year programme mainly (program za stjecanje više razine kvalifikacije)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

1-2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 ECVET or HROO credits

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

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

Depending on the curricula, learning forms may include:

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

VET 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)

Depending on the curricula, WBL types may include:

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

Graduates from IVET 3-year programmes, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, may enrol bridging programme to attain qualification at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354, normally attained after completing 4-year programmes).

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

Completed 3-year programme, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, normally in the same education sector, and average GPA of at least 3.50 on the 5.0 scale from the previous education level in VET (three-year IVET programme).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Before enrolling into the bridging programme, the teaching council at the VET provider determines the list of additional and supplementary exams the student needs to pass based on the programme completed earlier and the qualification the student will attain by completing the bridging programme. VET provider is responsible for organising the assessments for students to pass the prescribed additional and supplementary exams.

While a student can enrol into the bridging programme of education as a regular student, the number of the additional and supplementary exams determines the duration of the bridging programme. Namely, students with a lower number of supplementary exams can immediately integrate into regular classes of the final year of 4-year programme under condition they pass the exams before 31 March of the same school year. Students with a higher number of exams first take one year to pass the exams, and then the next year attend classes regularly. For the completion of the educational programme learners need to produce and present the final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. The final assignment is organised and conducted by schools ([73]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate of completion.

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes.

The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent the formal award recognized by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

Commercialist, mechanical engineering technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (higher) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

General education share depends on the curricula of the programme students enrol. As the bridging programme mostly means integration in regular 4-year programmes, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load would thus normally range from 30-40% in the 3rd and the 4th year, as in all standard 4-year programmes.

Key competences

Depending on individual curricula, 8 key competences ([74]As per Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December for lifelong learning (2006/962/EC).) are integrated to different extent.

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

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

In 2018/19, 225 students are recorded to have enrolled a 4-year VET programme with supplementary examinations, after having completed a 3-year programme, which accounts for 0.3% of students in 4-year VET programmes. The trend is similar for previous years.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

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

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

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

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

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

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

Key competences

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

Personal competence development plan

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

Work-based learning

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

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

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

Training agreement

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

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

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

Apprenticeship training contract

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

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

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

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

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

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

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

VET providers

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

 

VET providers by ownership

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

 

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

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

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

Current financing system

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The 2022 financing system for better performance

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

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

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

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

 

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

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

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

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

 

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

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

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

Requirements for trainers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quantitative anticipation

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

Qualitative anticipation

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

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

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

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

National forum for skills anticipation

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

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

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

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

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

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competence assessment plans

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

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

Learner personal competence development plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

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

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

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

Supervision of qualifications

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

The committees’ duties are:

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

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

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

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

Quality assurance of VET providers

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

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

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

Learner feedback

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

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

New quality assurance guidelines

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

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

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

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

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

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

Financial support for full-time learners

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

Study grants

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

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

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

Government guarantees for student loans

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

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

Learning material supplement

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

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

Study leave for employees

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

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

Employment Fund support for adult learners

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

Adult education allowance

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

Scholarships for qualified employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

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

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available