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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 the UK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The UK old age dependency ratio is showing a trend towards an aging population, with more people reaching pension age. It is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 43 in 2060 ([8]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

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

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

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

 

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

 

Employment in the UK by industry

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

 

Total unemployment ([14]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3% (6% in EU28); it decreased by 0.9 percentage points since 2008 ([15]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

See Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on United Kingdom. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/united_kingdom_england_cedefop_chang...

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

17.5%

46.6%

Not applicable

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Information not available

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

Primary education is offered in schools:

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

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

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

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

[….]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning options in formal (school-based) VET:

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

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

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

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

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

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

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

In Scotland:

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

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

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

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

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

 

NQFs and apprenticeship levels in relation to the EQF

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

VET regulators and inspection/accreditation agencies in formal VET

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

England

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

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

Scotland

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

Education Scotland - schools and further education colleges

Wales

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

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

Northern Ireland

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

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

Source: ReferNet UK.

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

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

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

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

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

National qualifications frameworks

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

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

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

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

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

UK national qualifications frameworks in relation to the EQF

EQF

RQF

SCQF

CQFW

8

8

12

8

7

7

11

7

6

6

10/9

6

5

5/4

8/7

5/4

4

3

6

3

3

2

5

2

2

1

4

1

1

Entry 3

3

Entry 3

 

Entry 2

2

Entry 2

 

Entry 1

1

Entry 1

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

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

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

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

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

Policy making authorities

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

England

Department for Education (DfE) – all levels of education

Scotland

Scottish Government – all levels of education

Wales

Welsh Government – all levels of education

Northern Ireland

Department of Education (DE) – schools and teacher training

Department for the Economy – further education colleges and higher education

Source: ReferNet UK.

Education (and training) providers

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

England

Schools/academies – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Independent training providers – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Scotland

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Tertiary colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Private training providers – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Wales

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education institutions – secondary and tertiary VET

Colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Northern Ireland

Schools – general academic and vocational secondary education

Further education colleges – secondary and tertiary VET

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

Training organisations - – secondary and tertiary VET

Higher education institutions – higher vocational education

Source: ReferNet UK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning opportunities for vulnerable groups (targeted measures)

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

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

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

Incentives for providers

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

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

In VET, categories of teachers and trainers are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Various methods are in place to anticipate skill needs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VET qualifications - designers and concepts

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

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

Assessment of VET qualifications

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

Assessment of practical training

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

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

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

Awarding bodies

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

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

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

Occupational standards design - the role of employers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategic development of VET in England

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

Strategic development of VET in Scotland

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

Strategic development of VET in Wales

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

Strategic development of VET in Northern Ireland

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

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

Strategies to support learning opportunities for vulnerable groups

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

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

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

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

VET regulators and inspection/accreditation agencies in formal VET

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

England

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

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

Scotland

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

Education Scotland - schools and further education colleges

Wales

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

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

Northern Ireland

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

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

Source: ReferNet UK.

QA arrangements for VET qualifications

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

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

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

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

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

QA arrangements in apprenticeship

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

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

Non-formal training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training leave (England)

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

Trade Union Learning Funds (all four countries)

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

The Youth Engagement and Employment Action Plan (Wales)

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

Financial support measures for specific target groups

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

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

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

The Entitlement Framework (Northern Ireland)

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

Use of EU tools to support mobility actions

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

The Apprenticeship Delivery Board (England)

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

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (Scotland)

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

Financial support for apprenticeships

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

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

Careers advisors

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

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

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

Careers advice services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5, 6

Higher apprenticeships

ISCED 551, 554, 665

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

551, 554, 665

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

18 (16 in Scotland)

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

24 (22 in Scotland)

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18.

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

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

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised:

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

Learning options

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

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

Scottish Modern apprenticeships include:

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

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

Main providers

Colleges, independent training providers, universities

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

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

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

  • general subjects relevant to the occupational profile
Key competences

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

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

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 5

College-based

higher VET

ISCED 551, 554

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

551, 554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Learners entering these programmes are over 18.

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

VET learning options include:

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

VET learning options per qualification type:

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

Colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

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

In Scotland:

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

Quantity surveyor, education administrator, paramedic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Higher apprenticeships

ISCED 767

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

767

Usual entry grade

Information not available

Usual completion grade

Information not available

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Learners in these programmes are over 18.

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised

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

Learning options

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Colleges and higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Higher apprenticeships at Doctoral level have not yet been developed.

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Y

Technical and professional apprenticeships include career skills.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Higher VET

ISCED 767

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

767

Usual entry grade

Information not available

Usual completion grade

Information not available

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

Learners in these programmes are over 18.

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

Colleges and higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

Many students will be in employment whilst studying.

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

General education subjects

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

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2/3

Apprenticeship,

ISCED 351,352

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

351, 352

Usual entry grade

10 (also available to adults)

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

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

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised

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

Learning options

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

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

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

Main providers

Colleges, independent training providers.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Bricklayer, motor vehicle technician and legal secretary

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

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

Traineeships in England:

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

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

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

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

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

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 3

School-based VET,

ISCED 351, 352

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

351, 352

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

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

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

VET learning options include:

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

VET learning options per qualification type:

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

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

Main providers

Colleges, secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

VET programmes may be taken as:

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

In Scotland:

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

No specific entry requirements apply.

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

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

In Scotland:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

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

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

Information not available

EQF 4

Apprenticeship

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

12 (also available to adults)

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

(in England)

N

(in N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland)

Education is compulsory up to 16 (18 in England)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Apprenticeship programmes in the UK require apprentices to be trained both

  • on-the-job; and
  • off-the-job.

Off-the-job learning may be organised:

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

Learning options

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

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

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

Scottish young people on Foundation apprenticeships

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

Colleges, independent training providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=80%

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

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeships at this level are called:

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Electrician, veterinary nurse and dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 4

College-based VET

ISCED 351, 354

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

351, 354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

(in England)

N

(in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland)

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For learners up to 18, VET is funded by government

agencies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

VET learning options include:

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

VET learning options per qualification type:

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

VET learning options

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

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

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

Main providers

Colleges, secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

VET programmes may be taken as:

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

Target groups and education strategies in place:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

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

In Scotland:

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

Electrician, veterinary nurse, dental technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

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

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

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

The Welsh Baccalaureate includes general academic qualifications.

Key competences

The Welsh Baccalaureate comprises:

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

Y

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

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

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

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available