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General themes

The main features of the Hungarian VET system are:

  • participation in both upper-secondary VET tracks is decreasing;
  • apprenticeship has been steadily increasing (25% of all IVET learners in 2017 had an apprenticeship contract);
  • early leaving from education and training is a challenge, especially in VET; it coexists with low employment rates in the age span 15-24;
  • the share of adults enrolling in VET offered in the school system to upskill is on the rise ([1]Thanks primarily to the opportunity to obtain a second vocational qualification free of charge since 2015. The share of adults enrolled in ISCED 353 skilled workers’ training programmes increased from 10.7% in 2015 to 27.1% in 2017.).

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on VET in Hungary - 2017. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8126
):

The national vocational qualifications register (NVQR), in place since 1993, comprises State-recognised (partial, full or add-on) vocational qualifications that can be acquired either in formal upper and post-secondary IVET or outside the formal education system. NVQR qualifications entitle holders to practise the occupation specified in the vocational and examination requirements set for a given qualification. The register has a modular, competence-based structure and is regularly updated in accordance with labour market needs. The revision process is run by the ministry responsible for VET (currently, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology) in coordination with the ministries responsible for the qualifications and the recently created sectoral skills councils (coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the involvement of the Chamber of Agriculture in relevant sectors). It closely follows the economy.

Young people and adults need to pass the complex examination upon completion of VET programmes ([3]Provided within or outside the school system.) in order to obtain an NVQR vocational qualification.

To improve quality and efficiency in a heavily fragmented institutional VET structure, 44 regional integrated VET centres were created in 2015 and have run under the responsibility of the ministry responsible for VET.

A shortage job list is issued each year on the basis of recommendations from the ‘county development and training committees’; it is based on employment and employability data and labour market needs forecasts. Practice providers are offered incentives to encourage training in shortage jobs and learners receive grants. In school-based VET, learners enrolled in programmes to acquire a first qualification in shortage jobs may receive a scholarship, based on their performance.

Despite a decrease since 2015, youth unemployment remains substantial and coexists with great skills shortages and mismatches. The demographic decline has negatively affected enrolment in VET, especially in skilled workers training. programmes. Nearly one third of VET learners in ISCED 3 level programmes leave education without qualifications, mainly due to disadvantaged socioeconomic background and low basic skills.

Changes in VET-related legislation in 2015 aimed to enhance the image, quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training in line with European policies and national priorities set for 2016-20.

Bridging programmes replaced the previous catching-up variants in 2013 and were reformed in 2015. They are available in both general and vocational streams, and allow underperformers (often learners from deprived backgrounds) to acquire the basic skills necessary to enrol in upper secondary education and training. In the vocational stream learners can achieve a partial NVQR ([4]National vocational qualifications register; see also Section 1. Summary of main elements and distinctive features of VET.) qualification before moving to upper secondary VET.

VET programmes updated in 2015 and offered as of 2016/17 aim to ease access to occupations in demand, balancing labour shortages and skills gaps. Upper secondary VET programmes offer a first vocational qualification while easing progression routes.

The quality and relevance of practical training is a priority. Dual training (apprenticeship training contract) is being promoted. The percentage of practical training in companies has increased considerably; minimum pedagogical knowledge has been made compulsory for in-company trainers. The chamber guarantee (2015) measure and the reform of upper secondary VET in recent years resulted in an increase in apprenticeships enrolments by 8%.

 

Increase of the number of apprentices (except for the sector of agriculture) between 1997/98 and 2017/18

Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2018.

 

Adult learning for all is being promoted. Acquiring a second NVQR qualification is free of charge ([5]In adult education provided in VET schools.) since 2015 (without any age limit); the measure opens up more than half of full or partial NVQR qualifications to older workers. The Chamber of Commerce has been developing standards for the majority of qualifications in skilled workers training since 2010. This responsibility is currently being reviewed in relation to the responsibilities of the newly created sectoral skills councils, coordinated by the chamber. Programmes supporting further education are designed to help the inclusion of the Roma in those areas where they are mostly affected.

Adapted from Spotlight on VET Hungary 2017 ([6]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on VET in Hungary - 2017. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8126
):

Population in 2018: 9 778 371 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Population in the last decades is decreasing due to low birth rates and relatively high mortality rates. It decreased by -1.3% since 2013 ([8]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The population in Hungary is decreasing and ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 27 in 2015 to 53 in 2060 ([9]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to national statistics ([10]KSH (2017). Mikrocenzus 2016 - 3. Demográfiai adatok [Micro census 2016. Part 3: Demographic data]. Budapest: KSH.
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/mikrocenzus2016/mikrocenzus_2016_3.pdf
KSH stands for Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (Central Statistical Office).
), the number of young people under 15 as well as in the age span 15-64 are falling, while the number of people aged 65+ is on the rise.

An increasing share of people over the age of 50 in the working-age population concurs with a declining number of school-age learners (see figure below). That indicates a further decrease of learners in initial vocational education and training (IVET) and an increasing demand for continuing vocational education and training (CVET) and other forms of adult learning.

 

Learners in initial education and training (aged 3-22) ([11]Education is compulsory from age 3 to 16. Learners in higher education can obtain a master degree at age 22 at the earliest.), 2008-18

Source: Hungarian Central Statistics Office, Társadalmi Haladás Mutatószám rendszere (System of Indicators of Social Development) http://www.ksh.hu/thm/2/indi2_2_1.html

 

At the 2011 census, 98.4% of the people declared that they spoke Hungarian as their native language and 4.3% identified themselves as a member of one of the recognised minority groups (Roma, Germans, Croats, Slovaks, etc.).

The largest minority group are Roma ([12]2% in the 2011 census; but their share in more recent research and surveys is much higher, around 9% and rising.). Their share among school-aged children is significantly higher ([13]According to the 2011 census data, 43% of them are aged under 20. See
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/stattukor/nemzetiseg_demografia.pdf
) than their share in the population and is on the rise. The vast majority of Roma learners continue their studies after completing primary school (integrated primary and lower secondary education) in VET at upper secondary level ([14]Around 90% of Roma students continue studying at upper secondary level but around 90% of them study in VET. See
https://www.mtakti.hu/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/14_Kertesi_Kezdi_TRIP2010.pdf
), but almost half of them leave upper secondary education without any qualification. Less than a third of them obtain an NVQR ([15]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualification and only about a quarter acquire the secondary school leaving certificate ([16]8% in upper secondary general education programmes, 16% in VET programmes. Without this certificate, they may not continue studies at post-secondary/tertiary level. Source: Hajdú, T, Kertesi, G., Kézdi, G. (2014). Roma fiatalok a középiskolában. Beszámoló a TÁRKI Életpálya-felmérésének 2006 és 2012 közötti hullámaiból [Roma youth in secondary school: report about the waves of the TÁRKI career survey between 2006 and 2012). In: Társadalmi riport, 2014. Budapest: TÁRKI, pp. 265-302.
http://old.tarki.hu/adatbank-h/kutjel/pdf/b334.pdf
).

The high drop-out rate among Roma learners can be explained mostly by their socially disadvantaged background and their competence deficiencies accumulated during their prior schooling. Roma learners and adults are therefore prioritised for receiving public scholarships and support in labour market programmes.

The economy is small and open. Small sized enterprises are 99.7% of all enterprises. The share of micro enterprises among them was 97.8% on 31 December 2017 ([17]KSH (2018). A regisztrált gazdasági szervezetek száma, 2017 [Number of registered business organisations, 2017]. Budapest: KSH.
https://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/gyor/gaz/gaz1712.pdf
).

Only 0.3% of all enterprises are medium sized and 0.1% is large.

SMEs employed two thirds of the workforce ([18]Hungarian SMEs employ 3.3 persons on average, below the EU average of 3.9 (SBA Fact Sheet, 2017,
https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/29489 ).
) and produced 43% of gross value added (GVA) in 2016 ([19]KSH (2018). Magyarország, 2017 [Hungary, 2017]. Budapest: KSH, pp. 150-151.
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/mo/mo2017.pdf
).

Economy is characterised by a shift to services that produced 64.8% of total gross value added (GVA) and employed 63% of the workforce in 2017.

Industry still had a share of 26.4% of GVA and employed nearly a quarter of the workforce (23%).

The construction industry and agriculture produced 4.8% and 3.9% of total gross value added and had shares of 6.8% and 5% of total employment, respectively ([20]KSH (2018). Magyarország, 2017 [Hungary, 2017]. Budapest: KSH, pp. 36, 130-131.
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/mo/mo2017.pdf and KSH (2016). A kis- és középvállalkozások helyzete hazánkban, 2016 [The situation of SMEs in Hungary in, 2016]. Budapest: KSH.
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/pdf/kkv16.pdf
)).

Main export industries are:

  • automotive;
  • electronics;
  • pharmaceuticals and medical technology;
  • ICT (telecommunications, IT outsourcing, IT services, software and hardware production);
  • food processing industry;
  • chemical industry;
  • textiles and clothing industry.

The labour market is highly regulated. A list with all regulated professions in Hungary is available at the European database of regulated professions ([21]543 (2019 data); see also
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm?action=regprofs&id_country=21&quid=1&mode=asc#bottom
).

In 2018, the total unemployment ([22]Percentage of active population aged 25-74.) in Hungary was 3.2% (6% in the EU-28); it decreased by 3.7 percentage points since 2008 ([23]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment has decreased in the last decade. The unemployment rate of unskilled workers, although decreasing steadily since 2014, is considerably higher compared to the share of people with medium- and high-level qualifications.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates has increased from 78% in 2014 to 84.5% in 2017 ([24]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year old VET graduates increased by 6.1 percentage points in 2014-18 and is higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34-year old graduates (+4.8%) in the same period in Hungary ([25]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16 5.2019].).

In Hungary, most people in the age group 25-64 have a medium level qualification (59.8%, against 45.7% in the EU-28), placing Hungary fifth among all EU28+ countries with the highest share in this group in 2018. People with high level qualifications represent 25.1% of the total population aged 25 to 64, which is lower than the EU average (32.2%). The share of people with no or low level qualifications (15.1%) is below the EU-28 average (21.8%) in 2018.

 

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

0.2%

23%

100%

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

The share of learners in lower secondary VET decreased by -0.2 percentage points from 2013 to 2017. In the same period, the share of learners in upper secondary VET decreased by -3.5 percentage points.

 

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].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (63.2%, or 66.1% in full time education in 2016/17), though the share of females is nearly 50% in programmes that span upper- and post-secondary education (49.8%, or 47.5% in full time education).

Males prefer IT, engineering, transport, electronics, manufacturing and construction, while females most often enrol in health and social care, economics and office management and services (tourism, catering, the beauty industry).

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased by 1 percentage point, from 11.5% in 2009 to 12.5% in 2018. It is above the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Reducing the high number of drop-outs from VET is a national challenge. Early leaving from education and training can be explained mainly by learners’ disadvantaged socio-economic background and low basic skills (due to quality problems with primary school education provision) and the inability of VET schools to compensate these disadvantages ([26]As shown also by the PISA results, the impact of learners’ socioeconomic background on education outcomes in Hungary is the strongest in the EU and the impact of school/programme type on outcomes is also very significant, reflecting early selection in secondary education. See also European Commission (2017). Education and Training Monitor 2017: country analysis. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/6e709b4c-bac0-11e7-a7f8-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search
). A mid-term national strategy to prevent early leaving from education and training is in place (2014-20).

In 2014, learners in ISCED 353 level VET programmes ([27]Three-year upper secondary VET programmes offering skilled workers training (ISCED 353/EQF level 4) not leading to the end of upper secondary school-leaving certificate.) accounted for nearly half of all drop-outs whereas they represented only 21% of the whole school population. Nearly one-third of learners leave these programmes without a qualification ([28]To obtain a vocational qualification upon completion of upper and post-secondary VET programmes, learners have to take the practice-oriented complex examination which is based on the standards established for this qualification. Qualification standards are defined in the vocational and examination requirements regulated by degree for a given qualification.). The share of drop-outs from the other VET track (vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programmes combining general and vocational subjects at upper secondary level) is lower but remains high ([29]It was 19% in grades 9-12 in 2013. The dropout rate in post-secondary ISCED 454 VET programmes was 16% in 2013. Source: Mártonfi, G. (2013). Early leaving from VET - Hungary. Cedefop ReferNet Thematic perspectives [unedited].
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/networks/refernet/thematic-perspectives/early-leaving-from-vet
).

More information on early leaving from E&T in Hungary ([30]Cedefop (2017). Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage - Hungary. Cedefop country fiche [unedited].
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/leaving-education-early-putting-vocational-education-an-5
).

Adult participation in lifelong learning (aged 25-64) is being promoted in Hungary, with a special focus on early leavers and people without a VET qualification.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning increased by 2.7 percentage points since 2014 (from 3.3% to 6.0% in 2018) and is lower than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018). However, this increase is due primarily to a break in the series of statistical data: in 2015, additional clarifications and reminders were added to the Hungarian survey for better coverage of compulsory training systems and introduction courses for those who started their job recently ([31]Eurostat file ‘country specific breaks’. Available at
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/EU_labour_force_survey_%E2%80%93_data_and_publication#Comparability_over_time_and_across_countries [accessed 2.4.2019].
).

 

VET learners by age group (*)(2010-16)

NB: (*) In school-based VET programmes and in adult training; data about adult training excludes learners in the following programme categories: catching-up training of disadvantaged people, foreign language training, general adult training and preparatory training aimed at obtaining entry competences.
Source: Statistical yearbooks of public education (2011-18). Online OSAP 1665 statistics https://statisztika.mer.gov.hu [accessed 18.6.2019].

 

Initial education and training system comprises:

  • pre-primary (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary (ISCED levels 1 and 2);
  • integrated lower and upper secondary general education (ISCED levels 2-3);
  • general (ISCED level 2) and vocational bridging programmes (ISCED levels 2-3);
  • upper secondary general, vocational or combined education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education VET (ISCED level 5);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6,7 and 8).

The term ‘public education’ (köznevelés) ([32]Regulated by the Act CXC of 2011 on public education.) refers to the right to education to all from pre-primary to post-secondary non-tertiary level, and includes general and vocational education programmes in kindergartens and schools ([33]Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services.).

Compulsory schooling covers age three to 16. Education is free of charge up to the obtainment of the upper secondary school leaving certificate and/or two NVQR ([34]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualifications ([35]Since 2015, the right to acquire a second VET qualification free of charge is without age limit, therefore older adults may enrol in adult education (within the formal school system, in VET schools) to upskill, at no expenses.).

Pre-primary education is provided in kindergarten (óvoda) from age three to six ([36]Attendance is compulsory from September that follows the completion of three years old to mandatory school entry age (though exemption from attendance can be applied for and permitted up until the completion of age 5).). It is followed by an integrated primary and lower secondary eight-year programme (általános iskola; age 7-14) ([37]Two integrated lower and upper secondary general education paths are also available: an eight-year programme (ages 10 to 18) and a six-year programme (ages 12 to 18). The entry requirements in these highly selective schools include a national entry exam in Hungarian and Mathematics, oral exams organised by the schools as well as very good grades in primary school. In school year 2016/17, 7% of learners in lower secondary education studied in these schools (the rest in grades 5-8 of primary school). Source: Ministry of Human Resources (2017). Köznevelési Statisztikai Évkönyv 2016/2017 [Statistical yearbook of public education 2016/17]. Budapest: EMMI.
https://www.kormany.hu/download/5/0a/81000/Köznevelés-statisztikai%20évkönyv-2016-új.pdf
). To move on to upper secondary education, learners must complete the programme and thus obtain the primary school certificate.

For learners at risk of dropping out from education, two bridging programmes are in place ([38]Since 2013, though reformed in 2015.):

  • a one-year public education bridging programme (köznevelési hídprogram) for learners who finished lower secondary education but did not get admitted to upper secondary education, to prepare them for the entrance exam; and
  • a two-year VET bridging programme (szakképzési hídprogram) for learners who completed at most two (out of four) years of lower secondary education by age 15.

Upper secondary general education is provided in the so-called gimnázium (age 14-18). To move on to higher level studies, learners must obtain the (upper) secondary school leaving certificate (érettségi bizonyítvány) at the secondary school leaving exam at the end of grade 12.

Higher education ([39]Regulated by the Act CCIV of 2011 on higher education.) includes academic programmes at EQF levels 6-8. Vocational programmes are offered in higher education at EQF level 5, but are not considered VET ([40]These programmes are regulated by the higher education act and not the VET act (Act CLXXXVII of 2011 on vocational education and training).).

Adult education programmes (felnőttoktatás) offer general and vocational education at all education levels in flexible learning forms ([41]In full- or part- time (evening, correspondence, distance learning and other) courses. See also Section 6. VET within the education and training system/ VET learning options.).

Government-regulated VET is offered:

  • within the formal school system (participants have the status of student):
    • in VET schools, regulated by the 2011 public education act ([42]Act CXC of 2011 on public education.) and 2011 VET ([43]Act CLXXXVII of 2011 on vocational education and training.) act. Programmes are offered at EQF levels 2 to 5, either:

i) in regular full-time education for school-age learners and young people up to age 25; or

ii) in flexible learning forms for those over the compulsory schooling age (16) and older adults in adult education ([44]Young people over the compulsory schooling age (16) and up to 25 may enrol in both learning forms, either in regular full-time schooling or in flexible learning courses offered in adult education. NB: School-based full-time adult education (representing 90% of regular full time schooling hours) or part-time adult education courses (evening, correspondence, distance learning and other).);

  • in higher education, regulated by the 2011 Higher education act ([45]Act CCIV of 2011 on higher education.). Following the introduction of the 2011 VET act ([46]Act CLXXXVII of 2011 on vocational education and training.), EQF level 5 higher education vocational programmes offered in HE are no longer considered part of VET;
  • outside the formal school system (adult training) regulated by the 2013 adult training act ([47]Act LXXVII of 2013 on adult training (amended in 2015, 2016 and 2017).) and the 2011 VET act. Participants have a contractual relationship with the training provider.

National legislation thus distinguishes between VET provided within the school system (iskolai rendszerű szakképzés) and VET provided outside the school system (iskolarendszeren kívüli szakképzés), in adult training. VET qualifications included in the national vocational qualifications register ([48]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) can be obtained in both sectors (and only these are provided within the school system, along with a formal education qualification upon completion of the programme that allows learners access to the next qualification level). Initial and continuing VET is also available in both, though full time VET provided within the school system is typically considered IVET.

Education provided within the formal school system is free of charge up to the obtainment of the upper secondary school leaving certificate (grade 12) and/or two NVQR ([49]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualifications ([50]For both school-age learners and adults enrolled in adult education programmes.). Adult training courses are fee-paying but the training of vulnerable target groups (unemployed, Roma etc.) can be publicly funded.

Work-based practical training is a part of the curricula of all VET programmes leading to NVQR qualifications and can be provided either in a school workshop or at a company. Apprenticeship training is only available in VET provided within the school system.

The type of attendance (full-time, part-time, evening classes, distance learning) of VET programmes depends on the type of education a learner is enrolled in.

Regular full-time education is mandatory for learners in compulsory schooling (up to age 16), in both the general and vocational paths.

Adult education (felnőttoktatás) (learners over 16) provides general or vocational programmes within the school system at all levels ([51]In both public education (which covers pre-primary to post-secondary) and higher education sectors.) in the following learning options:

  • full time (corresponding to 90% of regular full-time education programme hours);
  • part time (evening classes, 50%);
  • correspondence courses (10%); or
  • in ‘other’ (e.g. distant learning) forms.

Adult education targets learners who did not obtain a formal school certificate of a certain level or a VET qualification during their compulsory schooling, or who want to attain a new qualification. Adult education courses do not differ from regular full-time courses in terms of objectives, admission criteria, structure, main characteristics of curricula, or the awarded State-recognised qualifications.

Learners in the age span 16-25 may either enrol in regular full-time school-based education or enrol in adult education.

 

Share of learners in VET (provided within the school system) by learning form (%), 2017

Source: Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal): http://www.oh.gov.hu/, 2018.

 

Most people in adult education attend evening classes, only a few participate in distant learning or in any other special forms. The lower-qualified, older population are offered specifically designed programmes within adult training supported by the State.

Adult training (felnőttképzés) includes general, language or vocational programmes, provided outside the school system and covers many different types and forms of learning opportunities.

The scope of the adult training act of 2013 ([52]And in contrast to previous legislation.) covers:

  • training leading to NVQR qualifications;
  • training financed from public sources (the State budget or the training levy) ([53]Including training targeted at specific groups (the unemployed, other vulnerable groups).).

Outside the scope of the adult training act, other training programmes regulated by the State include:

  • training towards licenses, diplomas, certificates etc. not listed in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR), required to perform certain jobs or to fulfil certain positions ([54]Typically in the fields of road, water and air transport, plant and veterinary health inspection or food hygiene.); their content and objectives are defined by legislation;
  • mandatory further training programmes for a given occupation ([55]ECVET of policemen, civil servants, teachers, judges, etc.) regulated by the responsible ministers.

The VET landscape shaped by the 2011 and 2015 (ongoing) VET reforms.

The content, funding and governance of VET were reformed in 2011 ([56]The 2+2 model of VET programmes offering skilled workers’ training was reduced to three-year dual VET ISCED 353 programmes; at the same time, an enhanced VET component was added to the first phase of the other long VET track spanning upper-secondary (four or five years, ISCED 344) and post-secondary (one or two year, ISCED 454) levels. VET qualifications offered in higher education were no longer included in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR).) with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry ([57]Magyar Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara (MKIK).) gaining an even more important role in VET delivery. The 2015 reform focused on tackling early leaving, supporting VET and apprenticeships take up to provide skilled workforce ([58]The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been in charge of promoting and supervising apprenticeship training provision, the introduction of ‘chamber guarantee’ made apprenticeship the default form of practical training in VET provided within the school system. Another measure introduced was an opportunity to obtain a second NVQR qualification free of charge in VET in adult education (national vocational qualifications register, NVQR).). Moreover, since 2016/17, the content and names of the different VET programmes were modified to raise the prestige and attractiveness of VET ([59]The secondary vocational school programmes, three-year VET ISCED 353 (dual) programmes offering skilled workers’ training; the vocational grammar school programmes, delivered partly in upper secondary four (five, with preparatory language training) year ISCED 344 combined general education and VET and post-secondary one or two-year ISCED 454 VET programmes; and vocational school programmes for SEN learners.). New legislation in December 2017 introduced apprenticeships earlier (in grades 11 and 12) in the upper-secondary years of the (longer) VET track ([60]The vocational grammar school track offers upper-secondary ISCED 344 combined general education and VET and post-secondary ISCED 454 VET programmes; see also the section on apprenticeships.).

Dual VET and apprenticeships were enhanced especially in upper secondary VET since 2012 and have been coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber’s role in shaping VET was expanded by the introduction in 2015 of a chamber guarantee ([61]A written confirmation by the Chamber that there is no practical placement available.) for securing training places for VET learners. Policy priorities in vocational education and training focus on improving the quality of dual training and increasing the number of companies offering practical training (apprenticeship training contracts) ([62]Source: Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on VET in Hungary - 2017. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8126 and
Cedefop (2018). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-17 - Hungary. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/vet-policy-developments-hungary-2017
).

Provision of practical training

The share of theory and practice in vocational training is defined in the vocational and examination requirements of the pursued vocational qualification included in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR). There are two possible legal forms of training at a workplace (in VET provided within the school system), the first one is privileged by the VET act:

  • apprenticeship contract (tanulószerződés): the contract is made between the student and the company ([63]The AC comes into effect at the moment of the beginning of the training at the given training site stipulated in apprenticeship contract. In general (if there is no extraordinary case for earlier termination, such as expulsion from the vocational training school or termination of student status, termination by mutual consent, etc.) the apprenticeship contract is terminated on the last day of the complex examination (NB: Young people and adults need to pass the complex examination upon completion of VET programmes – provided within or outside the school system – in order to obtain an NVQR vocational qualification). It means duration depends on several factors, but the AC can be effective:
    - during the whole training period in vocational programmes at ISCED 353 level (in secondary vocational schools; three years); and
    - during the post-secondary training (grade 13 or grades 13 and 14) in vocational grammar school programmes (or, since 2017, from grade 11 if the learner chooses this option).
    ); apprentices receive monthly payment and are entitled to social insurance;
  • cooperation agreement (együttműködési megállapodás): the contract is made between the school and the company and learners receive payment only for the three-to-five-week practice during the summer holiday.

Apprenticeships are supervised by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), which is responsible for accrediting and registering training providers, supporting learners to find one and registering apprenticeship contracts ([64]The Chamber of Commerce organises the ’level exam’ (szintvizsga) as well, at the end of the first VET year (in secondary vocational school and vocational school programmes), to assess whether learners have acquired the competences required for participating in company-based learning.).

Since 2015, learners are only allowed to participate in practical training at the school workshop or at a company, based on a cooperation agreement if there is no company (apprenticeship) placement available to them, which has to be confirmed in writing by the Chamber (the Chamber’s guarantee).

An apprenticeship contract can be signed from the beginning of the first VET year ([65]In vocational grammar schools programmes this possibility refers to the post-secondary path of the programme (grades 13 and 14). After the 2017 amendment (effective as of 2017/18), apprenticeship contracts may be concluded also in the last two upper secondary grades (grades 11 and 12).). However, in the first year (grade 9) of secondary vocational school (ISCED 353) programmes and vocational school programmes for SEN learners practical training can only be organised within the school or at a company workshop dedicated exclusively to practical training (except for the summer practice).

Practical training (as from grade 9) ([66]Practical training at a company in grade 9 is only possible in the case the company has a workshop dedicated exclusively to practical training provision.) can be organised on the basis of a school-company agreement only in special circumstances:

  • if the share of practical training is less than 40%;
  • if practical training is provided within the school and the company only provides the summer practice or supplementary practice;
  • if the practical training is provided at a State-maintained organisation; or
  • if an apprenticeship contract cannot be made due to lack of apprenticeship offer (confirmed by the Chambers guarantee) ([67]A written confirmation by the Chamber that there is no practical placement available.).

Provision of practical training by VET programme type

In 2016/17, while most vocational grammar school learners (upper and post-secondary, respectively ISCED 344/EQF4 and ISCED 454/EQF 5 programmes) still had their practical training in a school workshop or at a workplace based on a cooperation agreement, the majority of secondary vocational school learners (ISCED 353/EQF level 4 programmes) participated in dual (apprenticeship) training. The share of learners in one of the two forms of company-based learning by programme type is shown in the figure below.

 

Share of learners by type of company-based learning and programme type (%), 2016/17

NB: (*) data on cooperation agreements in ‘vocational schools for SEN learners’ are included under ‘secondary vocational schools’ – except for agreements signed in programmes that award a partial qualification that are included under ‘vocational school for SEN learners’.
(**) including 103 cooperation agreements signed in vocational bridging programmes.
Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK); KSH STADAT database: http://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6

 

Extending dual training (apprenticeships) in VET:

  • a policy target was set to increase by 2018 the share of apprenticeships in skilled worker’s training (ISCED 353 VET programmes) to 70% ([68]In 2017, almost one in four VET learners had an apprenticeship contract, most of whom (69%) were enrolled in three-year upper-secondary VET programmes. Source: Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on VET in Hungary - 2017. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
    http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8126
    ) and in the other VET track (spanning upper and post-secondary levels) to 25%;
  • the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Agriculture support learners find an apprenticeship. Since the introduction of the Chamber guarantee in 2015, apprenticeship became the default form of practical training in VET schools. Practical training may be provided at the school workshop (or at a company based on a school-company agreement) only after the written confirmation by the chamber that no apprenticeships are available;
  • apprenticeship training has been introduced in adult education programmes since 2015 ([69]Adult education targets adults who did not obtain a formal school certificate of a certain level or a vocational qualification during their compulsory schooling, or who want to obtain a new qualification. Adult education is provided within the school system, typically in the same schools that provide full time education (IVET).).

New legislation in December 2017 ([70]Government of Hungary (2017). T/18309. számú törvényjavaslat [Bill No T/18309].
http://www.parlament.hu/irom40/18309/18309.pdf
) introduced a number of measures to further extend apprenticeship training in upper-secondary VET:

  • introducing the possibility to conclude apprenticeship contracts in grades 11 and 12, when the programme involves at least 250 hours per grade (500 hours of practical training in total in two years);
  • in the last year (grade 8) of lower secondary, learners may conclude a ‘pre-apprenticeship contract’ ([71]It is a special contract, effective from 1.1.2018.) which is a company commitment to offer, at a later stage, an apprenticeship contract to the learner who would enrol in upper-secondary VET;
  • extending the range of organisations eligible to provide apprenticeship training to State organisations and NGOs ([72]This refers to the social and pedagogy sectors and qualifications supervised by the minister of defence, to include State-maintained institutions, foundations, associations and churches.);
  • the regulation that aimed to prevent enterprises set up only to train IVET learners to receive public funding from the training levy was modified because it was unfavourable for micro companies; at the same time, the number of learners that a micro or small enterprise can train was limited to 12 ([73]Except for learners with multiple disadvantages and SEN learners and in case the chamber confirms in writing that there are no other apprenticeship placements available.) to ensure more effective training;
  • an opportunity was introduced for companies to establish joint sectoral training centres.

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

Governance of the Hungarian VET system

Central governance and administration of VET and adult training, since 2018, is under the competence of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (innovációs és technológiai miniszter) with other ministries being responsible for qualifications in their sectors. The government has responsibility on VET in issues that exceed the competences of the above.

The Ministry of Human Capacities is in charge of public ([74]Public education covers from pre-primary to post-secondary education levels, including vocational education offered from lower secondary to post-secondary education levels.) and higher education where VET within the formal school system and higher education VET ([75]These are regulated by the higher education act not the 2011 VET act, therefore vocational programmes in higher education, per legislation, are not part of VET) are provided. The Innovation ministry and the Ministry of Human Capacities are responsible for framework curricula of VET and general education, respectively. Other ministers are responsible for qualifications standards in their sectors.

The national vocational qualifications register ([76]The national vocational qualifications register (NVQR) – Országos Képzési Jegyzék (OKJ) – in place since 1993, comprises State-recognised (partial, full or add-on) vocational qualifications that can be acquired either in formal upper and post-secondary IVET or outside the formal education system.), the vocational requirement modules, examination regulations and funding of VET programmes are regulated in government decrees and the government approves education and VET strategies.

The National Office of VET and Adult Learning ([77]Nemzeti Szakképzési és Felnőttképzési Hivatal (NSZFH).), supervised by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, ensures coordination and implementation of national VET and adult learning policies. Its main tasks include:

  • consultative role including preparation of draft legislation for decision-making;
  • qualification and curricula development in VET;
  • subsidy management;
  • operation of VET centres; and
  • career guidance.

The Education Authority is an agency of the Ministry of Human Capacities that operates:

  • the national systems of assessment in public (general) education;
  • the uniform admission procedure to upper secondary education (both general and VET);
  • the secondary school leaving exam;
  • pedagogical counselling services; and
  • qualification procedures within the teacher career system and teacher/school inspections.

The Pest County Government Office is responsible for registering vocational exams and registering and inspecting adult training providers and programmes ([78]As of 1 January 2017, taking over these tasks from the National Office of VET and Adult Learning.).

The employment departments of county/capital government offices, as part of the national employment service led by the Ministry of Finance, provide training support for vulnerable groups.

Social partners involvement – the role of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has an important role in VET in policy advice, qualifications development for manual jobs ([79]Including standards and framework curricula.), accreditation and supervision of practice providers, provision of apprenticeship contracts (including the chamber guarantee measure ([80]Students are only allowed to participate in practical training at a school workshop or at a company based on a school-company cooperation agreement if there is no company (apprenticeship) placement available to them, which has to be confirmed in writing by the Chamber (or by the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture in relevant sectors such as agriculture, forestry, food industry and fisheries).)) and career guidance services.

Social partners shape VET policy through participation in advisory bodies, mainly:

  • the National VET and Adult Learning Council ([81]Nemzeti Szakképzési és Felnőttképzési Tanács (NSZFT).), advising strategic policy issues and allocation of development funds;
  • 18 sectoral skills councils (SSCs) ([82]Agazati készségtanács.) were set up in 2018 ([83]The SSCs took over the responsibilities of the national qualification board. Each council consist of 7 to 19 business representatives from the sector. Currently, there are19 SCCs.) operating under the coordination of the chamber of commerce (with the involvement of the chamber of agriculture in relevant sectors) to monitor labour market trends and needs for new skills and qualifications;
  • at country level, 19 country development and training councils ([84]Megyei fejlesztési és képzési bizottságok.) design short-and medium-term VET strategies on local needs, prepare lists of ‘qualifications in demand’ and propose quotas for enrolment places considered for financing VET from the State budget ([85]See Section: VET financing mechanisms - IVET financing.).

VET providers – public education sector ([86]Public education covers from pre-primary to post-secondary education levels.)

Governance of schools has been centralised (2013) and the majority of VET schools (those that came under the maintenance of the ministry responsible for VET in 2015) have been integrated into a network of 44 vocational centres ([87]The number of schools represented in each centre varies from 5 to 19. The number of students in each vocational centre must be at least 2 000 on average in the past three years. Currently, these 44 vocational centres have 380 member schools.). The vocational centres coordinate education and training activities of the member schools, manage their finances and help them offer training better aligned with labour market needs, promoting partnerships with businesses and innovation.

State-maintained VET schools in the sector of agriculture, (and forestry, fishery, food industry etc.) are operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and belong to the network of agricultural VET schools (46 schools).

The Ministries of Interior and of Defence as well as some universities also operate some VET schools that provide sector-specific programmes.

Under the public education act ([88]Act CXC of 2011 on public education.), church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also maintain schools, which can get funding from the central government budget based on an agreement with the minister responsible for VET ([89]The share of students studying in VET schools maintained by churches has increased considerably since 2010, while of those studying in schools maintained by foundations decreased: in school year 2015/16, 11% studied in the former and 7-8% in the latter type, in addition to 5-6% studying in other private schools.).

Provision of practical training

Practical training is part of the curricula of all VET programmes and can be provided in school-based setting or at companies based on an apprenticeship contract (of the learner and the company) or a cooperation agreement (of the school and the company, see Section: 7. Apprenticeship).

Dual VET is provided through apprenticeship training contracts which is an integral part of initial (primarily, ISCED 353 level) VET programmes ([90]See also the scheme fiche on Hungary in Cedefop’s European database on apprenticeship schemes: Dual vocational training based on the apprenticeship training contract:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches/apprenticeship-dual-vocational-training [accessed 20.3.2019].
) and is provided by companies. Apprenticeships are coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry ([91]The Chamber of Agriculture assumes the same role in the sectors under its remit of responsibilities, supervising apprenticeships and delivering the chamber guarantee.) which is responsible for accrediting and registering training providers, supporting learners to find a placement at a training provider and registering apprenticeship contracts ([92]More information on apprenticeship delivery is available in Section 7 - Apprenticeships.).

Since 2017, companies may establish joint sectoral training centres which are being set up in order to support the capacity of SMEs and micro enterprises to offer training ([93]Adapted from Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET: 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/009
).

VET providers – higher education sector

Vocational programmes offered at EQF level 5 are provided by higher education institutions ([94]See also Section
6. VET within education and training system.
).

Higher education VET programmes include a mandatory, one-semester-long (minimum 14 weeks) period of company-based practice in the last (4th) semester. In case that is provided in a block of six or more weeks, it must be organised on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the higher education institution and the company. The company then also has to make a student work contract (hallgatói munkaszerződés) with the student.

CVET/Adult training providers

Learners in adult training must sign a training contract with the training provider. The Adult training act of 2013 – the scope of which only covers courses that award an NVQR qualification or are publicly funded – replaced the former system of institutional and programme accreditation by a new system of licensing. Training providers have to apply for a licence that specifies the courses they offer. The license is awarded for an indefinite time by the Pest County Government Office ([95]Since 1 January 2017, instead of the National Office of VET and Adult Learning (NSZFH).), based on the opinion of an expert committee. All providers should apply a quality assurance system, which must be in line with a framework system ([96]Corresponds to the EQAVET framework:
http://eqavet.nive.hu/#!/grafikon|part=0
) defined by the minister responsible for VET and adult raining. Adult training providers include:

  • public and higher education institutions engaging in adult training as a supplementary activity;
  • other budgetary or State-funded institutions, most notably, regional training centres ([97]These are currently part of the Directorate-General for Social Affairs and Child Protection (Szociális és Gyermekvédelmi Főigazgatóság) and provide training for vulnerable groups, or specialised State agencies that provide mandatory further training programmes for public servants and employees.);
  • the chambers of economy organising the master craftsman exams and offering preparatory training;
  • private training companies;
  • NGOs (non-profit organisations, professional associations, etc.); and
  • employers providing in-company (internal) training for their own employees.

IVET funding

The public expenditure for education including primary, lower and upper secondary education, general and VET streams in 2016 was 2.37% of the GDP.

Learners may enrol free of charge in formal VET to prepare up to two VET qualifications listed in the national vocational qualifications register ([98]The second VET qualification can be obtained free of charge in adult education programmes (in VET provided within the school system).). VET schools are funded by:

  • the State budget and the contribution of the school maintainer that cover the costs of training provision in VET schools;
  • a training levy paid by enterprises ([99]Called ‘VET contribution’ (szakképzési hozzájárulás). ) that finances practical training provision at enterprises as well as the training sub-fund of the National Employment Fund ([100]Nemzeti Foglalkoztatási Alap (NFA); képzési alaprésze.); the latter funds the Adolf Szabóky VET Scholarship programme for IVET learners and various development measures (see sections: Incentives for learners and Incentives for enterprises);
  • the contribution of training provider companies that cover a part of the costs of their practical training provision ([101]20% as per estimates in 2016.).

VET is funded from the State budget on an annual basis ([102]The funding of State-maintained VET centres is based on annual institutional budget plans except for adult education, for which funding is provided on a per capita basis. Church-maintained and other privately maintained VET schools can also receive State funding if they make an agreement with the minister responsible for VET.). The aim of the so-called ‘qualification structure decisions’ regulated by the VET act is to adjust local VET supply to the needs of the economy and reduce skills mismatch. Every year (until the end of March), the county development and training councils based on local labour market information, skills analysis, and forecasts make proposals on qualifications/VET programmes to be offered from the following school year to receive State funding. The final government decision (decree) defines per county/the capital the range of those qualifications and vocational grammar school sectors for which VET school maintainers:

  • can enrol any number of learners without limitations;
  • are not entitled to any funding from the State budget;
  • can request budgetary contribution up to certain student quotas that are defined for each school maintainer in each county/the capital (for both full time attendance and adult education).

The ‘training levy’ and the National Employment Fund (NFA) training sub-fund

There are several ways enterprises may pay the vocational training levy:

  • by providing practical training to students in VET and certain higher education programmes ([103]Per legislation, VET does not cover vocational programmes offered in higher education, which are regulated by the higher education act.) and deduct their costs from the training levy, up to a certain amount, calculated on the basis of a base per capita rate and a coefficient (of 0.7 to 2) defined for each qualification ([104]The base per capita rate is defined in the annual budget laws (in 2018 it was HUF 480 000, EUR 1 528); the coefficients are defined in a government decree.). Furthermore, if the amount of the payable training levy does not cover all eligible costs, these can be claimed from the NFA training sub-fund;
  • by providing or financially supporting employees’ training, the costs of which can be deducted from the training levy up to at most 16.5% (but only if they also train at least 30 VET apprentices); or
  • by paying it directly into the NFA training sub-fund.

According to companies’ estimate, the share of VET student training costs which are deductible/reimbursable from the training levy and own funds was 80%-20% in 2016.

The training sub-fund of the National Employment Fund is also used to:

  • support training providers that do not pay the training levy ([105]E.g. central budgetary institutions in the social/health sector, farmers, etc.) to offer apprenticeships;
  • finance national programmes (and decentralised tenders) to improve infrastructure and technological capacities in VET and adult training programmes;

The training sub-fund can be used by the minister responsible for VET (assisted by the National Office of VET and AL and other advisory bodies on VET) according to the needs and policy priorities, in line with provisions regarding its use in legislation ([106]Act CLV of 2011 on VET contribution and the subsidisation of training development.).

CVET/Adult training funding

Adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system are funded by:

  • participants’ (learner) contributions;
  • employers’ contributions, including the training levy;
  • the National Employment Fund (NFA) employment sub-fund ([107]Its income derives from compulsory contributions paid by employers and employees and budgetary support.) which is used to finance training programmes for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups;
  • the NFA training sub-fund (see above); and
  • the central State budget and international (mostly ESF) assistance, which co-finance various development programmes.

Funding mechanisms include:

  • public funding (of mandatory CVET in the public sector; grants for individuals, primarily for the unemployed and at-risk groups; and grants for micro and small enterprises);
  • public-private cost-sharing (grants for at-risk groups; grants for enterprises; tax incentive for companies, see section: Incentives for learners);
  • collective (employer, employee) investment to finance CVET (training leave and playback clauses specified by the Labour Code).

Teaching staff in VET schools

The employment, initial and further training of all teachers and trainers working in public education (where VET schools are found) ([108]VET schools operate following (both the Public education and) the VET act which regulates VET within the lower-, upper- and post-secondary levels (in public education and also in adult training). It does not regulate vocational programmes offered in higher education.) are regulated by the public education act. In addition, the VET act regulates the qualification requirements of in-company trainers.

The table below lists the types of VET teachers and trainers working in VET schools, their qualification and further training requirements, respective tasks and responsibilities.

Teachers and trainers employed in VET schools, 2018

Title/

tasks and responsibilities

Required qualification

General subject teacher/ Teaching general education subjects

Relevant teacher qualification (master degree) (ISCED 766)

Vocational teacher/ Teaching vocational theoretical subjects

  • Relevant VET teacher qualification (master degree) (ISCED 766 or 767); or
  • a relevant higher education degree and qualification relevant to the taught subject or
  • a relevant higher education degree and qualification relevant to the training field (*)

Vocational teacher or trainer/ Teaching vocational practical subjects in the school

  • Relevant VET teacher qualification (master degree) (ISCED 766 or 767); or
  • a relevant vocational trainer qualification (bachelor degree) (ISCED 660); or
  • a relevant higher education degree; or
  • the secondary school leaving exam certificate and a relevant OKJ qualification and at least five years of professional experience

Instructor at an enterprise (in-company trainer)/ Instructing vocational practice at an enterprise

A relevant vocational qualification, at least 5 years of professional experience and

  • (since 2018) an instructor exam certificate (issued by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MKIK); or
  • (since 2015) a master craftsman certificate(issued by MKIK); or
  • a relevant higher education degree and qualification (in this case, two years of professional experience is sufficient); or
  • any higher education degree and qualification. (**)

NB: (*) In case there is no relevant VET teacher training, those with a relevant higher education degree and any teacher qualification, or if there is no relevant higher education training, those with any teacher qualification and a relevant OKJ qualification and a master craftsmen certificate can be employed permanently.

(**) Those over 60 and those who instruct practice in one of the catering facilities of outstanding quality (listed in a ministerial decree) are exempt from the latter requirements.

Source: VET and Public education acts.

VET teacher qualifications can currently be obtained in:

  • 4+1-year undivided (long) university programmes; or
  • four-semester master programmes (in which the duration of training can be reduced to three semesters by recognising previous teaching experience in public education); or
  • two-semester master programmes by those who already hold a master diploma in the professional field.

The vast majority of learners in vocational teacher training study in master programmes, in part time, correspondence learning form.

The 4+1 year programmes include subject-specific training (minimum 160 credits), a teacher training module (50 credits) and a one-year-long final external school teaching practice (40 credits). The duration of external teaching practice is one semester in the four-semester master programmes. VET teacher training programmes prepare participants for teaching several subjects of vocational theory.

Since 2006, vocational instructor training is offered in seven-term bachelor level programmes in three areas (business, technology and agriculture) and various specialisations. They consist of subject-specific training, pedagogical studies (including psychology) and practical training, the latter includes a teaching practice and a 12 week-long external vocational practice.

The qualification requirements of in-company trainers supervising the practical training of VET learners at enterprises are defined by the VET act. All instructors must have a relevant vocational qualification and at least five years of professional experience. In addition, since 2015, they either have to hold a master craftsman certificate or a higher education degree or, since 2018, a certificate awarded at the newly introduced instructor training and exam of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Teachers and trainers in higher education VET programmes

Higher education VET programmes have been fully integrated into higher education since 2013, therefore the qualification and further training requirements of VET teachers/trainers involved are regulated and vary by institutions.

VET teachers and trainers in adult training

Adult training legislation – effective for programmes that award an NVQR qualification or receive funding from the central budget or the training levy – makes a distinction between (a) instructors of vocational theory (VET teachers), (b) instructors of vocational practice (in-company trainers) and (c) instructors of language education. The former must hold a relevant VET teacher qualification or at least a relevant higher education degree or any higher education degree and a relevant vocational qualification. Those who instruct practical training must have at least a relevant vocational qualification and five years professional experience.

The continuous training of teachers and trainers working in public education (where VET schools are found) ([109]VET schools operate following (both the public education and) the VET act which regulates VET within the lower-, upper- and post-secondary levels (in public education and also in adult training). It does not regulate vocational programmes offered in higher education.) are regulated by the public education act. The VET act regulates the qualification requirements of in-company trainers but make no provision for the continuous professional development of in-company trainers (see table below).

Teachers and trainers employed in VET schools, 2018

Title/ tasks and responsibilities

In-service training

General subject teacher/ Teaching general education subjects

Compulsory in-service training of 120 hours at least once every seven years (can be accomplished by accredited in-service training, formal education and even some forms of non-formal and informal learning)

Vocational teacher/ Teaching vocational theoretical subjects

Vocational teacher or trainer/ Teaching vocational practical subjects in the school

Instructor at an enterprise (in-company trainer) / Instructing vocational practice at an enterprise

No compulsory in-service training

Source: VET and Public education acts.

Teachers/trainers who have not obtained a new degree or qualification in the past seven years must participate in in-service training that contributes to the renewal of their knowledge and skills. School leaders are required to attend courses that develop leadership skills, including those that prepare for the pedagogical professional examination, available in postgraduate specialisation programmes (ISCED 667 or 768).

The public education act of 2011 introduced a teacher career model that is divided into five categories, with each corresponding to specific career options, differentiated remunerations and possibilities to be promoted. Special provisions concerning VET teachers were introduced in 2015 and 2017, to promote the employment of practitioners with professional experience. An education inspection system was introduced in public education in 2015 that involves external experts to support the assessment and quality development of teachers’ work.

There are no legal requirements concerning the in-service training of in-company trainers.

VET teachers and trainers in adult training

In-service training for adult training instructors is not mandatory, but adult training providers have to operate a quality assurance system, including procedures to ensure the continuous training and quality of instructors. Current practice shows great variety in this respect and most adult training providers offer further training for their (full-time) instructors on an occasional basis only.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([110]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Labour market forecasts

Short-term labour market forecasts have been produced by the labour organisation since 1991, since 2005 in cooperation with the Institute for Economic and Enterprise Research of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry ([111]Magyar Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara Gazdaság- és Vállalkozáskutató Intézet (MKIK GVI).). Forecasts are made annually, based on a stratified sample of companies, representative for sector and size. They provide information about current and prospective layoffs and demand by sector and occupation groups ([112]https://mmpp.hu).

The labour departments of county government offices also regularly prepare quarterly analyses of prospective layoffs and opening positions planned by companies in the following three and 12 months. These are based on data reported to the given county office ([113]https://nfsz.munka.hu/Lapok/full_afsz_kozos_statisztika/afsz_negyedeves_munkaerogazd_felmeres.aspx).

Since 2008, the Economic and Enterprise Research of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK GVI) also prepares annual surveys on labour market supply and demand specifically for skilled workers over the course of the next one and four years. These include qualitative information about employers’ satisfaction with the general and vocational competences of VET graduates ([114]http://gvi.hu/kutatasaink/szakkepzes). Data are collected by the local chambers. The results assist county development and training committees to make informed recommendations to the minister responsible for VET about enrolment in VET schools (see section: VET funding mechanisms) and to prepare the county-level lists of qualifications in-demand that serve as the basis of allocating additional funds to learners and enterprises.

One of the tasks of the newly (2018) established sectoral skills councils will be to prepare short and mid-term forecasts to define the directions and objectives of VET development and to propose updates of qualifications and curricula.

Career tracking of VET graduates

The VET act foresees data collection (by graduates, VET providers and employers) for career tracking in the formal school system and in adult training ([115]Programmes leading to State-recognised VET qualifications included in the national register of vocational qualifications or programmes financed by national funds.), implementation is yet pending.

The National Office for VET and Adult Learning will run the national career tracking system of VET graduates, collecting data from the National Tax and Customs Administration ([116]Nemzeti Adó és Vámhivatal (NAV).), the pension insurance system and the public education information system.

Currently, a national project co-financed by ESF ([117]GINOP-6.2.4-VEKOP/16 project titled Developing the quality and content of 21st century VET and adult training.) is developing a system of VET graduate tracking.

Annual VET supply and demand surveys conducted by the Economic and Enterprise Research of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK GVI) included ‘career tracking snapshots’ to map the labour-market success of those who acquired an in-demand vocational qualification through apprenticeship training. Different methodologies have been used; the latest in 2018 involves surveying a sample of learners in their last school year and then seven-eight months and again 19-20 months after graduation.

In higher education, a ‘hybrid’ system of graduate career monitoring ([118]Diplomás Pályakövető rendszer (DPR).) combining national and institutional level tracking was developed with ESF support in 2008-10. This is based on a different methodological approach (survey of graduates using a questionnaire, three and five years after graduation), and the results and analysis of the DPR ([119]https://www.felvi.hu/felsooktatasimuhely/dpr) data collection are published annually.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([120]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([121]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

The national vocational qualifications register (NVQR)

The national vocational qualifications register lists all formal vocational qualifications (full, partial and add-on) regulated by the 2011 VET act ([122]NVQR (Országos Képzési Jegyzék, OKJ). The register does not include higher VET (EQF level 5) programmes which are regulated by the higher education act.). Qualifications may be acquired by completing a vocational programme, meeting all the complex vocational and examination requirements set for a given qualification and passing the final complex exam. Some of the qualifications in the register can be obtained only within the formal school system, some only in adult training, the rest in both forms. The register was created in 1993 and has since been regularly reviewed and amended ([123]Systemic reforms of the OKJ included aligning it with the ISCED (1995) and the Hungarian Unified Job Classification System (Foglalkozások Egységes Osztályozási Rendszere (FEOR) (1996), introducing occupational groups (2001), a modularised and competence-based qualification structure (2006), a sectoral system (2012) and most recently, alignment with the European qualifications framework (EQF).).

Three types of qualifications are available:

  • a vocational qualification entitles its holder to perform all jobs related to one or several occupations; its vocational and examination requirements typically include several qualification-specific modules as well as modules shared by two or more qualifications;
  • a partial vocational qualification entitles its holder to perform at least one job and its vocational and examination requirements contain only some of all modules of a qualification; no programmes to award it can be launched within the formal school system, except for vocational programmes for SEN learners and the vocational bridging programme;
  • an add-on vocational qualification can be obtained by those who have already obtained a vocational qualification; it typically includes only qualification-specific modules and entitle its holder to perform a new job that requires higher level expertise.

The classification of the register (seven-digit identification number) specifies the level of qualification, if it can be acquired in the formal school system or in adult learning, and the training field for each qualification. Detailed other data are also included in the NVQR register ([124]NVQR table is an annex of the government decree publishing it. Other information included in the register refers to occupational group; vocational grammar school sector; duration in number of years in VET within the school system; duration in number of class hours in VET outside the school system; learning form (full time, evening, correspondence or other in VET within the school system or course work or distance learning in VET outside the school system; level in the national qualifications framework (NQF) (Magyar Képesítési Keretrendszer, MKKR); and the responsible minister.).

Vocational and examination requirements (SZVK)

Standards of a qualification included in the national register (NVQR) are defined in its vocational and examination requirements ([125]Szakmai és vizsgakövetelmények (SZVK).) - published as a decree of the responsible minister - that specify (among others):

  • its entry requirements;
  • the jobs that can be performed by those holding this qualification and the occupational profile;
  • share of theoretical and practical training;
  • duration of summer practice;
  • learning outcomes: identification numbers of its ‘vocational requirements’ modules (see below); and
  • assessment standards: ‘examination requirements’, including any preconditions (e.g., foreign language exam) and the content and form of the exam activities.

Vocational requirements modules

A module may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. Modules are published in a separate government decree ([126]217/2012 (VIII.9.) government decree on the vocational requirement modules of State-recognised qualifications.) and specify for each work activity:

  • the occupational standards (its ‘task profile’); and
  • the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks ([127](i) vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills; (ii) personal competences (e.g., independence, precision); (iii) social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and (iv) method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).) ([128]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop
    https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf ), the task and character profiles in the SZVKs modules – and the framework curricula based on them – are not yet defined in the form and language of learning outcomes as understood in the EQF.
    ).

Designing and updating qualifications and standards

Any institution or person can initiate the deletion, modification or introduction of a vocational qualification in the NVQR register by submitting a proposal to the minister responsible for the given qualification (sector). The initiating institution or person must provide detailed justification for the amendment ([129]Supported by:
(a) a discussion of its objective and what alternative options to reach the same result have been considered;
(b) the estimated number of expected training participants per year;
(c) a list of training providers willing to provide the practical and the theoretical training; and
(d) a forecast of the national employment service on the number of jobs that will be available to be taken with the qualification proposed.
).

Proposals are first reviewed by the National Office of VET and Adult Learning ([130]Nemzeti Szakképzési és Felnőttképzési Hivatal (NSZFH).). Social partners are involved in the process through the National VET and Adult Learning Council ([131]Nemzeti Szakképzési és Felnőttképzési Tanács (NSZFT).), whose opinion is consulted by the minister responsible for VET before making a final decision ([132]Social partners participated also in the National Qualification Committee (Nemzeti Képesítési Bizottság, NKB) that was responsible for the continuous development of VET qualification structure and content until 1 July 2018.). Social partners and experts (practitioners as well as teachers) ([133]Teacher experts chosen from the national register of vocational experts who can participate in such development work.) were involved in all major VET qualifications development projects initiated by the government.

Standards can also be updated without modifying the national register, by the amendment of the SZVKs/vocational requirement modules only. In that case, SZVKs are developed by practitioners and teacher experts, commissioned by the responsible body/agency. The Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry ([134]Magyar Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara (MKIK).) has played a special role in qualification design, it was responsible for developing the standards of the majority of qualifications (those that are required for manual jobs). Their role in qualification design is being reviewed in 2019 in relation to the responsibilities of the newly set up sectoral skills councils.

Sectoral skills councils

Under a 2017 amendment to the VET act, as of 1 July 2018, the chamber of commerce coordinates the operation of the newly established sectoral skills councils (SSCs) ([135]Ágazati készségtanácsok.). In case of sectors which fall within the competence of the Minister for Agriculture (including also forestry, food industry and fisheries), this task will be carried out with the involvement of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture ([136]Nemzeti Agrárkamara (NAK).).

On the government’s initiative ([137]Following a pilot phase with 13 SSCs created in 2017.), 18 SSCs covering 41 economic sectors, each with 7-19 members, were set up in 2018. These are voluntary associations of stakeholders in a given sector that will support and promote the design, update and development of qualifications standards and align them with labour market and employer demands. Their work includes:

  • monitoring of labour market trends and technological developments;
  • making proposals for new/updated qualifications in the national register and training programmes and skills;
  • making forecasts to share short- and medium-term strategies.

Framework curricula in IVET

VET schools have to prepare their own local VET curricula based on centrally prepared framework curricula issued for each VET qualification in the national register: these define the vocational subjects to be taught and their content and class hours, based on the vocational and examination requirements ([138]SZVK). They are issued in a decree by the minister responsible for VET and adult training ([139]Currently, the Minister for Innovation and Technology.), with the approval of the minister responsible for education ([140]Currently, the Minister of Human Capacities.) and the minister responsible for the given qualification. The protocol of designing and updating framework curricula is defined by the minister responsible for VET and adult training. Curricula are developed by commissioned teacher experts and practitioners and then validated by the National Office of VET and Adult learning.

The local curriculum of general education provided in VET schools is prepared by the schools based on the National Framework Curriculum published in a government decree as well as framework curricula published by the minister responsible for education.

Standards and curricula in adult training

  • Adult training courses that award a VET qualification included in the national vocational qualifications register have to observe the same standards (vocational requirement modules - SZVKs) and framework curricula as those applied in formal school education;
  • Concerning other vocational courses not included in the national vocational qualifications register, adult training providers are free to design and deliver their own curricula and they have to observe regulations of the Adult training act only if the training is financed from the State budget or the training levy ([141]See also Section: VET within education and training system - learning forms - adult training.). Curricula of such ‘supported other vocational training’ have to include all data specified in the adult training act and be designed in accordance with a programme listed in the register of ‘adult training vocational programme requirements’ ([142]Felnőttképzési programkövetelmények (FPK).).

The adult training vocational programme requirements are similar to the vocational and examination requirements ([143]SZVKs) in content and function: they define outcome standards along with NQF level, entry requirements/competences, minimum-maximum class hours etc. for each module. They were introduced by the Adult training act of 2013 to promote uniform and transparent standards in adult training.

They can be designed by anyone and submitted to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is responsible for their registration. Under the chamber guidelines assisting their design, adult training vocational programme requirements have to define learning outcomes for each module, in accordance with the knowledge, skills, attitude and responsibility-autonomy descriptor structure of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework (HuQF/MKKR).

Proposals are approved by a five-member Programme Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which includes three adult training programme experts delegated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK) ([144]Magyar Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara (Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry).), one delegated by the Chamber of Agriculture (NAK) ([145]Nemzeti Agrárkamara (Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture).) and one by the responsible minister.

The complex vocational examination

State recognised vocational qualifications listed in the national vocational qualifications register are awarded at the final complex vocational examination. The preconditions of sitting this exam are defined in the vocational and examination requirements of the given qualification:

  • in courses provided in adult training, these include passing a final exam in all modules (‘module exam’);
  • in VET provided within the formal school system, the certificate issued upon the successful completion of the reference school year is equivalent to taking these module exams.

At the final complex vocational examination, learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board. The exam board comprises four members: one is the candidate’s teacher/trainer, the others are experts from the national register of examiners. The president of the board is appointed by the minister responsible for VET and adult training. In the case of qualifications overseen by the chamber of commerce – that make up the majority of the qualifications for manual jobs – he/she is appointed from among the experts recommended by the chamber.

In principle, those who fail to meet all vocational and examination requirements of a given qualification may still receive a partial qualification. In practice, however, this seldom happens. Learners can get exemption from taking a module exam in adult training (those that they have previously passed). Learners in VET schools can also get their prior learning recognised during their training, subject to the principal’s decision.

The national quality assurance system of VET provided within the school system – as part of public education - was introduced by the 2011 Public education act from school year 2015/16. It involves regular external pedagogical-professional evaluation (inspection) of teachers, school leaders and schools, based on their self-assessments as well as the analysis of students’ performance at standardised tests. The three elements of evaluation – self-assessment, external inspection and teacher qualification (within the framework of the national teacher career model, that aims to qualify teachers to enter the next teacher category) – are linked and aligned in several aspects (using the same assessment areas and standards), albeit they serve different purposes ([146]Educational Authority (2018). Önértékelési kézikönyv szakképző iskolák számára. Negyedik, javított kiadás [Self-assessment handbook for VET schools: 4th amended edition].
https://www.oktatas.hu/pub_bin/dload/unios_projektek/kiadvanyok/2019_onertekeles/Onertekelesi_kezikonyv_szakkepzes.pdf
See also the Eurydice country report on quality assurance in Hungary:
https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/quality-assurance-early-childhood-and-school-education-29_en
).

Self-assessment must be carried out once every five years by all teachers and schools and by school leaders in the 2nd and 4th year of their mandate. Based on their self-evaluation identifying outstanding areas and areas for development, teachers, school leaders and schools prepare five-year development plans and carry out organisational and personal development programmes.

The national external evaluation (inspection) aims to evaluate teachers, school leaders and schools with the primary objective of supporting their professional development. It is carried out in all public education institutions once every five years by the Educational Authority (the inspection of a school must be preceded by or conducted in parallel to the inspection of school leaders). The experts involved in the inspection process are peers with significant professional experience in the given sector, chosen from the national register of educational experts. Based on uniform as well as sector-specific standards and using various methods (document analysis, observation, interviews, parent and student surveys) the inspection assesses:

  • teachers’ pedagogical work in the eight teacher competence areas (as defined in the common teacher qualification standards);
  • school leaders’ leadership performance in five areas, including relations with companies providing practical training for IVET students; and
  • the quality of pedagogical-professional work, implementation of the pedagogical programme and development in target areas of the school.

From school year 2018/19, the evaluation standards for VET have been adapted to the EQAVET framework ([147]Educational Authority (2018). Országos tanfelügyelet. Kézikönyv szakképző iskolák számáa. Ötödik, javított kiadás. [National educational inspection. Handbook for VET schools: 5th amended edition].
https://www.oktatas.hu/pub_bin/dload/unios_projektek/kiadvanyok/2019_psze/PSZE_szakkepzesi_kezikonyv.pdf
). Based on the results of the inspection:

  • teachers and school leaders update their five-year development plans; and
  • the school leader prepares a five-year action plan setting out development measures for the school, which is approved by the teachers.

The quality assurance of companies that provide practical training to VET school students is ensured by their accreditation and monitoring by the chambers of economy in cooperation with the VET school. The inspection covers checking the adequacy of personal and material conditions and the fulfilment of legal regulations regarding training provision.

As regards training programmes provided outside the formal school system, the adult training act of 2013 – the scope of which only extends to courses that award an NVQR qualification or are publicly funded – replaced the former system of institutional and programme accreditation by a new system of licensing. Training providers have to apply for a licence that specifies the courses they offer. The license is awarded for an indefinite time by the Pest County Government Office ([148]Since 1 January 2017, instead of the National Office of VET and Adult Learning (NSZFH).), based on the opinion of an expert committee. All providers should apply a quality assurance system, which must be in line with a framework system ([149]Which corresponds to the EQAVET framework:
http://eqavet.nive.hu/#!/grafikon|part=0
) defined by the minister responsible for VET and adult training.

Hungary does not have a nationwide validation system based on uniform principles and procedures. The validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes appears in some policy documents as an important tool for lifelong learning but there is no evidence of an explicit national strategy ([150]Source: Tot, E.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, p.3. Commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf
). Arrangements for recognition of prior learning in place in 2018 are presented below.

The VET act provides for the opportunity to recognise previous work experience in the completion of vocational practical training, subject to the principal’s decision. Learners in VET schools can also get their prior learning recognised during their training, subject to the principal’s decision.

Furthermore, in adult training, those who have not participated in training can also take the module exams ([151]See Section: shaping VET qualifications - design - The complex vocational examination.) and then the complex vocational exam. However, though compared to general and higher education, VET is closer to the learning outcomes approach since standards are modularised and defined in competences, one of the main obstacles to the validation of prior learning is that educational and assessment standards are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([152]Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf
).

Under the adult training act of 2013, assessment of learners’ prior learning (competences) is compulsory in adult training courses that provide a vocational qualification listed in the national vocational qualifications register and in State-supported foreign language courses; in other publicly supported training programmes it must be carried out upon the request of the applicant.

Validation of prior learning in vocational courses not leading to a qualification included in the national vocational qualification register is also promoted by the fact that curricula must be based on adult training vocational programme requirements, which must be defined in terms of learning outcomes. However, assessment of prior learning is often more like a placement test that aims primarily to sort learners into ability groups and thus to increase the efficiency of training ([153]Idem, p. 6.).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([154]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Supporting skills for jobs especially in skilled workers’ training, raising the attractiveness of and participation in VET as well as promoting apprenticeship have been high in the policy agenda in recent years. Incentives are in place to support these goals.

Financial incentives in IVET

  • regular allowance and other benefits for learners in work-based training: pay during the summer practice (cooperation agreements) or monthly salary (apprenticeship contracts, see also below). The amount of payment is regulated by the VET act: it is linked to the minimum wage but varies according to the share of practical training in the programme, its form of delivery and learners’ performance and diligence;
  • the ‘Adolf Szabóky VET scholarship’ programme ([155]Previously called ‘the VET school stipend programme’, launched in 2010.) encourages learners to enter VET and train for ‘qualifications in-demand’ (hiányszakképesítés) included in a list established by the local county development and training committees ([156]Eligible students, i.e., those who participate in a full-time vocational programme to obtain their first vocational qualification, one that is included in the county list of ‘qualifications in-demand’, receive a lump sum of HUF 10 000 (EUR 32) per month in the first semester of the first VET grade. In the subsequent semester(s), those with an average attainment of at least 2.51 in a secondary vocational school or 3.01 in a vocational grammar school (on a grading system of 1 to 5) and at most seven hours of unauthorised absence, receive a monthly stipend of up to HUF 30 000 (EUR 96) or HUF 50 000 (EUR 159) in a secondary vocational school programme (EQF 4) or vocational grammar school programme (EQF 4), respectively, depending on their school performance. The number of beneficiaries grew from 16 844 in the 2nd semester of school year 2014/15 to 33 037 in the first semester of school year 2017/18.);
  • the ‘Road to an occupation’ (Út a szakmához) scholarship programme targets early leavers; it offers a small amount of monthly scholarship to disadvantaged learners in VET schools ([157]This programme was originally launched in 2005, as a sub-programme of the multi-component programme ‘Supply for the trip’ (Útravaló). In school year 2017/18, a total programme budget of HUF 580 million (EUR 1.9 million) was available from the ‘Roma scholarships’ section of the central State budget to provide a monthly amount of HUF 7 000 to 13 000 (EUR 23 to 42) to students (depending on their school performance) and HUF 7 000 (EUR 23) to their mentors for 10 months.);
  • the regular stipend ([158]Monthly scholarship of HUF 8 000 (EUR 25) in the first and HUF 10 000 (EUR 47) in the second year, provided since 2015.) provided to participants of the vocational bridging programme; and additional funding for the payment of teachers in these programmes; and
  • some local scholarship programmes for VET school learners, especially in counties with significant industrial activity.

In apprenticeships:

  • monthly salary;
  • paid sick leave/maternity leave;
  • time spent in apprenticeship counts towards pension;
  • reduced cost meals, reimbursement of travel costs, safety and work clothes and other mandatory benefits.

Competitions and media campaigns such as

  • WorldSkills and EuroSkills (2018, held in Budapest);
  • the excellent student of the trade competition for IVET learners in programmes run under the supervision of the Chamber of Commerce;
  • final rounds of VET study competitions at the annual Trade Star Festival.

Financial incentives for adult learners

  • financial remuneration and other benefits provided to apprentices; apprenticeships are available in adult education since 2015. The number and share of adult education participants in skilled workers’ training have nearly tripled in the past three years and have also increased in vocational grammar schools ISCED 344 upper secondary and ISCED 454 post-secondary programmes ([159]See also Section 5 – Share of learners in adult education in VET schools (%), 2010-18);
  • an opportunity to obtain two VET qualifications within the formal school system free of charge:
    • the first one either in full time education (by the age of 25, or at any age in adult education ([160]In any of the flexible adult education forms: full-time (90% of regular full-time), evening courses, distance learning.);
    • the second one in adult education ([161]Up to age 25 in full time adult education, or at any age, part-time (evening courses););
    • acquire (free of charge) ‘add-on’ qualifications built on the first or second VET qualification included in the national register;
    • learners with multiple disadvantages ([162]Criteria defined by law.) or special education needs can obtain any number of qualifications free of charge, and they can study in full time learning at any age;
  • training support ([163]Reimbursement of tuition fees, related expenses (travel and accommodation costs), cost of family member/child care as well as provision of supplementary/compensatory payment.) through the national employment service available to the unemployed and vulnerable groups ([164]The unemployed, women on child care support, people on rehabilitation support, people participating in public work programme and those at risk of becoming unemployed.). Beneficiaries are selected and assisted to choose sector, a qualification-in-demand and a training provider among those available at county level; employers may also launch supported training programmes if they will provide immediate employment;
  • central, regional and county labour market programmes. These include - in addition to financial - other individual psycho-social support, mentoring, work placement or temporary employment and entrepreneurial support. ESF-supported training programmes are in place ([165]Currently with target groups such as: the unemployed in the 25-64 age group and those in public work programmes (Road to the labour market); young people aged 15-24 not in training nor in employment (Youth Guarantee); or those at risk of becoming redundant (Preventing and tackling redundancy). Under the coordination of the National Office of VET and Adult Learning, two ESF-supported programmes for people with low qualifications are also in place.).

Among job seekers participating in labour market training programmes in 2017 71% of beneficiaries were in the age group 25-54 (24% under 25), 59% were women; in terms of level of qualifications they had at most lower secondary education (39%) or a VET qualification (40%).

Learners in training organised by employers are mostly men (75%), aged 25-54 (81%) with a VET qualification (67%). Most attended training for the unemployed (and public workers) and youth guarantee programmes for NEETs.

  • The labour code includes a right to training leave/benefits ([166]Paid or unpaid and support measures, such as pay tuition fees, costs of training materials and examination fees, possibly also travel and accommodation costs, etc.) for employees to attend primary education or under a study contract concluded between the employee and the employer ([167]Tnulmányi szerződés.). In the latter case, after the end of the training programmes, employees are bound to remain in employment for a definite period of time ([168]Usually as long as the duration of the training programme, but maximum five years.).

Incentives for companies to train VET learners

Training costs of VET learners (based on a cooperation agreement with a VET school or an apprenticeship contract with a learner) may be deducted from the training levy and claimed (costs not covered by this amount) from the National Employment Fund (NFA) training sub-fund, on a per capita rate of deductible/reimbursable costs differentiated by qualification (see Section: Funding).

Training providers training apprentices can also spend a part of their training levy on financing workshop development, payment of in-company trainers (in the case of SMEs) and workshop maintenance (in case of training 9th grade VET learners).

Hospitals and other non-profit organisations ([169]Budgetary organisations, foundations, associations, church legal persons, etc.) can also claim training costs from the NFA training sub-fund.

The minister responsible for VET can also provide financial support from the NFA training sub-fund for companies to create or develop training workshops ([170]In 2017, such financial support was given to set up six workshops.). School-based VET trainers ([171]Called practical training managers; since 2015, this formal function is obligatory in all State-maintained VET schools if the number of students is more than 200.) ensure cooperation between companies and the VET schools.

Incentives for companies to provide training for employees

Companies may use part of the training levy they are obliged to pay to co-finance their employees’ vocational and foreign language training. This option is mostly used by large companies, due to strict applicable criteria ([172]This option is only available for companies that also provide practical training to at least 30 apprentices (VET school students) and only up to at most 16.5% of the amount of their training levy.).

The 2017 amendment of the Adult training act extended the definition of ‘internal training’ to include training programmes of the company’s suppliers’ and partners’ employees as well and facilitated short VET or language training courses (at most 30 hours).

Companies may also be supported financially by the State to offer training to employees if they create new jobs for at least 50 people or may participate in ESF-supported training actions for the professional development of their employees (either in-company training or other courses purchased from other training providers). In 2018, ESF support is ensured for two-year training projects targeting large companies and SMEs (respectively EUR 318 000 and EUR 159 000, corresponding to 50-70% of the total training costs).

Career guidance and counselling activities are overseen by the ministry of education as well as the ministry responsible for VET and adult training. Under the VET act, primary schools, VET schools, school maintainers, the chambers of economy, employer and employee associations, the county development and training committees (see Section 2.4) and the national employment service are all involved in such activities, coordinated by the latter. Since 2015 the National Office of VET and Adult Learning (NSZFH) is responsible for the development and supervision of lifelong guidance in VET. It set up a career orientation work team in 2015 to survey and coordinate the career orientation activities of VET centres (the majority of VET schools, see Section 2.4) and develop methodological guidelines. Based on their activities, a large-scale national career orientation event, called the ‘Night of Trades’, was introduced in 2016 (see below).

Under the public education act, career orientation of learners is a responsibility of the teachers. The National Core Curriculum defines it as an important development task, to be provided mainly as part of the ‘Way of life and practical skills’ subject area in lower secondary education. Career guidance and counselling services for primary and secondary school learners are also provided ([173]NSZFH (Euroguidance Hungary), 2017.) by:

  • the county/capital pedagogical counselling services, whose tasks include career counselling of (recommendation of school and training programme type for) learners, based on the professional analysis of their competences, attitudes and interests;
  • the local chambers of economy, who provide career orientation and information services, especially regarding qualifications in high demand on the labour market, by organising career orientation events, factory visits, skills contests for primary school learners, etc.;
  • the 44 VET centres (see Section 2.4), which provide information about their vocational programmes both to learners and adults looking for adult education/adult training opportunities. Currently, 788 teachers provide career orientation services in VET centres and their member schools, i.e., roughly two people in each school (source: NSZFH).

The most important tools of career orientation and guidance targeting primary and secondary school learners include open days in VET schools and career exhibitions and expos ([174]Examples include the Technical career orientation festival in six cities (
http://miapalya.mee.hu/mi_ez_a_fesztival) or the ’Build your future!’ professional expo for the building industry in eight cities (
https://www.epitsdajovod.com).
). Such events are often organised by some or all of the above actors in cooperation with the employment departments of government offices. In 2016, initiated by the career orientation work team of the National Office of VET and Adult Learning, a new nationally coordinated annual event was introduced. On the ‘Night of Trades’, VET schools organise local career orientation events on the same day at the same time (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) throughout the country ([175]https://szakmakejszakaja.hu/index.php). In 2017, 8 706 teachers in 423 schools in 151 settlements organised 4 647 different activities (exhibitions, interactive programmes, factory visits etc.) at this event, that was visited by nearly 70 000 people. The primary objective is to increase the attractiveness of VET among the wider public and to provide an opportunity for schools to present themselves. An important tool for this is allowing visitors to ‘taste’ different vocations and thus obtain hands-on experiences.

Career guidance and counselling in higher education is offered at career centres that operate in most higher education institutions. Information about HE programmes, including higher education VET, is available on a website of the Education Office ([176]http://www.felvi.hu).

Adults, unemployed as well as employed people, can obtain career information and counselling at the employment departments of the county/capital government offices. A network of Employment Information Counselling centres (Foglalkozási Információs Tanácsadó, FIT központok) operates as part of these, allowing access to tools (films, brochures, tests etc.) that assist career choice and provide career information. Career information and guidance are offered also by some companies, non-profit organisations, county community centres and family service offices.

Online career information, guidance and counselling is available on the National Career Guidance Portal (Nemzeti Pályaorientációs Portál) ([177]https://npp.munka.hu). It provides information on occupations in various formats, links to relevant databases, career orientation tests, online counselling as well as methodological support materials to various target groups, including primary and secondary school learners, adults, parents, experts and institutions.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher education VET

programmes,

2 years,

WBL 40-80%

ISCED 554

Higher education VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (felsőoktatási szakképzés)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

n/a

Usual completion grade

n/a

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

It can be considered as CVET when the learner has previously received an NVQR ([287]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

These programmes are offered both in State-financed and self-financed form. Learners can participate in State-financed higher education for up to at most 12 semesters (total allowance for higher education VET, bachelor and master programmes). Quotas are defined annually for the number of learners who may be admitted to State-financed education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

In higher education the same programme may be offered in full or part time or distance learning forms ([286]Part-time forms involve at least 30% and at most 50% of the number of class hours in full time form; distance learning is defined as involving less than 30% of class hours in full-time education.).

ECVET or other credits

120 (ECTS) credit points ([285]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en)

Graduates can transfer 30-90 credits to a bachelor programme in the same field.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • full-time education;
  • part-time education (evening or correspondence, in 30-50% of class hours of full-time education);
  • distance learning (30% of class hours)
  • minimum 14-week company-based practice (if it is provided in a block of six or more weeks, it must be organised on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the HE institution and the company; in this case, the company also has to make a student work contract with the learner) ([288]Dual training in higher education is only available in bachelor and master programmes (but ‘dual training’ is different from ‘dual VET’ offered in VET school programmes).).
Main providers

Higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 40-80% ([289]The share of practice is defined in the standards – called ’training and qualification requirements’, képzési és kimeneti követelmények (KKK) – of higher education programmes. The most typical is WBL 60-70%.)

Higher education VET programmes include a mandatory, one-semester-long (minimum 14 weeks) period of company-based practice in the last (4th) semester. In case that is provided in a block of six or more weeks, it must be organised on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the higher education institution and the company. The company then also has to make a student work contract (hallgatói munkaszerződés) with the student.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at the HE institution
  • practical training at a company (if provided in a block of six or more weeks, on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the school and the company as well as a student work contract between the learner and the company)
Main target groups

Learners with the secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344), who wish to obtain a higher level certificate in a short and flexible programme. Transferability of credits can also help transition to bachelor level education.

In 2017/18, only 4.3% of all learners in higher education studied in these programmes.

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

Entry requirements are:

  • holding the upper secondary school certificate (ISCED 344);
  • higher education VET providers might also require previous VET studies.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners who completed all study and examination requirements and the professional practice specified in the curriculum obtain the final certificate (abszolutórium). The higher education VET qualification is awarded at the final exam (záróvizsga) that involves defending a thesis and may also have oral, written and practical parts ([290]A State-recognised foreign language proficiency certificate is also a precondition of obtaining some (but not all) of these qualifications.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher education VET programmes award an ISCED 554 vocational qualification (not included in the OKJ ([291]The national vocational qualifications register, which includes VET qualifications delivered in public education (for VET, this includes secondary and post-secondary levels) or in adult training) since 2013).

Examples of qualifications

Economist assistant in tourism and catering specialised in tourism’, network information technology engineer assistant ([292]These are higher education vocational qualifications, not a higher education degrees.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed higher education VET programmes may:

  • progress to a bachelor programme (where they can transfer 30-90 credits in the same field); or
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Although higher education legislation permits earning (ECTS) credits by validation (of prior learning/work experience), at least one-third of the credits must be earned in the institution issuing the qualification ([293]Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, p. 5. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf
) and it is not possible to acquire the higher education VET qualification by validation only.

General education subjects

N

Curricula of these programmes are modularised and involve:

  • a shared competence module of all higher education VET programmes (12 credits), including development of labour market, foreign language, VET and financial information and communication competences;
  • a shared module of all programmes in a training field (21 credits, including a shared module of the training branch of 15 credits);
  • a VET module (87 credits, including practical training of 30 credits and a specialisation module of 15 credits).
Key competences

Y

Some key competence development is included in the shared competence module of all higher education VET programmes (12 credits) that involves labour market, foreign language, VET and financial information and communication competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The standards (called ‘training and qualification requirements’) of higher education VET programmes define learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and autonomy and responsibility.

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

In 2017/18, only 4.3% of all learners in higher education studied in these programmes.

3.9% (2017/18) ([294]Share of learners in higher ISCED 554 VET programmes compared to the total number of learners in secondary, post-secondary VET and higher education VET programmes (all levels, but excluding adult training provided outside the formal school system); 3.4% of full time learners. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database:
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6 and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak
)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

School-based practice-oriented

programmes,

1-2 years,

WBL 27-64%

ISCED 454

Post-secondary VET (vocational grammar school) programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (szakgimnázium szakképző évfolyamok)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

14 ([265]For those that are coming from upper-secondary VET but continue in a different vocational grammar school sector, as well as for those who have no prior VET learning the programme takes two-years instead of one. There is also a grade 15 for those who pursue an add-on qualification.)

Usual entry age

18 ([266]Or a year later for those coming from a five-year vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programme (one with an additional language year).)

Usual completion age

19 or 20 ([267]Or a year later for those coming from a five-year vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programme (one with an additional language year). A year later (20) also if studying in a different sector.)

Length of a programme (years)

1 or 2 ([264]Graduates of upper secondary vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programmes that enrol in post-secondary VET in a different sector will complete the programme in two years; learners without any VET prior learning and certificate will also complete the programme in two years.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

([270]These programmes are also available to those who have already obtained an VET qualification included in the national register of vocational qualifications (NVQR) qualification, to obtain a second one or an add-on qualification. Also, graduates of skilled workers training (ISCED 353) can also obtain a higher level NVQR qualification in these programmes.)

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public education is free of charge for learners up to the obtainment of two VET qualifications; add-on qualifications may also be offered free of charge.

Is it available for adults?

Y

In adult education (available to learners over 16) the same programme is offered in flexible learning forms ([269]Full-time (90% of regular full-time education, up to age 25), part-time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learning). See also Section 6. VET learning options.).

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • regular school-based full-time education;
  • adult education for learners over 16 available in full-time attendance (90% of regular school-based full-time education) ), part time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learning) (see also Section 6. VET learning options);
  • practical training is part of the curriculum of all VET programmes and can be delivered in school workshops and/or at companies (see sections on WBL)
Main providers

VET schools that provide these types of programmes ([271]VET schools can provide one or more types of VET programmes. Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services. . The maintainer of most State-maintained VET schools is the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (these schools are integrated into 44 vocational centres with 380 member schools), except for schools providing VET in the sector of agriculture, which are maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and belong to the Network of Agricultural VET schools with 46 schools.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 27-64% ([272]Calculated on the basis of framework curricula of general education (i.e., foreign language education in 4 lessons/week, that make up 11% of the total number of lessons in these post-secondary programmes) and for VET qualifications (based on qualification standards that define the share of vocational practice for the whole four upper secondary +one post-secondary years as varying as 30-70%).)

65% of learners received (the whole or a part of) their practical training in companies 2016/17.

 

Share of students by type of WBL and programme type (%), school year 2016/17

NB: (*) Data on cooperation agreements in ‘vocational schools for SEN learners’ are included under ‘secondary vocational schools’ – except for agreements signed in programmes that award a partial qualification, which are included under ‘vocational school for SEN learners’.
(**) including 103 cooperation agreements signed in vocational bridging programmes.
Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), KSH STADAT database http://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6

 

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in school workshops
  • practical training in a company based either on a cooperation agreement between the school and the company or an apprenticeship contract between the learner and the company ([273]Since 2015 apprenticeship contracts can be signed also by adult education participants, only in evening and correspondent courses the monthly payment is reduced to 60% and 20% of that provided in full-time education, respectively.)
Main target groups

Programmes are mainly targeting graduates from the secondary school years of vocational grammar school programmes (having already the secondary school leaving certificate as well as prior VET) as well as graduates of grammar schools (having only the secondary school leaving certificate) that wish to acquire a technician qualification at ISCED level 454 ([274]These programmes are the so-called VET years in post-secondary of the vocational grammar school programmes which were last reformed in 2015 (effective from school year 2016/17) by changing their name with the intention to increase attractiveness.). These programmes have also become more easily accessible to graduates of skilled workers training ISCED 353 – those aiming to acquire a higher level technician qualification - since the introduction (in 2012) of the opportunity to enter without the secondary school leaving certificate, but with a craftsman certificate and five years of experience; and also because of the introduction (in 2016/17) of the optional two-year follow-up general education programme in secondary vocational schools that awards the secondary school leaving certificate.

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

Entry requirements are:

  • holding the secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344, duration is two years, as learners do not have prior VET learning); or
  • holding the VET upper secondary school certificate (ISCED 344); duration is one year if training is followed in the same sector or two years if training is followed in a different sector; or
  • skilled workers without any of the above secondary school leaving certificates, but with an ISCED P 353 NVQR qualification, a master craftsmanship certificate (awarded by the chambers of economy) and five years of work experience may also enrol; duration is one year.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Their framework curricula for VET, based on the vocational and examination requirements of the pursued vocational qualification ([275]All public education (covering secondary and post-secondary levels) VET qualifications are included in the national vocational qualifications register (OKJ / NVQF).) are published by the minister responsible for VET, consulted by the minister of education ([276]Vocational subjects account for 89% of the curriculum, there are only four lessons/week foreign language education in these programmes The local curriculum of general education provided in VET schools is prepared by the schools based on the National Core Curriculum published in a government decree as well as framework curricula published by the minister responsible for education.).

Upon completion, these programmes award an NVQR ([277]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualification at the final complex exam ([278]All public education (covering secondary and post-secondary levels) VET qualifications are included in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQF).). Learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board. In principle, those who fail to meet all requirements may still receive a partial qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners prepare a technician qualification at ISCED level 454 listed in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR) allowing them to perform several jobs.

Types and levels of NVQR (OKJ in Hungarian) ([279]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualifications delivered in post-secondary vocational grammar school ISCED 454 programmes

NVQR/

OKJ level

Definition

ISCED level (*)

54

advanced level vocational qualification, which requires the secondary school leaving exam certificate and can be obtained primarily in VET provided within the formal school system

4

55

advanced level add-on vocational qualification, which is built on a vocational qualification(s) that requires the secondary school leaving exam certificate and can be obtained primarily in VET provided within the formal school system

4

NB: (*) Qualifications included in the national register refer to attainment levels.

Source: Refernet Hungary, based on 150/2012 (VII.6) Government decree on the OKJ and the procedure of its amendment.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, dental assistant or logistics assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed post-secondary vocational grammar school programmes may:

  • move on to higher VET ISCED 554/EQF5;
  • move on to higher education bachelor ISCED 665/EQF6 programmes (where they may get their VET studies recognised in a bachelor programme of the same sector, at the discretion of the HE institution); or
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

The complex examination that awards NVQR qualifications does not allow for recognition of prior learning (no exemption can be obtained from taking the whole or a part of the exam).

Nevertheless, learners in VET schools can get their prior learning recognised during their training, subject to the principal’s decision. The VET act also provides for the opportunity to recognise previous work experience in the completion of vocational practical training, subject to the principal’s decision.

General education subjects

Y

11% (only one subject: foreign language, in four lessons/week)

Key competences

Y

Curricula involve foreign language education. Standards and framework curricula of NVQR ([280]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualifications define vocational, personal, social and methodological competences, corresponding to the particular task profile, by modules. They comprise several components/parts of key competences ([281]More information is available in Bükki, E. et al. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Hungary. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_HU_KC.pdf).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET standards (called ‘vocational requirements’) are modularised and defined in competences, but they are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([282]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF. (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.)
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf), the task and character profiles in the vocational requirements modules – and the framework curricula based on them - are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes (as understood in the EQF).
).

The vocational requirements modules of a VET qualification may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. They are published in a government decree (and specify for each work activity:

(a) its ‘task profile’ (occupational standards); and

(b) the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks ([283]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (in a project led by NSZFH), the task and character profiles in the SZVKs – and the framework curricula based on them – are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes, as understood in the EQF (Tót and ICF, 2016, p. 10).);

  • vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills;
  • personal competences (e.g., independence, precision);
  • social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and
  • method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

16.1% ([284]2017/18. NB: Compared with the total number of VET learners (secondary, post-secondary and higher education VET programmes) in full-time programmes; excluding VET learners attending part-time programmes; excluding VET learners in adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6 and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak
)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Bridging programmes for those

who have completed at most

two years of lower

secondary education

by age 15

ISCED 351, 352,353

Vocational bridging programme leading to EQF level 2-3, ISCED 351, 352 and 353 (szakképzési hídprogram)
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

352

353

Usual entry grade

SZH/1 ([180]The two grades in this programme are named as SZH/1 and SZH/2 (i.e., not as part of the normal numbering 0-12).)

Usual completion grade

SZH/2 ([181]The two grades in this programme are named as SZH/1 and SZH/2 (i.e., not as part of the normal numbering 0-12).)

Usual entry age

15 ([182]Having completed grade 6 at most, but drop-outs younger than 23 can also enrol in the VET bridging programme.)

Usual completion age

17 ([183]Or older, as the programme is accessible also to adults.)

Length of a programme (years)

2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

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

Public education is free of charge for learners up to the obtainment of two VET qualifications

Is it available for adults?

Y

Drop-outs younger than 23 can enrol in the VET bridging programme.

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • regular school-based full-time education
  • adult education for learners over 16 ([185]However, the vast majority of learners study in regular full time education – in school year 2017/18, only 16 out of 1837 total participants studied in adult education, but even they studied in the full time attendance (90% of regular school-based education) form.)
  • practical training is part of the curriculum of all VET programmes and can be delivered in school workshops and/or at companies
Main providers

VET schools (that provide lower or upper secondary VET) designated by the minister responsible for VET (or by the minister of agriculture in schools in that sector) to provide this type of programme ([186]Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 7- 41% ([187]The share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies is understood as the share of practical training in the curriculum which is calculated on the basis of the framework curriculum for general education for this programme type (which defines the share of general education and VET) and the standards and the framework curricula of VET qualifications (which define the share of theory and practice within the VET part). As regards the latter, the standards of VET qualifications offered in this programme define the share of practice as between 20% and 70%.) ([188]6.8% of learners received (the whole or a part of) their practical training in companies based on cooperation agreement between the school and the company in 2016/17).)

103 cooperation agreements (Apprenticeships are not available in VET bridging programmes)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the school workshop
  • practical training at a company (based on cooperation agreements, no apprenticeships available)
Main target groups

Bridging programmes were introduced in 2013 to prevent and reduce early leaving from education and training for young people and adults (up to age 23).

The vocational bridging programmes prepare learners to continue studies in upper secondary education by providing complex general competence development as well as VET, to small groups of 8-10 learners.

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

Learners who completed at most two years (grade 6) of (four-year) lower secondary education by age 15 must take part in two-year vocational bridging programmes offered in designated VET schools.

Drop-outs younger than 23 can enrol in the VET bridging programmes too.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Upon completion, learners take a final exam where they can obtain a certificate on the completion of lower secondary education (EQF level 2) as well as a complex vocational exam where they can obtain a partial VET qualification included in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR).

At the complex exam learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive two qualifications the lower secondary education EQF 2 certificate (education level completion - alapfokú iskolai végzettség) and a partial VET qualification at ISCED P level 351, 352, 353

Types and levels of NVQR (OKJ in Hungarian) ([189]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualifications delivered in VET bridging programmes

NB: (*) Qualifications included in the national register refer to attainment levels.

Source: Refernet Hungary, based on 150/2012 (VII.6) Government decree on the OKJ and the procedure of its amendment.

Examples of qualifications

‘Kitchen aid’, ‘Computer data recorder’, ‘Animal carer’ or ‘Agricultural worker’

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed the VET bridging programme may:

  • enter the labour market;
  • move on to any of the two upper secondary VET tracks delivered at ISCED levels 344 and ISCED level 353 in grade 9.

Learners who do not finish the programme but complete one year can still enter a secondary vocational school programme (three-year ISCED 353 VET programmes) in grade 9 ([190]In lack of a primary school graduation certificate, the conditions of admittance to secondary vocational school ISCED 353 programmes are: (a) reaching the age of 14; and (b) completion of an academic year in the Vocational bridging programme organised in a secondary vocational school.).

However, less than 20% of learners in VET bridging programmes obtain a partial qualification ([191]Ministry of Innovation and Technology (2019). Szakképzés 4.0 A Szakképzés és Felnőttképzés Megújításának Középtávú Stratégiája, a Szakképzési Rendszer Válasza a Negyedik Ipari Forradalom Kihívásaira [VET 4.0 Mid-term strategy of the renewal of VET and adult training: response of the VET system to challenges of the 4th industrial revolution].
https://www.fvsz.hu/files/hirek/rendezv%C3%A9nyek/2019/szakkpzs-4.0-final_fvsz.pdf
).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Programmes prepare learners to continue studies in upper secondary education by providing complex general competence development as well as VET, to small groups of 8-10 learners.

There are two types of VET bridging programmes depending on the share of general education and VET, which can be 63-37% or 41-59% ([192]Calculated on the basis of class hours defined in the framework curriculum of general education for the vocational bridging programme:
https://www.nive.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=713:szakkepzesi-kerettantervek-302016viii31ngmrendelet&catid=10&Itemid=166
).

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of general education is based on the National Core Curriculum that includes key competence development ([193]The list of key competences in the Hungarian NCC differs from that in the EU recommendation of 2006 in one minor aspect. It breaks the EU key competence of ’mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology’ into two separate ones, thus in Hungary there are nine instead of eight key competences. More detailed information is available in: Bükki, E. et al. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Hungary. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_HU_KC.pdf
). Three key competences – foreign language, Hungarian language and competences in mathematics, science and technology – are to be developed as stand-alone subjects.

Development of other key competences is described in the outcome requirements of particular school subjects and depends on local school practices. Standards and framework curricula of NVQR qualifications define vocational, personal, social and methodological competences, corresponding to the particular task profile, by modules. They comprise several components/parts of key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET standards (called ‘vocational requirements’) are modularised and defined in competences, but they are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([194]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European Qualification Framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf), the task and character profiles in the vocational requirements modules – and the framework curricula based on them - are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes (as understood in the EQF).
).

The vocational requirements modules of a VET qualification may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. They are published in a government decree ([195]217/2012 (VIII.9) Government decree on the vocational requirement modules of State-recognised qualifications.) and specify for each work activity:

(a) its ‘task profile’ (occupational standards); and

(b) the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks:

  • vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills;
  • personal competences (e.g., independence, precision);
  • social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and
  • method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

0.8% ([196]2017/18. NB: Compared with the total number of VET learners (secondary, post-secondary and higher education VET programmes); excluding VET learners in adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database:
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6 and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak.
)

The number of participants in VET bridging programmes grew from 1 521 in 2016/17 to 2 581 in 2017/18.

VET for SEN learners

2 or 4 years,

WBL 13 – 47%

ISCED 243, 253, 353

School for skills development for special education needs (SEN) learners leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 243 (készségfejlesztő iskola). Vocational school programmes for special education needs (SEN) learners leading to EQF levels 2-4, ISCED 253/353 (szakiskola)
EQF level
2 school for skills development for SEN learners (készségfejlesztő iskola) 2-4 Vocational school programmes for SEN learners (szakiskola)
ISCED-P 2011 level

243 school for skills development for SEN learners (készségfejlesztő iskola)

 

253/353 Vocational school programmes for SEN learners (szakiskola)

Usual entry grade

9 ([199]The extra preparatory year (előkészítő évfolyam) for students with less severe mental disabilities is called 9/E. and is followed by grade 9. The entry requirement is the primary school certificate (ISCED 244) and an official assessment of the person.)

Usual completion grade

10 or 12

Usual entry age

14 ([200]Programmes target students aged 14-23 in need of special education due to mental or other disabilities.)

Usual completion age

18 school for skills development for SEN learners (készségfejlesztő iskola)

16 (17) or

18 (19) Vocational school programmes for SEN learners (szakiskola) ([201]Programmes that award a partial NVQR qualification are two-year-long, those that award a full NQVR qualification are four-year-long and there is an extra preparatory year for learners with less severe mental disabilities.)

Length of a programme (years)

4 school for skills development for SEN learners (készségfejlesztő iskola) ([197]Two years of general education plus two years of ’practical grades’.)

2-5 Vocational school programmes for SEN learners (szakiskola) ([198]Programmes that award a partial NVQR qualification are two-year-long, those that award a full NQVR qualification are four-year-long and there is an extra preparatory year for students with less severe mental disabilities.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

The programme type targets SEN learners between 14 to 23 years old.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

These programmes are also available to those who have already obtained an NVQR qualification, to obtain a second one, in that sense it can be considered also as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public education is free of charge for learners up to the obtainment of two VET qualifications

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • regular school-based full-time education
  • adult education (for learners over 16) ([203]The target group of this programme is learners with SEN due to different types of disabilities; therefore it is delivered almost exclusively in regular full time education. According to the statistics, merely 18 learners studied in adult education in 2017/18 (and only one learner in the previous year).)
  • practical training is part of the curriculum of all VET programmes and can be delivered in school workshops and/or at companies
Main providers

VET schools that provide these types of programmes ([204]VET schools can provide one or more types of VET programmes. Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services. The maintainer of most State-maintained VET schools is the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (these schools are integrated into 44 vocational centres with 380 member schools), except for schools providing VET in the sector of agriculture, which are maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and belong to the Network of Agricultural VET schools with 46 schools.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 13-47 % ([205]The share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies is understood as the share of practical training in the curriculum which is calculated on the basis of the framework curriculum for general education for this programme type (which defines the share of general education and VET) and the standards and framework curricula of VET qualifications (which define the share of theory and practice within the VET part). As regards the latter, the standards of VET qualifications offered in this programme define the share of practice as between 20% and 70%.)

37% of learners received (the whole or a part of) their practical training in companies 2016/17.

 

Share of students by type of company-based learning and programme type (%), school year 2016/17

NB: (*) Data on cooperation agreements in ‘vocational schools for SEN learners’ are included under ‘secondary vocational schools’ – except for agreements signed in programmes that award a partial qualification, which are included under ‘vocational school for SEN learners’;
(**) Including 103 cooperation contracts signed in vocational bridging programmes.
Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), KSH STADAT database http://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6

 

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in school workshops
  • practical training in a company (in grade 9 only in company workshop dedicated exclusively to training) based either on a cooperation agreement between the school and the company or on an apprenticeship contract between the learner and the company
Main target groups

They target learners aged 14-23 in need of special education due to mental or other disabilities ([206]These programmes were last reformed in 2015 (effective from school year 2016/17) by changing their name with the intention to increase attractiveness.).

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

The entry requirement is the primary school certificate (ISCED 244) and an official assessment of their special needs ([207]Issued by an expert committee of the pedagogical counselling services.).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The four-year school for skills development (készségfejlesztő iskola) offers two years of general education and two years of practical skills development to SEN learners. Upon completion of the last grade, learners obtain a certificate on the completion of secondary education.

The two or four -year vocational school programmes for SEN learners (szakiskola) prepare SEN learners to get a partial or a full OKJ qualification ([208]All public education (covering secondary and post-secondary levels) VET qualifications are included in the national vocational qualifications register (OKJ/NVQF).), depending on the type of disability (they may also include an extra preparatory year for learners with less severe mental disabilities). The NVQR qualification is awarded upon passing the final complex exam. Learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners in school for skills development programmes receive an ISCED 243 certificate on the completion of secondary education upon completing the last grade.

VET learners in vocational school programmes for SEN learners receive adapted education and training depending on the type of disability. Learners prepare accordingly a full or a partial NVQR qualification at ISCED levels 253 or 353 (two- and four-year programmes, with an extra preparatory year for learners with less severe mental disabilities).

Types and levels of NVQR (OKJ in Hungarian) ([209]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualifications delivered in vocational school for SEN learners programmes

NVQR/OKJ level

Definition

ISCED level (*)

21

basic level partial vocational qualification, which requires no completed school studies and may be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system, in a vocational programme for SEN learners or in a Vocational Bridging programme

2

31

lower secondary level partial vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate (ISCED 244) or the theoretical and practical knowledge elements defined in its vocational and examination requirements (hereinafter: entry competences), and may be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system, in a vocational programme for SEN learners or in a Vocational Bridging programme

3

32

lower secondary level vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate or the entry competences defined in the vocational and examination requirements and may be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system

3

34

secondary level vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate or the entry competences defined in the vocational and examination requirements and may be typically obtained in VET provided within the formal school system

3

NB: (*) Qualifications included in the national register refer to attainment levels.

Source: Refernet Hungary, based on 150/2012 (VII.6.) Government decree on the OKJ and the procedure of its amendment.

Examples of qualifications

‘Carpenter’, ‘Pastry maker’, ‘Kitchen aid’

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed the school for skills development or the vocational school programmes for SEN learners:

  • may enter the labour market;
  • be better prepared for an independent life (those with more severe mental disabilities in the practical skills development track).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of general education and VET is 33-67% or 34-66% in the shorter and longer programmes, respectively ([210]Calculated on the basis of class hours defined in the framework curriculum of general education for vocational school programmes (
http://kerettanterv.ofi.hu). If the extra preparatory year for learners with less severe mental disabilities is also considered (as general education), the share of general education and VET is 46/59%-54/44%.
).

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of general education is based on the National Core Curriculum that includes key competence development ([211]The list of key competences in the Hungarian NCC differs from that in the EU Recommendation of 2006 in one minor aspect. It breaks the EU key competence of ’mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology’ into two separate ones, thus in Hungary there are nine instead of eight key competences. More detailed information is available in Bükki, E. et al. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Hungary. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_HU_KC.pdf
). Three key competences – foreign language, Hungarian language and competences in mathematics, science and technology – are to be developed as stand-alone subjects.

Development of other key competences is described in the outcome requirements of particular school subjects and depends on local school practices. Standards and framework curricula of NVQR qualifications define vocational, personal, social and methodological competences, corresponding to the particular task profile, by modules. They comprise several components/parts of key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET standards (called ‘vocational requirements’) are modularised and defined in competences, but they are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([212]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European Qualification Framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf ), the task and character profiles in the vocational requirements modules – and the framework curricula based on them - are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes (as understood in the EQF).
).

The vocational requirements modules of a VET qualification may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. They are published in a government decree ([213]217/2012 (VIII.9) Government decree on the vocational requirement modules of State-recognised qualifications.) and specify for each work activity:

(a) its ‘task profile’ (occupational standards); and

(b) the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks;

  • vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills;
  • personal competences (e.g., independence, precision);
  • social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and
  • method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

2.3% ([214]2017/18. NB: Compared with the total number of VET learners (secondary, post-secondary and higher education VET programmes) in full- or part-time programmes; excluding VET learners in adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database:
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6, and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak
)

EQF 4

Practice-oriented VET

programmes,

3 years,

WBL 38-45%

ISCED 353

Three-year secondary vocational school (practice-oriented) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353 (szakközépiskola)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

17 ([216]19 for those opting for the two-year follow up general education programme leading to the upper secondary school leaving certificate upon completing this three-year programme.)

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([215]Plus optional follow up two-year general education programme.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y/N

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

These programmes are also available to those who have already obtained an NVQR ([219]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualification, to prepare a second or an add-on vocational qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public education is free of charge for learners up to the obtainment of two VET qualifications; add-on qualifications may also be offered free of charge.

Is it available for adults?

Y

In adult education (available to learners over 16) the same programme is offered in flexible learning forms ([218]Possible delivery forms: full-time (90% of regular full-time education), part time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learning). See also Section 6. VET learning options)

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • regular school-based full-time education (up to age 25)
  • adult education for learners over 16 available in full-time attendance (90% of regular school-based full-time education), part time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learing) (see also Section 6. VET learning options)
  • practical training is part of the curriculum of all VET programmes and can be delivered in school workshops and/or at companies (see sections on WBL)

The number and share of adult education participants have nearly tripled since 2015, when the opportunity to obtain a second OKJ qualification free of charge was introduced. In school year 2017/18, 27% all learners in secondary vocational school programmes studied in adult education (see figure below).

 

Share of learners studying in adult education in VET schools (*) (%), 2010-18

NB: (*) Titles of VET schools in use as of 2016/17.
Source: KSH, STADAT database, Education http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xstadat/xstadat_eves/i_zoi015.html
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xstadat/xstadat_eves/i_zoi005.html

 

Main providers

VET schools that provide these types of programmes ([220]VET schools can provide one or more types of VET programmes. Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services. The maintainer of most State-maintained VET schools is the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (these schools are integrated into 44 vocational centres with 380 member schools), except for schools providing VET in the sector of agriculture, which are maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and belong to the Network of Agricultural VET schools with 46 schools.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 38-45% ([221]the share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies is understood as the share of practical training in the curriculum which is calculated on the basis of the framework curriculum for general education for this programme type (which defines the share of general education and VET) and the standards and framework curricula of VET qualifications (which define the share of theory and practice within the VET part). As regards the latter, the standards of VET qualifications offered in this programme define the share of practice as between 60-70%.)

61% of learners received (the whole or a part of) their practical training in companies 2016/17.

 

Share of students by type of WBL and programme type (%), school year 2016/17

NB: (*) Data on cooperation agreements in ‘vocational schools for SEN learners’ are included under ‘secondary vocational schools’ programmes – except for agreements signed in programmes that award a partial qualification, which are included under ‘vocational school for SEN learners programmes.
(**) Including 103 cooperation agreements signed in vocational bridging programmes
Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), KSH STADAT database http://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6

 

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in school workshops
  • practical training in a company (in grade 9 only in company workshop dedicated exclusively to training) based either on a cooperation agreement between the school and the company or on an apprenticeship contract between the learner and the company ([222]Since 2015 apprenticeship contracts can be signed also by adult education participants, only in evening and correspondent courses the monthly payment is reduced to 60% and 20% of that provided in full-time education, respectively.)
Main target groups

They target learners aged 14 and offer skilled workers’ training ([223]These programmes were last reformed in 2015 (effective from school year 2016/17) by changing their name with the intention to increase attractiveness. As of 2016/17, after the completion of these programmes. learners may enrol to an optional two-year general education follow-up programme to obtain the secondary school leaving certificate, which is required for entering post-secondary and higher education programmes.).

Learners that enrol in programmes preparing VET qualifications in-demand (hiányszakképesítés) ([224]Such qualifications and respective training programmes are established annually by government decrees and are based on data collected by the country development and training committees at local level in specific sectors.) may participate in the Adolf Szabóky VET Scholarship’ VET stipend programme ([225]and, based on their grades, receive a lump sum of HUF 10 000 (EUR 32) per month in the first semester of the first VET grade.).

Adults over 16 can also enter these programmes at any age, delivered in the form of adult education (felnőttoktatás), to obtain their first or second NVQR ([226]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualification free of charge.

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

Learners can enter these programmes at age 14, upon completion of the eight years of primary school (end of lower secondary education) and holding the primary school certificate (ISCED 244) or upon completing at least one year of a vocational bridging programme ([227]Pursuant to the Public education act, schools may select learners based on their performance in primary school and at a uniform secondary school entry exam taken in maths and Hungarian (and, in case the number of applicants were twice as much as available spaces on average in the past three years, also an oral exam organised by the school). However, secondary vocational schools typically are not selective and they do not organise entry exams.).

Young people and adults over 16 can enter these programmes at any age, delivered in the form of adult education (felnőttoktatás).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Since school year 2013/14, under the new VET and public education acts published in 2011, these programmes provide three years of dual vocational training. The majority of learners are apprentices.

Their framework curricula for VET, based on the vocational and examination requirements of the pursued full/partial VET qualification ([228]All public education (covering secondary and post-secondary levels) VET qualifications are included in the national vocational qualifications register (OKJ/NVQF).) are published by the minister responsible for VET, consulted by the minister of education. Their framework curriculum for general education ([229]The local curriculum of general education provided in VET schools is prepared by the schools based on the National Framework Curriculum published in a government decree as well as framework curricula published by the minister responsible for education.) defines the share of general education and VET as 36-64%.

Upon completion, these programmes award a full VET qualification at the final complex exam ([230]All public education (covering secondary and post-secondary levels) VET qualifications are included in the national vocational qualifications register (OKJ/NVQF).). Learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board. In principle, those who fail to meet all requirements may still receive a partial qualification.

A follow-up optional two-year general education programme leading to the ‘secondary school leaving certificate’ (érettségi bizonyítvány, ISCED 344) awarded at the secondary school leaving exam is also available (since school year 2016/17) to those wishing to access post-secondary or higher education.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners in three-year vocational secondary school ISCED 353 programmes receive a certificate on the completion of secondary education upon completing the last grade. They also get a full NVQR qualification at ISCED levels 353 at the final complex exam.

Those moving on to the additional and optional two-year general education follow up programme and succeed at the final exam receive also the (upper) secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344) allowing access to higher level studies at post-secondary VET and/or higher VET.

Types and levels of NVQR (OKJ in Hungarian) ([231]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) vocational qualifications delivered in skilled workers’ training programmes

NVQR/OKJ level

Definition

ISCED level (*)

34

secondary level vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate or the entry competences defined in the vocational and examination requirements and may be typically obtained in VET provided within the formal school system

3

35

secondary level add-on vocational qualification, which is built on a qualification(s) that requires primary school certificate and can typically be obtained in VET provided within the formal school system

3

NB: (*) Qualifications included in the national register refer to attainment levels

Source: Refernet Hungary, based on 150/2012 (VII.6) Government decree on the OKJ and the procedure of its amendment.

Examples of qualifications

Cook, electrician or carpenter

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed the secondary vocational school (skilled workers’ training) programme:

  • may enter the labour market;
  • enrol in the additional/optional follow up two-year general education programme to prepare the secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344); and move on to post-secondary VET/ISCED 454 programmes or higher VET/ISCED 554 programmes;
  • those without the end of secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344), but who hold a master craftsman certificate (awarded by the chambers of economy) and have five years relevant working experience may also access post-secondary VET/ISCED 454 programmes.
Destination of graduates

According to a 2012 study, around one third of graduates of skilled workers’ training (of the previous form) ([232]The structure and curriculum of skilled workers training at ISCED 353 were transformed as of 2013/14 as well as 2016/17 (see Section: VET learning options).) were studying two years after graduation (26% in full time, 9% in adult education while also working) ([233]Fehérvári, A. (2016). Pályakövetési vizsgálatok a szakképzésben. Education 2016/1, p. 76.
http://folyoiratok.ofi.hu/educatio/palyakovetesi-vizsgalatok-a-szakkepzesben
).

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

The complex examination that awards NVQR qualifications upon completion of VET programmes does not allow for recognition of prior learning (no exemption can be obtained from taking the whole or a part of the exam). Nevertheless, learners in VET schools can get their prior learning recognised during their training, subject to the principal’s decision. The VET act also provides for the opportunity to recognise previous work experience in the completion of vocational practical training, subject to the principal’s decision.

General education subjects

Y

36%

Their framework curriculum for general education ([234]The local curriculum of general education provided in VET schools is prepared by the schools based on the national framework curriculum published in a government decree as well as framework curricula published by the minister responsible for education.) define the share of general education and VET as 36-63%.

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of general education is based on the National Core Curriculum that includes key competence development ([235]The list of key competences in the Hungarian NCC differs from that in the EU recommendation of 2006 in one minor aspect. It breaks the EU key competence of ’mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology’ into two separate ones, thus in Hungary there are nine instead of eight key competences. More detailed information is available in: Bükki, E. et al. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Hungary.Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_HU_KC.pdf
). Three key competences – foreign language, Hungarian language and competences in mathematics, science and technology – are to be developed as stand-alone subjects. Development of other key competences is described in the outcome requirements of particular school subjects and depends on local school practices. Standards and framework curricula of NVQR qualifications define vocational, personal, social and methodological competences, corresponding to the particular task profile, by modules. They comprise several components/parts of key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET standards (called ‘vocational requirements’) are modularised and defined in competences, but they are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([236]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report on Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf ), the task and character profiles in the vocational requirements modules – and the framework curricula based on them – are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes (as understood in the EQF).
).

The vocational requirements modules of a VET qualification may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. They are published in a government decree ([237]217/2012 (VIII.9) Government decree on the vocational requirement modules of State-recognised qualifications.) and specify for each work activity:

(a) its ‘task profile’ (occupational standards); and

(b) the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks:

  • vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills;
  • personal competences (e.g., independence, precision);
  • social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and
  • method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

32% ([238]2017/18. NB: Compared with the total number of VET learners (secondary, post-secondary and higher education VET programmes) in full- or part-time programmes; excluding VET learners in adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database:
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6 and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak.
)

EQF 4

School-based theory-focused

VET programmes,

4 (5) years,

WBL10-26%

ISCED 344

Vocational grammar school (theory-focused) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 344 (szakgimnázium középiskolai évfolyamok)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344 ([239]Learners enrolled in this programme can opt to prepare in grades 11-12 also to receive a vocational qualification included in the national vocational qualifications register (NVQR) at national NVQR levels 31, 32, 34, 51 and 52. Such qualifications are not yet referenced to ISCED P 2011.)

Usual entry grade

9 ([241]Or 9/Ny, if an additional language year is added (providing foreign language education in the first year).)

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18 ([242]19 if an additional language year is added.)

Length of a programme (years)

4 ([240]5 if an additional language year is added (providing foreign language education in the first year).)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Yes and no

Schooling is compulsory for learners up to 16 years old.

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

Public education is free of charge for learners up to the obtainment of the secondary school leaving certificate and two VET qualifications.

Is it available for adults?

Y

In adult education (available to learners over 16) the same programme is offered in flexible learning forms ([244]Full-time (90% of regular full-time education), part time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learning). See also Section 6. VET learning options.)

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • regular school-based full-time education (up to age 25)
  • adult education for learners over 16 available in full-time attendance (90% of regular school-based full-time education), part time (evening classes, 50%), correspondence courses (10%) or other (e.g. distance learning) (see also Section 6. VET learning options)
  • practical training is part of the curriculum of all VET programmes and can be delivered in school workshops and/or at companies (see sections on WBL) ([245]Following the December 2017 law amendment, effective from 2019/20, apprenticeship may be offered in grades 11 and 12.)
Main providers

VET schools that provide these types of programmes ([246]VET schools can provide one or more types of VET programmes. Beside the State, church and business entities, foundations, associations, etc., can also found and maintain public education institutions; private providers can also provide public education services. The maintainer of most State-maintained VET schools is the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (these schools are integrated into 44 vocational centres with 380 member schools), except for schools providing VET in the sector of agriculture, which are maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and belong to the Network of Agricultural VET schools with 46 schools.)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

= 10-26% ([247]The share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies is understood as the share of practical training in the curriculum which is calculated on the basis of the framework curriculum for general education for this programme type (which defines the share of general education and VET) and the standards and framework curricula of VET qualifications (which define the share of theory and practice within the VET part). As regards the latter, the standards of VET qualifications offered in this programme define the share of practice as between 30-70%.)

22.7% (in companies, via a cooperation agreement 2016/17)

 

Share of students by type of WBL and programme type (%), school year 2016/17

NB: (*) Data on cooperation agreements in ‘vocational schools for SEN learners’ are included under ‘secondary vocational schools’ – except for agreements signed in programmes that award a partial qualification, which are included under ‘vocational school for SEN learners’.
(**) Including 103 cooperation agreements signed in vocational bridging programmes.
Source: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), KSH STADAT database http://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6

 

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in school workshops
  • practical training in a company based either on a cooperation agreement between the school and the company or (as of 2018) an apprenticeship contract between the learner and the company in grades 11 and 12 ([248]Since 2015 apprenticeship contracts can be signed also by adult education participants, only in evening and correspondent courses the monthly payment is reduced to 60% and 20% of that provided in full-time education, respectively.)
Main target groups

They target learners aged 14, and provide four years of combined general education and VET (some programmes may have an extra ‘foreign language preparatory’ year) ([249]These programmes were last reformed in 2017 (effective from school year 2017/18) by providing the option to participate in a programme preparing for an ‘additional vocational qualification’ in grade 11-12, awarded at a complex exam organised in grade 12.).

Graduates with the secondary school leaving certificate (ISCED 344) can continue studies either in post-secondary VET (ISCED 454 VET years of secondary grammar school programmes) or in higher education.

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

The entry requirement is holding the primary school certificate (EQF 2) and popular schools may select learners based on their performance in primary school and at a uniform secondary school entry exam taken in maths and Hungarian (and possibly also oral exam organised by the school).

Learners with the primary school (primary and lower secondary) education certificate entering these programmes at age 14 (grade 9), and older learners may also enrol in grade 9 ([250]Including graduates of the VET bridging programme.).

Young people and adults over 16 can enter these programmes at any age, delivered in the form of adult education (felnőttoktatás).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Following the 2015 VET reform, since 2016/17 learners take the ‘VET secondary school leaving exam’ ([251]Szakmai érettségi vizsga.) at the end of the four-year programmes. This differs from the exam taken in grammar schools in that - in addition to the four mandatory general education exam subjects (Hungarian language and literature, Mathematics, History and a foreign language) - the fifth optional exam subject is replaced by a mandatory vocational subject. The vocational secondary school leaving certificate therefore qualifies holders not only to progress to post-secondary/higher education but also to perform at least one job ([252]Such as ‘IT equipment repairman’ or ‘Assistant nurse’. This job (one listed in the Hungarian Standard Classification of Occupations, FEOR) is specified for each of the vocational grammar school sectors in an Annex of the government decree about the OKJ qualification (e.g. ‘solarium operator’ for the sector ‘Beauty’).).

New legislation in December 2017 introduced the possibility obtain an ‘additional vocational qualification’ that will be awarded (first in 2019/20) at the final complex examination organised in grade 12, a few months before the secondary school leaving exam.

At the complex exam, learners’ competences are assessed in various (written, oral, interactive and/or practical) exam activities (as defined in the vocational and examination requirements) by an independent examination board.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners in upper secondary vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programmes take the final vocational secondary school leaving exam upon completion of the upper secondary grades. This awards the VET secondary school leaving certificate (szakmai érettségi bizonyítvány, ISCED 344) that entitles them to progress on to post-secondary/higher education as well as to perform at least one job in the pursued vocational grammar school sector (since 2016/17) ([253]See previous entry: Assessment of learning outcomes.).

Learners might opt in grade 10 to prepare in grades 11-12 also an ‘additional vocational qualification’ (mellékszakképesítés), an NVQR qualification from among those specified in the annex of the government decree on the NVQR ([254]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) for each vocational grammar school sector. It is awarded at the complex exam organised in grade 12, a few months before the VET secondary school leaving exam ([255]Therefore, if the pursued additional vocational qualification is of NVQR level 51 or 52, the learner will receive that qualification only upon successfully passing the VET secondary school exam. The equivalence to ISCED P levels in not available.).

Types and levels of NVQR (OKJ in Hungarian) ([256]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) ‘additional vocational qualifications’ optionally delivered in upper secondary vocational grammar school ISCED 344 programmes

NVQR/OKJ level

Definition

ISCED level (*)

31

lower secondary level partial vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate (ISCED 244) or the theoretical and practical knowledge elements defined in its vocational and examination requirements (hereinafter: entry competences), and may be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system, in a vocational programme for SEN learners or in a Vocational Bridging programme

3

32

lower secondary level vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate or the entry competences defined in the vocational and examination requirements and may be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system

3

34

secondary level vocational qualification, which is based on primary school certificate or the entry competences defined in the vocational and examination requirements and may be typically obtained in VET provided within the formal school system

3

51

upper secondary level partial vocational qualification, which requires the secondary school leaving exam certificate and can be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system

4

52

upper secondary level vocational qualification, which requires the secondary school leaving exam certificate and can be obtained in VET provided outside the formal school system

4

NB: (*) Qualifications included in the national register refer to attainment levels.

Source: Refernet Hungary, based on 150/2012 (VII.6) Government decree on the OKJ and the procedure of its amendment.

Examples of qualifications

The VET secondary school certificate qualifies for at least one job listed in the Hungarian Standard Classification of Occupations (FEOR), as specified for each of the vocational grammar school sectors in an Annex of the government decree about the NQR – examples: solarium operator, electronic equipment mechanic and operator, waiter.

Examples for the optionally obtainable ‘additional vocational qualification’: dental assistant, social carer, mining technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed the four-year ISCED 344 vocational grammar school programmes may:

  • enrol in post-secondary ISCED 454/EQF5 programmes (called ‘VET years of vocational grammar school’ programmes) to study either in the same sector (one year programme) or a different sector (two-year programme);
  • move on to higher VET ISCED 554/EQF5 programmes offered in higher education institutions;
  • move on to higher education bachelor ISCED 665/EQF6 programmes (where they can get extra points at the admission procedure if applying for a bachelor programme in the same sector); or
  • enter the labour market.

46% of learners in these ISCED 344 upper secondary programmes of vocational grammar school do not continue studies in the post-secondary year to finish their VET programme (to obtain an ISCED 454 vocational qualification) ([257]Ministry of Innovation and Technology (2019). Szakképzés 4.0 A Szakképzés és Felnőttképzés Megújításának Középtávú Stratégiája, a Szakképzési Rendszer Válasza a Negyedik Ipari Forradalom Kihívásaira. [VET 4.0 Mid-term strategy of the renewal of VET and adult training, response of the VET system to challenges of the 4th industrial revolution].). The majority of these learners move on to higher education or continue studies in post-secondary VET in another VET sector (where their previous VET learning is not recognised).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

The complex examination that awards NVQR ([258]The National vocational qualifications register (NVQR) includes all State-recognised vocational qualifications regulated by the 2011 VET act.) qualifications does not allow for recognition of prior learning (no exemption can be obtained from taking the whole or a part of the exam). Nevertheless, learners in VET schools can get their prior learning recognised during their training, subject to the principal’s decision. The VET act also provides for the opportunity to recognise previous work experience in the completion of vocational practical training, subject to the principal’s decision.

General education subjects

Y

66% ([259]The local curriculum of general education provided in VET schools is prepared by the schools based on the national framework curriculum published in a government decree as well as framework curricula published by the minister responsible for education.)

Key competences

Y

The curriculum of general education is based on the National Core Curriculum that includes key competence development ([260]The list of key competences in the Hungarian NCC differs from that in the EU Recommendation of 2006 in one minor aspect. It breaks the EU key competence of ’mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology’ into two separate ones, thus in Hungary there are nine instead of eight key competences. More detailed information is available in Bükki, E. et al. (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – Hungary. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_HU_KC.pdf). Three key competences – foreign language, Hungarian language and competences in mathematics, science and technology – are to be developed as stand-alone subjects. Development of other key competences is described in the outcome requirements of particular school subjects and depends on local school practices. Standards and framework curricula of NVQR qualifications define vocational, personal, social and methodological competences, corresponding to the particular task profile, by modules. They comprise several components/parts of key competences.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET standards (called ‘vocational requirements’) are modularised and defined in competences, but they are not yet defined in terms of genuine learning outcomes ([261]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (Source: Tót, É.; ICF (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Hungary, pp. 3, 8, 10. Report commissioned by Cedefop.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_HU.pdf ), the task and character profiles in the vocational requirements modules – and the framework curricula based on them - are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes (as understood in the EQF).
).

The vocational requirements modules of a VET qualification may be unique or shared by two or more qualification(s) that belong to the same occupational group or sector. They are published in a separate government decree and specify for each work activity:

(a) its ‘task profile’ (occupational standards); and

(b) the related ‘character profile’ that specifies different types of knowledge and skills required to perform those tasks ([262]Though qualification standards were transcribed in learning outcomes as understood in the European qualification framework (EQF) when referencing them to the NQF (in a project led by NSZFH), the task and character profiles in the SZVKs – and the framework curricula based on them - are not defined in the form and language of learning outcomes – as understood in the EQF (Tót and ICF, 2016, p. 10).);

  • vocational competences: vocational knowledge and vocational skills;
  • personal competences (e.g., independence, precision);
  • social competences (e.g., empathy, comprehensibility); and
  • method competences (e.g., prudence, practical thinking).
Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

48.2% ([263]2017/18. NB: Compared with the total number of VET learners (secondary, post-secondary and higher education VET programmes) in full-time programmes; excluding VET learners attending part-time programmes; excluding VET learners in adult training programmes provided outside the formal school system. Source: Central Statistical Office STADAT database:
https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_eves_2_6 and Educational Authority KIR database:
https://www.oktatas.hu/felsooktatas/kozerdeku_adatok/felsooktatasi_adatok_kozzetetele/felsooktatasi_statisztikak
)

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