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General themes

VET in Iceland comprises the following main features:

  • almost all VET is offered at upper secondary level;
  • almost all initial VET in Iceland comprises certified trades and is built on an apprentice system, where most of the education takes place at school, but workplace training is also necessary;
  • social partners play an important role in shaping VET policies;
  • participation in lifelong learning (and its VET component) is at 23.6% for 25 to 64 year olds, which is above the EU-28 average and the equivalent European education and training 2020 benchmark of 15%.

Distinctive features ([1]As there’s no Spotlight on VET for Iceland prior to 2018 and the distinctive features section is not a feature of the 2018 spotlights, distinctive features were identified as such by ReferNet Iceland.)

Study programmes vary in length from one school year to four years of combined school and workplace training.

The participation rate of young people in VET aged 15 to 24 is among the lowest in Europe at 23.8%. Looking at all upper secondary learners, however, the proportion is around 30% vis-à-vis general studies, reflecting the higher average age of VET learners, many of whom had enrolled in general studies before switching to VET programmes.

Most learners in workplace training receive salaries, at an increasing percentage of fully qualified workers’ salaries. Enterprises training learners can apply to the education ministry for a subsidy to fund the training.

Learners can finish upper secondary school with a vocational and a general degree (matriculation exam), which is the prerequisite for higher education.

In 2014, the education ministry published the White Paper on Education Reform ([2]Ministry of Education and Culture, Iceland (2014). White paper on education reform. https://www.stjornarradid.is/media/menntamalaraduneyti-media/media/frett...). Concerning VET, the following measures were emphasised by the ministry:

  • restructuring VET with simpler basic studies, with study programmes built on different steps and learning outcomes as well as cutting study time;
  • all VET should include workplace learning, but the quality assessments, responsibilities and financing should be revised;
  • the legal and institutional framework for VET after upper secondary school should be revised and it should be investigated whether a special VET university ([3]Fagháskóli.) should be established;
  • the governance and administration of VET should be improved by evaluating the functions of committees and councils and defining the roles of each of them;
  • guidance and counselling should be enhanced, both in the last classes of compulsory schools and the first in upper secondary schools, and more students should be encouraged to choose VET.

Work is underway within the education ministry to simplify the governance and administration of VET and school counselling has been strengthened, not least with a view to draw more learners’ attention to VET. However, the proportion of learners choosing VET has not risen ([4]As there’s no Spotlight on VET for Iceland prior to 2018 and the distinctive features section is not a feature of the 2018 spotlights, distinctive features were identified as such by ReferNet Iceland.).

Population in 2018: 348 450 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 8.3% due to immigration. According to national data the proportion of foreign citizens was 12.2% of the entire population in late 2018 ([6]NB: data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The average age of the nation is increasing, from 36.4 years in 2010 to 38.1 years on 1 January 2019 ([7]Source: Statistics Iceland. No data available on the population forecast by Eurostat for Iceland.).

Icelandic VET participation rates have for many years been low compared to European rates and the proportion has been slowly decreasing in recent years, as well as the total number of learners at upper secondary level. The average age of the nation is increasing (from 36.4 years in 2010 to 38.1 years on 1 January 2019) ([8]Adapted by ReferNet Iceland from Statistics Iceland.) but the number of inhabitants has also been increasing for over a hundred years, with the exception of 2009 (due to emigration in an economic crisis). This may suggest a demographic impact on numbers of learners at upper secondary level, but does not explain the low ratio of learners choosing VET.

 

Most companies are small- and medium-sized (less than 250 employees). They constitute 99% of all companies in the country ([9]Data from Statistics Iceland.).

Main economic sectors.

In terms of export revenues the main economic sectors are:

  • tourism (39%);
  • manufacturing industry (24%);
  • fisheries (18%).

These sectors are all heavily dependent upon labour with VET qualifications, such as chefs, electricians and marine captains.

The labour market is considered flexible in terms of labour mobility.

The Icelandic economy can be defined as small but open with a well-established and regulated system of cooperation between social partners and the government, with the social partners negotiating through collective bargaining to control wage levels and influence prices.

Holding a VET qualification is highly valued by the labour market. However, a certificate is legally necessary only for certified trades such as electricians, masons, builders, plumbers etc.

Total unemployment ([10]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 2.1% (6% in EU-28). It has increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([11]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The gap in employment between those with low and medium qualifications is small. Unemployment rates are only slightly higher than in the pre-crisis period. For people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), it is 0.6 percentage points higher in 2018 compared to 2008.

Despite this, the ever growing demand for more qualified personnel will have an impact not only on people with low qualifications but also on VET graduates as they will need to upgrade their skills.

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 90.8% in 2014 to 96.8% in 2017.

 

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 (+6.0 pp) in employment of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-2017 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34 year-old graduates (+6.6 pp) in the same period in Iceland ([12]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 23.1.2019]. No data for VET graduates for the period 2014-18. The employment rate of all 20-34 year old graduates for the period 2014-18 increased by 4.9 percentage points.).

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (43.8%) is higher than the EU-28 average, and the share of people with a low qualification or without a qualification is among the highest in the EU. The share of people with a medium qualification (ISCED levels 3 and 4), including those in VET, is one of the lowest in the EU.

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

29.9%

98.6%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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

 

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

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

 

Almost two-thirds (63.9%) of those who choose VET are males, dominating many of the most popular study programmes, such as for various electrical, building and mechanical studies. Females, on the other hand, dominate popular study programmes such as for social service and health care assistants, as well as hair styling and cosmetology.

The share of early leavers from education and training has increased from 21.3% in 2009 to 21.5% in 2018. It is worse than 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].

 

Dropout rate from VET (%)

In 2016, the dropout rate from VET was a staggering 37.5% ([13]Source: Statistics Iceland.). No doubt a part of this group will return and finish their study programmes at some point, as the average graduation age in VET is around 27 years old.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, either employed or unemployed.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning is high and above the EU-28 average but has slightly decreased since 2014.

An important feature in terms of upgrading the skills of employees (and, therefore, of participation in lifelong learning) is that in 2017 35% of employees received some kind of training ([14]Source: Statistics Iceland.).

Information from Statistics Iceland on VET learners by age is mostly focused on the age of first-year learners, but the average graduation age is around 27 years old. As can be seen from the graph below, first-year learners are predominantly in the age group 19 years old and younger. In fact, 70-74% of first-year learners are normally aged 16 but the dropout rate is very high, a staggering 37.5%.

 

First-year VET learners by age group

NB: Data from Statistics Iceland.

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (EQF levels 1-2, ISCED levels 244) (hereafter basic/compulsory education);
  • upper secondary education (EQF 4, ISCED levels 344, 351, 353);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (EQF 5, ISCED levels 453, 454);
  • higher education (EQF levels 6, 7, 8, ISCED levels 554, 665, 766, 768, 864).

Compulsory education starts at the age of 6 and includes ten years of basic education (or until June of the year a learner reaches the age of 16).

Integrated primary and lower secondary education is the responsibility of the municipalities.

Upper secondary education (either general or vocational) is steered by the State. Only a few of the 37 upper secondary schools do not offer VET programmes.

Post-secondary non-tertiary education is offered for limited specialties (e.g. tour guides and masters of crafts).

Higher education is in line with the Bologna process offering three-year bachelor, two-year master and three-year PhD programmes.

Almost all initial VET in Iceland is in certified trades and built on an apprentice system, where most of the education takes place in school, but workplace training is also necessary. The duration of the time spent in school and the time spent at the workplace varies between programmes and branches. In addition, there are a small number of VET programmes where all the education and training takes place in school and are not certified trades, such as in computer technology and various arts.

The most common duration of VET studies in certified trades is four years. An example would be the electrician programmes, which are either six semesters in school and 48 weeks in apprenticeship, or seven semesters in school and 30 weeks in apprenticeship, after which time the pupil is ready to complete a journeyman’s examination. An example of a shorter programme is a cook programme with two semesters in school and 34 weeks in work-based training, or a social care assistant programme comprising five semesters, of which the last 2 to 3 take place in work-based training.

VET at post-secondary non-tertiary level is mostly composed of master of crafts’ programmes where a journeyman’s certificate (in the relevant study programme such as electrical, building or mechanical studies) is a prerequisite for enrolment.

Certified tradesmen (with a journeyman’s examination) can also enter (90 ECTS) diploma studies in construction, mechanical or electrical engineering at tertiary level, earning them the professional title of a certified technician.

Continuing VET (CVET) programmes are available for adults and are usually offered by:

  • institutions ([15]There are two main institutions: the IDAN VET training centre (the largest continuing VET institution in Iceland) which offers continuing VET programmes in a variety of sectors (e.g. food and catering, metal and machines, building and construction,  printing technology, auto mechanics, computer supported design and hair styling) and the Retraining and Technical Training Centre (Rafiðnaðarskólinn) for electric and electronic technicians.
    ) owned by social partners. Courses offered are aimed at upgrading skills. These courses are usually of short duration. People in the labour market with VET qualifications can get financial support from the social partners’ training funds for these courses;
  • other continuing VET centres ([16]These are: the private company Sýni Research Centre which offers various job-related courses for people working in the food industry and the Icelandic Innovation Centre which is a public institution under the Ministry of Industries and Innovation offering courses in project management or personal leadership.
    ), which are much smaller than the social partners’ institutions and offer more specialised training.

Workplace training is also offered to employees mainly on security, environmental protection, new working techniques, etc.

According to the framework legislation on upper secondary schooling, a prerequisite for doing qualified VET workplace training is having a contract with a company that is willing and able to offer training in a VET subject. Many prerequisites for such a contract to be signed must be met, including that of the workplace having a certified master in the trade in question.

Two types of contracts are possible:

  • a contract between the school and the company, in which the training content must be made as per regulation issued by the education minister, and which contains detailed provision concerning contracts for on-the-job training;
  • a traditional apprenticeship contract between the company and the learner, stipulating the rights and obligations of the workplace and the learner respectively, as well as the objective of the training, quality control and the handling of possible disputes. The learner becomes an employee and receives a marginal salary during the training, in line with labour market agreements where the number of working hours is also set.

For several trades, the education ministry has allocated the overall management of the training contracts to a common education centre portal hosted by IDAN education centre ([17]In Icelandic: IÐAN fræðslusetur.), which offers continuous education for several VET sectors, where contracts have been streamlined and modularised and guidelines issued to workplaces. Still in production in summer 2019 is a digital VET logbook where the student in question, as well as the trainer, record all details of the teaching process and the knowledge, skills and competences acquired for the job at the workplace. The digital logbook system will be launched in autumn 2019 for several trades. In the end, the teacher or the institution must certify each step of the teaching process and that specific competences have been achieved.

The length of the workplace training varies from 3 to 126 weeks, depending on the VET study programme. The reasons for this difference are first and foremost: the overall length of the programme on the one hand, and the tradition in each sector on the other. Similar training takes place for professionals in electricity and electronics at Rafmennt VET centre, i.e. the VET centre which specialises in training for electricians.

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

Education is steered centrally by the education ministry. The ministry oversees and provides curriculum for all school levels, including VET.

All upper secondary schools have ’school curricula‘ where education aims, intended learning outcomes, assessment, content and the connections between these elements are listed.

New VET study programmes are proposed by the upper secondary schools, in cooperation with the occupational councils (which are composed of representatives of the relevant social partners, i.e. trade unions and employers’ associations and professional associations). The initiative is often that of the occupational councils, which also define the quality, competences, skills and knowledge requirements and work descriptions. The directorate of education liaises between the two and the education ministry, which confirms new study programmes.

The main principle for funding the upper secondary school system and VET is that the education ministry makes a contract with each school concerning the number of enrolled students and then pays a certain amount, based on a formula that considers the actual cost per learner in the relevant subject per year. The amount differs between study programmes and is higher for VET learners in comparison to general education learners. This applies both to public and private schools.

According to the education ministry, the average cost per VET learner is IKR 1 300 000 (approximately EUR 9 600) per year. The number of VET students at upper secondary level was 7 070 in 2017 making the total amount around IKR 9.2 billion (approximately EUR 67.5 million), or 0.6% of GDP and 1.1% of government spending.

On-the-job training is funded by the companies which train learners, but they can apply for a subsidy from a state-financed workplace training fund ([18]See more information on the fund here at Rannis’ website:
https://www.rannis.is/sjodir/menntun/vinnustadanamssjodur/
). The fund was founded in 2012 and supports companies with a particular amount per learner per week. In 2018, the fund supported companies with IKR 14 000 (approximately EUR 104) per learner per week, supporting in total 15.328 learner-weeks with IKR 199.3 million (approximately EUR 1.48 million).

All apprentices are entitled to salaries during their training periods, albeit much lower than those of the fully qualified staff. In the certified trades, the minimum wage for apprentices ranges from IKR 253 000 to IKR 278 000 (around EUR 2 060) per month, or IKR 1 500 to 1 600 (around EUR 12) per hour (in regular daytime work, otherwise higher), the amount increasing gradually for more weeks at the workplace ([19]See the relevant information here at (trade union) Samidn‘s website:
http://www.samidn.is/forsida/kjarasamningar/launataxtar-idnnema-lagmarkslaun
).

Continuing VET (CVET) programmes are usually short in duration and funded either by the relevant workplaces, by social partners, by the state or a combination of two or three of the above to varying degrees.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • teachers of vocational subjects;
  • trainers at the workplace.

General subject teachers must have a master degree in education from a university.

Teachers of vocational subjects must be masters of craft in the relevant profession and have taken a minimum of 60 ECTS ([20]European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS). is a credit system designed to make it easier for students to move between different countries. Since they are based on the learning achievements and workload of a course, a student can transfer their credits from one university to another so they are added up to contribute to an individual's degree programme or training. It helps to make learning more student-centred. It is a central tool in the Bologna process, which aims to make national systems more compatible and was adopted into Icelandic legislation with the law on universities No 63/2006 (Parliament,
www.althingi.is). It also helps with the planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes, and makes them more transparent. European credit transfer and accumulation system credits represent the workload and defined learning outcomes (‘what the individual knows understands and is able to do’) of a given course or programme. 60 credits are the equivalent of a full school year of study or work, or two full semesters. In a standard academic year, 60 credits would usually be broken down into several smaller components.
A typical ‘first cycle’ (or bachelor) degree, would consist of 180 or 240 credits, whereas a typical ‘second cycle’ (or master) degree, would consist of 90 or 120 credits, with at least 60 credits at second cycle level. The use of European credit transfer and accumulation system at the ‘third cycle’ (or Ph.D. level) varies. European credit transfer and accumulation system has been adopted by most of the countries in the European higher education area (EHEA), and is increasingly used elsewhere. More information on the European credit transfer and accumulation system available at:
https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/european-credit-transfer-and-accumulation-system-ects_en . More information on Bologna process and the European higher education area available at: https://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/higher-education/bologna-process...
) in pedagogy at a university.

Trainers at the workplace must be masters of craft in the relevant profession.

Although salaries for VET teachers have increased, the teacher population is ageing. Attracting young people to the profession remains a challenge.

Teachers can receive various scholarships to finance further university studies and for work, school visits at home or abroad, conference fees, study leave etc. The official funds are financed by the schools/employers but managed by the teachers’ unions. Teachers can apply to the education ministry for up to a year’s study leave on full salary, but most teachers are not granted this more than once and then usually only after more than 20 years at work.

Various other options are available, such as scholarships to finance part-time studies or shorter periods of study leave. Teachers are also expected to spend two weeks per year in continuous education, outside the school year; they have access to various other funds and options for continuous education on the basis of their wage agreements with the state. Choosing the relevant study programmes, conferences etc. is mostly up to the teachers and trainers themselves, and the programmes and training are provided by lifelong learning institutions (e.g. in the electricity sector) and universities, among others, and via study visits at home or abroad.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([21]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The role of the Occupational Council is (among other duties) to advise the Minister of Education, Science and Culture, and to provide opinion on the categorisation and division of occupations between the twelve Occupational Councils.

Due to the small size of the labour market, most trades are based on a broad level of competences, so that graduates have a wider possibility of employment. The exams at the end of each study validates whether this is indeed the case. Thus, the studies can rather be termed output based than input based, even though studies are defined in the hours it takes to complete them.

When assessing future skills needs, the twelve occupational councils are the strongest link between the education ministry and industry. The councils operate under the responsibility of the ministry and are composed of representatives of the relevant social partners and trade associations for different vocational trades. Each council has the role to define the needs of a particular trade in respect to the knowledge and ability required, the aims and structure of the education and the curriculum guidelines. The councils often initiate or suggest new VET study programmes or changes to existing ones, but it is up to the upper secondary schools to propose such programmes and the Directorate of Education to liaise between the two, while it is up to the education ministry to confirm new study programmes.

Unlike many countries, no authority in Iceland has made systematic estimates or forecasts regarding skills anticipation and needs in the labour market or for certain trades. At the time of writing the minister for labour affairs is considering ways to change this situation, following a report written for the ministry in 2018 by a group of experts from social partners, statistics Iceland and the directorate of labour. The occupational councils sometimes attempt to estimate future demand but not in a coordinated and systemic manner, as have certain social partners, education institutions and public institutions on a mostly ad hoc basis for particular trades and industries, but not in a systematic manner.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([22]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([23]Information for Iceland is not available.).

Due to the small size of the labour market, most trades are based on a broad level of competences, so that graduates have a wider possibility of employment. The examinations at the end of each study validate whether this is, indeed, the case. Thus, the studies can rather be termed output- based than input-based, even though studies are defined by the hours it takes to complete them.

According to the education ministry’s national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([24]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf), the education institutions may develop new study programmes, although subject to approval and validation by the ministry after consultation with the relevant occupational council, in the case of a VET programme. All upper secondary schools have a school curriculum where education aims, intended learning outcomes, assessment, content and the connections between these elements are listed. Individual schools are responsible for all study programmes they offer but can use study programmes from other schools as well.

Once approved by the education ministry, new study programmes become part of the curricula for upper secondary schools when published in the legislator’s legal journal.

The twelve occupational councils, composed of representatives of the relevant social partners and professional associations for different vocational trades, discuss the demand for new study programmes and the need for updating existing ones in terms of: qualifications demands, basic structure, competences, skills and knowledge requirements of work descriptions, which they define and gradually update. Typically, they report the need for new study programmes or updates to existing ones to individual schools or to the directorate for education. The upper secondary schools do, however, have the task of proposing new study programmes or updating them, including the curricula, often at the initiative of the occupational councils but sometimes also at their own initiative based on their estimate of existing demand. The schools’ ideas are then put before the relevant occupational council to discuss the desirable qualification demands and structure, and the directorate of education liaises between the two before the education ministry finally approves the study programme.

This process can vary, in terms of processes, initiatives and procedures, between schools, occupational councils, individual teachers/trainers and study programmes. It is, however, always a result of a liaison between the schools and the occupational councils, always developed within the framework of the national curriculum guide and always subject to approval of the education ministry.

The education ministry validates the study programmes for all upper secondary education and training, which become part of the curricula for upper secondary schools when published in the legislator’s legal journal.

The VET study programmes for all trades are developed in cooperation with members of each occupation’s association through twelve occupational councils. Job descriptions, knowledge, skills and competences are gradually revised by the occupational councils.

All upper secondary schools are subject to a quality evaluation performed by outside parties once every five years. The quality criteria are defined by the education ministry. The schools are requested to report on their performance according to the ministry’s quality criteria (internal evaluation) and the directorate of education hires independent consultants to perform a quality evaluation based on the same criteria. The independent consultants’ reports are published openly on the directorate of education’s website, but prior to that the schools are given a chance to respond to a draft report and the consultants may adjust their report accordingly. Follow-up to the evaluation reports is the responsibility of the education ministry and of course the schools themselves.

Training providers must be formally accredited by the directorate of education, on behalf of the education ministry, to obtain a licence to teach courses for adults giving credits that can be used for further training at upper secondary schools.

The accreditation is based on the evaluation of the following:

  • teaching and learning facilities;
  • organisation and supervision of studies;
  • curricula or course descriptions;
  • the competences of adult education providers, with regard to their knowledge and experience;
  • financial issues and insurance;
  • the existence of a quality control system focused on adult education.

The accreditation does not entail commitment for public funding to the education provider in question or responsibility for the education and training provider’s liabilities.

For several trades, the education ministry has allocated the overall management of the training contracts to a common education centre portal hosted by IDAN education centre ([25]IDAN (in Icelandic: IÐAN) is a non-profit education and training provider supported by the federation of employees and unions; a provider of continuing education offering diverse in house- and company courses including accredited programs for qualified professionals in the crafts and trades. Companies have also access to career and vocational counselling through skills assessment, analysis of educational needs and planning and implementation of in-house educational pathways. IÐAN has been heavily involved with the implementation of validation of prior learning in Iceland. IÐAN provides assessment of non-Icelandic professional qualifications and work experience. In addition, a provider of various services for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and are involved in creating both national and international partnerships, embracing innovation and meeting new challenges to support the labour market. More information available at: http://viskaproject.eu/about-us/idan/), which offers continuous education for several VET sectors, where contracts have been streamlined and modularised and guidelines issued to the workplaces.

A VET logbook is gradually being made digital in 2019. The student in question, as well as the trainer, record in the logbook all details of the teaching process and the knowledge, skills and competences acquired for the job at the workplace. In the end, the teacher or the institution must certify each step of the teaching process and that the specific competences have been achieved.

Real competence validation/accreditation of prior learning ([26]In Icelandic: Raunfærnimat.) is a system organised by the social partners and the education ministry to validate non-formal and informal learning. People who have acquired some skills at workplaces, for example, can get them validated through a formal process, which may shorten their study periods towards. a journeyman’s examination in a trade, for example. They also get valuable assistance (counselling and study aid) if they have dyslexia, for example, or other learning problems. Real competence validations are available in several trades. Social partners and the education ministry are working on expanding the offers.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([27]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_IS.pdf).

  • The Icelandic study loan fund offers subsistence loans with subsidised interest rates to VET students after the first two years of studies, while students of general education at this level are not entitled to such loans. The basic amount (for 2018-19) is ISK 492 900 (approximately EUR 3 650) per semester, but additional amounts are granted based on, for example, their housing situation and their number of dependants.
  • In recent years, increased emphasis has been put on vocational and education counselling to help students choose their study paths, and thus drawing their attention to often less visible VET study and training options where applicable.

On-the-job training is funded by the companies which train learners, but they can apply for a subsidy from a state-financed workplace training fund. The fund was founded in 2012 and supports companies with a particular amount per learner per week. In 2018, the fund supported companies with IKR 14 000 (approximately EUR 104) per learner per week, altogether supporting 15 328 learner-weeks with IKR 199.3 million (approximately EUR 1.48 million). This makes a big difference, especially for small companies which would otherwise not be able to afford training costs.

The education ministry has an ongoing contract with skills Iceland ([28]In Icelandic: Verkiðn:
http://verkidn.is/
), charging this organization with the responsibility of supervising the Icelandic Skills Competition every other year, as well as to enable participation of VET learners in Euro Skills.

In recent years, increased emphasis has been put on vocational and education counselling to help students choose their study paths. For example, at grammar school level VET subjects were introduced in an attempt to increase VET attractiveness. Work is in progress to enhance VET counselling and guidance.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 6

Mainly school-based

programme

ISCED 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED level 554 (iðnfræði)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+ ([51]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual completion grade

14+ ([52]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual entry age

20+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 or 3 in part-time study along with labour market participation.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Primary and lower secondary education are compulsory

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Practical tertiary level studies available i.e. for learners with a VET background

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Fees apply, IKR 204 000 (approximately EUR 1 500) per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

90 ECTS ([53]European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS). is a credit system designed to make it easier for students to move between different countries. Since they are based on the learning achievements and workload of a course, a student can transfer their credits from one university to another so they are added up to contribute to an individual's degree programme or training. It helps to make learning more student-centred. It is a central tool in the Bologna process, which aims to make national systems more compatible and was adopted into Icelandic legislation with the law on universities No 63/2006 (Parliament,
www.althingi.is). It also helps with the planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes, and makes them more transparent. European credit transfer and accumulation system credits represent the workload and defined learning outcomes (‘what the individual knows understands and is able to do’) of a given course or programme. 60 credits are the equivalent of a full school year of study or work, or two full semesters. In a standard academic year, 60 credits would usually be broken down into several smaller components.
)

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

Distance learning with two weekends’ school-based sessions per term.

Main providers

Reykjavik University

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=15% (several practical assignments, including one 12 ECTS assignment, usually in-company).

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

In-company practical assignments.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults but mainly targeted at people with a journeyman’s certificate.

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

A journeyman’s certificate, or at least having completed its general studies’ part, or a matriculation exam. In the former case, some bridging courses may apply, in mathematics, physics, Icelandic and English.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations, essays, practical assignments etc., at the end of or during each course.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A diploma as a certified technician, plus the right to practice as a Master of Crafts in the relevant trade.

Examples of qualifications

Mechanical technician, electrical technician, construction technician ([54]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can progress to the next level of tertiary education, i.e. to EQF level 6 B.Sc. studies in science and engineering.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Courses include management, law and accounting.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1%

([55]2018)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Mainly school-based

programmes

ISCED 453, 454

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED levels 453, 454 (iðnmeistari, píanóleikari etc.)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453, 454

Usual entry grade

14+ ([45]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual completion grade

14+ ([46]In Iceland grades are usually associated with the compulsory school levels which are 10 grades. The upper secondary level can be said to constitute grades 11-14 but at post-secondary level there is no talk of grades.)

Usual entry age

20+

Usual completion age

30+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education is up to lower secondary level. This level is post-secondary.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

These programmes are designed for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level.

Is it continuing VET?

Y

These programmes are designed for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

The costs vary between schools, but at post-secondary level learners can be expected to pay up to 1/3 of the direct programme costs, which can be around ISK 40 000 (approximately EUR 300) per term, plus study materials (books, etc.). Other schools only charge an ISK 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) registration fee, per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Around 40 upper secondary school credits ([47]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.).

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

Mostly part-time distance learning with several in-school sessions per term.

Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=10% ([48]These are mostly Master of Craft programmes, based partly on practical assignments but mostly on general studies of management, accounting, security affairs, etc.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical assignments at schools
  • Practical assignments in distance-learning
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have already completed VET studies at upper secondary level, typically a journeyman’s exam or certain levels in art programmes.

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

Completion of VET studies at upper secondary level, most often a journeyman’s exam, plus a certain basic knowledge of relevant computer software (such as Excel, Word and sometimes AutoCAD). Also relevant upper secondary level in the case of various art programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or practical assignment finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Mostly Master of Craft certificates (iðnmeistari) in the relevant trade (plumbers, electricians, hair stylists etc.). Also e.g. upper secondary examination at various fine and applied art levels (e.g. music at levels 6 and 7) (6. og 7. stig í tónlist), marine engineers (vélstjórar), marine captains (skipstjórar).

Examples of qualifications

Master of plumbing, master of building, pianist, textile artist ([49]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject and requires work experience, the length of which differs much.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Validation of prior learning is not available at this post-secondary VET level.

General education subjects

Y

The Master of Craft programmes e.g. are largely based on subjects like management, accounting etc.

Key competences

Y

Key competences like sustainability and participation in a democratic society are parts of the curriculum guide.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>=10% ([50]2017)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Specialised programmes

for SEN learners

ISCED 343

Initial VET (and general education) programmes for people with disabilities leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 343 (Sérdeildir fatlaðra)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

343

Usual entry grade

10 ([31]For this type of programme 10th grade means that the learner has entered a special programme within an upper secondary school but in a programmes which initially involves carrying on with subjects and at levels comparable to 10th grade in the compulsory school system.)

Usual completion grade

12-14 ([32]In Iceland the grade concept is used only for compulsory school, with 10th grade being the final and highest one. But as a number for years in E&T the numbering is from 10 onwards.)

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

from 2 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

The programmes start at compulsory school level for most learners, as they still need some preparation for the upper secondary school level.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term.

Is it available for adults?

Y

For general studies the regular (daytime) upper secondary school programmes are available for learners up to 25 years of age but that limit does not apply to VET nor to this particular course.

ECVET or other credits

Up to 240 credits ([33]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.)

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

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies.

Main providers

Upper secondary schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available ([34]The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school based and in-company practice.).

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

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school-based and in-company practice.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for people with special education needs as well as young people and adults, but are especially meant to provide opportunities for young people with special education needs.

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

Compulsory education and an official confirmation (provided by a health authority) of a special needs’ status.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The learners’ status is subject to assessment – by formal (such as by examination) or informal means, i.e. via continuous evaluation by teachers of progress made by the learner – throughout his or her study time.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners finishing this programme receive an upper secondary school diploma of competence (hæfnipróf á framhaldsskólastigi). The composition between general studies and VET varies between individual learners. The diploma is recognised by all relevant authorities but does not entail a professional qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable ([35]These diplomas do not entail professional qualifications.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These diplomas can entail the potential for the learners to continue their education, at EQF level 4. However, continuation of studies is subject to various forms of assessment.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The programmes are adapted to each individual’s skills and needs and are generally a combination of general and vocational studies, school-based and in-company practice.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([36]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The curricula are defined with respect to competences, maturity and knowledge.

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

<1%

([37]2014/15)

EQF 4

Mainly school- based

programmes,

ISCED levels 351, 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED levels 351, 353 (Rafvirkjun, hársnyrting, vélstjórn etc.)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

From 2.5 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Primary and lower secondary education are compulsory. The duration of primary and lower secondary studies is 10- years.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

All programmes at upper secondary level. Master of trades e.g. is at post-secondary non-tertiary level and lifelong learning courses are available outside this system.

Is it continuing VET?

N

These programmes are all at upper secondary level. However, master of trades e.g. is at post-secondary non-tertiary level and lifelong learning courses are available outside this system.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners normally pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term. In some programmes learners also pay a minor material fee, a maximum amount of IKR 50 000 (approximately EUR 370), varying between types of programme (e.g. goldsmiths pay more than bakers).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

154 to 290 credits ([38]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.), depending on the programme. A journeyman’s exam in a certified trade such as an electrician is typically 260 credits (in 4 years), automobile painting is 154 credits (2.5 years) but some food processing trades (e.g. meat processing and baking) are 290 credits (4 years, with 200 credits out of 290 in WBL).

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

The most common form is a mixture of school-based learning and apprenticeships. Usually a majority of the studies is school based (e.g. 180 credits versus 80 credits in WBL for electricians) but in food processing trades the majority is usually WBL (200 out of 290 credits).

Main providers
  • Schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults. The total dropout rate at upper secondary school level is very high but many learners return to VET programmes having started and left general studies earlier.

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

Completion of compulsory education (primary and lower secondary) is required for admission (entry is also allowed through validation of adult prior learning).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or workplace training module finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on. Students complete their overall studies with a VET exam. They can also opt for a path toward Matriculation exam, in which case the studies may take longer, because they must add general subjects to their list of VET courses.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The most common diplomas are certified trades´ school diplomas (burtfararpróf) and journeyman’s diplomas (sveinspróf), granting certain professional rights and rights to further VET studies. Other examples from a vast array of terms used include those of a health care assistant (sjúkraliði) and marine engineer (vélstjóri), also granting professional rights and rights for further studies post-secondary non-tertiary level.

Examples of qualifications

Mason, hair stylist, health care assistant ([39]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject and requires work experience, the length of which differs much.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams or possibly have one’s experience and prior learning validated towards possible missing parts of the formal matriculation exam.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

People who have acquired some skills at e.g. workplaces can get them validated through a formal process, partly operated by education centres run by social partners, which may shorten their study periods towards e.g. a journeyman’s exam in a trade. Real competence validations are available in several trades and social partners and the education ministry are gradually expanding the offers.

General education subjects

Y

At least the Icelandic language, English and mathematics form a part of all study programmes, to a varying degree between programmes.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([40]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programmes are based on the occupational councils´ definition of competences, skills and knowledge.

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

>75% ([41]2014/15)

EQF 4

Mainly school-based

programmes,

duration and WBL % vary

ISCED 351, 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED levels 254, 351, 353.
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351, 353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

4 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Completion of compulsory education (primary and lower secondary) is required for admission (entry is also allowed through validation of adult prior learning).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

All programmes begin and end at upper secondary level.

Is it continuing VET?

N

Initial VET programmes often leading to rights to further VET studies.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Learners normally pay a minor registration charge of IKR 20 000 (approximately EUR 150) per term. In some programmes learners also pay a minor material fee, a maximum amount of IKR 50 000 (approximately EUR 370), varying between types of programme.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120-260 credits, depending on the nature of the programme ([42]One secondary school credit equals 18 to 24 hours of work and full-time study equals 60 secondary school credis per school year, or 30 credits per term.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school -based learning
  • work practice (practical training at school)
Main providers
  • Schools
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

Learners must hold a compulsory education certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Each course or training module finishes with some sort of an assessment, either theoretical or hands-on. Students complete their overall studies with a VET exam. They can also opt for a path toward Matriculation exam, in which case the studies may take longer, because they must add general subjects to their list of VET courses.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject (framhaldsskólapróf), not granting professional rights but often granting rights for further VET studies.

Examples of qualifications

Film maker, painter, sculpturist ([43]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Access to VET taught at post-secondary non-tertiary level depends on the completion of an upper secondary level certificate in the relevant subject.

Prerequisite for admission to higher education is to pass matriculation exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

The system of validation of prior learning is mostly connected with workplace / labour market experience and thus not as relevant in these programmes as e.g. in the certified trades.

General education subjects

Y

At least the Icelandic language, English and mathematics form a part of all study programmes, to a varying degree between programmes.

Key competences

Y

The national curriculum guide for upper secondary schools ([44]https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-of-Education/Curriculum/adskr_frsk_ens_2012.pdf) defines the fundamental pillars of education as literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, health and welfare and creativity. These pillars are represented in all curricula, to a varying degree.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<5%

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Denmark comprises the following main features:

  • a mainstream system providing qualifications at all levels, from compulsory schooling to doctoral degrees;
  • a parallel adult education and continuing training (CVT) system.

Adult education and continuing training are designed to meet the needs of adult learners, for example through part-time courses. The two systems offer equivalent qualifications at various levels, enabling horizontal permeability.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on VET in Denmark. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8101_en.pdf
):

The Danish VET system is characterised by a high level of stakeholder involvement. Social partners, vocational colleges, teachers and learners are all involved in developing VET based on consensus and shared responsibility. Stakeholders play a key role in advising the Ministry of Education on overall VET policy and determining the structure and general framework for training programmes within their field, cooperating in national trade committees. At local level, stakeholders cooperate in developing curricula to respond to local labour market needs.

Denmark has the highest participation in adult education and continuing training in the EU. High participation rates reflect the national strategy to focus on knowledge-intensive specialist sectors and lifelong learning, the large public sector and a tradition of strong ties between education institutions and social partners.

An integrated lifelong learning strategy was introduced in 2007 and supported by the implementation of a national qualifications framework. This improved horizontal and vertical permeability within education and training. It also improved guidance services and provided better opportunities for recognition of non-formal learning and qualifications through standardised procedures for validation of prior learning.

Public financing is central to the VET system, with colleges receiving performance-based block grants. Apprenticeships and employee further training are subsidised according to a solidarity principle, coordinated in the AUB system (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelses Bidrag). Within this system, all enterprises, regardless of their involvement in VET, contribute a fixed amount per employee to a central fund. Enterprises are then partially reimbursed for providing training placements and for employee participation in continuing training.

Education and training are considered a key area. As demand for skilled labour continues to increase, IVET is expected to accommodate an increasingly heterogeneous learner population. Two reforms have had significant influence on VET development. The VET reform (2014) established VET learners’ minimum entrance requirements. Requirements for VET teachers were strengthened in 2010, since when all VET teachers must have a pedagogic diploma (60 ECTS) at EQF level 6. Both initiatives are expected to increase VET quality. Social assistance reform (2014) makes it mandatory for unemployed people under 30, receiving social benefits, to participate in education and training. This will increase the number of weaker learners entering VET.

The 2014 VET reform has four main objectives for improving VET quality:

  • more learners must enter VET directly from compulsory schooling: from 18% in 2015 to 30% by 2025;
  • completion rates in VET must be improved: from 52% in 2012 to 67% in 2025;
  • VET must challenge all learners so they reach their full potential;
  • employer and learner satisfaction with VET must gradually be increased by 2020.

A lack of suitable training placements in enterprises is frequently cited as a primary reason for learner dropout. Several policy initiatives seek to address the problem, but the global financial crisis has further widened the gap between training place supply and demand. Implementation of 50 practical training centres (2013) and the planned 1 000 new placements in Vækstplan 2014 (growth plan, 2014) are expected to alleviate this problem.

Unemployment, and particularly long-term unemployment, among young people with little or no work experience poses challenges for adult education and continuing training. Substantial upskilling and reskilling is necessary to avoid a considerable part of the workforce becoming permanently excluded from the labour market. The 2014 growth plan includes funding for the unskilled to become skilled workers through targeted adult VET programmes.

Data from VET in Denmark Spotlight 2016 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Denmark. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8101_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 5 781 190 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 3.2% due to positive natural growth and a higher immigration than emigration rate ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). The fertility rate of 1.75 in 2017 is well above the EU average.

As in many EU countries, the Danish population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 45 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

An increasing proportion of the total population is made up of foreign immigrants and their descendants. In January 2018, this group accounted for 13.4% of the Danish population.

Providing education and training opportunities to those with a non-Danish ethnic background in order to ensure their integration into the labour market is a policy focus. At the beginning of 2016 the government launched a new VET training programme for immigrants ([6]IGU).

Denmark is increasingly becoming a multicultural society. Currently, 13.4 % of the population has an immigrant background.

Consequently, there are a growing number of VET-related programmes for immigrants.

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Employment by sector/main economic sectors in 2016:

  • trade and transport;
  • other business services;
  • public administration, education and health;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Exports comprise mainly agricultural products, food, medicine and green tech.

 

Source: Statistics Denmark [extracted 6.11.2017].

 

The Danish labour market is highly regulated. Only low skilled jobs are available without a diploma.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 4.2% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.6 percentage points since 2008 ([8]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 rates of people aged 15-24 are higher than among people aged 25-64 for all education levels, with low qualified (or not qualified) people scoring the highest unemployment rates.

Among 25-64 year olds, economic crises had hit more low-qualified and high-qualified people than those with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates remained stable from 2014 (86.1%) to 2018 (88.6%) ([9]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].), which was above the EU-28 average.

 

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 all ISCED level graduates has increased to 81.2% (+2.3 percentage points) in 2014-18. In the same period, the employment rates of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased by 2.5 percentage points ([10]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The share of the Danish population aged 25 to 64 with higher education (ISCED 5-8) is 38.3%, which is above the EU-28 average of 32.2%. The share of people holding medium-level qualifications (ISCED 3-4) is also high (40.4%).

 

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

Not applicable

38.9%

Not applicable

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

 

With a 38.9% share of IVET learners in the total population of upper secondary learners in 2016, Denmark is below the EU-28 average of 47.2%.

In general, there are more male than female learners in VET: 68% and 32% in 2017.

However, the distribution is uneven in various branches. In commercial training and social and healthcare training, for example, there are more female apprentices, while the opposite applies to technical training ([11]http://www.statistikbanken.dk/statbank5a/default.asp?w=1366).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased significantly from 11.3% in 2009 to 10.2% in 2018. It is above the national objective for 2020 of not more than 10%, and below 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 on 16.05.2019] and European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

In 2012, the completion rate in VET was only 52%. The proposal for a reform of the Danish VET system was ratified by Parliament in 2014, with one of its objectives being to improve completion rates to at least 60% by 2020 and at least 67% by 2025.

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; break in series. Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Denmark has the highest participation in adult education and continuing training in the EU, regardless of levels of educational attainment. In 2017, the share of participation in education and training among the population aged 25-64 was 26.8% compared with EU-28 average of 10.9%. These figures refer to all forms of education and training activity, both formal and non-formal.

The high participation rate reflects several specific characteristics, such as the national strategy to focus on knowledge-intensive specialist sectors and lifelong learning, a large public sector and a tradition of strong ties between education institutions and social partners. Adult vocational training programmes (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU), offering short vocational training programmes to skilled and unskilled workers, as well as to the unemployed, have a significant role to play in this regard.

Learners in mainstream education, October 2017

The main age group in VET is 18-20, but there is a significant group of VET-learners aged 30-40.

 

Source. Statistics Denmark [accessed 8.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary and lower secondary education (basic schooling); (ISCED levels 1-2);
  • upper secondary education; (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary education (ISCED levels 4-5);
  • higher education;(ISCED levels 6-8).

Children participate in mainstream education from the age of six and progress through the system during their youth into adulthood. Adult education and continuing training (CVT) mirrors the qualifications provided within the mainstream system but is designed specifically for adults. It also provides opportunities to acquire supplementary qualifications. As such, the two parallel systems combined provide a framework for lifelong learning.

Basic schooling is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16, that is, from pre-school class to ninth grade. In 2017 ([12]https://www.uvm.dk/statistik/grundskolen/elever/soegning-til-ungdomsuddannelserne), 46.2% of the youth cohort decided to continue to the optional 10th grade rather than enter an upper secondary programme directly. The 10th grade is an option for young people to acquire academic competence and clarity about their choices before entering youth education (either general or vocational upper secondary education). 2015 VET reform combines the 10th grade and VET programmes into a programme called EUD10.

Primary and lower secondary education is generally integrated into, and located within, the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole ([13]Municipal primary and lower secondary school, literally ‘folk’ or ‘people’s school’.), although other types of institution, such as private independent schools, also exist. Of the youth cohort, 80.0% attended the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole in the school year 2016/17. There is a tendency to move towards private compulsory schooling. In the same school year (2016/17), 15.9% attended a private school. Of the rest of the youth cohort, 4.1% attended special programmes. Primary and lower secondary education is completed by taking an examination providing access to upper secondary (youth) education.

Within the adult education and continuing training system, there are two programmes at EQF level 2. Preparatory adult education (FVU) provides courses in basic literacy and mathematics, as well as courses for those with learning difficulties or with Danish as their second language. General adult education (AVU) is provided to adults who, for whatever reason, did not complete lower secondary education or need supplementary education in particular subjects. Qualifications at this level are equivalent to the ninth or 10th grade leaving examination.

Upper secondary education consists of both general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education and training (erhvervsuddannelse, EUD). General upper secondary education programmes usually last three years and prepare learners for higher education at tertiary level. Five different qualifications result from five corresponding programmes:

  • upper secondary leaving qualification (studentereksamen, STX) (EQF 4);
  • higher preparatory examination ([14]The higher preparatory examination will in the future be profiled as a pathway for students with a non- academic profile and can be completed without a formal examination.) (højere forberedelseseksamen, HF) (EQF 4);
  • higher commercial examination (højere handelseksamen, HHX) (EQF 4);
  • higher technical examination (højere teknisk eksamen, HTX) (EQF 4);
  • combined vocational (journeyman’s test) and general upper secondary leaving qualification (EUX) (EQF 5).

The adult education (age 25 and above) and continuing training system includes three types of programme at upper secondary level:

  • higher preparatory single subjects (enkeltfag, HF) (EQF 4);
  • basic (vocational) adult education (Erhvervsuddannelse for voksne, EUV) (EQF 3-5), which is equivalent to EUD;
  • and adult vocational training programmes (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU) (EQF 2-5).

In broad terms, higher education comprises:

  • professionally oriented short- and medium-cycle programmes where the short-cycle programmes lead to an academy profession degree and are offered at academies of professional higher education, while the medium-cycle programmes lead to a professional bachelor degree and are offered by university colleges;
  • research-based long-cycle programmes offered at universities where most learners continue to a master degree programme after completing a bachelor degree. The former can then provide access to doctoral programmes.

There are corresponding programmes within the adult education and continuing training system: short-cycle further (vocational) adult education (VVU), medium-cycle diploma programmes, and long-cycle master programmes. As part-time courses, these programmes allow participants to combine education with a working career, as well as improving the integration of the individual’s professional and life experience.

The Danish VET system is divided into IVET and CVT.

The IVET system is for learners aged up to 25 and the CVT for learners aged 25 and above.

Danish education and training features a mainstream system providing qualifications at all levels, from compulsory schooling to doctoral degrees, and a parallel adult education and continuing vocational training (CVT) system. CVT is designed to meet the needs of adult learners, for example through part-time courses. The two systems offer equivalent qualifications at various levels, enabling horizontal permeability.

VET programmes are organised according to the dual principle, alternating between periods of college-based and work-based learning (apprenticeship training) in enterprises. The college-based learning will typically comprise practice based learning in workshops.

When learners complete a VET programme they can enter the labour market as skilled workers, or can apply for CVT in the form of professional academy programmes (Erhvervsakademier).

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

The Danish VET system can best be characterized as a unified VET system based on the dual principle.

Although VET programmes are offered in several variations in Denmark, building on different legal frameworks, there is no doubt that the main pathway through VET is the dual-based apprenticeship programme, founded and developed from the beginning of VET education and training in Denmark.

More than 95% of participants in Danish VET are involved in this kind of VET programme, leaving only a small percentage for “alternative” VET pathways, such as the ‘new master apprenticeship programme’ (ny mesterlære), in which the dual system is normally put in parentheses, or the few college-based VET programmes without work-based learning in a company.

VET programmes organised according to the dual principle, alternate between periods of college- based and work-based learning (apprenticeship training) in enterprises. A typical initial VET programme (EUD) lasts three-and-a-half years with a 2:1 split between workplace and college- based training, although there is considerable variation among programmes. Individual study plans are compiled for all students. VET colleges and social partners share the responsibility for developing curricula to ensure responsiveness to local labour market needs. Qualifications at this level provide access to relevant fields in academy profession (KVU) programmes and professional bachelor programmes at tertiary level.

Adopted from the Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation ([15]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
)

Parliament sets out the overall framework for VET, which is administered by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has overall parliamentary, financial and legal responsibility for VET, laying down the overall objectives for programmes and providing the legislative framework within which stakeholders, social partners, colleges and enterprises are able to adapt curricula and methodologies to the needs of both learners and the labour market.

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on principal matters concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

 

Stakeholder involvement in Denmark

Source: www.uvm.dk

 

The national advisory council consists of 31 representatives from the social partners. In its advisory capacity, the council monitors developments in society and highlights trends relevant to VET. The council makes recommendations to the Ministry regarding the establishment of new VET programmes and the adaptation, amalgamation or discontinuation of others.

National trade committees (faglige udvalg) are the backbone of the VET system. Approximately 50 trade committees are responsible for 106 main programmes. The committees normally have between 10 and 14 members and are formed by labour market organisations (with parity of membership between employer and employee organisations). They are financed by participating organisations.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

117 VET colleges offer basic vocationally oriented education programmes. 97 of these are technical colleges, commercial colleges, agricultural colleges or combination colleges. In addition, 20 colleges offer social and healthcare training programmes. A number of the colleges offer their programmes through local branches at locations other than the main college. As self-governing institutions, vocational colleges are led by a governing board with overall responsibility for the administrative and financial running of the college and educational activities in accordance with the framework administered by the education ministry. The board consists of teachers, learners and administrative staff representatives, as well as social partner representatives. The board takes decisions regarding which programmes are offered at the college and their capacity, imposes local regulations and guidelines, guarantees responsible administration of the college’s financial resources, including approval of budgets and accounts and hires and fires the operational management (director, principal, dean or similar). The operational management, meanwhile, is responsible for implementing the overall objectives and strategies set out by the governing board.

A publicly financed system of basic, secondary and further education and training that recognises relevant non-formal and informal competences and practical work experience is a fundamental characteristic of the system.

Mainstream (‘youth’) VET is based on alternative models where training takes place in turn at college and in an enterprise. The state finances training at colleges, while enterprises finance on-the-job training; apprentices receive an apprentice’s salary while in the company, as laid down in the collective agreements.

In 2018, the state spent a total of DKK 7 173 3 million (EUR 963 million) on VET basic courses and main programmes (see table below). A considerable proportion of these funds was distributed to colleges in accordance with the ‘taximeter’ principle, whereby funding is linked to some quantifiable measure of activity, for example, the number of full-time equivalent learners, with a set amount awarded per unit. Among other things, this system provides an incentive for colleges to increase retention within the system.

Besides the ‘taximeter’ rate, VET providers also receive an annual fixed grant for the maintenance of buildings, salaries, etc. The total state grant is provided as a block grant which institutions use at their own discretion within the boundaries of the legislative framework and specific institutional objectives.

Expenditure on main youth education pathways (2018)

VET youth education

EGU and production schools

Upper secondary education ([16]General, vocational and others.)

DKK 7 173.3 million

(EUR 963 Million)

DKK 1 263.3 million

EUR 170 Million)

DKK 12 178 million

(EUR 1 635 million)

   

Upper Vocational Education

   

DKK 3 085.4 million

(EUR 414 million)

Source: National budget 2018.

When it comes to financing training in companies, all employers, both public and private, pay a sum into the ‘employers' reimbursement scheme’ (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag), regardless of whether or not they provide apprenticeship placements. This fund finances VET both for young people and adults. From 2018, all employers will be obliged to pay an annual contribution of DKK 2 702 (EUR 362) per full-time employee. These funds are then allocated to workplaces that take in apprentices so that they do not bear the cost of training alone. These employers receive reimbursement for wages paid during apprentices’ periods of college-based training.

VET for adults (AMU) is largely publicly financed. Providers receive ‘taximeter’ funding and must negotiate budgets and targets with the Ministry of Education annually.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • in-company trainers;
  • mentors.

General subject teachers are usually university graduates with a professional bachelor degree in teaching.

Vocational subject teachers usually have VET education background and substantial experience in the field (normally, at least five years is required).

The job of a VET teacher is considered demanding, and the motivation for applying for these jobs is of the highest level, when jobs in the private sector are hard to find.

Colleges and training centres have autonomy in staff recruitment. The Ministry of Education is not involved in teacher recruitment procedures, and teachers are not civil servants entering the system through tests.

There are no requirements for teachers to have a pedagogical qualification prior to their employment.

Pedagogical training (Diplomuddannelsen i Erhvervspædagogik) is part-time in-service training based on interaction between theory and practice. This programme was introduced for all teachers employed in VET and adult education (AMU) recruited after 15 January 2010 and replaces the previous teacher training course (Pædagogikum). The objective is to improve teaching skills to a level equivalent to teachers in compulsory education with a professional bachelor degree. The programme is the equivalent of one year of full-time study (60 ECTS) and the acquired qualification is placed at EQF level 6. It is, however, generally conducted as a part-time study to root training in practical teaching experience. New teachers must enrol in the programme within one year of gaining employment at a VET college or AMU centre. The programme must be completed within a period of six years. The programme was developed by the Danish National Centre for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Nationalt Center for Erhvervspædagogik, NCE), a centre of excellence collecting, producing and disseminating knowledge on VET based at University College Copenhagen (UCC). The programme was developed in cooperation with an advisory group consisting of representatives of teacher associations and college management organisations, as well as the Ministry of Education. There are three compulsory and five optional modules, as well as a final examination project. Both NCE and other providers at different university colleges offer the programme ([17]For further information, see:
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_DK_TT.pdf
).

In-company trainers play an important role in VET, given the dual training principle characteristic of all VET. There are different types of trainers with different responsibilities: planners, training managers and daily trainers. However, there are very few legal requirements to become a trainer.

Trainers in enterprises who are responsible for apprentices must be craftsmen. They must have completed a VET programme, for which they have received a ‘journeyman’s certificate’, and have work experience.

Once qualified to teach in VET, there is no general legislation on in-service training. Individual teachers are obliged to keep their subject-specific and pedagogical knowledge up-to-date. The college is required to draw up a plan for the competence development of the teachers at the college. On this basis, and in cooperation with the teacher, the college determines the individual’s professional in-service training plan. Courses are offered locally by many providers in accordance with market conditions. A certificate is normally awarded to participants, but a recognised qualification is not generally awarded. The new VET reform requires skills updating for teachers and leaders in VET institutions at a level equivalent to 10 ECTS points. The updating will continue until 2020, and DKr 400 million (EUR 53 million) has been granted for it.

There are also no in-service training requirements or control mechanisms for in-company trainers. Quality assurance, beyond that undertaken voluntarily by the enterprise, is restricted to informal contacts between the VET college and the enterprise. The adult education (AMU) systems provide a number of courses of one to two weeks duration to support the training of trainers. The courses are not mandatory and are mostly used by the social care and healthcare professions.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([18]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on principal matters concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([19]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([20]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Social partners play an institutionalised role at all levels of VET, from the national advisory council on vocational upper secondary education and training (Rådet for de grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser), which advises the Ministry of Education on the main issues concerning VET, to playing an advisory role at the local level through local training committees comprising representatives of the social partners who advise colleges on local adaptations of VET. Their most important role is to ensure that VET provision is in line with the needs of the labour market.

The national advisory council consists of 31 representatives from the social partners. In its advisory capacity, the council monitors developments in society and highlights trends relevant to VET. The council makes recommendations to the Ministry regarding the establishment of new VET programmes and the adaptation, amalgamation or discontinuation of others.

National trade committees (faglige udvalg) are the backbone of the VET system. Approximately 50 trade committees are responsible for 106 main programmes. The committees normally have between 10 and 14 members and are formed by labour market organisations (with parity of membership between employer and employee organisations). They are financed by participating organisations.

Among their core responsibilities, national trade committees:

  • perform a central role in the creation and renewal of VET courses by closely monitoring developments in their particular trade. They also have a dominant position in formulating learning objectives and final examination standards based around the key competences that are deemed to be required in the labour market;
  • conduct relevant analyses, development projects, etc., and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders;
  • decide the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework. They decide which trade is to provide the core of the training, the duration of the programme and the ratio between college-based teaching and practical work in an enterprise;
  • approve enterprises as qualified training establishments and rule on conflicts which may develop between apprentices and the enterprise providing practical training;
  • function as gatekeepers to the trade, as they are responsible for issuing journeyman’s certificates in terms of content, assessment and the actual holding of examinations.

Local training committees are affiliated to each vocational college and ensure close contact with the local community, thus improving responsiveness to particular local labour market needs. They consist of representatives of local employers and employees appointed by national trade committees, as well as representatives of staff, management and learners appointed by colleges. Training committees work closely alongside colleges in determining the specific curriculum of colleges, including which optional subjects are available. They assist and advise national trade committees in approving local enterprises as qualified training establishments and in mediating conflicts between apprentices and enterprises. Finally, training committees help to ensure that enough suitable local training placements are available.

Various approaches to quality assurance of vocational colleges are implemented. Self-assessment remains the primary mechanism, but external monitoring is increasing in importance. Since the 1980s, a shift has taken place from detailed regulation of input to framework regulation of output. The aim of output regulation is to increase the focus on results and quality so that institutional practices meet political objectives, including adaptation to the needs of regional and local business sectors for education and competence development ([21]Ministry of Education (2014a). Tilsyn med erhvervsuddannelserne [Monitoring of VET].
https://www.uvm.dk/erhvervsuddannelser/ansvar-og-aktoerer/tilsyn/tilsyn-med-faglig-kvalitet
).

Monitoring is conducted at two levels:

  • system level: the assessment is on the effectiveness of the more than 100 different main programmes in terms of employment frequency among graduates. The education ministry then enters into dialogue with national trade committees about any programmes which fail to reach their targets in order to assess their relevance in terms of labour market needs and possible steps for improvement;
  • institutional level: at this level, monitoring can be divided into content monitoring and financial monitoring. The first concerns the degree to which a vocational college is providing its programmes in accordance with the legislative framework. The second monitors the college’s compliance with budgetary constraints as laid down by the education ministry.

Completion, dropout and examination pass rates also form part of the quality appraisal of a vocational college. Within companies, the social partners supplement ministerial monitoring through national trade committees and local training committees, appraising the quality of graduates, curricula, apprenticeships within enterprises, etc.

Quality assurance mechanisms are also part of the

validation process when it comes to including new qualifications in the Danish qualification framework. Only officially recognised, validated and quality-assured programmes are included in the qualifications framework. Informal and non-formal learning are only recognised to the extent that they are formalised though a process of validation of prior learning corresponding to one of the qualifications included.

In terms of VET, trade committees (at the upper secondary level) and further education and training committees (adult VET) assess programmes and make recommendations for their placement in the framework to be approved by the education ministry. For each educational field, guidelines have been produced to aid committees in their assessment and are quality-assured through consultation with independent experts. Procedures and criteria for including VET qualifications in the framework are the subject of an evaluation report compiled by the Danish Evaluation Institute ([22]EVA - Danish Evaluation Institute (2011). Referencing the Danish qualifications: framework for lifelong learning to the European qualifications framework.
https://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A54105
).

Competence assessment for young people

A young person participating in VET will have his or her competence assessed in the initial period of the education. The competence assessment should clarify what is required by the learner in relation to the education they want. The competence assessment is based on previous education or employment. The goal is to ensure that the education programme that the college offers the learner allows him or her to start at the right level and to avoid duplicating education. The college should allow the competence assessment to be included in the preparation of the learner’s individual education plan, so that the learner is credited with relevant parts of the programme ([23]https://www.uvm.dk/erhvervsuddannelser/adgang-og-optagelse/realkompetencevurdering).

Competence assessment for adults

Adults can have their competences assessed in relation to adult vocational courses and adult vocational education. In respect of short courses, this is an option known as Individual Competence Assessment (Individuel Kompetence Vurdering, IKV). Individual citizens have a right to this assessment and can even obtain financial compensation from the job centre for the time spent in this process, which takes between half a day and five days, provided by the relevant educational institution.

Recognition of prior learning results in an individual plan for education and a competence document listing formal qualifications, the individual’s prior experiences and learning equivalents, or a course certificate depending on the relevance and validity of his or her former experiences ([24]https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=152433#Kap6). When applying for adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed before enrolment, which means that every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three learning options:

  • adult vocational education 1 (EUV 1): the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/ introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • adult vocational education 2 (EUV 2): the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • adult vocational education 3 (EUV 3): the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1) ([25]https://uvm.dk/-/media/filer/uvm/.../pdf18/.../180321--vejledning-euv-ma...).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Salary for apprentices

Danish VET learners are entitled to receive financial support during their education and training. If the VET learner signs a contract with a company, he or she will receive a salary during the education and training period. The salary is DKK 9 500 -12 500 per month (EUR 1 275 - 1 675) and increases each year.

If the VET learner does not have a contract with a company, he or she is entitled to receive financial support from the Danish learners' grants and loans scheme (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte, SU) when the learner is enrolled in the basic course (GF1 and GF2).

If the learner is living with his or her parents, the monthly amount is DKK 946 (EUR 125). If the learner is living away from his or her parents and is 20 years of age, the monthly amount is DKK 6 090 (EUR 800).

Loans and grants

A learner receiving financial support from the SU is also entitled to take out a loan with the SU. The monthly amount of the loan is normally DKK 3 116 (EUR 420). Loans must be repaid at 4% interest during the period of education and at the national discount rate of +1% after finishing that period.

Participants of VET for adults (AMU) are entitled to a fixed allowance: the State grant system for adult training (godtgørelse, VEU). In 2018, the amount available was DKK 4 300 (EUR 578) per week, corresponding to the maximum unemployment insurance benefit rate. As most participants are employed and receive a full salary during the training period, this allowance is primarily paid to employers as partial reimbursement of wages. As with apprenticeship training (EUD), expenditure for the allowances is covered by the employers’ reimbursement scheme, to which all enterprises contribute a fixed amount regardless of levels of participation in adult education and continuing training activities.

Participants may also receive a transport allowance and financial support for board and lodging ([27]Covered by Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag (AUB)the employers reimbursement scheme.) if programmes are offered at a considerable distance from the participant’s home.

Employers’ reimbursement scheme

All employers, both public and private, pay a sum into the ‘employers' reimbursement scheme’ (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag), regardless of whether or not they provide apprenticeship placements. This fund finances VET for both young people and for adults (AMU). From 2018, all employers will be obliged to pay an annual contribution of DKK 2 702 (EUR 362) per full-time employee. These funds are then allocated to work places that take apprentices so that they do not bear the cost of training alone. These employers receive reimbursement for wages paid during apprentices’ periods of college-based training.

The latest tripartite agreement of August 2016 has launched a couple of new incentives for Danish companies aiming to establish more contracts with apprentices. The overall goal is to establish 10 000 new contracts in 2025.

Primarily, companies will be able to provide a much clearer picture of themselves as education operators, giving them the option of assessing whether they are in line with political expectations.

Fines and stimulations for companies

Companies that fail to sign the necessary number of contracts must pay a fine of DKK 27 000 (EUR 3 620) for each missing contract relative to the size of the company. On the other hand, companies that meet the standard number of contracts will receive a 7.4% higher refund from AUB (Arbejdsgivernes Uddannelsesbidrag, the employers reimbursement scheme,) to motivate them to sign the expected number of contracts.

In some Danish regions, public employers have laid down rules concerning the involvement of private companies in projects, underlining that the company cannot be engaged in public activities if the number of apprentices is below the standard.

Wage compensation scheme

Among the incentives promoting companies’ interest in having their low-skilled workers participate in adult vocational education is the wage compensation scheme. Companies are partly compensated for the wages they pay to their employees who are participating in education at a rate, in 2018, of DKK 4 300 (EUR 4 300) a week, equivalent to the highest level of unemployment benefit ([28]http://www.veug.dk/borger/veu-godtgoerelse). The companies should pay for the courses. In 2018 the payment will be between 590 DKK (EUR 79) and DKK 950 (EUR 127) per person per week ([29]https://www.efteruddannelse.dk/VEUPortal/faces/ApplFrontPage?_afrLoop=25...).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Further adult education

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 554

Further vocational adult education programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (VVU, Videregående Voksenuddannelse).
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Information not available

Usual completion age

Information not available

Length of a programme (years)

2-3 years on average (part-time); requested completion within 6 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

with some exceptions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

VVU programmes are specifically tailored to the needs of adults, for example, by providing courses over a longer duration on a part-time basis, largely during evenings and weekends, to allow ongoing employment.

Main providers

Business and technical academies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

People with job experience are the main group. Unemployed people can receive grants for participation (SVU).

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

In addition to an appropriate VET qualification or a general upper secondary qualification, two to three years of relevant work experience is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a programme, learners need to pass a final examination. Each module in the flexible programme is finalised with an examination and the learner has to pass a final examination as well.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

Retail, interpreter, international transport and logistics, and information technology

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Adult VVU) qualifications, like the mainstream KVU, can provide access to a supplementary diploma degree programme, allowing graduates to build on an academy profession degree to bachelor-equivalent level within the same field, while VVU qualifications also provide access to relevant full-time professional bachelor programmes.

As such, there is full horizontal permeability between the mainstream and adult education and continuing training systems.

Destination of graduates

Most participants (66%) finalise only a part of VVU and return to their jobs. Of this group, 50% continue into other forms of education (3-4 years after VVU.)

Of the group of participants who finalise a full VVU, 9% participate in further education (3-4 years after VVU) ([45]https://www.eva.dk/sites/eva/files/2017-08/Videregaende%20voksenuddannelse%20-VVU.pdf).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

The programme is flexible and the learner can choose general education subjects as part of the programme.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each module in the programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

9% ([46]This figure is for VVU and Academy Professions Programmes and calculated in relation to all VET learners at secondary level.)

EQF 5

Academy professions

programmes (KVU),

some WBL

ISCED 554

Short-cycle higher education programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Erhvervsakademiuddannelser, KVU)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

551, 554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

2 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

A programme can be 90, 120 or 150 ECTS credits.

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

School-based learning and practical training at school (and in-company practice)

Main providers

10 business and technical academies (erhvervsakademier)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

Workshops at schools

Practical training at schools

Main target groups

The main target groups are young people and adults who have completed their initial education.

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

Admissions requirements for academy profession and professional bachelor programmes are either relevant vocational upper secondary education and training (EUD) or general upper secondary education combined with relevant labour market experience. There may be more specific requirements regarding certain attainment levels within particular general subjects for some programmes (applicants with a VET background may have to take additional general education qualifications as a supplement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Apart from theoretical subjects, programmes are usually completed by a project examination and always contain a degree of workplace training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Award of an academy profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad, AK)

Examples of qualifications

Dental hygienist, installation electrician, multimedia designer, laboratory technician, marketing manager, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

An academy profession degree can provide access to a supplementary diploma degree programme.

The latter allows graduates to build on an academy profession degree to bachelor-equivalent level in the same field.

Destination of graduates

Most graduates (65%) enter the labour market after they finish their KVU. Some progress to further education.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

a few general education subjects are part of this programme.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

In 2017, 36 272 students were enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes. This figure indicates a significant increase over previous years of more than 50%. To strengthen cohesion at the tertiary level, since autumn 2011 all higher education from KVU to PhD level has been placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programmes,

some WBL

ISCED 655

Professional bachelor programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (Professionsbachelor)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

665

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

25

Length of a programme (years)

3-4 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 ECTS credits per semester. A full programme is normally 210 credits.

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

School-based learning and practical training at school.

Main providers

Seven university colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25%

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

Workshops and practical training at schools as a part of general education subjects.

Main target groups

Young people and adults who have completed their initial education.

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

Admissions requirements for professional bachelor programmes are either relevant vocational upper secondary education and training (EUD) or general upper secondary education combined with relevant labour market experience. There may be more specific requirements regarding certain attainment levels within particular general subjects for some programmes (applicants with a VET background may have to take additional general education qualifications as a supplement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Apart from theoretical subjects, programmes are usually completed by a project examination and always contain a degree of workplace training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

Teacher, social educator, midwife, radiographer, occupational therapist, biomedical laboratory scientist, nurse, leisure manager, journalist, social worker, a wide range of engineering programmes.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

A professional bachelor degree can provide access to certain university-based master programmes.

Destination of graduates

Most graduates (75%) enter the labour market after they finish their professional bachelor programme.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

General education subjects are a major part of a professional bachelor education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

In 2017, 36 272 students were enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes. This figure indicates a significant increase over previous years of more than 50%. To strengthen cohesion at the tertiary level, since autumn 2011 all higher education from KVU to PhD level has been placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

The total number of students enrolled in KVUs and professional bachelor programmes was about 60% of the number of students who were enrolled in VET in 2017.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-5

CVET (AMU) for

new skills and upgrade

Adult vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-5, (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU)
EQF level
2-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

Range

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Half a day to 50 days; one week on average

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Yes and no

– some courses are free of charge, some have charges

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

Depending on what best corresponds to the needs of enterprises and participants, courses can take the form of traditional classroom teaching, training in open workshops, distance learning or training at the workplace and be spread over several consecutive days, over a longer period or conducted as evening classes. Programmes can be combined both within and across qualification areas and alternate between theory and practice.

Main providers

Vocational colleges, AMU training centres and private providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

75%

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

According to the needs of participants and enterprises, individual training maps are developed and followed and a range of learning types can be included.

Main target groups

AMU programmes target both low-skilled and skilled workers, but they are open to all citizens who are either resident or employed in Denmark, irrespective of educational background. Some AMU courses are also targeted at the unemployed. The objectives are threefold:

  • to contribute to maintaining and improving the vocational skills and competences of participants in accordance with the needs of the labour market and to further the competence development of participants;
  • to contribute to solving problems in labour-market restructuring and adaptation in accordance with the needs of the labour market in both the short- and long-term;
  • to give adults the possibility of upgrading competences for the labour market, as well as personal competences through opportunities to obtain formal competences in vocational education and training ([41]Source: Ministry of Education’s webportal. See the Governments objectives for adult vocational training: short vocational training programmes mainly for low skilled and skilled workers on the labour market. http://www.eng.uvm.dk/adult-education-and-continuing-training/adult-voca...).
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination of AMU courses is practical-based and, depending on the context, may include some theoretical elements. All courses are finalised with an examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon completion, participants receive a certificate. In around 120 programmes, this certification is a formal requirement for fulfilling certain job functions (such as operating certain machinery). AMU certificates are also included in the Danish qualifications framework for lifelong learning, at any point from level 2 to level 5.

Examples of qualifications

Truck driver, scaffolder, team leader

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

AMU certificates do not provide direct access to further education and training, although they can be included in an assessment of prior learning resulting in credit transfer, for example, if entering a mainstream VET programme in the same field.

Destination of graduates

Information not available ([42]ReferNet DK estimates the majority of graduates enter labour market.)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The validation process in conducted by the AMU Centre and the relevant teacher is responsible for the specific validation of prior learning. The process is a combination of validation of formal learning and practical assessment.

Prior to enrolment into adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed. Every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three models:

  • EUV 1: the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • EUV 2: the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • EUV 3: the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1).
General education subjects

Y

such as reading, writing and mathematics courses

Key competences

Key competences can be included

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All AMU courses are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

In 2018 the share of AMU participants among all VET participants was 6.5%.

In 2018, there were approximately 463 327 participants in AMU courses, a significant drop since 2010 when there were almost 590 000 participants in AMU.

This could partly be explained by the high pace and bustle of industry during this period, and partly by the rigidity and formal structures of the education system.

However, as many of these courses are of very short duration (as little as half a day), the figures for full-time equivalent students are much lower at just 7 406 in 2018 ([43]https://www.uddannelsesstatistik.dk/Pages/Reports/1801.aspx). This again represents a significant fall in comparison with 2010 figures. Most participants in the programmes either have VET as their highest level of education (51%) or compulsory schooling (25%) ([44]VEU-rådet (2011). Strategiske fokusområder 2011 [Strategic focuses 2011], p. 45.).

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

Basic VET (EGU)

programmes,

WBL at least 75%

ISCED 353

Basic vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353 (Erhvervsgrunduddannelse, EGU)
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged below 30

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

Training is full-time. It is primarily practical, with little theoretical content, and combines alternating school-based (one third) and workplace-based training (two-thirds).

Main providers

Vocational colleges, agricultural colleges, social and healthcare colleges, etc.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=75%

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

Basic vocational training is aimed at unemployed young people aged below 30 who are unable to complete another form of education or training, which might equip them with qualifications to enter the labour market. The goal is to improve their vocational and personal skills and inspire them to enter the labour market or pursue further training possibilities.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements concerning age.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The training programme is set on an individual basis and may contain elements from the main programmes. Each training period should be concluded as an individual training element, which may be accredited through other training programmes. Statements are issued giving details of training content, job function, marks, etc.

Diplomas/certificates provided

On completion of the entire training programme, a certificate is issued by the college. Any completed elements from a main programme can later be transferred as credit if entering the relevant programme.

Examples of qualifications

Low-skilled pedagogical assistant, low-skilled carpenter, low-skilled chauffeur

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • IVET
  • production school
  • adult education (AVU)
Destination of graduates

Graduates from EGU progress to ([32]Source: The Ministry of Children and Education, 2016.):

  • 48% in jobs;
  • 10% in education and training;
  • 38% receiving public support.
Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes obtained in companies and different education institutions are assessed and validated and can

be recognised as part of IVET.

General education subjects

Y

General education subjects (for example Danish or Mathematics) can be a part of the educational plan.

Key competences

Y

Key Competences can be a part of the programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The school-based part of the programme will typically be based on learning outcomes.

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

Students within EGU ([33]Basic vocational training programmes leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353 (Erhvervsgrunduddannelse, EGU).)

2012

2013

2014

2015

231 6

2 331

238 2

2337

Source: Statistics Denmark, 2018.

EQF 4-5

VET programmes (EUX),

WBL 50%,

4-4.5 years

ISCED 354

Combined vocational and general upper secondary education leading to EQF levels 4-5, ISCED 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse og gymnasial eksamen, EUX)
EQF level
4-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4-4.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning.
Main providers

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

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

In 2012, the EUX programme was introduced with the aim of bridging the gap between general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education and training.

It also offers highly motivated young people the opportunity to gain both vocational qualifications providing direct access to the labour market and general qualifications providing similar opportunities to continue into higher education as students in the four general upper secondary programmes.

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

There are no minimum or maximum entry requirements concerning age.

EUX students must fulfil the requirements for IVET programmes, including a minimum grade 2 in Danish and mathematics.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete an EUX programme the student must pass a journeyman’s test concerning the vocational part of the programme and an examination in 6 upper secondary subjects (including Danish at level A) concerning the non-vocational part of the programme.

If a learner fails the journeyman test or an examination in one of the 6 subjects, it is possible to have a re-examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners achieve both general and vocational upper secondary qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

EUX graduates gain both vocational qualifications providing direct access to the labour market and general qualifications providing similar opportunities to continue into higher education as graduates of the four general upper secondary programmes.

Destination of graduates

Since EUX was only introduced in 2012, there are only a small number of EUX graduates so far. It is, therefore, too early to predict their progress in continuing education and training or the labour market.

However, there is no doubt that the EUX programme has succeeded in attracting a more motivated and dedicated type of student to VET ([34]A preliminary evaluation of EUX was published in 2017:
https://uvm.dk/aktuelt/nyheder/uvm/udd/erhvervs/2017/mar/170315%20eux%20har%20potentiale%20til%20at%20tiltraekke%20en%20ny%20type%20elever%20til%20erhvervsuddannelserne
).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

If the learner has obtained certain parts of IVET or upper secondary education, it is possible to acquire awards through validation.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are part of the subjects in vocational colleges.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Since its introduction in 2012, the EUX programme has become quite popular. In 2019, 32.2% of all students choosing VET wanted an EUX programme in order to obtain a full VET qualification and a study preparatory qualification as well. Consequently, Danish VET institutions are working intensively to develop new learning arrangements combining learning outcomes from VET and general upper secondary institutions.

EQF 3-5

VET programmes,

apprenticeships (EUD),

WBL 67%,

3-5 years

ISCED levels 353 and 354

Vocational upper secondary education and training programmes leading to EQF levels 3-5, ISCED levels 353 and 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse, EUD)
EQF level
3-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

353-354

Usual entry grade

9/10

Usual completion grade

12/13/14

Usual entry age

22

Usual completion age

28.9

Length of a programme (years)

5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

EUD, as the main upper secondary VET option, is organised according to a dual principle, alternating between a training placement, generally in an enterprise, and periods of college-based training.

EUD consists of:

  • the introductory basic programmes, which are predominantly school-based and combine theoretical, classroom-based learning with, to varying degrees, more practical workshop-based learning. For example, the commercial programme concentrates more on classroom-based learning than many of the more technical programmes. Basic programmes combine common competence goals, where students are given a broad introduction to the competences to be acquired in the associated main programmes and pursue specific competence goals aimed at individual programmes;
  • the main programme, consisting of several ‘steps’ (trin) and specialisations that divide the main programme into branches. While the exact distribution varies according to both the programme and the needs of the individual student, the main programmes generally comprise alternating periods of workplace-based training and college-based teaching in a ratio of 2:1.

College-based teaching in the main programmes can be divided into four types of subject:

  • general subjects;
  • trade-specific area subjects;
  • specialised subjects;
  • optional subjects.

College-based teaching in the main programmes is organized through an integrated approach, and students frequently work on projects where they are expected to incorporate what they have learned in different subjects and combine both general and more specialised competences.

Main providers

VET colleges

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Apprenticeships with:

  • practical training at school;
  • practical training in company.
Main target groups
  • young people (16-20) – main target group
  • young Adults (20-25)
  • adults (25+)
  • immigrants
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Admission to basic programmes

Admission is offered to anyone who has completed compulsory schooling at Folkeskole or equivalent and obtained the pass mark in Danish and mathematics in the leaving examination from the ninth or 10th grade respectively, unless they have an apprenticeship contract with a company.

Young people attending the first part of the basic programme just after compulsory school must be declared ‘study-ready’, based on an assessment of their academic, personal and social competences conducted by either the college or the local youth guidance centre (Ungdommens Uddannelsesvejledning). These assessments consider a broad range of factors such as grades, motivation and conflict management skills and are used in compiling individual education plans (Elevplan).

Admission to main programmes

All students completing a basic programme are entitled to complete one of the associated main programmes. These programmes generally commence with an on-the-job training placement. As such, the student must not only have completed the relevant basic programme, but also have an apprenticeship contract with an approved training company prior to being admitted to the main programme.

The students are duty-bound to seek out suitable placements. When no suitable placements are available in a desired programme, students are offered admission to another associated main programme where placements are available. Another possibility is for the student to enter a training agreement with the college itself, where practical training also takes place in a Placement Centre.

For some programmes (32), admission to the second of the two basic courses is limited. This is to ensure that the number of students is aligned with labour market needs. In these cases, all students are either admitted in accordance with a quota or are required to have a training agreement with an enterprise prior to commencing the second part of the relevant foundation course.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Basic programmes are completed with a project which forms the basis of an externally graded examination. This is done by an external examiner appointed by the school and validated by the education ministry.

In the main programmes, there are various forms of assessment throughout the course, including both oral and written examinations, and both theoretical and practical project work. The exact form of assessment can differ from programme to programme.

Programmes include both subject-specific examinations (for example, in English or mathematics) and broader assessments to evaluate students’ abilities to combine the knowledge, skills and competences acquired from the programme as a whole.

The final examination, which generally takes place during the final period of college-based learning, also varies from programme to programme. In some cases, it consists entirely of a college-based examination; in others it comprises a combination of a college-based examination and a journeyman’s test (svendeprøve); in others it involves only the journeyman’s test conducted by local training committees.

However, most common is a combination of an assessment of project-based practical assignments and a theoretical examination, either oral, written or both. The relevant local trade committee nominates external examiners. Generally, two external examiners assess individual students in cooperation with the teacher. The training college, in consultation with the trade committees, develops the content of examinations. After passing the journeyman’s certificate, the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([35]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Diplomas/certificates provided

The basic course examination leads to a certificate documenting the subjects and levels they have achieved; this certificate forms the basis for entering the main programme.

At the end of each training placement, the company issues a certificate to the college, the student and the trade committee listing the student’s achievements.

The successful passing of the final examination leads to a journeyman’s certificate; the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([36]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Examples of qualifications

Flight mechanic, event coordinator, fitness instructor, multimedia animator, veterinary nurse: ‘small animals’, veterinary nurse: ‘horses’, veterinary nurse: ‘aide’, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduating from EUD main programmes gives access to tertiary education in the previously acquired field. Additional general subject qualifications ([37]These courses can be obtained at Adult Education Centres (VUC).) are required at higher levels in order to gain access to higher education.

Destination of graduates

The most recent figures for students completing an EUD programme in 2015 show that, 6 months later, only 8% were continuing in higher education ([38]http://statweb.uni-c.dk/Databanken/uvmdataweb/fullClient/Default.aspx?report=EOU-gf-overg6-tiludd-frafuldf&res=1366x560 ).

Improving pathways from VET to higher education is currently a political priority.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire awards through validation of prior learning, and the education institution receiving the student is responsible for this.

General education subjects

Y

College-based teaching in the main programmes includes general education subjects, including English, mathematics, Danish, etc. However, in VET, the content of these subjects is adapted to the particular programme so that, for example, mathematics for carpenters will concentrate on areas relevant to working as a carpenter and will be quite different from mathematics for veterinary nurses. General subjects also include other broad subjects such as product development and basic materials science. College-based teaching also includes optional subjects that might help them gain competences, which provide access to further education, such as qualifications in general subjects at a higher level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are included in the subjects in the college-based part of VET, but are not taught as specific subjects.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All educational orders, defining the framework of a VET programme are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

After completing ninth (compulsory) or 10th grade in 2018, 93% of all students chose some form of further education or training activity, either general upper secondary education (73.1%), or EUD vocational upper secondary education and training (19.4%). As suggested by the discrepancy in these two sets of figures, students in VET are generally older. While the average age for young people commencing general upper secondary education is 16.6, the equivalent for those entering VET is 22. Young people also take longer to complete VET programmes: the average age for those completing a general upper secondary qualification in 2017 was 19.5; in VET it was 28.9.

In 2019, 32.2% of young people applying for a VET programme chose the EUX programme.

Students entering VET basic programmes (EUD and EUX) 2019

EQF 3-5

Adult VET (EUV)

programmes

3-5 years

ISCED 353, 354

Basic vocational adult education programmes (equivalent to EUD) leading to EQF levels 2-3, ISCED 353, 354 (Erhvervsuddannelse for voksne)
EQF level
3-5
ISCED-P 2011 level

353, 354

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Average: 22 years

Usual completion age

Average: 28.9 years

Length of a programme (years)

1.5 – 5.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Aged 25 and above

ECVET or other credits

The education ministry has decided that ECVET points should not be used in the Danish vocational training system.

In Denmark, it has been decided not to split up education programmes into modules to which ECVET, or other credit points, might be assigned. However, there are other countries in the EU that have introduced a credit points system. Therefore, there may be a need for a school receiving foreign pupils in mobility programmes to decide how many ECVET/other credit points the course corresponds to. In Denmark, the course of study is awarded ECVET points in relation to time. A full-time equivalent programme corresponds to 60 points.

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

It is a dual system consisting of:

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

Vocational colleges in cooperation with companies

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

60%

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

EUV programmes target low-skilled workers with at least two years of relevant work experience and allow acquisition of qualifications equivalent to EUD, which incorporate validation of prior learning.

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

Adults aged 25 and above

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a journeyman’s test (practical), organised by a professional committee. Some examinations in the school-based part of the programme are compulsory.

If a learner fails a journeyman’s test or an examination in a subject, re-examination is possible. Normally, three attempts are possible.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The basic course examination leads to a certificate documenting the subjects and levels they have achieved; this certificate forms the basis for entering the main programme.

At the end of each training placement, the company issues a certificate to the college, the student and the trade committee listing the student’s achievements.

The successful passing of the final examination leads to a journeyman’s certificate; the graduate acquires a qualification at skilled-worker level and is able to enter the labour market ([39]Ministry of Education (2014b). Praktikpladsen: mødested for elever og virksomheder [Traineeships/internships: meeting place for students and companies].
http://www.praktikpladsen.dk/
).

Examples of qualifications

Carpenter, blacksmith, electrician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VEU can enter the labour market or continue their studies at professional Academies.

Destination of graduates

Information not available ([40]ReferNet Denmark estimates the majority of graduates enter labour market.)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The validation process in conducted by the vocational school and the relevant vocational teacher is responsible for the specific validation of prior learning. The process is a combination of validation of formal learning and practical assessment.

Prior to enrolment into adult vocational education, it is compulsory to have one’s prior learning and experiences assessed. Every adult above 25 years of age who intends to embark on vocational education should participate in Recognition of Prior Learning (so-called realkompetencevurdering, RKV, or RPL). This process takes between half a day and five days and leads the participant to one of three models:

  • EUV 1: the learner has at least two years of relevant workplace experience. This means that the practice-based periods of the course and its initial part/introductory basic programmes are left out (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1). In the case of mercantile vocational education, the primary part is included in the adult version;
  • EUV 2: the learner has less than two years of relevant workplace experience. An education plan should be drawn up reflecting the participant’s experiences, which will usually exclude the initial part and shorten the other parts;
  • EUV 3: the learner has no relevant workplace experience. Adults should follow the same education plan as young people, but should not have the initial part (Basic Course 1; Grundforløb 1, GF 1).
General education subjects

Y

Depending on the specific education programme, a number of subjects are included in the programme – for example Danish, mathematics.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are included in the subjects in the college-based part of VET, but are not taught as specific subjects.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All education orders, defining the framework of a VET programme, are described in terms of learning outcomes.

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

The share of people aged 25 or more is 32% of the total VET learners.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available