Brexit Disclaimer
This website as well as the publications and online tools accessible via this website may contain UK data and analysis based on research conducted before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. EU averages or other statistical parameters including the UK reflect the situation in the European Union before 31 January 2020 and should not be considered as representative of the situation in the EU thereafter. Any data or information pertaining to the UK will be gradually phased out from Cedefop’s website, publications and online tools, as ongoing research projects with the United Kingdom’s participation are concluded. Data coming from UK were collected, processed and published before its withdrawal from the EU. Therefore, EU averages contain UK related data up to 2019.

General themes

VET in Italy comprises the following main features:

  • education and employment ministries lay down the rules and general principles but the regions and autonomous provinces are in charge of VET programmes and apprenticeship- type schemes;
  • there are three types of apprenticeship with one type (Type 2) not corresponding to any education level but leading only to occupational qualifications recognised by the labour market ([1]Apprenticeship is available at all levels and programmes and is always defined as an open-ended employment contract. Type 1 apprenticeship is offered for all programmes at upper secondary level and the higher technical education and training (IFTS) programme. Type 3 apprenticeship (higher training/education apprenticeship) is offered in higher technical education (ITS) programmes and all tertiary education level programmes leading to university degrees, HTI diplomas, and doctoral degrees corresponding to the tertiary level. Type 2 apprenticeship does not correspond to any education level, diploma or qualification, but leads to occupational qualifications recognised by the relevant national sectoral collective agreements applied in the hiring company. Type 1 and Type 3 apprenticeships are associated with a formal education and training programme, while Type 2 is not.);
  • continuing VET is mainly directed towards employed people;
  • the recent adoption of the national qualifications framework (January 2018) is a catalyst for re-designing qualifications.

Distinctive features ([2]Information on distinctive features is provided by ReferNet Italy as there is no Spotlight edition for 2017 of which distinctive features was an analysed theme.)

The Italian context is characterised by the presence of multiple institutional players at national and regional levels, in addition to the relevant role of the social partners.

Title V (article 117) of the Constitution provides for ownership either by the State, the regions or mechanisms for cooperation between the different institutions, in relation to the type of training supply:

• the State establishes general rules and determines the fundamental principles of education;

• the regions have legislative power over VET;

• education falls under the scope of concomitant legislation, except for the autonomy of education institutions.

In light of the interweaving of the different intervention areas, ministries of education and labour and the regions define formal agreements within the State-regions conference. The aim is to define matters of common interest, although at different levels of responsibility.

The implementation of Title V has not yet been completed; this increases the interweaving and the complexity of the different levels of system governance. The areas of activity which primarily apply to the jurisdiction of the education ministry and those which primarily apply to the labour ministry and the regions and autonomous provinces, are to be kept distinct. However, many activities and interventions require consultation between the different institutional players.

Reference should be made to the role of the social partners, who contribute to defining and creating active employment policies, especially in relation to VET (in particular lifelong training).

Challenges that the VET system faces ([3]Adapted from Vocational education and training in Europe – Italy. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018 [unpublished].):

  • integrating the training and employment of young people within a dual system by reinforcing apprenticeships;
  • reinforcing apprenticeship for higher training/education;
  • simplifying current legislation and boost the appeal of apprenticeship for enterprises;
  • developing innovative pedagogical methodologies;
  • reducing early leaving from education and training;
  • training teachers and trainers;
  • promoting the assessment of education and training outcomes (processes and results) through implementation of a national plan for quality assurance in education and training and in line with the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training recommendation ([4]European Parliament; Council of the European Union (2009). Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training. Official Journal of the European Union, C 155, 18.6.2009, pp. 1-10.
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009H0708(01)&from=EN
    );
  • training staff involved in all stages and procedures of the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • increasing public awareness of the potential benefits of validation of non-formal and informal learning especially to those target groups who could benefit most;
  • improving cost-effectiveness of validation of non-formal and informal learning procedures;
  • improving monitoring of VET outcomes and adjust VET provision to each learner’s training needs;
  • developing evaluative analytical tools on the impact of training policies.

Regarding specifically to continuing vocational training the following challenges and issues should be addressed:

  • developing further the already existing skills forecasting tools and methods and better match training provision to skills needs;
  • supporting workers’ participation in training, eliminate obstacles that prevent them from training, and motivate the most vulnerable workers, in particular the low-skilled and over 50s to participate in training activities;
  • improving the capacity of training providers to offer programmes that enhance technological and in particular digital skills;
  • strengthening the involvement of the social partners in corporate decisions relating to training;
  • consolidating the certification of skills acquired through continuing vocational training;
  • improving coordination and networking between the various stakeholders involved in lifelong learning at national and regional level.

Population in 2018: 60 483 973 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [Extracted 16.5.2019].).

It increased since 2013 by 1.3% due to immigration ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [Extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ration is expected to increase from 34 in 2015 to 61 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have an impact on school population, which was decreased between September 2014 and June 2015, especially at lower secondary level (by 0.7%). In the same period, upper secondary school level population has increased by 0.8%, including both Italian (+0.6%) and foreign learners (+2.8%).

Since 2007, immigration has been a prevailing demographic growth factor. In 2016, it has halved, while emigration has nearly tripled.

The share of foreign learners has increased by 20.9% between 2009/10 and 2014/15 (from 673 592 to 814 187), compared to a 2.7% decrease of Italian learners (from 8 283 493 to 8 058 397). The share of foreign female learners was 48%.

In 2014/15, 55.3% of learners with foreign nationality were born in Italy (84.8% in pre-primary education). In 2015, 7.3% of foreign learners declared to have repeated one or more school years (4), especially those not born in Italy (31%). Foreign learners often have lower marks in secondary education programmes.

Not applicable ([7]Italy is home to almost fifty different nationalities with over 10 000 residents. This composes a multi-ethnic framework. Though courses in Italian language are offered to foreign residents there’s no record of VET programmes offered in another language.)

Most companies in Italy are micro and small-sized ([8]Istat (2018). Annuario Statistico Italiano, Roma. Reference year: 2016.).

Total: 4 390 911 enterprises, 16 684 518 employees.

Micro enterprises (0-9 employees): 95.2%

Small enterprises (10-49 employees): 4.2%

Medium enterprises (50-249 employees): 0.5%

Large enterprises (250 and more employees): 0.1%

Main economic sectors in Italy are:

  • machinery and equipment;
  • metalworking;
  • electronics and components;
  • chemicals;
  • textiles;
  • furniture;
  • food and beverage;
  • construction;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • accommodation and food service activities;
  • transport and logistics;
  • information and communications;
  • financial and insurance activities.

Export is very relevant for Italy and comprises several sectors, mainly machinery and equipment, textiles, furniture, transport equipment and vehicles, metalworking, food and beverage, electronics and components and others.

The sectors most linked to VET are electronics and components, information and communications, financial and insurance activities, machinery and equipment, transport equipment and vehicles, chemicals,

Most of occupations and professions are regulated, with the exception of some sectors of self-employment, especially in the south regions.

In recent years, a series of legislative reforms, inspired by the European principle of flexicurity, have been introduced with the aim of introducing more elements of flexibility into active labour market policies, as well as new social security instruments.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 9.3% (6% in EU-28): It increased by 3.7 percentage points since 2008 ([10]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
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 62.7% in 2014 to 66% in 2018 ([11]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+3.3pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+3.7 pp) in the same period in Italy ([12]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Italy please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Italy. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/italy_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Education has high value in Italy. However the share of population aged up to 64 with higher education (19.3%) is below the EU-28 average (32.2%). This is also the case for the share of population aged up to 64 with medium or low qualifications. In Italy, there are some contradictions in the relationship between the education and training system and the production system. An example is the low presence of qualified labour in the production system, due mostly to the still fairly low number of graduates compared to other European countries.

Having a higher educational qualification would not appear to have a significant effect on the probability of finding a good job match. Also, over-education is associated to both lower labour productivity and lower job satisfaction. In this respect the number of 14 year-olds choosing to enrol on vocational education and training pathways (IeFP) as an option that would allow better matching of skills to jobs is significant, as the figure below demonstrates.

 

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].

 

 

Students on Vocational Education and Training Pathways (IeFP) courses by region (years I-III), 2015-16 training year ([13]National institute of public policy analysis and ministry of labour and social policy, based on regional and provincial figures.)

Source: National institute of public policy analysis and ministry of labour and social policy, based on regional and provincial figures.

 

Figures for the 2015/16 training year confirmed a progressive stabilisation of the system: the decision to enrol on the 1st year of vocational education and training pathways is becoming increasingly vocational, gradually distancing itself from the widely-held opinion that the vocational education and training pathways educational offer is exclusively the port of call for those who have failed repeatedly at school, but these pathways are chosen because have strong professional characteristics.

For more information about VET in higher education in Italy please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12b]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Italy. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/italy_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

55.3%

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].

 

In VET there are 50.3% males compared to 49.7% females.

The educational attainment is as follows: 36%, less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2); 35.7%, upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4); 17.1%, tertiary education (levels 5-8) ([14]Source: ISFOL-INAPP (2012). OFP Survey.
http://tiny.cc/gx737y . Latest data available; the next survey results will be available in 2020.
).The study fields (ISCED 2013) that they enrol the most are: computer use (37.4%), hygiene and occupational health services (29.1%), professional computer (27.3%), foreign languages (23.8%), business and administration (23%), hotel, restaurants and catering (19.8%), marketing (16.4%), mechanics and metal trades (16%), secretarial and office work (15.1%), health (15%), accounting and taxation (14.3%), electronics and automation (12.1%) ([15]Source: ISFOL-INAPP (2012). OFP Survey.
http://tiny.cc/gx737y. Latest data available; the next survey results will be available in 2020.
).

In vocational education and training pathways (IeFP) there are more males than females. (61.5%, compared with 38.5%). In the fourth year of the pathways, there is still a prevalence of male pupils (57.5%) even if the detachment from the female component (42.5%) is less.

The preferred study fields are in the areas of catering, electronics, wellness, aesthetics (for females) ([16]Data from the 2015/16 academic year.).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 19.1% in 2009 to 14.5% in 2018. It is below the national target for 2020 of not more than 16% but above 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.
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

Information not available

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, mainly low qualified people, imprisoned people and refugees.

 

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 the same since 2014 (though a decreasing trend was obvious until 2017 when it reached 7.0%). In 2018, it reached 8.1%, three percentage points below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

VET learners by age ([17]Most recent aggregate data available: ISFOL OFP Survey, reference year 2012; the next estimate will be available for the reference year 2018.):

  • 14-17: 18.8%
  • 18-34: 45.8%
  • 35+: 35.4%

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter first cycle of education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 344, EQF 4 for general education)(ISCED levels 353-354, EQF 3-4 for vocational upper secondary options)(also called second cycle of education);
  • post-secondary education (IFTS- only vocational – ISCED level 453, EQF 4);
  • higher education (ISCED level 453, EQF 5 for higher technical programmes), ISCED level 667, EQF 6, ISCED levels 667-767 EQF 7, ISCED level 768-864, EQF 8).

Pre-school education is not compulsory and is provided by educational services for children aged less than three years operated by the regions, whereas for ages 3-6 is available at pre-primary schools which operate under the responsibility of the education ministry.

Compulsory education starts at the age of 6 and lasts for 10 years up to 16 years of age. It covers the whole first cycle of education (primary and lower secondary and two years of the second cycle- upper secondary education).

The last two years of compulsory education can be attended either in an upper secondary school or within the regional VET system.

The upper secondary school education offers both general and vocational (technical and vocational) programmes. Duration of studies is five years. At the end of the upper secondary education, students who successfully pass the final exam, receive a certificate that gives them access to higher education.

The following institutes offer education at higher level:

  • universities (polytechnics included);
  • high level arts, music and dance education institutes (Afam);
  • higher schools for language mediators (SSML);
  • higher technical institutes (ITS).

Access to university, high level arts, music and dance education institutes and higher schools for language mediators programmes is solely for students with an upper secondary school leaving certificate. The education ministry and individual institutions establish the specific conditions for admission.

Courses at higher technical institutes (ITS) are accessible to students with an upper secondary leaving certificate and to students who have attended a four-year regional vocational course followed by an additional one-year course in the higher technical education and training system (IFTS). Higher technical institutes offer short-cycle bachelor programmes, according to the Bologna structure ([18]Information retrieved from Eurydice: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/italy_en).

At upper secondary level the following VET programmes are offered:

  • five-year programmes (EQF level 4) at technical schools leading to technical education diplomas; at vocational schools leading to professional education diplomas. Programmes combine general education and VET, and can also be delivered in the form of alternance training. Graduates have access to higher education;
  • three-year programmes leading to a vocational qualification (EQF level 3);
  • four-year programmes leading to a technician professional diploma (EQF level 4).

At post-secondary level, VET is offered as higher technical education for graduates of five year upper secondary programmes or four-year vocational education and training pathway programmes who passed entrance exams:

  • higher technical education and training courses (IFTS): one year post-secondary non-academic programmes leading to a high technical specialisation certificate (EQF level 4);
  • higher technical institute programmes (ITS): two- to three-year post-secondary non-academic programmes which lead to a high-level technical diploma (EQF level 5).

VET for adults is offered by a range of different public and private providers. It includes programmes leading to upper secondary VET qualifications to ensure progression opportunities for the low-skilled. These programmes are provided by provincial adult education centres (CPIA) under the remit of the education ministry.

Continuing VET targets mainly employed people. Most resources for continuing training have been planned and managed by the regions and autonomous provinces (which have mainly used European social fund regional operational programmes as a source) and the social partners (through interprofessional funds).

Continuing VET programmes pursue three goals:

  • the maintenance/upgrading of competencies and skills;
  • corporate competitiveness and innovation;
  • compulsory training.

Compulsory training comprises obligatory courses related to work specific requirements, for which the employer has to make sure that a worker received a proper training tailored to the needs and conditions of the workplace. It is a mandatory training at the work place (mandatory for the employer by law, for all employees in certain occupations, e.g. health and safety). There are also some obligatory training courses by law for some dangerous or potentially dangerous tasks (driving a fork lift), training for preventive services (e.g. occupational physicians may be required by law to do some training regularly, as well as for the workers in the food sector in respect to the compliance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food protocol, training for safety representatives who deal with occupational safety and health questions at the enterprise level and training for first aid measures (by law, a certain number of people have to be able to offer first aid), training for workers to protect themselves and others (e.g. fire exercises).Beneficiaries can obtain a formal qualification.

In 2012, agreement between the government, the regions and local bodies concerning the definition of the national system on lifelong guidance provided a national reference framework to facilitate and consolidate a common language and culture between guidance workers. In the framework of this agreement, an inter-institutional and national working group for lifelong guidance was established in 2012, with the purpose of defining minimum standards for guidance services and workers’ professional skills, with reference to the guidance services and functions that exist within different regional VET and working systems.

In September 2015, at the State-regions-autonomous provinces conference, an agreement was signed for a trial project about the dual system. This trial, which began in the 2015/16 training year, was an opportunity to further develop the Italian dual education system, able to create integration between education/training and the fundamental task of actively combating the notable youth unemployment crisis.

The trial includes two courses of action:

  • first course of action: development and reinforcement of the VET providers’ placement system:
  • support for the organisation of guidance services and placements (vocational guidance, balance and certification of expertise, matching companies and students, organising school-work);
  • alternation of courses and placements and managing protocols with companies;
  • training of vocational training centre workers on the legislative and operational features of the new apprenticeship;
  • design of educational and vocational courses in which alternating school-work pathways or apprenticeship training are reinforced.
  • second course of action: supporting VET pathways beneath the dual system. This action is aimed at allowing young people to obtain a vocational qualification and/or diploma by following educational pathways that provide for an alternance between school and work experience (400 hours). More specifically, these pathways can be completed by means of:
  • apprenticeships to obtain a qualification, a vocational diploma or a higher technical specialisation certificate (i.e. a certificate for completion of higher technical education and training pathway; and
  • alternance between school-based and work-based learning; simulated business training.

Apprenticeship is one of the main educational instruments used to integrate young people in the labour market. In particular, apprenticeship is a permanent labour contract aimed at training young people and giving them employment and is one of the cornerstones of the Italian dual system. The training provided during apprenticeship is managed by the regions and autonomous provinces. Within the Jobs Act framework, Legislative Decree 81/2015 fundamentally revised related regulations. These innovations were mainly designed to enhance the appeal of apprenticeship contracts for companies and institutions because application performances are not yet satisfactory, in line with the general difficulties of the national economic and production system.

Apprenticeship in Italy designates a work contract with a specific training purpose; it includes both on-the-job and classroom training. The apprenticeship contract, which is distinct from other work-based learning, must be drafted in written form, defining the roles and responsibilities of all parties, as well as the terms and conditions of the apprenticeship, the probationary period, the occupation tasks, wage increases, both the entry and final grade levels and the qualification to be obtained. The training programme is an integral part of the contract. Both the contract and the training programme must be signed by the employer and the apprentice.

Since apprentices are considered employees, they are entitled to insurance benefits for job injuries and accidents, occupational diseases, health reasons, ageing and disability, maternity, household allowance and, since 1 January 2013, labour social security insurance.

The Jobs Act established that only enterprises with up to 50 employees can hire an apprentice if, in the previous 36 months, they retained 20% of their previous apprentices. Workers registered on so-called ‘mobility lists’ and unemployed people receiving unemployment allowance can take part in this scheme to qualify or requalify (usually they are offered a place on a ‘professional’ apprenticeship scheme, which is analysed below under the heading professional training apprenticeships).

The apprenticeship system includes three types of contracts:

  • apprenticeships leading to a professional operator certificate and a professional technician diploma, an upper-secondary school diploma, a higher technical specialisation certification (IFTS) – level I apprenticeship.

These schemes are regulated by the regions and autonomous provinces through specific State-regions conference agreements. Content, which is divided into theoretical and practical learning, the specific qualifications offered, and the number of training hours are established by the regions and autonomous provinces according to minimum standards agreed at national level. The duration of the contract is determined according to the certificate or diploma to attain: it cannot exceed the training period nor be less than the national minimum standard. Apprenticeships leading to a professional operator certificate and a professional technician diploma allow young people to fulfil their right/duty to education and training. There are no specific entry requirements, but learners need to bridge the year between the end of lower-secondary school and the start of apprenticeship on an upper-secondary school or vocation education and training pathway programme, unless they are already 15 years old. These apprenticeship schemes last three or four years and offer the possibility to acquire qualifications at operator or technician level (in 22 and 21 occupation fields, respectively: professional operator certificate (European qualifications framework level 3) or professional technician diploma (European qualifications framework level 4). These qualifications are part of the national qualifications register. After obtaining the operator certificate, apprentices may proceed to the fourth year to obtain a technician diploma, in the same occupation. Access to university is possible after successful completion of secondary education and an additional one-year course at an education institute. Apprenticeships for a higher technical specialisation certificate (European qualifications framework level 4) lasts a year and target young people who have fulfilled their right/duty to education and training.

  • professional training apprenticeships: this targets 18 to 29-year-olds who want to acquire a qualification provided for in collective bargaining agreements and required on the labour market. Training comprises two parts: a) acquisition of key skills (120 hours over a three-year period) regulated by the regions and autonomous provinces and provided by training centres and award a regional qualification; b) acquisition of vocational skills for specific occupation areas provided directly by companies. The occupation areas and training content are defined by collective bargaining agreements. These programmes have a maximum duration of three years (exceptionally five years for the crafts sector).
  • higher education and research apprenticeships This scheme leads to an array of qualification levels encompassing European qualifications framework levels 4-8. It targets 18 to 29-year-olds and fulfils various purposes. Learners can acquire qualifications that are normally offered through school-based programmes, in higher education or at universities, including a doctoral degree. Apprentices can also engage in research activities in private companies or pursue traineeship required to access the liberal professions (lawyer, architect, business consultant); the latter has not yet been regulated by collective bargaining. In agreement with the social partners and public education and training centres, the regions and autonomous provinces decide the duration of contracts and the organisation of programmes and ensure they are compatible with fully school-based curricula. They also define higher education credits learners obtain at schools, universities or training centres and the skills to be acquired through on the job training at a company. In the absence of a regional regulation, ad hoc arrangements between training institutes and companies are possible. Training cost allocation is defined by local authorities, based on national, regional and European social fund regulations.

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 education ministry defines the VET framework in national school pathways (technical and professional institutes) for higher technical education and training courses in agreement with the employment ministry). It has sole responsibility for higher technical institute programmes with regard to the definition of guidance documents and the monitoring and assessment of the training chain ([19]Training chain (filiera formativa): set of pathways to achieve technical education and vocational education diplomas, at the end of the five-year school courses, of technical institutes and professional institutes.). The education ministry also deals with redefining the higher technical institutes’ national repertory of occupational profiles, with the introduction of new technical profiles and the updating of those already included in the inventory. The repertory is a list of occupational profiles which are taken into consideration for the design of training courses. Monitoring of higher technical institute courses is carried out by the National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE) ([20]National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research:
http://www.indire.it/en/
).

The labour ministry defines the VET framework for interventions provided for within the scope of vocational education and training pathways, for higher technical education and training (in agreement with the education ministry), for training interventions for apprenticeships and for continuing training provided within the scope of the public system.

At national level, the national institute for public policy analysis monitors vocational education and training pathways, higher technical education and training courses, apprenticeship training pathways and continuing training interventions

The regions and autonomous provinces are responsible for the planning, programming, organisation and implementation of interventions provided for within the scope of vocational education and training pathways, higher technical education, higher technical education and training, post-vocational education and training pathways, and post-university education for most types of apprenticeship-based training and for publicly-funded continuing training interventions (in agreement with the social partners).

In particular, the programming of higher technical education, and higher technical education and training, interventions is provided for in specific planning documents known as three-year plans.

Through these documents, the regions and autonomous provinces define their strategy on the post-secondary education and training offer, bringing together and integrating the various supply chains of higher technical education, higher technical education and training hubs ([21]As defined in Inter-Ministerial Decree dated 7 February 2013, professional technical hubs are intended to be the functional interconnection between the subjects in the training chain and companies in the production chain and are therefore, identified as ‘training venues for learning in situ’, established thanks to network agreements for sharing public and private workshops that are already operating; this interconnection also establishes venues dedicated to learning in applicative contexts, in order to make full use of existing professional resources, even based on ‘workshop at school’ and ‘enterprise school’ modes.).

Social partners play an advisory role in the formulation of training policies and contribute to their interpretation into the pathways that then constitute the training offer. They also play a key part in promoting in-company, sectoral and territorial training programmes funded by the regions or realised thanks to joint interprofessional funds for continuing training and help to elaborate and organise active policies in the labour market. Beyond their advisory role at national and local levels, social partners play a crucial part in professional apprenticeship regulation.

In Italy there’s a distinction between funds that are committed and dispensed. With respect to the sources of funding, both in terms of committed and dispensed funds regional/provincial sources prevail. In short there are three sources of funding:

  • regional/provincial;
  • ministry of education;
  • ministry of labour.

Funding of Vocational and Training Pathways (IeFP)

Vocational education and training pathways are an alternative channel to school for fulfilling the obligation to participate in education (with the legal requirement for all young people to attend school from age 6 to 16) and the right-duty (which must be guaranteed for at least 12 years or until attainment of an upper-secondary school qualification or a vocational qualification before the age of 18) to it.

Funding of higher technical education and training (IFTS) and higher technical education (ITS) courses

In terms of funding for the higher technical education supply options, the methods used for higher technical education and training and higher technical education courses are the same. Monitoring shows a marked uniformity between the regions that use the European social fund to implement courses. Within this framework, the only exception is Lombardy that, as well as the European social fund, has allocated to the supply chain a share of funding from the labour ministry for the experimentation of the dual system.

Funding of apprenticeships

Training activities for apprenticeship are funded by the labour ministry. For 2017, the labour ministry has earmarked EUR 15 million for this activity (i.e. for funding training courses); the amount due to the regions is calculated on the basis of the number of apprentices with an apprenticeship contract and the number of apprentices on training pathways.

The regions and autonomous provinces co-finance training activities dedicated to apprenticeships through their own resources or the resources of the European social fund.

In VET there are:

  • VET teachers;
  • VET trainers;
  • company tutors.

The professional profile of teachers is much more clearly defined and regulated than trainers as far as training, recruitment, duties and skills are concerned. Additionally, when it comes to the actual teaching part of their activities, teachers are mainly defined as ‘content experts’, whereas trainers are ‘process experts’ who can play a variety of roles depending on the situation (e.g. tutors, trainers, group leaders, coaches, etc.). In fact, trainers are mainly required to support the learning process by guiding and motivating trainees, to strengthen the link between training and work and to update trainees' working skills.

Teachers are regulated on a national level and are employed by the education ministry. They work in State vocational schools and in centres for adult education. Some also work at higher technical institutes. The minimum requirement for accessing the teaching profession is now a five year bachelor degree in specific teaching subjects (maths, chemistry, foreign languages etc.); followed by a one year traineeship (Active Teaching Traineeship (TFA)) courses at schools. Active teaching traineeship courses last 1 500 hours, are equivalent to a European qualifications framework level 7 qualification and the access to them is restricted. The number of students is determined on the basis of the vacancies in each teaching subject and on an admission test. Those who wish to teach disabled people must attend a specific course of study in formal education. After completion of the active teaching traineeship pathway teachers must pass a State exam in order to be admitted to State schools.

Trainers mainly work in vocational training centres that are managed directly by the regional and provincial authorities, as well as in private vocational training centres accredited by the regions. Some trainers also work in companies, consultancy agencies, non-profit organisations and public employment services. There is no nationally recognised register of trainers or formal recruitment procedures, except for public training centres for which a public examination is required. As regards access requirements to the training profession, the national collective work contract only sets

minimum requirements: a degree or an upper secondary school diploma plus professional experience in the relevant sector. Additionally, it establishes that – regardless of the role played in the different training contexts (tutor, counsellor, trainer coordinator, etc.) – trainers should regularly participate in professional refresher programmes, either within or outside the institutions at which they work.

The company tutor is the key figure for the apprentice in workplace training. According to consolidated act on apprenticeships (Legislative Decree 167/211) the company tutor must have ‘suitable training and skills’, according to national legislation or, in the absence of this, a national collective labour contract. The minimum skills that the company tutor must possess are:

  • be familiar with the regulatory contact concerned with alternance systems;
  • understand their own functions within their role and the contractual elements of the sector and/or company in terms of training;
  • manage the reception of the apprenticeships, fostering their placement within the business environment;
  • manage relationships with people outside of the company that are involved in the apprentice's training, in order to foster positive integration between extra-company training and work experiences within the company;
  • plan and support learning pathways and work socialising, fostering the acquisition of the skills required by the job and facilitating the apprentice's learning process throughout the entire training pathway;
  • evaluate learning and acquired skills, as well as the progress and results achieved by the young apprentice during his/her placement and professional development, for the purpose of the relevant certificate being issued by the company.

For what concerns VET teachers’ pre-service training, universities provide teachers’ initial training on behalf of the education ministry in collaboration with the schools. The minimum requirement for accessing the teaching profession is a five-year Bachelor degree in specific teaching subjects (maths, chemistry, foreign languages).

In 2018, a new recruitment system has been developed. The latest key features introduced include the requirement to have not only a degree, but also knowledge of psychological and pedagogical disciplines and didactic methodologies and technologies, confirmed by passing specific university exams.

Another fundamental new feature is the post-degree initial training and internship pathway (FIT). This is a paid, three-year training pathway that aspiring educators must attend before being awarded a teaching post. Post-degree initial training and internship pathways are only accessed after passing a public examination The post-degree initial training and internship pathway envisages gradual integration of aspiring teachers into the classroom environment:

  • the first year provides more theoretical training;
  • the second year more integrated training opportunities, with a work placement in a school and the start of specific training activities (short substitutions covering absences and lasting no more than 15 days);
  • in the third year, aspiring teachers are awarded a vacant teaching position, with all the associated responsibilities.

More generally, pre-service training of VET teachers is aimed at improving their teaching, psychological, pedagogical, organisational and social skills. Special attention is also given to improving their language and digital skills, in compliance with EU recommendations. Educators who wish to teach disabled people must also attend a specific course of study in formal education.

For many years, permanent training for VET teachers was considered an individual right under the national collective labour agreement, but it is now compulsory and regulated by the so-called ‘Good School’ reform (Law 107/2015).

This law ‘establishes that teachers’ in-service training is compulsory and continuing, provides incentives to support continuous teacher training and systematic need analysis mechanisms.

Teachers’ in-service training must be in line with the school plan and with the education ministry’s priorities. Training must also involve all open-ended contract teachers’.

The regions (with employers’ rights organisations and trade unions) define and plan the specific training measures aimed to develop the minimum skills required to carrying out the functions of a tutor.

The training measures for the company tutors, now spread over almost all of Italy, have many distinctive features, both due to methodological requirements and the operational means used. Every regional entity sets different pathways due to methodological requirements, structure, content, duration and tools used, as well as due to language and terminology.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([22]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

For fifteen years, surveys have been carried out in Italy that study the phenomenon of job needs (quantitative) and skill needs (qualitative) from both quantitative (e.g. which and how many professional profiles companies predict they will need to recruit over the next few months) and qualitative (e.g. which skills, know-how and competences should be the focus of future refresher pathways for company employees) perspectives.

These two surveys mentioned above have been carried out by Unioncamere ([23]http://www.unioncamere.gov.it/) (quantitative survey) and the national institute for public policy analysis, former Isfol (qualitative survey) on a national level, as well as occasionally on a regional level.

The results of these surveys can now be interpreted by integrating them with communication protocols ([24]Information and data collected through the surveys is organised on the basis of the 2011 Classification of Occupations and the Classification of Economic Activities (Ateco).) –basically, the Classification of Occupations (CP 2011) and the Classification of Economic Activities (ATECO 2008). In terms of quantity since 1997 the Excelsior survey carried out by Unioncamere has reconstructed an anticipation framework of labour demand and skill needs expressed by companies. For anticipated recruitment, analytical information is collected on the characteristics of the personnel the company intends to hire (i.e. skilled labour, educational qualifications and training levels required, difficulty in finding these profiles, need for further training, previous experience, IT and language skills, etc.).

From a qualitative point of view, in 2006 the Institute for the Development of Vocational Training of Workers (ISFOL – now INAPP (National Institute for Public Policy Analysis)) began to carry out research activities designed to analyse existing professions and trades, with a view to providing a detailed description of changes in job content in the short- (next 12 months) and medium-term (next five years). Investigation methods were used that made it possible to interview entrepreneurs, corporate human resources managers or industry experts who could outline trends in key sectors of the economy.

In these terms the audit survey on professional needs, targeting a sample of about 35 000 companies with employees, aimed to collect qualitative information on the needs of companies in terms of the scarcity/lack of specific skills and know-how relating to the skilled workers they employed. Entrepreneurs could therefore reflect and explain in great detail not the training that had been carried out over recent years, but rather, what had to be done in the near future to satisfy specific needs.

In Italy, 33% of companies with at least one employee, just over half a million businesses, have declared they employ at least one person for whom they have registered a need to be satisfied within the next few months via specific refresher activities. The in-company professions for which the most pressing needs have been registered – with gaps that must be closed within the next few months via specific training activities – are those attributable to the large groups of skilled jobs in commercial and service activities (23.9%), artisans, specialist workers and farmers (22.9%) and technical professions (20%), followed immediately by office-based managerial positions (18.3%). The last audit survey on professional needs (the third of its kind) concluded in December 2017. Data of the third edition confirm, on the whole, the information collected during the previous editions. Skills needs are growing in some sectors of the economy: food and beverage, textiles, chemicals, electronics, commerce and tourism, education and health.

Information from the quantitative and qualitative surveys that explore the professional and training needs of the labour market is a huge asset as it provides useful indications to all stakeholders (including VET providers) of the complex education system that have the task of planning and implementing professional training and upskilling and re-skilling training programmes (refresher pathways) that are as coherent as possible with the needs of the world of production. In this respect, there have been some interesting attempts to bring together the world of labour and training supply; for example, on technical committees periodically tasked with reviewing and updating standards for professional profiles closely linked to the most vocational training supply chains (for example, profiles relating to vocational education and training pathways and higher technical education courses as well as through specific research and analysis activities that are trying to draw up other methodologies, designed to connect (even on a territorial level, the so-called ‘curvature’ process) the professional needs expressed by companies with the training aims and practices designed by those responsible for the various education options.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([25]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([26]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

Following approval of the 8 January 2018 decree, Italy adopted a national qualifications framework, a tool to define and classify the qualifications issued within the national system of certification of competences, which will make it possible to create the national repertory of education and training qualifications and professional qualifications hereinafter the national repertory).

Thanks to the national qualifications framework, the institutional and technical process for cross-referencing qualifications issued within the national system to one of the eight levels of the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is defined. In fact, the scope, descriptors and levels of the national qualifications framework are developed in coherence and continuity with European qualifications framework levels. The national qualifications framework and the atlas for jobs and qualifications (hereinafter the job atlas) ([27]The atlas for jobs and qualifications is a classification and information tool created on the basis of the descriptors of the Classification of economic and professional sectors, also pursuant to Art. 8 of Legislative Decree 13/2013 and Art. 3, para. 5 of the Inter-Ministerial Decree of 30 June 2015 and an integral part of the information systems pursuant to Arts. 13 and 15 of Legislative Decree 150/2015.) are the two components of the technical infrastructure of the national repertory.

The competences that compose the national repertory are defined and updated by the education ministry, the labour ministry, other ministries and regions and autonomous provinces that now have the possibility to use the descriptors of the job atlas (processes, activities and expected outcomes) as guideline criteria. These have been developed on a national level in collaboration with the regional authorities and are periodically updated, pursuant to the decree dated 30 June 2015.

As far as the technical investigation part is concerned, this is done via a process conducted by the National institute for public policy analysis further to a request by and in collaboration with stakeholders who are sector experts and subsequently validated by the national technical group established pursuant to the 30 June 2015 decree.

The technical-institutional decision to create a national benchmark – i.e. of a reference tool, organised along the lines of job descriptors, has made it possible to construct a shared system of technical elements around which to establish the processes for assessing the relevance of the needs of the labour market to the competences already described in the national repertory and development of the same, if necessary. The qualifications in the national repertory correspond to a series of elements that constitute the minimum national standard. They are: reference to the public awarding body; description of competences in terms of skills, know-how, autonomy and responsibility; referencing to the economic activity statistical codes (ATECO) and the nomenclature and classification of occupations (CP-ISTAT), in compliance with national statistical system laws; referencing to the national qualifications framework/European qualifications framework.

These elements are compulsory for all qualifications for the purpose of validation and certification within the national system of certification of competences, as well as for the purposes of portability in a European context. Precisely in relation to this last point, the descriptors of the job atlas are referenced to National qualifications framework levels and are the only benchmarks for the process of comparison between the qualifications issued by the different public awarding bodies.

The national system of certification of competences is designed to be integrated with and complementary to the public lifelong learning offer, in order to favour development of the cultural and professional skills acquired by individuals in formal and non-formal learning contexts and the portability of qualifications in both national and European contexts, even in terms of geographical and professional mobility. The entire technical institutional system that has been developed since 2013 is the single benchmark for organisation of assessment tests, basically designed to ascertain the possession of competences, in line with Article 3, para. 1 of Legislative Decree 13 dated 16 January 2013.

Both components of the national repertory (namely the national qualifications framework and the job atlas) are anchored to the definition of competence intended as the proven ability to use – in a work, study or professional and personal development situations – a complex set of skills and know-how acquired in formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts.

The job atlas contains descriptions of one or more expected outcomes for each of the 840 areas of activity which make up the classification of economic and professional sectors. These express the outcome of an activity or a set of activities of a specific area of activity and include indications on the expected product/service, on the service to be provided, on any input elements and on the context and complexities expressed in terms of autonomy and responsibility.

In the same way, the national qualifications framework provides the reference parameter to define and/or evaluate the elements useful for expressing the minimum expected outcomes, in relation to a specific qualification, in terms of what individuals should know and be capable of doing in relation to each of the eight levels that characterise the increasing complexity of learning for each of the descriptors of the competence (know-how, skills, autonomy and responsibility).

As explained above the Italian context is characterised by the presence of multiple institutional players at national and regional levels.

National vocational school programmes that combine general education and VET ([28]Istituti professionali.) fall under the competence of education ministry that lays down general rules and common principle. In the context of school autonomy, schools have the possibility to include specific subjects.

Education and vocational training qualifications, which fall within the competence of the regions, are included in the national register of qualifications. These qualifications are the outcome of a technical and institutional process, which took place at the permanent conference for relations between the State, the regions and the autonomous provinces (a privileged forum for political negotiations between the central government and the regions), with the signing of a State-regions agreement. Any modification to the register requires a debate in the above-mentioned forum.

Below specific information for VET programmes is presented:

Initial VET programmes (IeFP).

The Title V of the current Constitution provides that vocational and training pathways (IeFP) fall under the exclusive competence of the Regions. This means that the State sets ‘common standards’ (Essential levels of performance, LEP, defined by Legislative Decree 226/05) and regions define, by their own legislation, the system of vocational and training pathways taking into account the characteristics and needs of the territory. Regions design the training provision. In 2011 regulations issued by the State-regions conference have introduced several important systemic elements: a set of training standards for basic skills to be developed in the three - and four-year programmes; a set of minimum standards (valid at national level) for technical and vocational skills in relation to the occupational profiles included in the National qualifications register ([29]Repertorio nazionale delle qualifiche.) intermediate and final certifications that are valid at national level.

The national qualifications register created in 2011 contains the national occupational profiles and the corresponding qualifications and programmes or learning pathways, as well as minimum education and training standards (valid at national level). Qualifications leading to a certain national occupational profile need to be described in terms of learning outcomes and to be allocated the corresponding EQF level.

The update of the occupational profiles is made through an institutional process involving also social parties and approved in State-regions conference.

The above-mentioned Legislative Decree 226/05 defines also the essential levels of competence assessment and certification. Regions ensure the fulfilment of essential levels related to the assessment and certification of competencies: every year an examination commission made up of teachers and experts (as established in Article 19 of the decree) evaluate the level of achievement of learning outcomes; at the end of the pathways, students must pass an exam.

Technical and vocational school programmes ([30]Istituti tecnici e istituti professionali.)

The education ministry defines by legislative decree, for each kind of pathway, the areas of the curriculum (i.e. Agricultural, Industry, etc.), the timetable of subjects and the educational cultural and professional profile ([31]Profilo Educativo culturale e professionale P.E.Cu.P.)) of pupils. The educational cultural and professional profile is a document describing the skills, abilities and knowledge that the student must possess at the end of pathways. The purpose is gives references and guideline useful for the defining the curriculum of the pathways.

Technical schools offer pathways in 11 areas allocated in two sectors: economic sector and technological sector ([32]Decreto del Presidente della Repubblica, 15 marzo 2010, n. 88 and Decreto del Presidente della Repubblica 31 luglio 2017, n. 134.).

Vocational schools offer pathways in six areas allocated in two sectors: service sector and industry and craft sector. Each school can decline these courses according to the local context consistent with the priorities indicated by the regions ([33]Decreto Legislativo, 13 aprile 2017, n. 61:
https://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/eli/id/2017/05/16/17G00069/sg
).

At the end of both pathways, pupils must pass the State exam that consists of two written test and an oral test. The first written test is common to all pathways of the upper secondary education, while the second is specific for each pathway. The education ministry defines by decree the evaluation grids for the assignment of the exam marks.

Higher technical education and training programmes (IFTS) ([34]Istruzione e formazione tecnica superiore.)

The institution of the higher technical education and training pathways is planned by the regions, within their exclusive competences in the planning of the training offer. At national level a joint Decree (2013) adopted by the education minister and the labour minister (in accordance with the State-regions conference) defines the 20 specialisation areas for the training offer and the minimum standard of skills. Additional skills may be further defined at regional level, based on the analysis of local professional needs and through consultation with institutions and social partners. At the end of pathways, pupils must pass an exam for the assessment of competence acquired. The examination commission is composed taking into account the indications of the region and made up by representatives of the school, university, vocational training and the world of work.

Higher Technical Institutes (ITS) ([35]Istituti di Istruzione Tecnica superiore. More information available at:
http://www.sistemaits.it/istituti-tecnici-superiori-its.php
)

Qualifications on offer by higher technical institutes are the result of a strong synergy between different actors: enterprises, universities/centres of scientific and technological research, schools, and local authorities. The qualifications are designed in six technological areas envisaged by Article 7 of the Prime Minister’s Decree of 25 January 2008 (sustainable mobility, new technologies for life, new technologies for ‘Made in Italy’ products, innovative technologies for cultural heritage and tourism, information and communication technologies, energy efficiency) that are considered priorities for the support of the economic development and competitiveness of the Italian production system. For each area, national reference figures are identified to diversify the training offer so that it is consistent with the needs of the territory in which the higher technical institute operates: to date, there are 29 national reference figures. Each higher technical institute. also defines, for each national reference figure, a specific technical professional profile based on the needs of the territory in which it operates. The 29 figures are characterised by a common cultural and professional profile and technical-professional skills. In particular, the course provides the following competences: basic (language, communication and social, scientific and technological, legal and economic, organisational and managerial) and technical-professional competences.

At the end of the courses, learners must pass a final exam for the assessment of the competences acquired through the learning process. The examination board is made up of representatives of the training provider (e.g. school, university, vocational training) and experts coming from the labour market.

Within the education and training system, the various segments and pathways are accountable to different competent bodies on matters relating to quality assurance.

In terms of issuing general laws on education and defining essential levels of provision on educational matters, upper secondary education and higher technical education are regulated on a national level by the education ministry.

Within the national education and training system a national evaluation system was established by Presidential Decree 80/2013 with the aim of evaluating its efficiency and efficacy, contextualising evaluation on an international level.

At least every three years, the education ministry issues strategic priorities on the evaluation of the education system that, with reference to the vocational education and training system, are defined by guidelines adopted in agreement with the State-regions conference and the labour ministry.

The national institute for the evaluation of the education and training system (INVALSI) ([36]National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training System / Istituto nazionale per la valutazione del sistema di istruzione e formazione (INVALSI):
http://www.invalsi.it/invalsi/index.php
) operates within the national evaluation system.

Its primary tasks are:

  • to guarantee the functional coordination of the national evaluation system;
  • to propose evaluation protocols and plan visits to schools by external evaluation units;
  • to define efficiency and efficacy indicators to identify the school and training institutes that require support and need to be externally evaluated as a priority;
  • to make tools for realising actions linked to evaluation available to individual schools and training facilities;
  • to define indicators for the evaluation of school directors;
  • to handle the selection, training and inclusion on special lists of external evaluation unit experts;
  • to draft a periodical report on the education and training system;
  • to take part in international surveys and other initiatives relating to evaluation.

A key role for improving the quality of the system is played by the national institute for documentation, innovation and educational research ([37]National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research / Istituto nazionale di documentazione, innovazione e ricerca educativa (INDIRE):
http://www.indire.it/
), which provides support to school institutes in defining and implementing plans to improve the quality of the training offer and the learning outcomes of students, which schools and training institutes independently adopt.

To this end, it deals with supporting innovation processes centred on the use and diffusion of new technologies, activating research projects designed to improve didactics, as well as interventions linked to consultancy and the training of teaching, administrative and managerial personnel.

Article 6 of Presidential Decree 80/2016 provides for the school and training institute evaluation procedure to be organised in four phases:

  • self-evaluation: self-analysis and verification of the service provided based on the data made available by the education ministry’s own information system, surveys on learning and data on added value provided by national institute for the evaluation of the education and training system, as well as other significant elements integrated by the school itself is the first step of self -evaluation. The second step is the preparation of a self-evaluation report in electronic format, based on a reference framework provided by the national institute for the evaluation of the education and training system, and the formulation of an improvement plan;
  • external evaluation: the first step is the identification of the situations to be evaluated, based on the efficiency and efficacy indicators defined by national institute for the evaluation of education and training system. The second step consists of unit visits. The third step is the redefinition of improvement plans based on the outcomes of the analysis carried out by the units;
  • improvement actions: this phase consists of the definition and implementation of improvement interventions, including those with the support of the national institute for documentation, innovation and educational research or through collaboration with universities, research bodies, professional and cultural associations;
  • social reporting: publication and dissemination of the results achieved, through indicators and comparable data, both in terms of transparency and in terms of sharing and promoting improvement of the service with the community.

The national evaluation system comprises the evaluation of school directors and the evaluation of learning, carried out by the national institute for the evaluation of education and training system through periodical and systematic checks on the skills and know-how of students and the overall quality of the training offer at education and vocational education and training institutes, even in the context of lifelong learning.

Italy’s legislative framework for the recognition of prior learning was put into place with the Legislative Decree 13/2013 which established the national system of certification of competences and the inter-ministerial decree of June 2015 which defined the operational framework for the recognition of regional qualification at the national level.

The Italian regions are the main hub for services for labour and vocational training on the territory and therefore, within the system supporting active labour or vocational training policies, are tackling the issue of the certification and validation of competences, contextualising and differentiating tools and approaches.

However, different phases of advancement of regional policies and practices on this theme can still be seen, highlighting that now more than ever it is necessary to maintain national legislation and a framework of rules to protect the reliability of procedures and therefore equal opportunities for final beneficiaries. More specifically, the legislative framework, fully outlined in 2015, is a step on a path towards the coordination of regional rules and services for validating and certifying competences.

In some cases, these have already been implemented and have been accessible for years to more or less broad categories of beneficiaries: in this regard, we should mention the systems already activated in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Umbria, Aosta Valley and Veneto. Meanwhile, some regions have implemented the indications of the 2015 decree and in 2016 adopted provisions to regulate validation and certification services. These include Abruzzo Basilicata, the autonomous Province of Bolzano, Campania, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Apulia, Sardinia and the autonomous province of Trento. The remaining regions – Abruzzo, Calabria, Marche, Molise and Sicily – are still in the standardisation phase.

The 30 June 2015 decree also included measures relating to the functions required for providing validation and certification services.

More precisely:

  • accompanying and supporting identification of the competences and making them transparent;
  • planning and implementation of assessment activities;
  • implementation of assessment activities on aspects relating to curricula and professional contents.

The decree describes the tasks and activities that personnel responsible for providing services for the identification, validation and certification of competences should exercise in the various phases of the process, in other words, access to the service/welcoming, recognition/identification, assessment and certification; the European qualifications framework level for each function is also indicated.

We should point out that, in their position as awarding bodies, the regions offer a direct guarantee on the criteria and methods adopted for recruitment of personnel entrusted with providing such functions and verification of their professional requisites, in compliance with the principles of collegiality, neutrality, impartiality and independence. In those regions where the regional rules and services system is already accessible, provider competence training has already been planned and implemented, whereas where work is still ongoing to make services operational, the debate on professional resources is part of a more general framework regarding system standards.

To help develop and raise awareness of the theme, the national institute for public policy analysis has prepared a multimedia training package, which has been designed in an open-source environment (Moodle) and provided on a MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) platform, to transfer all the information, know-how, methodologies and tools useful for managing the various phases of the process to service providers.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([38]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Individual vouchers and other subsidies

Through the funding provided for by Law 236/1993 and regional operational programmes promoted by the European social fund, the regions and autonomous provinces fund personalised continuing VET training programmes, vouchers for tailored training interventions and other tools, such as ’endowment’ ([39]Endowment consists in a nominal monetary amount that the beneficiary can use on the services included in a tailored intervention programme drawn up in agreement with public or private operators (training providers) accredited with providing such services. The amount of the endowment varies in proportion to the level of employability of the subject and the services included in the individual programme. The beneficiary is never given the sum allocated directly: the financial relationship is only established between the providing public body and the accredited public or private operator that provides the service. For some services, the operator receives the relevant public refund based on the outcome of the specific activity and not on its simple provision.
), mainly targeted to employed.

Incentives for the unemployed

Tuscany has experimented with re-employment allowances ([40]https://www.anpal.gov.it/documents/20126/42272/Allegato-delibera9.pdf/e2d65d5e-431e-48f7-8948-59eb9d16e777) integrating them with training vouchers and recruitment incentives. The initiative targets the unemployed, whether or not in receipt of social security benefits, and the economically inactive people. The training activities that can be funded using the voucher system envisage both pathways for qualifying and certifying skills relating to one or more segments of a certain profile and regulated training (qualifications, certificates, etc.). After training it will be possible to spend re-employment cheques to purchase services for assistance with reintegration. The scheme envisages a service pact after the voucher has been granted.

In the south of Italy, in 2017 the region of Apulia funded individual vouchers for the unemployed and those in a state of non-employment (i.e., earners of incomes below the taxable threshold), to be spent on standard regional training offers ([41]This is a specific initiative by Tuscany Region. Maximum amount: EUR 2 500.
http://www.regione.toscana.it/imprese/formazione-professionale/voucher-formativi/-/asset_publisher/eonjZadAbVH6/content/industria-4-0-voucher-formativi-per-manager-di-azienda;jsessionid=018A35EF583B429D09B1A029BBB4434B.web-rt-as01-p2
). The pathways funded with vouchers (with a maximum duration of 400 hours) focus on basic or transversal skills (English, basic IT skills, communication skills) or regulated training (authorisations, certificates, qualifications) or on technical-professional skills, with reference to the professional skills present in the regional repertory.

Incentives for employees

The region of Tuscany funded in 2017 individual training vouchers targeting managers, directors and young professionals. The use of this tool is ideal for those who can autonomously choose and orient their vocational pathways in virtue of the professional experiences already undertaken or by means of consolidated basic technical training.

Vouchers for managers aim to favour training for skills and know-how useful to the enterprise when making choices linked to technological, organisational and managerial innovation and business models in order to develop the Industry 4.0 paradigm.

Vouchers for young professionals ([42]Amount given varies and depends on different factors (e.g. economic sector).
http://www301.regione.toscana.it/bancadati/atti/Contenuto.xml?id=5123588&nomeFile=Decreto_n.7981_del_29-07-2016-Allegato-A
) (self-employed under 40 years of age) aim to support the training of professionals starting their career and facing economic difficulty in paying for their training or even accessing a training programme in the first place. Access to training programmes stems from obligations imposed by compulsory training, i.e., by training which comprises obligatory courses related to specific work requirements.

The regions of Piedmont and Liguria have funded individual learning activities using standard individual training vouchers for employed workers (with a maximum of EUR 3 000 per capita) ([43]The voucher can cover between 50 and 70% of total training cost. It can vary in relation to the class size of the company. The beneficiary must be at least 18 years old.).

Study leave

Under provisions of Law 53/2000 ([44]Legge 8 marzo 2000, n. 53, art. 5
http://www.parlamento.it/parlam/leggi/00053l.htm and : XV Rapporto sulla Formazione Continua in Italia:
https://www.isfol.it/primo-piano/pubblicato-il-xv-rapporto-sulla-formazione-continua
), the regions and autonomous provinces grant leave for training for workers, acknowledging their right to lifelong training.

Tax credits, exemptions and reductions in social security contributions

The 2018 Budget Law established that tax credit for 4.0 training is granted to enterprises for 40% of the expenses relating to the corporate cost of salaried personnel for the time they are occupied in training activities. The sum can amount to a maximum of EUR 300 000 per year for each enterprise and is granted for training activities stipulated thanks to corporate or territorial collective contracts ([45]See: https://www.mise.gov.it/index.php/it/incentivi/impresa/credito-d-imposta-formazione). The training activities that can be admitted for requesting tax credits must involve issues connected to the introduction of digital technology innovations: big data and data analysis, cloud and fog computing, cyber security, cyber-physical systems, rapid prototyping, visualisation and augmented reality systems, advanced and collaborative robotics, man-machinery interface, additive manufacturing, the internet of things and machines and the digital integration of corporate processes.

Enterprises that recruit young people on a level 1 apprenticeship contract (i.e. at upper secondary level) are totally exempt from social security payments for the hours the apprentice spends on external training, whilst for the duration of on-the-job training they are granted a substantial reduction in the social security payments owed.

Law 232/2016 introduced financial incentives for companies involved in dual learning. To facilitate the recruitment of young people on a permanent contract in the same company where they were on alternance contracts or types 1 or 3 apprenticeship, certain types of enterprises (with fewer than 10 employees, etc.) are entitled to total social security exemption for the first three years. In the fourth year they will pay 10% of taxable social security contributions.

Companies with more than nine employees pay a contribution, for the entire duration of the apprenticeship, equal to 11.61% of the taxable social security contribution.

Wage subsidy and training remunerations

Employers willing to offer apprenticeships can hire an apprentice at an entry grade level up to two levels lower than the final qualification to be obtained and/or pay a salary equal to a percentage of the salary of a qualified worker, according to the provisions of the collective agreement applied.

Other incentives

Several Italian regions (for example, Piedmont and Liguria) also fund standard enterprise training vouchers (for varying amounts, depending on the size of the enterprise). Enterprise vouchers are a simplified management method designed for small enterprises that, in general, find it difficult to organise structured training courses.

In the context of Law 150/2015, which concerns reorganisation of the system of employment services and active labour policies, it has been established that Italian employment agencies) should offer the following specific activities relating to guidance and counselling services:

  • basic guidance, analysis of competences in relation to the local labour market and profiling;
  • help for job-seeking, including through group sessions, within three months of registration;
  • specialist and tailored guidance using competence assessment and needs analysis in terms of training, work experience or other active employment policy measures, with reference to adaptation of the profile to the demand for labour expressed on a territorial, national and European level;
  • tailored guidance to self-employment and mentoring through the subsequent start-up phases;
  • job placement, even through the use of the tailored outplacement indemnity.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

IFTS programmes,

1 year,

WBL: 30%

ISCED 453

Post-Secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 453 (Istruzione e Formazione Tecnico Superiore)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
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?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • work practice
  • self-learning
  • apprenticeship
Main providers
  • Schools – these pathways are designed and managed by at least four training partners (a school, a vocational training centre, a university, an enterprise or another public or private centre) which formally cooperate
  • Enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

Programmes are available for young employed and unemployed people and adults with an upper secondary education diploma.

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

Learners must hold an upper secondary education diploma. Higher technical education and training courses are open also to: holders of a professional technician certificate; young people admitted to the 5th year of general upper secondary education (Liceo); people who do not have an upper secondary education qualification, but had their educational, training and vocational experiences validated.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme learners need to pass a leaving examination, on the basis of the features characterising regional job markets and referring to nationally defined and established in State-regions agreements occupational profiles.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher technical specialisation certificate (Certificato di specializzazione tecnica superiore)

Examples of qualifications

Higher technical specialisation certificate in Assistant Manager for Travel Agency and Tour Operator ([52]As described in national context and specified explicitly in the ‘Referencing the Italian Qualifications Framework to the European Qualifications Framework” report (adopted in 2012).
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/en/referencing-reports-and-contacts
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Higher technical specialisation qualifications are based on a system of minimum levels of general (basic and transversal standards) and technical-professional competencies ([53]Annex A – Unified Conference Agreement dated 29 April 2004; Unified Conference Agreement dated 16 March 2006; Inter-Ministerial Decree dated 7 July 2011.), nationally recognised and structured into course credits (Unità Capitalizzabili - UC).

There’s no possibility to acquire partial qualifications.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Level description includes learning outcomes descriptors in terms of competence and knowledge; moreover, they are also provided with assessment criteria.

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

<1% ([54]2016)

EQF 5

Higher

Technical programmes (ITS),

WBL: 30%,

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Post-Secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (Istruzione Tecnica Superiore).
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Anyone holding an upper secondary education diploma can access higher technical education courses.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • work practice
  • self-learning
  • apprenticeships
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises

Higher technical institutes are established on the basis of regional territorial plans, and should be considered as specific types of participative foundations. The organisational standard states that founders of these institutes are: an upper secondary school, both technical or vocational, State or fully recognised; a training centre accredited by the region for the purpose of higher training; an enterprise operating in the same production area as the higher technical school; a university department or another organisation operating in the field of scientific and technological research; a local institution (municipality, province, mountain community, etc.).

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 employed or unemployed and for adults (both need to hold an upper secondary education diploma).

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

Learners must hold an upper secondary education diploma (either general or vocational).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners must pass a final examination, conducted by examination committees consisting of representatives of the school, university, vocational training and experts from the world of work.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a higher technical diploma upon successful completion.

Examples of qualifications

Higher technician for the mobility of people and goods ([55]As described in national context and specified explicitly in the Referencing the Italian qualifications framework to the European qualifications framework report (adopted in 2012).
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/en/referencing-reports-and-contacts
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([56]2016)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3-4

Regional VET (leFP),

WBL: 30%,

3-4 years

ISCED 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 and EQF 4 (Vocational Education and Training pathways-(Istruzione e Formazione Professionale IeFP)
EQF level
3-4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11-12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

17-18

Length of a programme (years)

4 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Full time education is compulsory until the age of 16, but young people must stay in education or training until age 18 to accomplish 12 years of education and/or vocational training (right/duty).

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

For State owned schools and regional VET programmes

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Information not available

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.

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

Learners must hold a lower secondary school leaving diploma and to have passed the relevant State examination (final State examination of the first cycle of education).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final examination. The objective of the exam is the assessment of transversal competencies (communications, languages, maths and technical and professional competences. For these the pupils must take a practical test and draw up a technical sheet. Moreover the learners must take an oral test. The participation of two sector (labour market) experts, as members of the examination committee is a prerequisite.


Diplomas/certificates provided

Upon completion of a three-year programme learners obtain a professional operator certificate (EQF level 3), while upon completion of a four-years programme learners obtain a professional technician diploma (EQF level 4).

Examples of qualifications

Clothing operator, footwear operator, building specialist, graphic specialist, construction operator, construction technician ([48]As described in national context.), etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who obtain a professional operator certificate can attend one additional year leading to a professional technician diploma. Those who obtain the professional technician diploma (i.e. complete the four-year programme) may enrol onto the fifth year of the technical or vocational schools programmes (EQF 4-ISCED 354) and obtain a general, technical or professional education diploma or enrol in a higher technical education and training programme and obtain the higher technical specialisation certificate.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

They refer to minimum level of basic competencies as well as to general and specific technical - professional competences in terms of learning outcomes.

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

>1% ([49]2016)

EQF 4

Technical and

vocational school

programmes

5 years

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading Technical and Vocational school programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (programmi quinquennali negli istituti tecnici o professionali)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Full time education is compulsory until the age of 16, but young people must stay in education or training until age 18 to accomplish 12 years of education and/or vocational training (right/duty).

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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;
  • apprenticeship.
Main providers

Schools

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 with lower secondary qualifications.

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

Learners must hold a lower secondary education certificate (school leaving diploma) and have passed the relevant State examination (final State examination) of the first cycle of education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the upper secondary school education, learners who successfully pass the final State examination of the second cycle of education receive a certificate diploma that gives them access to higher education or higher technical education and training programmes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners who successfully pass the final State examination of the second cycle (upper secondary VET) of education receive, depending on the kind of secondary school (technical or vocational ):

the upper secondary education diploma – technical schools – or the upper secondary education diploma – vocational schools.

Examples of qualifications

Catering operator, wellness operator, etc. ([50]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies in tertiary education (EQF level 6) or higher technical education and training pathways (ITS (EQF level 5 or IFTS-EQF level 4).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The specific regulations for each training provision include learning outcomes expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and competencies. As a matter of fact, the student’s educational, cultural and professional profile, indicates:

(a) the general learning outcomes which shall be shared by all pathways;

(b) the learning outcomes which shall be peculiar to the specific pathways of technical and vocational schools, while pointing out that, in compliance with the EQF provisions, learning outcomes shall be described in terms of competencies, skills and knowledge in this case as well.

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

>1% ([51]2016)

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