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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 Malta comprises the following main features:

  • the overall responsibility for VET lies within the Ministry for Education and Employment. The Ministry for Tourism is in charge of VET for the tourism sector. There are two main State providers of further and higher education ([1]There are two main State providers: (a) the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and Arts (MCAST) and (b) the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS). They are self-accrediting institutions offering VET free of charge.);
  • the number of private VET providers has been increasing;
  • a reform of the legal framework for education is underway;
  • VET is available from lower secondary education onwards.

Distinctive features ([2]Adapted from Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Malta. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8106_en.pdf)

Stakeholders strongly support VET. The chamber for commerce, enterprise and industry, the Malta employers’ association and the unions are involved and sit on the boards of state VET providers. Many employers promote apprenticeships, with dialogue between VET providers and industry as a key feature in qualification design.

Developing excellence in VET and higher education through research, effective licensing, programme accreditation, quality assurance and recognition of qualifications has been entrusted to a single institution established in 2013: the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) ([3]The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) was officially launched on 14 September 2012 and is legislated by the revised Education Act which came into force on 1 August 2012.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/aboutus/Pages/default.aspx
).

The commission acts as a broker between the government and VET and higher education institutions, encourages stakeholder dialogue, and oversees the implementation of the Malta qualifications framework (MQF).

Malta was the first EU country to reference its qualifications framework to the European qualifications framework (EQF ([4]European qualifications framework of lifelong learning (EQF).) and the qualifications frameworks in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA) ([5]Qualifications frameworks in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA).) in 2009. The Malta qualifications framework has been a catalyst for moving from previously used British qualifications to national qualifications and has become widely used in education and training and the labour market. Its development has gone hand-in-hand with strengthening the quality culture in VET, evidencing its value as a systemic tool and a sound basis for skill validation.

The recent establishment of several sector skills units is another step towards fostering quality, enabling designing occupational standards, acknowledging non-formal and informal learning in more sectors, and setting standards for VET providers.

Forecasting skill needs is essential for evidence-based policy but also challenging, as one sectoral investment may cause substantial economic shifts. Skills intelligence is gradually developing, with recent initiatives expanding the evidence base and helping VET providers better meet labour market needs. The 2015 employability index and graduate tracer study led to more insights on the transition of VET learners to the labour market and informs education and career choices.

In 2016, Jobsplus ([6]Jobsplus is the National Employment Authority of Malta. Jobsplus is the new name, since June 2016 of the Employment and Training Corporation member of the network of European Public Employment Services.), the national commission for further and higher education and Malta Enterprise (ME) launched a skills survey among employers to map their current and future skill needs([7]The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), Jobsplus and Malta Enterprise (ME) embarked on an Employee Skills Gap Survey. The objective was to gauge the extent of the existing skills gap, to contribute effectively to improvements in the educational system in Malta to make it more responsive to the needs of the labour market and to provide policy makers with the information necessary to identify the potential shortcomings of the Maltese labour market that could be hindering companies from finding employees with adequate skills. This exercise is deemed particularly important in light of the relatively strong and sustained growth recorded by the Maltese economy over recent years which requires an increasingly diversified set of skills to enable companies to meet market demand. The National Employee Skills Survey full report, published in 2017 is available at: https://secure.etc.gov.mt/JobsplusFlipbook/#p=2).

Skills shortages are experienced because of population ageing, low unemployment and strong economic growth driven by tourism and trade and emerging sectors such as i-gaming, financial services, legal and accounting services and aircraft maintenance. Employers already face difficulties recruiting skilled workers in the healthcare, financial and ICT sectors and frequently rely on foreign workers to meet their needs.

The focus of VET and employment policies is to increase skilled workforce supply by helping more young people complete education or training – and make a successful transition to a job – and to increase employment among inactive ageing people.

New legislation strengthening the regulation of apprenticeship and work-based learning – spearheaded by Cedefop’s apprenticeship review – is part of the measures.

Early school leaving from education and training has decreased faster than in many other countries, but at 17.5% in 2018 ([8]Early leavers from education and training, Eurostat t2020_40 [extracted 16.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=t2020_40&plugin=1
) it is still the second highest in the EU.

Measures to reduce it include a national 10% early school leaving target, to be achieved by 2020, a strategic prevention plan, launched in 2014, and strengthened coordination and progress monitoring in the education and employment ministry. New second chance options, including work-based learning, have been established and support for teachers has increased.

Introducing vocational subjects in lower secondary education has also been an important step in preventing early school leaving by providing alternative learning pathways.

Following the inclusion of VET subjects within the framework of the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) in 2015, VET and general/academic education qualifications started enjoying parity of esteem.

The reform planned for 2019/20 intends to make learning more inclusive, flexible and without dead-ends, to give more young people opportunities to develop employability and skills for personal and social development.

The implementation of the reform is being preceded by the following preparations:

  • the development of VET and applied learning programmes based on the Learning Outcomes Framework (LOF);
  • professional development sessions for VET teachers;
  • investment of EUR 10 million in the building and equipping VET labs in all secondary state schools. Offering the latest technologies and facilities for the teaching of vocational and applied subjects;
  • agreements between the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and various economic operators to provide workplace experience for VET students to ensure deep learning.

Stepping up participation in lifelong learning is a government priority. The national lifelong learning strategy 2020, adopted in 2014, paves the way for empowering people through more personalised and innovative learning approaches. Recently introduced, free of charge online modules at Malta, College of Arts Science and Technology expand the learning offer.

A National Skills Council (NSC) ([9]The National Skills Council (NSC) was setup by means of Subsidiary Legislation 327.547 of the Laws of Malta with the aim to first review the past and present available skills within the Maltese labour work force and evaluate the changes required to meet current and future needs. The main aim being that to minimise the skill gaps that exist in some of the demanding and rewarding sectors such as the digital, technical and financial sectors. It is the council’s task to recommend policy changes to the government that would reduce these gaps and prepare the labour force with the right skills, to meet the future challenges.
https://education.gov.mt/en/Pages/National-Skills-Council.aspx
) has been set up in 2016 to improve governance of skills anticipation and coordinate work that, until now, has been fragmented across several organisations without a clearly defined and dedicated budget to develop and coordinate new initiatives aimed at creating better conditions and incentives for lifelong learning.

Data from VET in Malta Spotlight 2017 ([10]ReferNet Malta contribution and adaptation from Cedefop (2017) Spotlight on vocational education and training in Malta. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8106
)

Population in 2018: 475 701 ([11]NB: Data for population as of 1 January, Eurostat tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 12.6% mostly due to immigration (increased birth rate contributed to a lesser extent) ([12]NB: Data for population as of 1 January, Eurostat tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase in school enrolment due to the increase in migration flows will have an impact on VET as more students take the VET option. This would require more educators and learning facilities.

Not applicable

In 2017, there were only 113 firms in Malta that employed more than 250 persons. Small and medium enterprises constituted 99.9% of all firms, with the vast majority, 97.3%, being micro firms employing less than 10 persons. Small firms, employing between 10 and 49 workers, accounted for 2.2% of all enterprises, while 0.5% of all firms were medium-sized.

Maltese small and medium enterprises in the business economy sector generated nearly two thirds of all growth in value added and half of the rise in employment. This is a healthy development as growing dependence on many small and medium enterprises is making the Maltese economy less susceptible to idiosyncratic shocks ([13]Grech, A.G. (2018). SMEs’ contribution to the Maltese economy and future prospects. Central Bank of Malta policy note, October 2018.
https://www.centralbankmalta.org/file.aspx?f=72222
).

Main economic sectors ([14]Recent GDP growth is mostly driven by services. Between 2015 and 2016 professional, scientific and technical activities together with administrative and support service activities increased by 12.1 per cent. For arts, entertainment and recreation, repair of household goods and other services the increase was 10.2%. The value of non-marketed services (public administration and defence, education, human health and social work activities) increased by 6.2%. Source: MFIN, 2018. Contrary to the trend observed in the services sector, a steady decline in the share of manufacturing in terms of gross value added was noted, with the ratio shrinking by around half since Malta joined the EU in 2004. The relative contribution of construction to the economy has also declined considerably. The already marginal share of value added by agriculture has decreased further, keeping the country heavily dependent on imported food supplies. On the other hand, the shares of sectors such as i-gaming, financial services and IT services, legal and accounting services, and aircraft maintenance have increased significantly. Supported by the traditionally strong tourism sector, retail and wholesale trade, and public services, these expanding activities are becoming the new growth drivers in the economy.):

  • financial, insurance and real estate;
  • professional, scientific and technical;
  • arts, entertainment and recreation;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • construction;
  • manufacturing and utilities.

Economic actors play an active role in linking VET to the needs of the economy. They are represented on the board of directors of the Institute of Tourism Studies and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology contributing to the development of VET courses at all levels. Both Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and Institute of Tourism Studies have developed bespoke courses for certain industries requiring specific skills e.g. avionics, block chain and distributed ledger technologies.

Besides, an increasing number of enterprises offer apprenticeships, internships and work-based learning to VET students in both institutions.

Depending on the job, employers usually ask for qualifications, competencies and skills.

The labour market is considered flexible. However, a number of occupations/professions is regulated (e.g. engineers and accountants require a professional warrant).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 1.8 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The impact of education on unemployment is significant. The unemployment rate for the low-skilled (20 to 64) has been decreasing and is now almost three times higher than the corresponding rate of people with tertiary education. The unemployment rate for those with a medium level qualification, has, in most years, been less than half of the unemployment rate of the low-skilled. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of persons aged 15 years and over having a low level of education dropped by 9.1 percentage points, Over the same period, there was an increase of 4.7 percentage points and 4.4 percentage points in the number of persons attaining a medium or a high level of education respectively ([17]National Statistics Office (2018). Labour force survey revisions: 2012-17. NSO news release 153/2018, 2.10.2018.https://nso.gov.mt/en/News_Releases/View_by_Unit/Unit_C2/Labour_Market_Statistics/Documents/2018/News2018_153.pdf).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates decreased from 92.4% in 2014 to 92.3% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

The decrease (-0.1 pp) 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 (+4.1 pp) in the same period in Malta ([18]NB: Breaks in time series, Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018, 46.7% of the 15+ population has an ISCED 0-2 level of education, 27% ISCED 3-4 and 26.3% a tertiary qualification ISCED 5-8. Developments in the last 15 years reflect extensive investment in education and training. The inflow of foreigners also contributed to rising attainment levels; they often have a tertiary qualification and relatively few are low-skilled ([19]European Commission (2016). Country report Malta 2016. Brussels, 26.2.2016. SWD(2016) 86 final.
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/cr_malta_2016_en.pdf
) ([20]Eurostat table t2020_41 [extracted 22.10.2018].) ([21]National Statistics Office (NSO) (2018). Labour force survey revisions: 2012-17. NSO News release 153/2018.
https://nso.gov.mt/en/News_Releases/View_by_Unit/Unit_C2/Labour_Market_Statistics/Documents/2018/News2018_153.pdf
).

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

0.5%

27.1%

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].

 

Up to 2014, there were more males in further vocational education (53%). In 2015, female participation in further VET, surpassed male participation with females accounting for 53%. In 2016, the participation rate in further VET by sex was 50% for males and females. Females dominate in programmes in the arts and humanities (27.7%) and health and welfare (13.6%), while males are overrepresented in programmes in engineering, manufacturing, construction (13.5%), information, and communication technologies (10.7%). Like in further education, gender differences are also evident in subject area choices at higher education level.

Females dominate in programmes in health and welfare (22.6%) and education (15.7%), while males are over represented in programmes in engineering, manufacturing and construction (13.9%) and information and communication technologies (12.0%) ([22]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2018). Further and higher education statistics 2015-16.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 27.2% in 2008 to 17.7% in 2018. It is above the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Drop-out rate in VET

Information not available

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early school leavers from education. The older unemployed groups are also covered.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Malta has been increasing. From 7.7% in 2014, it reached 10.8% in 2018 just 0.3 percentage points below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED 0);
  • primary education (ISCED Level 1);
  • secondary education (ISCED Levels 2 and 3);
  • post-secondary general education (ISCED Level 3);
  • post-secondary vocational education and training (ISCED Levels 3 and 5);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 6,7 and 8).

Early childhood education and care, available for children from the age of 3 months up to 2 years and 9 months, is provided at centres run by both the state State and private entities. As from April 2014, families with both parents in full-time or part-time employment or in education are entitled to free childcare. Children between the ages of 2 years and 9 months and 5 years attend kindergarten classes that are operated by State, church and independent schools.

Compulsory education is distributed over 11 years and covers the ages from 5 to 16 years. It consists of two cycles: the primary cycle (from age 5 to 11) and the secondary cycle (from age 11 to 16) which consists of middle Schools (from age 11 to 13) and secondary schools (from age 13 to 16). Around 50% of students in compulsory education attend state schools, another 36% go to church schools and around 14% are in independent schools.

Primary education consists of a six-year programme that addresses general and vocational themes. Learners are streamed in the last two years and sit for the national end of primary benchmark assessment in year 6 to determine their level of education.

As from 2014, co-education has been introduced in the secondary cycle. The phasing in of middle schools (from age 11 to 13) ensures that smaller sized school communities result in more individual attention and a more caring environment that promotes better student-teacher relationships. Parent involvement is encouraged with a view of preventing disengagement. The curriculum addresses general and vocational skills.

All secondary schools (from age 13 to 16) provide general education courses and also options for students who want to follow a vocational career pathway. At the end of secondary education students are awarded a Secondary School Certificate & Profile (SSC&P) that recognizes formal, non-formal and informal education. Students may sit for the secondary education certificate exams that are a prerequisite for taking up many of the programmes available at upper-secondary and post-secondary level.

Following compulsory education students can choose to follow either a general or a vocational post-secondary education path (from age 16 to 18). General and some vocational education programmes are intended to lead to tertiary education. The main institutions at post-secondary level are the Malta junior college, the Giovanni Curmi Higher secondary school, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies, the latter providing hospitality courses.

The University of Malta (UoM) ([23]https://www.um.edu.mt/), also an autonomous institution, offers tertiary general education programmes ranging from certificate and under-graduate level to doctoral level. Tertiary vocational education is provided by Malta college of arts, science and technology’s university college. It is envisaged that Institute of Tourism Studies will also start to provide degree courses. Private organisations also provide post- secondary and tertiary education ([24]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/malta_en).

  • For students with an EQF level 1 qualification: one-year introduction and foundation programmes (lower secondary, ISCED-P 253) leading to an EQF level 1 or 2 certificate. They integrate key competences within the vocational aspects of the curriculum, include work experience, and give access to studies at the next EQF level in the same field. The most popular fields of study are manufacturing, construction and arts and humanities. Foundation certificate holders can continue VET in one- to two-year apprenticeship schemes (upper secondary, ISCED-P 353) leading to a VET diploma (EQF level 3);
  • for students with an EQF level 2 compulsory education qualification: two-year, mainly school- (college-) based programmes (upper secondary, ISCED-P 353) leading to a VET diploma (EQF level 3). These programmes include work-based learning and give access to programmes at the next level;
  • for those with an EQF level 3 compulsory education qualification: VET programmes (post-secondary, ISCED-P 454) leading to an advanced VET diploma (EQF level 4). There are school (college)-based two-year programmes and two- to three-year apprenticeship schemes. Some programmes can be followed either college-based or on apprenticeship. VET diploma (EQF level 3) holders can enter these programmes as well.

VET in higher education includes:

  • two-year college-based programmes (ISCED-P 554) leading to higher VET diplomas at EQF level 5. A VET advanced diploma (EQF level 4) is required for entry. Higher VET diplomas are equivalent to a degree after the first two years of a university programme; they allow entry to the third year of VET bachelor programmes provided graduates meet entry requirements. Higher VET diploma graduates from the Institute of Tourism Studies can also pursue a bachelor in tourism programme at the university of Malta;
  • three- to four-year bachelor programmes (ISCED 655, leading to EQF level 6) which open up progression opportunities to selected academic master programmes. Institute of Tourism Studies offers three VET bachelor programmes. VET bachelor programmes are open to:
  • sixth-form graduates with two advanced and two intermediate level passes;
  • Malta College of Arts Science and Technology advanced diploma (EQF level 4) graduates;
  • VET higher diploma programme graduates (see above);
  • Institute of Tourism Studies diploma (MQF level4);
  • Institute of Tourism Studies Higher National Diploma (MQF level 5)
  • three-year part-time VET master programmes (EQF level 7) at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. In 2016/17 an MBA for small business and a master of business informatics programmes were offered for the first time. Graduates with an academic bachelor degree from the University of Malta or a Malta College of Arts Science and Technology VET bachelor degree can enter these programmes. By February 2019, the suite of Master’s programmes offered at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology will go up to thirteen.

Government’s ambition is to become a learning society by developing adult education especially continuing VET and easing access to these forms of learning. The education and employment ministry’s department for employment, research, lifelong learning and employability ([25]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) is the main provider of part-time adult learning courses. Its adult learning unit offers over 500 EQF level 1-5 courses in community-based learning centres, local councils and community centres. Most courses develop basic key competences, but the offer also includes continuing VET and visual and performing arts courses.

State VET providers also offer continuing VET courses. Around 300 part-time courses at Malta college of Arts, Science and Technology cater to adults who cannot take part in full-time programmes due to employment, business, family or other commitments. They support career development and, in some cases, enable participants to take up more specialised jobs.

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology provides tailor made courses to industry, on demand. In view of the general shortage of workers, industries are resorting to upskilling their own employees rather than solely seeking readily-skilled employees from outside their firm. During 2015, 62% of enterprises provided some form of continuous vocational training. These included; in-house continuing VET courses, job rotation, exchanges, secondments, study-visits, conferences, workshops, learning circles or self-directed learning.

Firms might well provide in-house training to their employees but partnering with Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology gives them the opportunity to provide employees with level-rated courses and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology -badged certification, either for full qualifications or for partial awards, both pegged to the Malta qualifications framework. As a result, the population of part-time students at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology is increasing, with Maltese and foreign workers choosing to upskill themselves, directly or through their employers, in order to get higher accredited and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology -badged certification.

Reform of apprenticeship was launched in 2014 following 2013 and 2014 European semester country-specific recommendations. It merged off-the-job education and on-the-job learning in a single apprenticeship scheme and helped place more emphasis on quality. It also strengthened the role of employers in assessment and set the stage for fully implementing a three-tier framework comprising work placements (EQF levels 1-4), apprenticeships (EQF levels 3-4) and internships (EQF level 5 and above). Attracting more learners to VET by expanding work-based learning and motivating them to stay in labour market relevant programmes, the reform contributes to reducing early leaving.

Malta college of arts, science and technology took over administration of apprenticeships from the public employment service Jobsplus in 2014 and renamed it the national apprenticeship scheme. The enactment of the work-based learning and apprenticeship act, which came into force in March 2018 ([26]http://justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=28680&l=1), further consolidated the reform in apprenticeship and work-based learning. It is based on research conducted by Cedefop together with local learners, educators, employers and trade unions. The research included also a review of international legislation on traineeships and benchmarking of best practices within countries leading in the field of vocational education and training.

The Act aims at strengthening work-based learning and apprenticeship by:

  • setting definitions and operational parameters for work placements, apprenticeships and internships;
  • outlining responsibilities and governance structures (such as the national skills council;
  • defining rights and obligations for VET providers, employers and learners;
  • highlighting the role of employers as responsible learning partners;
  • setting a compulsory minimum number of hours for all forms of work-based learning and linking remuneration to the minimum wage;
  • using ECVET/ECTS in all forms of work-based learning;
  • introducing a single EQF-based apprenticeship qualification replacing the dual certification currently in place;
  • launching a training agreements register to support data collection and policy-relevant analysis by the national skills council.

Recent developments at Malta college of Arts, Science and Technology, reflecting the ambition to ensure quality work-based learning opportunities (apprenticeship, internship or work exposure) in all its programmes, include:

  • mainstreaming pilot projects (placements, apprenticeship and internship) into full-time programmes;
  • developing work-based vocational competences for all apprenticeship programmes, serving as assessment benchmarks (apprenticeships office);
  • making internship compulsory in all EQF level 6 programmes;
  • launching an entrepreneurship centre (in collaboration with Malta enterprise) to give learners opportunities to transform innovative ideas into profitable and sustainable business ventures.

Malta College of Arts Science and Technology offers also work placement opportunities abroad and includes entrepreneurship training in its VET bachelor degree courses.

At the Institute of Tourism Studies, work-based learning in the form of 14-week local industrial trade practice during summer is compulsory for/in programmes up to EQF level 3 (ISCED 353). EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) and 5 (ISCED 554) Institute of Tourism Studies programmes include a mandatory 12-month internship abroad. Work-based learning in higher VET takes the form of internships and/or entrepreneurship training.

Apprenticeship has expanded to new sectors and participation has increased reaching 890 in 2018. Students following courses at the Institute of Engineering and Transport account for 50% of apprenticeship placements. In 2018, around 36% of diploma courses at Malta qualifications framework level 3 (European qualifications framework level 3) and 72% of advanced diploma courses at Malta qualifications framework level 4(European qualifications framework level 4) are on apprenticeship. The remaining courses at both Malta qualifications framework level 3 and levels 1 and 2 (European qualifications framework levels 3 and levels 1 and 2) include other forms of work placement.

Apprenticeships will also be introduced through other providers, including private ones, to tap new areas of expertise. The aim is to make apprenticeships more inclusive and more flexible for learners, for instance by offering part-time schemes.

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 and employment ministry is in charge of VET in compulsory education and at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology ([27]https://mcast.edu.mt/). The Institute of Tourism Studies ([28]https://its.edu.mt/) falls under the responsibility of the tourism ministry.

As the official regulatory body for post-compulsory education, the national commission for further and higher education supports excellence through research, effective licensing, accreditation, quality assurance and recognition of qualifications established under the Malta qualifications framework. It also acts as a broker between the government and VET and higher education institutions, structures stakeholder dialogue, and oversees Malta qualifications framework implementation.

Social partners sit on the boards of the state VET providers. Given the small size of the country, governance structures at provider level are important; efforts to optimise them have largely been steered by providers themselves.

The thematic organisation of Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology in six institutes has helped encourage focused stakeholder dialogue and has provided a platform for employers and employee representatives to be involved in steering VET.

The foundation, technical and university colleges – which structure the programme offer by programme level – were introduced in 2015. They complement the thematic structure with a view to being in a better position to develop focused strategies that balance addressing learning needs of students at different levels with employer interests and other stakeholder needs.

Public education from early childhood education and care up to tertiary level, including all initial vocational education and training offered by schools and state providers up to European qualifications framework level 6, is financed by the government. The budget for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies is part of government education expenditures. Tuition fees paid by participants in continuing VET courses generate extra revenue for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Institute of Tourism Studies.

 

Public spending on education

Source: Eurostat (2018) gov_10a_exp [extracted 10.11.2018].

 

In Malta VET teachers are present in the following areas ([29]Information taken from
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
):

  • within compulsory education teaching vocational subjects. These teachers are delivering their subjects at the secondary level of education; they are employed within the grade of teacher and enjoy the same salary scales and conditions as any other teacher employed at compulsory level within the public sector. There is no distinction in teacher employment grades and qualifications required for these grades between general education subjects and vocational subject teachers;
  • at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology is the main state VET provider, provides courses from Malta qualifications framework level 1 on the Malta qualifications framework up to Malta qualifications framework level 7 which is equivalent to Master’s degree. There are specific standards applied to the qualifications of VET teachers teaching the different qualification levels within Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. VET teachers catering for up to level 4 qualifications need to have a minimum of a level 5 qualification. Those teaching at level 5 and higher need to have a minimum of a level 6 qualification. It is not legally necessary for VET teachers to possess teacher training qualifications at recruitment stage. This is mainly the case as there is no official provision of initial teacher training for post-compulsory VET education. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology offers to its VET teachers a teacher training course (the Malta qualifications framework level 6) in order to complement for the lack of initial teacher training. The course is offered on a part-time basis and takes place in the evenings;
  • at the Institute of Tourism Studies. The Institute of Tourism Studies is a state funded organisation which provides training in the hospitality industry at post compulsory level like Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. VET teachers at the Institute of Tourism Studies are not required to have a teacher training qualification on recruitment, even if a qualification in the sector is required. In the past the Institute of Tourism Studies offered an European qualifications framework level 5 qualification in teacher training organised by the faculty of education, university of Malta, to all its staff in order to ensure that all staff has received a teacher training. Current teachers at the Institute of Tourism Studies follow the teacher training courses offered by Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology;
  • within private VET providers who cater for post- compulsory and adult learners. There is no specific regulation of qualifications for VET teachers in the private sector. However, qualifications and courses accredited by the national commission for further and higher education specify that accredited vocational courses at Malta qualifications framework levels 1-4 should have tutors/VET trainers qualified at least with a relevant full qualification at level 5. In the case of vocational courses at Malta qualifications framework levels 5 and 6 as well as academic courses at levels 6 and 7, tutors should have a full relevant qualification at least one level up from the course provided. The clarification issued by the national commission for further and higher education also states that in the case of vocational courses up to level 5, when there is clear evidence that the local market does not provide tutors of the required qualification level, the national commission for further and higher education will consider proposals for twinned provision. This involves namely that a highly-experienced and effective tutor with a lower qualification level is mentored by a colleague with a qualification at the appropriate level, who is preferably also involved in co-delivery, to ensure that the required level of learning outcomes delivery and assessment is maintained. Private VET providers are regulated further and higher education in Malta which specifies that all further and higher education institutions need to ensure that teaching staff are qualified as one of the standards for internal quality assurance ([30]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2015). Internal and external quality assurance framework in further and higher education. See especially p.6: Standard 6 - Teaching staff.
    https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/resources/Documents/Publications/Quality%20Assurance/Internal%20and%20External%20Quality%20Assurance%20in%20Further%20and%20Higher%20Education%20A4%20Brochure.pdf.
    ). Since quality assurance audits are still in their early stages, no general understanding about what auditors expect in terms of VET teachers’ qualifications has yet developed;
  • at the workplace, i.e. apprenticeship tutors and mentors. Apprentices are supported by two different groups of professionals during their workplace learning experience. When an apprentice obtains an apprenticeship contract with an employer, the employer is legally bound to assign a mentor to each apprentice. The mentor is usually a trusted employee, often with a supervisory role within the company and who has the responsibility of training the apprentice and supervising his work. The mentor is responsible for ensuring that the agreed learning programme for work-based learning is implemented. In addition to this mentoring, the apprentice is visited at work by VET teachers who are experts in the sector. The objective of these visits is to monitor the apprentice’s progress with respect to the learning of skills related to the course of study. The visits also serve to ensure that the apprentice is being provided with good learning work experience, and if any problems arise, these are tackled by the VET teacher. Thus, there are two roles within the apprenticeship scheme: tutors (VET teachers) and mentors (company employees). Visits by VET teachers to companies are part of the new reform in apprenticeship and have only started taking place during the 2014/15 academic year. There is currently no national legislation that regulates the qualification of mentors.

Higher education is an entry-level requirement for the teaching profession.

For compulsory (not-primary) education teachers, there have traditionally been two routes: a dedicated four-year bachelor of education degree programme and a one-year postgraduate certificate in education programme (European qualifications framework level 7) following a bachelor degree in a subject field. In October 2016, the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta introduced a Master’s degree in teaching and learning for first cycle degree graduates. For the first time vocational subjects have been included as areas of specialisation.

As from October 2018, the Institute for Education (IFE) is providing a bachelor’s and a master’s degree programme with specialisation in the teaching of VET subjects. The courses are being offered part-time after school hours and using a blended learning modality. This has been done in order to increase accessibility for those who are already working full time and wish to upgrade their qualifications and professional competences. The Institute for Education also acts as a platform for sharing experience and promoting educational leadership. Its activities include developing a wide array of accredited teacher training opportunities and establishing international partnerships, are financed by ministry and EU funds.

The new sectoral agreement between the education and employment ministry and the Malta union of teachers, which was signed in December 2017 ([31]The previous sectorial agreement between the Government and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) included a statutory requirement for teachers to attend an in-service course (INSET) of three days duration every two years. Educators could also attend CPD on a voluntary basis. This agreement increases the duration of CPD as well as widens the range of CDP provision. It also places responsibility of the school to cover at least 40 hours of CPD out of 80 hours.) and covers the years 2018-22, gives greater emphasis to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This new agreement broadens the concept of continuing professional development to include all development opportunities that nurture and cherish the creation of a Community of Professional Educators (CoPE). Continuing professional development encompasses as of October 2018 all initiatives that facilitate professional discussion and growth amongst community members, such as school development planning sessions, continuous professional development and links with the internal and external community.

Management has at its disposition a maximum of 40 hours-driven Community of Professional Educators time annually (out of 80 hours). All educators are being encouraged to participate in self-sought Continuing Professional Development. Since January 2018 this is compensated by accelerated salary progression.

As from September 2018, progression of teachers to the next salary scale may be accelerated from eight to six years if they cumulate an aggregate of 360 hours recognised self-taught Continuous Professional Development (CPD) time over six (6) years.

Continuing VET development has placed teacher continuing professional development high on the agenda of State providers. To prepare for the nationwide introduction of VET subjects in 2015, VET subject teachers and university graduates expressing interest in teaching VET subjects were trained to teach the newly introduced VET subjects at compulsory level were given the opportunity to take part in a training programme comprising content, practical pedagogy and new assessment methods, as well as guidance to help prevent early leaving from education and training.

Community of professional educators training sessions for teachers of all mainstream subjects in compulsory education, including VET teachers, are being held throughout 2018/19. All learning programmes including VET ones, are being written as learning outcomes.

Malta College of Arts Science and Technology provides continuous Continuing Professional Development opportunities for its lecturing staff. It regularly offers staff with European qualifications framework level 6 qualifications in vocational areas the opportunity to do an European qualifications framework level 6 30-credit graduate teaching certificate in VET, which gives VET lecturers the opportunity to acquire pedagogical skills.

Given that Malta College of Arts Science and Technology is also fast developing its portfolio of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the research activity in the college is becoming always more important. To this end Malta College of Arts Science and Technology has also developed a post graduate certificate in research methods and a post graduate diploma in research methods. The aim of both European qualifications framework level 7 qualifications is to equip its lecturing staff with the necessary competences to carry out research together with their undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2019, Malta College of Arts Science and Technology introduced the master’s degree in vocational education applied research to equip specialists and leaders in vocational education and training with current and future competencies needed to prepare learners for the world of employment. This proposes to bring about a shift towards innovative practices that link teaching and impact research within the context of vocational, further and higher education. It offers participants an experiential learning experience in vocational education through the interlinked fields of competence-based development and research-based development.

This innovative approach drives towards developing the scholarship of teaching through systematic engagement, systematic reflection and systematic research, ultimately aimed at increasing the educational capacity for teaching and research.

Quality assurance standards govern continuing professional development and drive efforts aimed at sustaining quality in teaching and learning at the Institute of Tourism Studies. In 2015, the institute started collaborating with Haaga Helia ([32]Haaga Helia is a Finnish private educational institution: http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/about-haaga-helia/organization?userLang=en). A process for validating informal and non-formal prior learning was designed using European guidelines to help customise lecturing staff training programmes leading to top-up degrees in hospitality services.

Upskilling staff via the degree programme in hospitality management developed by Haaga Helia ([33]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage) puts the Institute of Tourism Studies in the position to offer bachelor degree programmes in the hospitality and tourism sector from 2017 onwards.

To raise the profile of adult educators, the directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability ([34]Directorate For Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) of the education and employment ministry launched an European qualifications framework level 5 national diploma programme in teaching adults in 2014. The work is part of the implementation of the national lifelong learning strategy and was kick-started with funds for implementing the EU agenda for adult learning.

As a driver of quality and student results, teacher continuing professional development is a strategic priority. Continuing professional development also contributes to meeting demand for teachers, foreseen in the near future, by making the profession more attractive. Government encourages teacher continuing professional development through incentives such as sabbaticals and paid study leave schemes, the endeavour scholarship, Malta government undergraduate and postgraduate schemes, and reach high post-doctoral scholarships.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers)

Labour market and skills analysis in Malta has for long mostly been based on labour force survey (LFS) statistics, administrative data on employment and registered unemployment collected by Jobsplus([36]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) and its predecessor, the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC), and ad hoc surveys. These sources help monitor the labour market situation and quantify past trends; they continue to be used to provide insight on how employment is changing.

Forward looking information on skill needs has been scarce and limited in scope. Sources offering insight into future employment needs include regular industry trends surveys among employers in the manufacturing, investment, retail, services and construction sectors ([37]Organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Findings are frequently used in Central Bank of Malta reports.) and the annual attractiveness survey ([38]For the latest edition, see Ernst & Young Limited (2016). The survey includes information on recruitment problems and skill mismatch.) among Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies and investors in Malta. These surveys and other sectoral foresight exercises tend to be qualitative, with a short-term focus and offering few possibilities to produce more specific information on skills. This limits their potential to contribute to forward-looking education and employment policies and their use by employers to plan ahead for future human resource needs.

Malta is working towards developing a coherent system for producing and interpreting skills intelligence to understand future skill needs better. The national skills council is in the process of setting up an econometric model/mechanism for skills forecasting. This process is being guided by the outcomes/results of the national employee skills survey report (published by Jobsplus, national commission for further and higher education and Malta enterprise). The national skills council is also drafting a national skills strategy that aligns itself to the existing strategies (including the lifelong learning strategy) while identifying individual transversal skills that should be integrated into all streams of education and training.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([40]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index).

The Malta qualifications framework was launched in 2007 by the qualifications council. It covers Initial VET and continuing VET and encompasses qualifications at all levels, attained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. In 2009, Malta was the first country to reference its framework to the European qualifications framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the qualifications framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA). Legislation adopted in 2012 established its legal basis and made the national commission for further and higher Education responsible for all aspects of the Malta qualifications framework.

Unlike qualifications frameworks in many other Member States, the Malta qualifications framework also covers programmes not leading to full qualifications. Accredited programmes (courses) with level rated-learning outcomes not meeting requirements of a qualification, in terms of credits offered, lead to ‘awards’. The distinction was introduced to help learners and employers better understand different types of certification and their role in recruitment and career advancement.

The structure of qualifications and the procedure of accrediting programmes is to be found in the referencing report 2016 ([41]https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf).

The referencing report states that courses that can be accredited as ‘qualifications’ up to Level 7 need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • learning must be in line with the level descriptor equivalent to the specific qualification level targeted;
  • learning must fulfil the number of credits required; and
  • in the case of initial VET qualifications, the number of credits includes the indicated percentage of the course dedicated to key competences, sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge.

It is important that training courses are pitched at the right level of difficulty of learning in terms of knowledge, skills and competences covered and the learning outcomes to be achieved following the learning experience. Both the state and private sector offer short courses that do not have the necessary number of credits to be called a qualification. These courses are usually of different duration, and consequently have different credit allocations. Any course which fulfils the level of learning but not the required number of credits to qualify for the title of ‘qualification’ are to be called ‘award’.

The requirements for courses to be considered as ‘awards’ are the following:

  • the learning outcomes need to reflect the level of learning indicated in the specific Malta qualifications framework level descriptor;
  • the number of credits assigned to the course are either less than those specified for a qualification at the particular Malta qualifications framework level, or in the case of VET, do not reflect the required distribution of key competences, sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge.

The Malta qualifications framework development has gone hand-in-hand with strengthening VET quality culture. Establishing and maintaining standards in the context of the qualifications framework falls within the remit of the education and employment ministry.

Upper secondary and higher initial VET and continuing VET

The national commission for further and higher education is responsible for quality assurance in VET and higher education. The national quality assurance framework ([42]National Commission for Further and Higher Education (2015). The national quality assurance framework for further and higher education.
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/resources/Documents/Publications/Quality%20Assurance/National%20Quality%20Assurance%20Framework%20for%20Further%20and%20Higher%20Education.pdf
) launched in 2015 was a significant step forward and the first of its kind in Europe. The framework covers upper secondary and higher VET (initial VET), continuing VET as well as other types of further, higher and adult formal education offered by state and private providers.

The framework implements legal provisions on internal quality assurance and periodic external quality audits (Subsidiary legislation 2012/327.433) and provides the conceptual context for this work. The culture of good quality assurance practice at provider level and providers’ readiness to take on board a more systematic quality assurance approach – two key findings of a 2014 scoping study – informed the approach to its development: fostering a quality culture by complementing internal quality assurance mechanisms already in place with an external quality assurance system adapted to national and stakeholder needs.

The framework is based on European quality assurance standards and guidelines and enriched by EQAVET and its quality criteria and indicators. It provides guidance for areas which are vital for quality without prescribing how quality assurance is to be carried out. An internal quality assurance system, accreditation and initial and follow-up external provider and programme quality audits by the national commission for further and higher education are mandatory requirements for licensing. Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, the Institute of Tourism Studies and the university of Malta were the first to undergo external quality assurance audits in mid-2015. As self-accrediting institutions, they are not subject to provider and programme accreditation.

Arrangements at provider level supporting quality assurance include the online employer satisfaction survey by Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology’s quality assurance office and regular contacts with sectors. VET providers use EQAVET indicators to plan quality programmes, and the national commission for further and higher education encourages them to evaluate programme outcomes and to use findings for continuous improvement.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an important development in Malta. Recognition of prior learning is a form of assessment which is the process of recognising a person’s skills and knowledge acquired through previous training, education, work and/or general life experience.

The benefits of recognition of prior learning may be the reduced time a learner has to spend attending classes, undertaking assessments or relearning what they already know. The evidence the applicant provides must be authentic (something they have prepared, produced or has been written about them by a relevant third party), and must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to grant credit for a subject, module, course or qualification.

In 2015, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology started collaborating with Haaga Helia ([43]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage).

A process for validating informal and non-formal prior learning was designed using European guidelines to help customise lecturing staff training programmes leading to top-up degrees in hospitality services. Candidates must clearly identify the degree, unit and module learning outcome or competences they wish to be assessed through recognition for prior learning on the application form. Only a maximum of 50% of the total European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) or European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) for a degree programme or unit may be rewarded through credit transfer of the recognition of prior learning([44]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
).

Upskilling staff via the degree programme in hospitality management developed by Haaga Helia ([45]http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/frontpage) puts the Institute of Tourism Studies in the position to offer bachelor degree programmes in the hospitality and tourism sector from 2017 onwards.

Recognition of prior learning is the basis for the validation of informal and non-formal learning. Validation of informal and non-formal learning in Malta is regulated by Subsidiary Legislation 327.432, Validation of Informal and Non-Formal Learning Regulations of September 2012 ([46]http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=1...).

The national commission for further and higher education provides validation services and for this purpose has set up seven Sector Skills Units (SSUs) and is currently working on establishing other new sector skills units. The current sector skills units cover the following industries/ sectors:

  • automotive;
  • health and social care;
  • education support;
  • printing and digital media;
  • hospitality and tourism;
  • hair and beauty;
  • construction and building services.

The national commission for further and higher education has already published 13 National Occupational Standards (NOSs). These national occupational standards consist of a set of job-related standards that highlight the performance expected from an individual when carrying out a specific function.

These standards are pegged to the Malta qualifications framework and are therefore drawn up using the learning outcomes approach. The national occupational standards are of important use to both employers and employees as they stipulate the related knowledge, skills and competences required in the different occupations and the aligned levels of these occupations.

The national commission for further and higher education is also currently in the process of finalising another 6 national occupational standards that have been drafted by the hospitality and tourism sector skills unit.

In 2017, the national commission for further and higher education signed memoranda of understanding with Jobsplus ([47]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) and the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) ([48]https://bicc.gov.mt/en/Pages/HOME.aspx) to carry out the assessment procedures and tests for validating informal and non-formal learning, for the national occupational standards listed above. The national commission for further and higher education has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Tourism Studies to carry out the validation assessment procedures for the hospital and tourism national occupational standards.

It is to be noted that validation in Malta takes place in four distinct stages: identification, documentation, assessment and certification as per the European guidelines issued by Cedefop in 2015 ([49]Cedefop (2015). European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop reference series; No104.).

Initial VET

Maltese and EU students enrolling in full-time initial VET programmes up to European qualifications framework level 6 do not pay tuition or registration fees. There are additional financial incentives for VET learners. Maltese students over 16, including those in VET programmes at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology or the Institute of Tourism Studies, benefit from maintenance grants. EU and EEA citizens, as well as third country nationals, are entitled to the same rights, provided they have resident or refugee status and meet several other requirements. The maintenance grant scheme includes:

  • a yearly initial grant (EUR 232.94) for purchasing textbooks and other educational materials. For students progressing to Malta College of Arts Science and Technology top-up degree programmes the initial grant is doubled and complemented by a one-time grant amounting to EUR 465.87 ([50]Students who progress to a top-up degree course at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology will have EUR 465.87 made available every year in which they follow a top-up degree course, instead of EUR 232.94, to partly cover expenses related to educational material and equipment and a one-time grant of EUR 465.87.);
  • a stipend (every four weeks between October and June) of EUR 88.44;
  • a supplementary grant (every four weeks between October and June) for learners facing financial difficulties and/or disability (EUR 74.50).

Other support measures include a contingency fund assisting students facing extraordinary circumstances and higher grants for single parents receiving social assistance; the grant amount increases with the qualification level achieved by the programme they take part in.

On the strength of the Work-based and Apprenticeship Act (2018) ([51]Parliament of Malta (2018). The Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=1...) an apprentice now has the legal status of a paid employee rather than of an unpaid student. Learners on apprenticeship programmes have the right to an income equivalent to the national minimum wage per hour for the hours spent at the workplace as stipulated in the training programme plan. The income per hour is calculated as the income derived from the sponsor ([52]The term ‘sponsor’ refers to organisations or individuals registered and approved by a VET provider to provide the work-based learning component as part of a training programme leading to a qualification.) and from the student maintenance grant.

Apprentices receive maintenance grants on top of the wage and half the annual statutory bonus ([53]In Malta, government bonuses are mandatory quarterly payments made by the employer to the employee, regardless of industry or organization type. These bonuses are paid in addition to the monthly wage. Over the period of a calendar year an employee would therefore be paid EUR 512.48 under this bonus scheme.) paid by employers.

Recent and continuing changes are increasing grants to make apprenticeship a more attractive learning path. Increased stipends for the summer months introduced in 2015 discourage apprentices from taking on a better paid summer job instead. The next step is topping up the grants by an amount that makes total income per hour (wage plus grants) spent learning at the workplace equal to the national minimum wage. The Work-based Learning and Apprenticeship Act introduces the proposal to implement the grant increase.

Maintenance grants in higher VET are used to steer learners towards programmes that educate them to become professionals in areas with labour market shortages. Students in so-called ‘prescribed’ and ‘priority’ VET bachelor degree programmes at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and other providers are entitled to higher maintenance grants. The 2016 amounts for prescribed degree programmes are EUR 151.99 (stipend), EUR 698.81 (initial grant) and EUR 698.81 (one-time grant).

Learners in high priority programmes receive a stipend of EUR 302.10. In 2016, prescribed and priority VET degree programmes included all those leading to a bachelor in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering and communications technology.

A students’ maintenance grants board manages the maintenance grant scheme, evaluating eligibility of applications, checking student attendance to ensure compliance with regulations, and paying the entitlements. Students making insufficient progress partly or fully lose their right to receive the grants.

Continuing VET

Education and employment ministry promotes continuing VET to increase adult participation in learning.

The directorate also regularly promotes its offer of lifelong learning courses to the wider public using social media and other channels.

  • continuing VET and adult learning courses organised by the directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability ([54]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
    https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
    ) are subsidised by the government. Participants are charged a modest tuition fee ranging from EUR 11.65 to EUR 58.23;
  • entry-level courses in Maltese, English, mathematics and science are offered free of charge. Migrants from EU Member States and elsewhere benefit from free basic literacy courses and subsidised English and Maltese as a foreign language courses.

Incentives for learners taking part in training for jobseekers and other continuing VET opportunities offered by Malta’s public employment service Jobsplus ([55]https://jobsplus.gov.mt/) include:

  • free provision of training courses;
  • a training allowance for employed persons that earn less than EUR 300 (basic) per week and who successfully complete a Jobsplus’ course (scheme known as the average wage earners scheme;
  • an allowance for participants; in the traineeship scheme, bridging the gap scheme and work exposure scheme (80% of the minimum wage in both) and work exposure schemes;
  • a subsidy scheme to cover childcare costs (EUR 1.50 per hour of childcare services) for participants in Jobsplus training courses;
  • learners who follow a training programme that is: (1) recognised up to European qualifications framework level 5, (2) offered by a licensed training service provider, and (3) not offered by Jobsplus may benefit from the training pays scheme. This scheme offers a grant of 75% of the cost of training capped at EUR 1 000.

Learners paying tuition fees for courses offered by private providers, which often lead to qualifications issued by foreign accredited bodies, can benefit from scholarship schemes and grants, such as the endeavour scholarship scheme managed by the education and employment ministry. The get qualified scheme run by Malta enterprise grants tax deductions to cover the cost of programmes (European qualifications framework level 5 or higher) required by employers.

Tax deduction

Employers providing work-based learning opportunities lasting at least six months in their trade or business are entitled to a tax deduction of EUR 600 for each work placement they offer and EUR 1200 for each apprentice they take on (Regulated by Legal notice 2014/179).

Other incentives

Malta’s Public Employment Service (PES) offers work-based learning opportunities through the work exposure scheme and the trainee scheme. During the exposure phase ([56]The term ‘exposure phase’ refers to the on-the-job training that takes place at the employer’s premises where the trainee is placed. During the scheme the trainee must attend 240 hours of placement within a maximum period of 12 weeks.), employers are given the opportunity to train prospective employees without incurring any financial costs ([57]Jobplus subsidies prospective employee’s training through European social fund.). Participants are matched in accordance with the industry demands of the employers. This matching suggests that the occupational preferences of the jobseekers are relevant to employers’ requests.

The training aid framework, in place between 2008 until 2015, gave the private sector grants to finance staff training, with the level of support depending on the type of training and enterprise size.

Its successor, investing in skills, was launched in 2017. Since its launch there were a total of 130 entities which benefitted from the scheme.

The knowledge transfer incentive introduced in 2016 helps address skill mismatch and shortages by supporting employers to train and reskill their staff. The scheme also covers newly recruited employees. Employers in manufacturing and several other sectors (including computer programming, research and specialised design) can apply for tax credits to cover part of the costs of analysing training needs, developing training programmes, providing or outsourcing training, and wage costs for the hours their employees are in training. The share of eligible costs (70%) in small establishments (<50 employees) is higher than the corresponding share large establishments (250+ employees) are entitled to (50%).

Subsidy schemes make it easier for employers to provide work experience to young people and adults. Access to employment helps employers recruit jobseekers and the inactive (under some conditions including ex-apprentices) furthest from employment. The duration of the EUR 85-a-week subsidy (26, 52 or 104 weeks) depends on the target group.

Employers taking on disabled persons are entitled to a weekly subsidy of EUR 125 for maximum 156 weeks. Employers not benefitting from the access to employment scheme, will be eligible to claim a fiscal incentive of 25% of the disabled person’s basic wage up to a maximum of EUR 4 500 for each person with disability. In addition, employers may apply to be exempted from paying their share of the National Insurance contribution in relation to the disabled employee.

Annual tracer studies provide evidence on educational and career choices and pathways of students after completing compulsory education in state and non-state schools. Since 2010 more students are continuing educations after leaving compulsory schooling. System and institutional changes make identifying longer-term trends difficult, but comparing most recent data with the situation before 2000 suggests an increasing share of learners choose VET after compulsory education, despite academic education remaining the most popular choice. As some learners would be better able to reach their potential through VET, it is important to develop guidance services further.

Compulsory education

Proposals in the career guidance policy for schools underpin current practice and recent developments of career guidance services in compulsory education ([58]Debono, M. et al. (2007). Career guidance policy and strategy for compulsory schooling in Malta. Floriana, Malta: Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment.
http://education.gov.mt/en/resources/documents/policy%20documents/career%20guidance.pdf
). Career guidance in state schools is offered by college career advisors, trainee career advisors, school counsellors and guidance teachers. The service covers curricular, vocational and career guidance for students and their parents. Counsellors collaborate closely with VET institutions.

Career-related learning is provided through the personal, social and career development (PSCD) subject .Personal, social and career development embraces the national curriculum framework principles of entitlement to quality education, recognition of diversity, and achievement. It helps learners develop learning skills, emotional literacy, self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem to equip them with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes needed to live healthy, safe, productive, and responsible lives.

Since 2014, careers education has become more important. The personal, social and career development strand on career exploration and management aims at helping learners manage their learning and career paths beyond school. Personal, social and career development has been increased from one to two hours per week. 15-year-olds take part in transition programmes offering one- week hands-on experience in industry. Together with final year schoolmates, they also benefit from orientation visits to workplaces and VET colleges.

The new career guidance platform will help to facilitate career choices for secondary school students between the ages of 11 and 16.

VET providers and Jobsplus

Different departments at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology provide student support services including: career guidance, personal counselling and learning support. There is also an information service that provides students with information about the training programmes offered by the college’s institutes as well as the support services available both prior to enrolment and during their studies. Similar services are in place at the Institute of Tourism Studies.

Jobsplus guidance services encourage jobseekers (including the employed) to develop their skills further through training and/or work experience in line with labour market needs. Services include career information, advice, skills assessment and mentoring. With the new registration system –introduced in 2016- Jobsplus has placed more emphasis on career guidance and individualised its services through profiling, personal employment advisors, and individual action plans. Support for individuals with a job searching for alternative employment includes discussion on suitable career paths and a career test to personalise career plans and identify gaps in training and/or skills development that need to be addressed prior to pursuing the chosen career path.

Towards a national guidance service

A recently established committee works on implementing the 2007 career guidance policy for schools. Plans are under way to set up a national lifelong guidance service responsible for sustaining quality services at all levels of education. Envisaged future developments include measures to widen access to guidance services measures (online portal) and to streamline provision across education and employment sectors. Besides complementing, supporting and integrating existing services, the national career guidance service will increase the interaction between education, industry and other stakeholders. The intention is to move from guidance services with a supply focus to a demand-led system; this will cater better to those in need of career information or advice on career-related information.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET higher diploma

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

1-2 years

ISCED 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment. Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([87]Directorate for research, lifelong learning and employability(DRLLE)
.https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([86]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • full-time and part-time
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold:

  • either 4 EQF/MQF qualifications;
  • or Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology/Institute of Tourism Studies advanced diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.
Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

At this level, students are generally expected to carry out an industry-based research project.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology higher diploma

Institute of Tourism Studies diploma

Examples of qualifications

Quantity surveyor, restaurant manager, kindergarten/learning support educator ([88]As described in national context.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF levels 6, 7.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

5.9% ([89]The latest data is 5.9% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 6

VET bachelor degree

Programmes,

WBL 15-20%,

3-4 years

ISCED 655

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

18+

Usual completion grade

21+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4

  
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?

N

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits (ECVET) – Three-year bachelor course

240 credits (ECVET) – Four-year bachelor honours course ([90]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • internship
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
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
  • internship
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 4 certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit. Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Students are generally expected to go on an internship that is monitored by college-based staff as well as by tutors provided by the employer.

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

Environmental engineer, mechanical engineer, marine engineer ([91]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies to EQF level 7 (either VET or General education orientation)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>1% ([92]2016)

EQF 7

Masters

programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 767

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

767

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

25+

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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

90 ECTS ([93]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta qualifications framework for lifelong learning Regulation:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Face-to-face classroom tuition
  • Blended on-line learning
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology

private VET providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

0

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

Programmes are available mainly for graduates who have also had some years of work experience.

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 6 qualification.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit. Should they fail the resit they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Specialist in product design, specialist in mechatronics,

specialist in environmental engineering ([94]As described in national context.).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 8 (general education orientation).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

> 1% ([95]2016)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

College-based

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

2 years

ISCED 354

Initial college- based VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Part-time courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([78]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([77]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • full-time on apprenticeship
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates

preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in sport development, coaching and fitness, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Compulsory (For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in financial services: EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications in these subjects have to be presented: English language and mathematics together with any other two EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications)

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 advanced diploma qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Assistant veterinary, laboratory technician, accounting technician ([79]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF levels 5-6 (either of VET or General education orientation)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

18.1% ([80]The latest data is18.1% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 4

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

2-3 years

ISCED 354

Initial- Apprenticeship schemes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([82]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits (ECVET) ([81]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1. The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • apprenticeships
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology;
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
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
  • apprenticeship

Since March 2018, apprenticeship schemes in Malta are regulated by the Work-Based Learning And Apprenticeship Act ([83]http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=12801&l=1).

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates,

preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in joinery, furniture design and manufacturing, the preferred subjects are: English language, mathematics, technical drawing, engineering drawing, engineering technology.

Or

Compulsory: (for example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma in graphic design and interactive media: EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications in art have to be presented: together with any other three EQF/MQF Level 3 qualifications. Moreover, in this case applicants may be asked to sit for an interview and/or present a portfolio.

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology advanced diploma as per internal progression eligibility table.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 Advanced Diploma Qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Pharmacy technician, food technologist, office secretary ([84]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies to EQF level 5 or 6 (either VET or General education orientation).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

18.1% ([85]The latest data is 18.1% as per National Commission for Further And Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1

College-based

introduction programme,

1 year

ISCED level 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 1, ISCED level 353
EQF level
1
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

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?

Y

Continuing VET courses are provided on a part-time basis.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([62]Directorate For Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET level 1: 40 credits

From MQF/EQF Levels 5-8 credits are ECTS ([61]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

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)
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

As from October 2016, the foundation college within the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has developed a number of skills kits courses which offer more flexible, customised pathways towards achieving a certification. This programme is intended for learners who prefer to study at their own pace and explore different vocational areas. It is made up of a number of skills kits (small bite-size topics) covering various vocational areas as well as personal skills and employability skills. The programme gives the learners the possibility to choose how many skills kits to study over a period of time. It also gives the opportunity to choose from a combination of skills kits. These courses consist of short 20 hour programmes which individuals can achieve at their own pace and according to their needs.

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

Learners must be at least 16 years old and in possession of the Secondary School Certificate and Profile (SSCP). This is the certificate of accomplishment awarded at the end of compulsory education. Students are all given an initial assessment test.

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology also offers the award in vocational skills introductory A and B. This is a structured programme of study for students with learning disabilities/learning difficulties to consolidate the skills necessary to gain and maintain employment or to further their education.

Learners are trained in one of the following vocational areas: hospitality, office skills, production and retail. They are also assessed in key skills that include Maltese, English, mathematics, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), IT, and daily living and community skills.

A work placement experience within the college is also provided according to the vocational area being studied.

Before enrolling in the programme, students are required to attend for a three-day evaluation period to assess the suitability of the course and identify the vocational area according to their abilities.

This award is allotted 30 credits.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. Assessment is based on a mixture of formative and summative assessments.

Formative assessment includes take-home assignments and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Introductory certificate

Examples of qualifications

Shop assistant, commis waiter, back office assistant ([63]As described in national context. MCAST Prospectus 2018/19 available at
https://www.mcast.edu.mt/rfm/source/Prospectus/Prospectus_2018/index.html#p=1. ITS Prospectus 2018/19 available at:
https://its.edu.mt/courses-admission/its-prospectus.html
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programme may continue their studies at EQF level 2 in a VET institution.

Those learners who complete the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology award in vocational skills introductory A and B can progress to MQF/EQF Level 1 programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.8 %([64]The latest data is 7.8% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 2

College-based

introduction and foundation

programmes,

WBL 0-10%,

1 year

ISCED 353

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 353
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([66]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE).
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits(ECVET)([65]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

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
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

10%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

As from October 2016, the foundation college within the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has developed a number of skills kits courses which offer more flexible, customised pathways towards achieving a certification. This programme is intended for learners who prefer to study at their own pace and explore different vocational areas. It is made up of a number of skills kits (small bite-size topics) covering various vocational areas as well as personal skills and employability skills. The programme gives the learners the possibility to choose how many skills kits to study over a period of time. It also gives the opportunity to choose from a combination of skills kits. These courses consist of short 20 hour programmes which individuals can achieve at their own pace and according to their needs.

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

Finished compulsory education and in possession of the Secondary School Certificate and Profile (SSCP). This is the certificate of accomplishment awarded at the end of compulsory education.

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology introductory certificate MQF/EQF level 1.

Together with an initial assessment test.

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Foundation certificate

Level 2 (60 credits - ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Hairdressing assistant, beauty therapist assistant

stone mason/tile layer/ plumber/ welder/ assistant ([67]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology level 2 certificate can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF 3 initial VET institution.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

3.9% ([68]The latest data is 3.9% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 3

College-based

Programmes,

WBL 20%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

Initial, College-based VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private provider are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([70]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits (ECVET) ([69]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

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)
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

20%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
  • work practice at school takes place in workshops and labs
  • in-company, practice is carried out in company training premises and in the workplace
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 2 EQF level 3 certificates, preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma in sport, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Should they fail the resit, they will be given the possibility to repeat the study unit.

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 3 certificate/diploma (60 ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Beauty specialist in a salon, hairdresser, security/enforcement/protection officer ([71]As described in national context with the exception of hairdresser (described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this type of VET programmes can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 or general education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.7% ([72]The latest data is 7.7% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

EQF 3

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

Initial-apprenticeship schemes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Full and part-time courses offered by private providers are against payment.

Part-time courses at Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology are offered against payment.

Courses provided by the directorate for lifelong learning, research and employability ([74]Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability (DRLLE):
https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Pages/Research%20and%20Innovation.aspx
) are at a nominal tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits (ECVET) ([73]Both ECTS and ECVET are regulated by Subsidiary Legislation No 327.431 - The Malta Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning Regulations:
http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=11927&l=1 The authority is vested in the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. According to the referencing report (4th revised edition available at
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/Documents/Referencing%20Report/Referencing%20Report%202016.pdf) one (1) ECTS/ECVET is defined as being equivalent to a workload of 25 hours of total learning. Out of these 25 hours, a minimum of five hours need to be contact hours. The rest can be self-learning.
)

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer)
  • apprenticeships
Main providers
  • Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology
  • Institute of Tourism Studies
  • private VET providers
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
  • work placement
  • apprenticeship
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 2 EQF level 3 certificates, preferably related to the study area.

(For example, for Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology diploma in sport, the preferred subjects are: English language, biology and physical education).

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

All VET programmes are based on a number of study units, each of which is based on learning outcomes. This course includes both formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment that includes take-home assignments, and class-based/workshop-based/laboratory-based.

Summative assessment is in the form of controlled assessment (examinations) for every unit.

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 3 certificate/diploma (60 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Motor vehicle panel beater, motor vehicle sprayer, plasterer, tile layer, plumber ([75]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08,
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this type of VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 or general education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The evidence the applicant provides must be sufficient to demonstrate competence against the unit/s of competence. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that this evidence is still current and relevant. This may be through a variety of means such as a portfolio of evidence, interviews, voluntary work, written answers, or a practical demonstration. The evidence of these skills and knowledge may be used to acquire partial qualification.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7.7% ([76]The latest data is 7.7% as per National Commission for Further and Higher Education publication accessed at:
https://ncfhe.gov.mt/en/services/Documents/Research/NCFHE%20Statistics%20Report%202015-2016_synopsis.pdf
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available