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General themes

VET ([1]In the education system and policy of Latvia VET is referred to as ‘vocational education’ (in Latvian: ‘profesionālā izglītība’). The term ‘training’ is not commonly used in the national context.) in Latvia comprises the following main features:

  • VET attractiveness is increasing, especially for early leavers from education;
  • to increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services;
  • there are more females in post-secondary and higher VET;
  • the share of early leavers from education and training has fallen substantially, in line with the national target;
  • apprenticeship-type schemes have become more common and accessible;
  • the introduction of modular vocational education programmes, new occupational standards, sectoral qualifications frameworks supports the use of learning outcomes.

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
)

Initial VET is centralised and highly regulated by the State. Most vocational schools are owned and run by the State; two-thirds have the status of vocational education competence centre and were modernised (infrastructure and equipment) with the support of EU funds in 2007-15. In addition to provision of vocational programmes, they validate non-formal and informal learning and offer lifelong learning and continuing teacher training.

CVET providers are mainly private.

Most vocational education learners (83%) are at upper secondary level. The distribution of students between general and vocational upper secondary education is 61:39 in favour of general education.

VET provides learning opportunities for young adults and early leavers from education. With more investment in infrastructure and the development/implementation of new programmes, VET attractiveness is increasing. More young people use ISCED-P 453 programmes for fast access to labour market than before. These programmes are jointly financed by the Youth guarantee and the European Social Fund.

The national qualifications framework was established in 2010 and referenced to the European qualifications framework (EQF) in 2011. It includes all formal qualifications.

A validation system for professional competences acquired outside formal education has existed since 2011, allowing direct acquisition of professional qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 4. Procedures for assessment and criteria for validation of prior learning were set up for higher education in 2012.

Reforming VET and adult learning are national policy priorities. Recent reforms aim at:

  • promoting VET quality;
  • ensuring its relevance to labour market needs;
  • efficient use of resources to raise VET attractiveness.

Policy strives for a balanced (equal) distribution of students choosing vocational and general education after completing basic education, and for a threefold increase in adult participation in learning.

By 2015, several projects jointly financed by EU Structural Funds had raised VET attractiveness and quality. The projects covered modern infrastructure, equipment and programmes (introducing modules), social partner participation in designing and implementing education policy, introducing sectoral qualifications frameworks, drafting occupational standards for key professions, and raising VET teachers’ competences. Modularisation of vocational education programmes has acquired a legal basis. Content for modular programmes is developed and they are gradually being implemented in vocational education. By 2019/20 all vocational education providers (State and private) have to ensure modular (if applicable) vocational education programmes according to the new occupational standards.

Since 2015, ‘work-based learning’ has been a form of VET implementation. It includes flexible curricula (according to occupation characteristics) and promotes sharing responsibilities of teaching and training between school and enterprises. Vocational education institutions develop the curricula and participate in ensuring the acquisition of theoretical knowledge and practical skills in workshops. Companies provide both theoretical and practical training in a real workplace environment and pay an allowance or a wage to students.

Ensuring access to guidance and counselling for young people, and putting in place ECVET and EQAVET systems for better quality and permeability, are challenges that need aligning stakeholder opinions and extensive promotion. Other challenges include motivating employers to cooperate with VET providers, for example, by offering training at the workplace and promoting continuing training for employees.

The 2014-20 education strategy addresses issues mentioned above and other challenges by continuing reforms (supported by EU funds) including introduction of new EU-level instruments.

Another challenge is to increase adult participation in learning by strengthening the role of the State in adult education. The implementation plan for a new adult education governance model (2016) supports a sustainable adult education system with shared responsibilities between stakeholders, including VET that provides programmes for adults.

Data from VET in Latvia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019

Population in 2018: 1 934 379 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 4.4% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and emigration of people in search of employment abroad ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 66 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and have led to rearrangement of the vocational education institutions network: the number of State governed vocational schools has reduced from 58 in 2010 to 21 in 2018.

To increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services. Several providers were merged by local governments into integrated general and vocational education institutions.

The country has a multicultural community. At the beginning of 2018, 62.2% of the population were Latvians and 25.2% were ethnic Russians; 3.2% were Belarusians, 2.2% were Ukrainians, 2.1% were Poles and 5.1% other nationalities.

State vocational school programmes are in Latvian, while some private providers use Russian or both Latvian and Russian. By 2020 all providers will provide vocational programmes in Latvian only.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • wood-processing;
  • production of chemical products;
  • electrical and optical equipment;
  • manufacture of basic metals;
  • machinery and equipment manufacturing;
  • manufacture of transport and equipment.

Since 2010, the export of Latvian goods and services has grown very quickly, and it is the main driver of economic development.

Domestic demand-oriented industries contributed the most to GDP growth in recent years.

Requirements for non-regulated professions are determined by employers. The Law on Regulated Professions and Recognition of Professional Qualifications and relevant government regulations stipulate special requirements for education programmes, recertification or recognition of qualifications in regulated professions.

The number of regulated professions acquired in secondary vocational education is very limited.

The labour market is generally considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 7.1% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis and has been steady since then. In 2018, there are stark differences between the different ISCED levels. The unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), is almost three times higher than that of people with high-level qualifications (ISCED 5-8), and almost double that of the pre-crisis years. It is also higher compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Latvia (7.1%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 78.0% in 2014 to 83.3% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase in employment of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 (+5.3 pp) was similar to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34 year-old graduates (+5.5 pp) in the same period in Latvia ([11]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education attainment in Latvia is traditionally high. In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 56.7%.

The share of people with tertiary education (33.9%) is higher than EU-28 average (32.2%). The share of those with low or without a qualification is the fifth lowest in the EU, following Lithuania, Czechia, Poland and Slovakia.

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

0.6%

38.6%

100%

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].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (58.8% in upper-secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([12]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [accessed 18.2.2019].).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.3% in 2009 to 8.3% in 2018. It is below the national objective 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.
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].

 

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Latvia has increased from 5.6% in 2014 to 6.7% in 2018. It is still below the EU average and far below the national objective (15%) for 2020.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data.

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in vocational education has doubled since 2011/12 and reached 12% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects changing labour market needs and the variety of education opportunities for people aged 25+, supported by ESF funds.

The education system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter, basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) (hereafter, secondary education);
  • higher (tertiary) education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education for five to six year-old children is compulsory.

Basic education is mainly general, it is compulsory, and lasts for nine years. Vocational education is mainly offered for learners with mental disabilities or without completed basic education.

Secondary education can be acquired through general or vocational programmes. It is non-compulsory. General programmes last for three years and vocational programmes for four years (after completed basic education).

Higher (tertiary) education includes both academic and professional study programmes.

The Vocational Education Law ([13]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244 
) provides legal regulations and defines three VET levels:

  • basic vocational education;
  • secondary vocational education;
  • professional higher education.

 

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula implementation taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a professional qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State qualification exam at the end of the programme.

Basic vocational education

Basic vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 2 (ISCED 254)

These programmes last from one to three years and are part of formal education. The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education. They lead to a certificate of basic vocational education with a professional qualification at EQF level 2 (such as cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant).

Vocational education at secondary level

There are four types of secondary vocational education programme.

1) Vocational education programmes (arodizglītība) leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 353).

These programmes last for three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 15 and have completed basic education. They include general subjects, but not sufficiently to allow access to higher education. To access higher education programmes, students must attend a one-year bridging course.

2) Secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 354).

These programmes last for four years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with completed basic education. They include general subjects; at the end of programme students take four State centralised exams in general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market or higher education.

3) One-year vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 351 or 453)

These programmes last for one year. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 17 and have completed general basic education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

4) One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 453)

These programmes last for one and a half to three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with secondary education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

Professional higher education

Higher education programmes can be academic (lead to a degree) and professional (lead to a degree and/or professional qualification).

Adult learning programmes

There are two types of adult learning programme:

1) Continuing vocational education

These programmes enable adults with previous education/work experience to acquire a professional qualification ([14]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) in 480 to 1280 hours. Continuing vocational education and initial vocational education have the same legal and governance framework. Similar to initial vocational education, students of continuing vocational education take a final qualification exam in accordance with procedures approved by the government ([15]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
).

2) Professional development programmes

These programmes (of at least 160 hours) enable people to master systematised professional knowledge and skills corresponding to labour market requirements. They do not have age, previous education, or professional qualification requirements. They do not lead to a formal qualification, but to a certificate of professional development education (profesionālās pilnveides izglītības apliecība) ([16]Cabinet of Ministers (2005b). Kārtība, kādā izsniedzami profesionālās pilnveides un profesionālās ievirzes izglītību apliecinoši dokumenti [Procedures by which documents certifying professional development and professionally oriented education are issued]. Regulation No 902. Last amended 13.12.2016, No 777.
https://likumi.lv/doc.php?mode=DOC&id=122686
).

Other forms of learning

Work-related knowledge, skills and competences can also be acquired through non-formal learning (short courses), or craftsmanship (apprenticeship programmes).

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State exam at the end of the programme.

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

Most vocational education providers are governed by the Ministry of Education and Science. Others are under the responsibility of the ministries of culture, welfare and interior. There are also vocational education institutions established (or taken over from the State) by local government and private ones.

The vocational education system is governed by the following institutions:

  • The Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets) defines policies and strategies for vocational education and sets procedures for the development of occupational standards, the organisation of work placements/apprenticeship-type scheme, and professional qualification exams. It regulates mandatory documents for vocational education provision, a list of mandatory occupational standards, activities of sectoral expert councils, and the quality assurance of the examination centre. It sets the criteria for issuing State-recognised qualifications, and recognising foreign qualifications.

It sets the price list for validation of informal and non-formal learning, it grants the status of ‘vocational education competence centre’ to providers, and it sets the procedure for distributing the State budget subsidies earmarked for teachers’ salaries.

  • The Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) ([17]Izglītības un zinātnes ministrija
    ) develops the framework regulations for vocational education. It proposes allocation of funds from the State budget and finances the vocational education providers it has established. The ministry also organises the implementation of career education, ensures validation of informal and non-formal learning, approves regulations and appoints heads of vocational education institutions under its responsibility.
  • Other ministries (culture, welfare and interior) propose the allocation of funds for vocational schools under their responsibility, and organise continuing professional development for teachers. The ministries also organise continuing vocational education for adults, and professional development and training for the unemployed. They cooperate with MoES on designing occupational standards, ensuring quality assurance and other issues.
  • The National Centre for Education ([18]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) is under the supervision of MoES. It develops the content of basic, secondary and continuing vocational education, professional development and vocationally oriented education. It develops the content and procedures for State exams and coordinates development of study materials in line with the State vocational education standards. The centre also coordinates the development of occupational standards and the professional development of vocational teachers.
  • The State Education Quality Service ([19]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) is under the supervision of MoES. It licenses general and vocational education programmes (at EQF level 1-4). It also ensures quality assurance of vocational education (except professional higher), coordinates validation of informal and non-formal learning (at EQF level 2-4); since 2013 it has coordinated the implementation of the common European quality assurance for VET (EQAVET) in Latvia.
  • The State Education Development Agency ([20]Valsts izglītības attīstības aģentūra (VIAA).) is under the supervision of MoES. It manages and monitors EU funds ex-post, it introduces EU programmes, it supports the development of career education policy, arranges national-level professional skills competitions and ensures participation in international competitions.
  • The Ministry of Welfare ([21]Labklājības ministrija (Ministry of Welfare).) develops labour market policies, including training interventions.
  • The State Employment Agency ([22]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).) is under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare. It implements labour market policies, including programmes for the unemployed.
  • Local governments participate in the implementation of vocational education by managing their own schools. They promote business development in their territory, cooperate with employer organisations and help students find work placements.

Social dialogue and strategic cooperation are arranged through the following institutions:

  • the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment ([23]Profesionālās izglītības un nodarbinātības trīspusējās sadarbības apakšpadome. It was founded in 2000 by the ministries of welfare, economy, finance, justice, agriculture, education and science, regional development and local government affairs, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia and the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia.) reviews policy proposals and drafts legal norms for vocational education, human resource development and employment; it evaluates and proposes changes in management, funding and implementation of vocational education; it endorses occupational standards; it endorses annual student enrolment plans prepared by sectoral expert councils.
  • 12 sectoral expert councils (Nozaru ekspertu padomes) propose solutions for long-term human resources development in their respective sectors and ensure that vocational education provision is in line with labour market needs. This includes participation in development of sectoral qualifications frameworks (SQFs), occupational standards, education programmes, quality assessment procedures, work placements, and apprenticeship-type schemes;
  • collegial advisory bodies (conventions) exist in each vocational education institution. Employers or representatives of employers’ organisations, representatives from local government, and representatives from supervising ministries form these conventions. They help shape the development strategy of the education institution, and they contribute to its cooperation with local enterprises, to ensure students’ work placements outside school and apprenticeship-type scheme opportunities ([24]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.06.2017.
    http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
    ).

According to Eurostat data, the education budget has decreased from 6.7% of GDP in 2009 to 5.5% in 2016, with a slight increase to 5.8% in 2017 ([25]Eurostat table gov_10a_exp. Last update: 16.5.2018.). The budget for vocational education institutions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science increased from EUR 54.07 million in 2011 to EUR 70.36 million in 2018 ([26]Saeima (2017). Par valsts budžetu 2018.gadam [Law on State budget for 2018].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/295569-par-valsts-budzetu-2018-gadam
).

Other resources (including EU funds) have also been allocated to development of the vocational education system. For example, during 2009 to 2015, EUR 163.6 million was invested in the modernisation of equipment and infrastructure. For the same objective, EUR 89.07 million is being invested over 2016 to 2023. Schools also use their own revenues to finance their activities.

Procedures for financing vocational education are stipulated by the Education and Vocational Education Laws ([27]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20. 9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759; Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational Education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Education institutions are financed from the State budget, local government budget or private funding according to their ownership. State budget allocations for vocational education programmes are calculated per student.

Salaries of teachers in State and local government education institutions (including pre-schools) are paid from the State budget. Local governments may supplement salaries of teachers. For private schools implementing accredited basic, secondary and higher education programmes the State can also finance salaries of teachers.

The government covers fixed and non-fixed costs ([28]Cabinet of Ministers (2007). Noteikumi par profesionālās izglītības programmu īstenošanas izmaksu minimumu uz vienu izglītojamo [Regulations on expenditures minimum per one student for implementing vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 655 (last amended 3.1.2017, No 4).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=164266
):

  • allowances (scholarships);
  • student residence maintenance;
  • rehabilitation and catering services for students with special needs;
  • culture education and sports activities;
  • practical training in enterprises;
  • accident insurance for practical training in enterprises;
  • salary of employees (wages and employer's State social insurance contributions).

In higher education, the State covers fees for a certain number of negotiated study places for students with good grades. Local governments may charge a fee in municipal sports and music vocational schools. Education institutions may simultaneously implement education programmes funded from different sources.

According to the Education Law ([29]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
), adult education may be financed from the State and local government budgets, employers’ resources, students’ fees, donations and other sources. Some local governments allocate a fixed percentage to adult education from their budget.

Important sources of funding are EU, Norwegian, and Swiss financial assistance instruments, including Structural Funds and Erasmus+ that have helped by creating more learning opportunities for adults through various projects.

In vocational education there are:

  • general subject teachers
  • vocational teachers

The term ‘trainer’ is not used in Latvian vocational education. Teachers provide both theory and practical learning at school. Every vocational education teacher can work in initial and continuing vocational education at basic and secondary education levels.

General subject teachers must have a minimum of either:

  • tertiary education in education and a teaching qualification in the particular subject, or master/doctor degree in education;
  • tertiary education in the relevant field and either a teaching qualification in a particular subject (may be in the process of completing) or working under the supervision of a teacher-mentor for no longer than one year at one school (until 2022).

Vocational teachers must have a professional qualification minimum of either tertiary education in a relevant field (such as engineering) or may be in the process of completing studies (have acquired at least 240 hours), vocational secondary education (EQF level 4), or master of crafts qualification.

Their professional qualification must be complemented by teaching competences acquired in:

  • tertiary teacher education;
  • a teaching-competence development course (72 hours offered by a higher education institution);
  • courses in pedagogy of at least 80 hours in their tertiary education programme.

The requirement for teaching competences does not apply to vocational subject teachers with fewer than 360 teaching hours per year.

Vocational education teachers:

  • implement education programmes according to State vocational education standards, and occupational standards and foster creativity and independence of learners;
  • develop syllabi (to be approved by heads of vocational education institutions);
  • apply new ideas, technologies and methods in the learning process;
  • assess knowledge and skills of learners.

In-company trainers involved in providing an apprenticeship-type scheme must have (as of January 2019) a master of crafts qualification, vocational education or at least three years of relevant work experience. They must also have acquired a 72-hour teaching competence-development course (for teaching in schools) or a special 32-hour teaching competence-development course for in-company trainers of apprenticeships ([30]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Kārtība, kādā organizē un īsteno darba vidē balstītas mācības [Procedure for organization and implementation of work-based learning]. Regulation No 484. Last amended 12.9.2017.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/283680-kartiba-kada-organize-un-isteno-darba-vide-balstitas-macibas
).

With the decrease in vocational education institutions since 2010/11, the number of vocational education teachers has decreased by 12%. At the same time, the share of teachers with tertiary education increased from 91% to 93% ([31]For more information see: Daija, Z.; Kinta, G.; Ramina, B. (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU – Latvia. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_LV_TT.pdf).

The regulations on teachers’ education and professional competences development ([32]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
), adopted in 2014, determine that vocational education teachers should regularly improve their competence through continuing professional development.

Teachers are required to undertake at least 36 hours of continuing professional development every three years. Education institutions register teachers’ continuing professional development in the database of the State Education Information System (hosted by the Ministry of Education and Science).

The Cabinet Regulations ([33]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
) set the framework of two types of competence development programme:

  • 72-hour programmes which award a certificate in pedagogy, teacher career consultant certificate or right to implement a vocational education subject module.
  • 160-hour programmes which award a teacher's certificate for another subject.

Professional competence development of vocational education teachers is mainly provided by the National Centre for Education ([34]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).), which is subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science.

There is no evidence on the attractiveness of teaching as an occupation; however, ageing of teachers is observed.

Responsibility for providing labour market forecasts rests with the Ministry of Economics ([35]Ekonomikas ministrija.), which updates reports every other year and the State Employment Agency that updates reports anually ([36]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).).

The Ministry of Economics produces annual medium- and long-term forecasts. It set up an advisory council for labour market forecasting ([37]Darba tirgus prognozēšanas konsultatīvā padome.), i.e. a platform for dialogue between representatives of the State, employers, employees and local governments.

The annual report with medium- and long-term labour market forecasts ([38]Ministry of Economics (2018). Informatīvais ziņojums ar darba tirgus vidēja un ilgtermiņa prognozēm [Informative report on medium- and long-term labour market forecasts].
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/attachments/DarbaTirgusPrognozes_2018_06_27.pdf and
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/tautsaimniecibas_attistiba/dsp/EMZino_06072018_full.pdf
) includes an overview of labour supply and demand, and education areas, levels and progression routes of the labour force (including vocational education). The Ministry of Education and Science uses the data as well as annual proposals of sectoral expert councils to plan vocational education provision, including numbers of potential students and types of programmes.

The State Employment Agency carries out short-term labour market forecasts and has created a corresponding online tool ([39]https://cvvp.nva.gov.lv/#/pub/pakalpojumi/prognozes/). It also conducts employer express surveys once a year to anticipate changes in the structure of the labour force. The surveys aim at clarifying reasons for changes in demand and supply for occupations. Their results are used to adjust the education offer for the unemployed.

In 2016, the State Employment Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics, started a national level ESF project Development of labour market forecasting system (2016-21). The system will provide information on skills and professions in the short-, medium- and long-term, as well as information on learning opportunities. Active labour market policy measures will be evaluated and the offer of vocational education programmes will be based on the outcomes of skills forecasts. Currently, work is under way to develop guidelines for the interpretation and practical use of medium and long-term job forecasts. The guidelines’ main target audience is career advisors and education providers, and their development is based on the needs of forecasting users.

The Central Statistical Bureau ([40]Centrālā statistikas pārvalde (CSB).) conducts a labour force survey four times per year and collects data on education levels, employment by type of economic activity and occupation. Data on higher education institutions’ and vocational education provider graduates is collected by the institutions themselves and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science and to the Central Statistical Bureau for further analysis and publication.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([41]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([42]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Vocational education programmes are designed in line with the State education and occupational standards or qualification requirements (if the occupation does not have a standard), and sectoral qualifications frameworks.

The content of vocational education programmes is defined by State vocational education standards ([43]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19. 9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
). The standards include strategic aims, basic principles, mandatory content, ratio of theory and practice and evaluation procedures. Vocational education providers also ensure that specific skills and competences required in the occupational standards/professional qualification requirements are included in the programmes they offer.

Occupational standards and professional qualification requirements are elaborated by designated working groups comprising representatives of ministries, local governments, employers, employees, chamber of commerce and industry, NGOs and vocational education providers. The standards are endorsed by the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment. They are reviewed at least once every five years ([44]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
).

Since 2007, occupational standards have to include necessary professional competences, skills, and knowledge to perform professional activities. In 2010-15, key occupational standards in 14 sectors were aligned with recent labour market needs and this process is continuing in 2016-21 using ESF support.

In April 2018, 15 sectoral qualifications frameworks were officially approved, marking an agreement between educators and employers on qualifications required by labour market ([45]Cedefop (2018). Latvia: sectoral qualifications frameworks support vocational education development.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-sectoral-qualifications-frameworks-support-vocational-education-development [accessed 10.8.2018].
). The sectoral qualifications frameworks serve as guidelines for developing occupational standards and implementing vocational education programmes, including modules leading to specialisations.

The new modular approach for vocational education programmes ([46]Cedefop (2013). Latvia – modularisation of VET and work-based learning.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-modularisation-vet-and-work-based-learning
) includes use of learning outcomes, relevant teaching/learning methods and indicators of achievement. In 2017, the amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([47]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) set the legal framework for the modularisation of vocational education programmes. Modules are defined as parts of professional qualifications and are based on learning outcomes as an assessed and approved set of knowledge, skills and competences. Modular vocational education programmes lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2-4 and their professional content consists of a set of modules. After completing one or several modules recognisable in the labour market, but not proving acquisition of a qualification, vocational schools will have to issue a new type of certificate indicating the programme, module(s), achieved learning outcomes and their assessment. In 2017, modules have been included in the State vocational education standards ([48]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
).

Qualification exams ([49]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) that consist of theoretical and practical parts are designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for policies and strategies to ensure accessibility and quality of education.

Quality is assured through:

  • elaboration of education policy;
  • registration and accreditation of education providers;
  • licensing and accreditation of education programmes;
  • supervising the education process.

The further development of the quality monitoring system is among the priorities of vocational education policy. A principle of accreditation ensures that each programme’s content meets required standards of vocational education provided by public (State, local government) and private institutions ([50]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). It also increases the transparency of education provision, and fosters recognition of Latvian qualifications abroad.

The State Education Quality Service ([51]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) organises licensing and accreditation of vocational education programmes, and accreditation of vocational education providers and examination centres ([52]Examination centre is an accredited commercial company or association in arranging professional qualification exams, which does not implement education programmes.) of State, local government and private entities. A licence is a permission to implement a particular programme that meets all requirements of State education and occupational standards or professional qualification requirements. Providers must ensure proper infrastructure and equipment and, if necessary, obtain an agreement from the relevant professional association. The State Education Quality Service issues a licence for an indefinite period.

Accreditation is the evaluation of the performance of the relevant education provider and/or the quality of implementation of the education programme. As a result of accreditation, an education provider obtains a right for two to six years to issue a State recognised qualification for a particular programme. During the accreditation process, the quality of the implementation of an education programme is evaluated against criteria aligned to EQAVET. For example, when accrediting vocational education programmes (EQF levels 2-4), the following areas of criteria are assessed:

  • content of education – education programmes implemented by institution;
  • teaching and learning;
  • learners’ achievements;
  • support to learners;
  • environment of institution;
  • resources of institution;
  • work organisation, management and quality assurance of institution.

All public continuing vocational education programmes (480 hours or more) and professional development programmes (160 hours or more) must be licensed and accredited by the State Education Quality Service. Providers of professional development programmes (159 hours or less) must obtain a licence from local government. Public providers can offer non-formal learning programmes without a licence.

During the licensing or accreditation process, the State Education Quality Service hires external experts and representatives of sectoral NGOs and employers to evaluate programme compliance with State education standards, occupational standards or professional qualification requirements and other regulations. All experts have specific knowledge of the accreditation process.

The National Centre for Education ([53]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) ensures the development of content for vocational education (except higher education) in compliance with the State vocational education standards. It also ensures development and implementation of uniform content for vocational education State examinations, coordinates development of teaching/learning aids complying with State general and vocational education standards, and coordinates teachers’ professional development.

The Higher Education Council ([54]Augstākās izglītības padome.) is responsible for quality assurance of higher (including professional) education. The council takes decisions on accreditation of higher education institutions in general and submits them to the Ministry of Education and Science for approval.

Since 2012, study fields (including all programmes of the same field) undergo joint quality assurance. From 2015, quality assurance of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields, and licensing of study programmes is organised by Higher Education Quality Agency ([55]Augstākās izglītības kvalitātes aģentūra (AIKA).), a department within the Academic Information Centre ([56]Akadēmiskās informācijas centrs (AIC).).

The Academic Information Centre develops and complies with the methodologies and procedures for external quality assessment of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields in line with the standards and guidelines developed by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ([57]ENQA). The decision on the accreditation of the study field is taken by the study accreditation committee.

The Academic Information Centre maintains the register of study fields, a public portal ([58]http://svr.aic.lv/Form.aspx?id=contacts) that includes information on higher education programmes and quality assurance of institutions and study fields.

A system for validation of prior learning (EQF levels 2-4) was launched in 2011 after amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([59]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Accredited education providers and examination centres with a permit from the State Education Quality Service ([60]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) carry out the validation process according to government regulations ([61]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Kārtība, kādā novērtē ārpus formālās izglītības sistēmas apgūto profesionālo kompetenci [Procedure how professional competences obtained outside formal education system are assessed]. Regulation No 146 (last amended 30.8.2011, No 663)].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=226788
).

The validation procedure includes the following steps:

  • submission of application;
  • consultation (free of charge) on requirements of relevant occupational standard or professional qualification requirements and the exam procedure;
  • professional qualification exam (for a fee);
  • certification of professional qualification.

Since 2017, ESF support has been used to compensate the cost of the qualification exam both for the unemployed and employed. After successfully passing the exam, a certificate of a professional qualification (EQF level 2-4) is issued according to government regulations ([62]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
). The qualification gives access to labour market.

The validation procedure and criteria for higher education were approved in 2012, following amendments of 2011 to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([63]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions ]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
). Knowledge, skills and competences acquired in previous learning may be validated according to learning outcomes of the study course or module (for regulated professions only in a theoretical course or module). Learning outcomes acquired through professional experience may only be recognised in a practical course or module of the study programme ([64]Cabinet of Ministers (2018a). Ārpus formālās izglītības apgūto vai profesionālajā pieredzē iegūto kompetenču un iepriekšējā izglītībā sasniegtu studiju rezultātu atzīšanas noteikumi [Regulations for validation of competences acquired outside formal education or during professional experience and for recognising learning outcomes acquired in previous education]. Regulations No 505.
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301013-arpus-formalas-izglitibas-apguto-vai-profesionalaja-pieredze-ieguto-kompetencu-un-iepriekseja-izglitiba-sasniegtu
).

An overview of the development and implementation of the system for validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes (EQF levels 2-7) is provided in the report Implementation of validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in Latvia prepared by the Academic Information Centre in 2018.

National policy priorities include increasing the attractiveness of initial vocational education and reduction of early leaving from education.

The education development guidelines 2014-20 ([65]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) foresee preventive and compensatory actions, including:

  • promoting youth involvement in leisure and extracurricular activities that increase interest in practical areas and support skills development;
  • providing scholarships for vocational education students;
  • conducting a study on reasons for leaving education early;
  • implementing initial vocational education programmes in the Youth guarantee initiative framework;
  • identifying young NEETs and involving them in education.

Monthly scholarships

Unlike general education students, vocational education students receive monthly scholarships according to government regulations on scholarships ([66]Cabinet of Ministers (2004). Noteikumi par stipendijām [Regulations on scholarships]. Regulation No 740 (last amended 5.12.2017, No706).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=93004
). Students in public vocational education programmes receive a State scholarship of between EUR 10 and 150 per month depending on performance. Orphans/children without parental care (not in care institutions or foster families) and best performers in studies or school social activities receive a higher scholarship.

Scholarships and tax incentives for students of short programmes

17 to 29 year-old students of short programmes in the youth guarantee initiative may receive ESF part-financed scholarship per month up to EUR 70-115.

Tax incentives for individuals are also available and regulated by the Law on Personal Income Tax ([67]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The Law was amended to introduce, as of January 2017, a tax exemption for apprenticeship scholarships not exceeding EUR 280 per month.

Reduction of taxable income

Individuals may request the State Revenue Service ([68]Valsts ieņēmumu dienests.) to reduce their taxable income by the amount of their education (and medical) expenses up to a maximum of EUR 600 per year (increased in 2018), including expenses paid for brothers/sisters/children under 24 years of age ([69]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The revenue service is also responsible for monitoring the use of tax incentives. Recent statistics, however, do not include all claims, as expenses may be claimed up to three years after they have been incurred.

For taxation purposes ‘education’ is understood as participation in:

  • accredited education programmes (including higher and vocational education);
  • EU/European economic area occupational learning;
  • skills or qualification development;
  • interest education for children under 18 years of age.

Study loans for tertiary education

Tertiary (including professional) education students can apply for two types of study loan to cover tuition fees and costs of living. Loans are offered by selected banks (or other credit institutions) and are guaranteed by the State ([70]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
).

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education students’ involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support for the project.

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education student involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support while part of the project.

The main incentives for companies to provide apprenticeships are:

  • opportunity to prepare the employees they need in a timely manner;
  • to create a positive image of the company in society;
  • to receive financing from the ESF project in this process;
  • an opportunity to pay a student motivational apprenticeship scholarship without paying taxes.

The project is a good support tool to provide additional funding for an employee who trains a student. It provides work safety tools, the opportunity to cover student insurance from the project funds, and purchase a mandatory health check; the project has also provided funding to cover travel costs for learner to get to the company where apprenticeship takes place.

The Education Law ([71]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
) stipulates local governments’ responsibility for provision of career education for children and the young; students’ right to receive career guidance and counselling; and responsibilities of heads of education institutions for ensuring access to career development services. The Vocational Education Law ([72]Saeima (1999a). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) determines the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science for introducing guidance and counselling in vocational education.

The present career development support system has been in place since 2006. It was launched by a Ministry of Welfare policy paper on improving career guidance ([73]Cabinet of Ministers (2006a). Par Koncepciju Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas pilnveidošana [White paper on improvement of the career guidance system]. Cabinet Order No 214. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=132990
). The paper covers all aspects of lifelong guidance including the mechanisms to ensure better cooperation and coordination between key stakeholders at different levels. The development of career education and widening access to individual career services in a lifelong learning context is also one of policy priorities set by the education development guidelines 2014-20 ([74]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20]. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) and is implemented with support from public and EU funds.

In 2007, the national guidance and counselling forum (Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas sadarbības padome) was established. This gathers policy-makers from the relevant ministries, guidance providers, social partners and users. The forum proposes changes at national and local levels, contributing to development of guidance and counselling policy and system. It also cooperates with the Latvian delegation to the European lifelong guidance policy network.

The provision of career education is one of the criteria for assessing quality in general and vocational education schools ([75]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). Vocational education competence centres should provide individual career counselling and support measures for career education to help students acquire career management skills ([76]Cabinet of Ministers (2013a). Profesionālās izglītības kompetences centra statusa piešķiršanas un anulēšanas kārtība [Procedure for allocation and nullification of vocational education competence centre status]. Regulation No 144.Last amended 25.8.2015.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=255589
).

The State Education Development Agency (VIAA) represents Latvia in the Euroguidance network and supports implementation of career education policy within the education sector.

The agency develops methodological materials for career guidance practitioners working at schools and guidance materials for young people and adults. VIAA also organises seminars for practitioners, since 2012, including a ‘career week’ in big cities for young people that offers visits to enterprises and meetings with representatives of different occupations; it organises participation of young professionals in international level competitions – EuroSkills and WordSkills – in which Latvian teams have competed successfully since 2010 and 2011 respectively, and, since 2017, has organised SkillsLatvia, the largest national professional skills competition for vocational education learners. The agency also maintains and updates an education opportunities database ([77]See
www.niid.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about general, vocational and higher education providers and programmes, as well as about non-formal learning opportunities. VIAA also offers a website ([78]See
www.profesijupasaule.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about the world of work.

According to the Support Law for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment (Saeima, 2002), the State Employment Agency’s (NVA) functions include ensuring free career advice for the unemployed, job-seekers or other persons and developing career counselling methods and career guidance information.

NVA provides group and individual career consultations. Counselling methods depend on the client’s needs. The first meeting in an individual career consultation is devoted to clarifying the aims of the consultation and selecting the most appropriate working method, which may be focused on exploring professional interests, vocational aptitude, or exploring clients’ knowledge, skills/competences and values. If need be, psychological support is offered, in the form of a client resource assessment to show their strengths for a successful future life planning. The NVA web portal www.nva.gov.lv section Career services ([79]See Karjeras pakalpojumi:
http://www.nva.gov.lv/karjera [accessed 18.7.2018].
) has information on job searching and career decision making, with descriptions of occupations, education opportunities, and self-assessment tests.

According to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([80]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on institutions of higher education]. Last amended 21.6.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
), students have a right to receive information on issues regarding their studies and potential careers. Higher education institutions have designated career centres that provide information on education and career opportunities.

In the private and NGO sectors, provision of guidance services is underdeveloped, but there are some promising initiatives. An example is the youth consultation web portal ([81]See
www.prakse.lv [accessed 18.7.2018].
) (since 2008), which is considered the largest in Latvia covering career and education issues.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College VET

programme

2-3 years

ISCED 554

First level higher professional education (college education) (pirmā līmeņa profesionālā augstākā izglītība (koledžas izglītība)) programme leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120-180 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions, including colleges (koledža) provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers
  • Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)
  • Colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=30%

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 also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final qualification examination which also includes defence of a qualification paper.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

First level professional higher education diploma (pirmā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms) at EQF level 5.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, insurance specialist, fitness trainer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • professional higher education studies (graduates may have shorter duration of further studies at EQF level 6 if they continue in the same field)
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the expected learning outcomes in the respective college study programme by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y, general education subjects take up at least 17% of the curriculum.

Key competences

Y

The compulsory content includes a module for the development of professional competences in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

13% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programme,

4 years

ISCED 655

Professional bachelor (profesionālais bakalaurs) programme leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

At least 240 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are learning-outcomes based.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional Bachelor’s diploma (profesionālā bakalaura diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Lawyer, social worker, civil engineer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • second level professional higher education studies
  • master studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 17% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

34% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional) including ISCED 655 and 657.

EQF 6 or 7

Professional

higher education programme

(e.g. medical studies),

4-6 years

ISCED 655, 656, 756

Second level higher professional education programme after secondary education (otrā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības programmas pēc vidējās izglītības) leading to EQF level 6 or 7, ISCED 655, 656 or 756
EQF level
6 or 7
ISCED-P 2011 level

655, 656 or 756

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23-25+

Usual completion age

27+

Length of a programme (years)

4 for ISCED 655, more than 4 for ISCED 656, 5 minimum for ISCED 756

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240-360 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education for ISCED 655, 656 and 756.

Entry requirement can be first level professional higher education (college programme) for ISCED 655.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms) (at least four years of full time studies for EQF level 6 and at least five years of full time studies for EQF level 7)

Examples of qualifications

Cardiac surgeon, dietitian, occupational health physician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • master programmes for ISCED 655 and 656
  • doctoral programmes for ISCED 756
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 12.5% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

7% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional

Higher education programme,

1-2 years

ISCED 657

Second level higher professional education programme after bachelor level studies (otrā līmeņa profesionālā augstākās izglītības programma pēc bakalaura līmeņa studijām) leading to EQF level 6 ISCED 657
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

657

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23+

Usual completion age

24+

Length of a programme (years)

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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes).

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is a bachelor degree or professional bachelor degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Fire safety and civil protection engineer, translator, lawyer

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 7

Professional master

programme

min 1 year

ISCED 757

Professional master (profesionālais maģistrs) programme leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 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?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 to 120 ECTS, depending on the previous education and field.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

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

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

65%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree or professional bachelor’s degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional master’s diploma (profesionālā maģistra diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Economist, electrical engineer, quality manager

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter:

  • labour market
  • doctoral studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content must include study courses which develop professional competences in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

13% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional).

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

ISCED 254

Basic vocational education (profesionālā pamatizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 254
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

16+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • workshops at school
Main providers

Special education institutions/development centres or vocational education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([84]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year, but must covering the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of basic vocational education (apliecība par profesionālo pamatizglītību), with professional qualification at EQF level 2.

Examples of qualifications

Cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • progress to secondary level (vocational) education
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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% ([85]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

School-based secondary VET,

WBL 65%,

3 years

ISCED 353

Vocational education (arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

The learning form of this programme type is contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme.

Main providers

Vocational schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target group is young people after completion of basic education.

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

Entry requirements are 15 years and basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([86]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to the government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of vocational education (atestāts par arodizglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 3

Examples of qualifications

Cook, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter vocational secondary education
  • enter the labour market

For admission to higher education, a one-year intermediate general secondary education ‘bridge programme’ must be followed.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these education programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([87]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
) and occupational standards ([88]Since 2016, in parallel to the occupational standards, Cabinet Regulations stipulate qualifications requirements and sectoral qualifications framework (SQF) descriptions. In further text, the term ‘occupational standards’ includes all the mentioned documents.) ([89]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
) and is based on learning outcomes.

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

5% ([90]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based secondary VET

WBL 50%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Vocational secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

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?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools and some colleges.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

The main target group is young people after completing basic education.

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

Entry requirements are basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a vocational education programme, learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([91]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

Vocational secondary education students must also take State centralised exams in the following general study subjects: Latvian, mathematics, foreign language and one subject selected by the student.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational secondary education programmes lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

The State centralised exams in four general subjects provide students with a certificate of general secondary education (vispārējās vidējās izglītības sertifikāts) and the right to enter higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, electronic technician, mechanical engineering technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • continue in higher education after passing the State centralised exams in general study subjects
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are acquired according to the State education standard.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([92]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([93]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

71% ([94]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351,453

One year vocational education (viengadīgā arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 or 453
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351 or 453

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

11+

Usual entry age

17+

Usual completion age

18+

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?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, followed by a final qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme; however, some programmes are offered in part-time form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

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

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with basic or secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

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

Entry requirements are age 17 and basic education (for programmes of ISCED 351) or secondary education (for programmes of ISCED 453 ([95]In Latvia, post-secondary education programmes, in contrast to what their name suggests, belong to secondary education level.)).

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the programme learners must pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of professional qualification (profesionālās kvalifikācijas apliecība) (EQF level 3)

Examples of qualifications

Carer, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire a certificate of professional qualification (EQF level 3) through validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([96]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([97]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

9% ([98]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351, 453

One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education after general secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība pēc vispārējās vidējās izglītības) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 453
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1.5-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, which is followed by a qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can be implemented also as an apprenticeship-type scheme. However, several programmes are offered in part-time or distance learning form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, programmes mainly of one and a half years have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

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

Entry requirement is secondary education

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Short vocational secondary education programmes (ISCED-P 453) lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, book-keeper, dental technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([99]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([100]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

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

14% ([101]2017)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Belgium comprises the following main features:

  • compulsory education concerns learners until 18 years of age. At secondary level, dual learning or apprenticeship (alternating work-based learning and school-based education) is available for youngsters aged 15 and up [1]School attendance is required until 15-16 years old full-time and up to 18-part time.
    ;
  • education, training and employment are federated matters involving a great number of actors, including ministers for education and ministers for training and employment at each federated level.
  • formal certification is the dominant model in the VET field;
  • small territory and its geographic position;
  • three linguistic communities and migration flows result in linguistic challenges.

Distinctive features [2]Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Belgium. Luxembourg: Publications Office.  http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8091_en.pdf
:

VET providers in the education system are part of school networks (public and subsidised private education). They pursue common objectives (defined by minimum attainment targets), including common certification, and use common occupation profiles and VET standards, but enjoy some autonomy. This results in, and promotes, freedom of education choice for learners and their parents.

Strategy, policies and all measures involving employment and VET are negotiated with social partners, leading to formal sectoral agreements. Social partners are directly involved in organising programmes of alternating work and education, and continuous vocational training through framework agreements.

Different socioeconomic realities in the regions mean that Flanders, Wallonia, the German-speaking Community and the Brussels-Capital Region have different objectives and priorities. These are formalised in government strategies and plans which deal with, for example, language learning, new technologies, sustainable employment, training for young people or matching workforce skills to labour market needs. To address this issue, the concept of ‘school basin’ was created and developed in BE-FR; ten basins corresponding to ten geographical areas face specific socio-economic and educational realities inside the Community. In BE-FL, the concept of ‘Flemish partnership of dual learning’ has been developed, and throughout different phases of the organisation of VET, social partners are involved.

The coexistence of three official languages in Belgium remains a key challenge in all regions. Especially for a better integration of newcomers, knowledge of the language of instruction is an important matter within the VET (for instance, in Brussels, jobseekers are offered language job vouchers to improve their language skills and employment chances). Furthermore, this coexistence between the different government levels and divides, sometimes makes cooperation between partners difficult. Different legislative frameworks due to policy choices, can cause complications for pupils, students, or employers who are seeking interregional educational mobility.

Particularly in Brussels with its specific, tertiary economy and labour market, there is an important discrepancy between workers’ qualifications which results in high levels of unemployment amongst the low-skilled people. In response, governments are investing in VET but also coordinating interregional mobility. However, the coexistence of different government levels and divides in Belgium, sometimes makes cooperation between partners difficult. Different legislative frameworks due to policy choices, can cause difficulties for pupils, students, or employers who are seeking interregional educational mobility.

Participation in continuing training is set as an economic lever. Currently, low participation and low involvement of companies in training result in a lack of qualified work force amongst the already employed people to respond to the evolution of needs. This particularly happens in ICT jobs; companies are not properly prepared to the digitalisation of the workplace. Measures like the ‘Chèques TIC’ offer allow a jobseeker in Brussels to follow a complementary training. Efforts are also made to expand the offer of adult education, literacy and language learning. Policies aim at increasing synergy between the world of work and education. For example until 2017, companies were obliged to allocate 1.9% of wage costs to support lifelong learning programmes; a new inter-professional agreement signed by social partners from the private sector has since then set as rule that each employee has the right to five days of training per year [3]http://www.emploi.belgique.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=45772
. Some measures have also been implemented to increase or maintain the number of employees aged 45+ in companies [4]http://www.emploi.belgique.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=37939
.

Youth unemployment is a major concern for Belgian authorities. While there is a long tradition of dual learning in the German-speaking Community, this trend is being promoted in other regions and communities as a measure to avoid inactivity among young people. In BE-FR, the French-language Office for Dual Training [5]Office francophone pour la formation en alternance (OFFA).
 was created to coordinate and promote the dual training. In BE-FL, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training ‘SYNTRA Vlaanderen’ is in charge of a new system of dual-learning allowing secondary learners aged 15 and older to combine their studies with training at a company. Different tools and campaigns are developed in order to ‘market’ this new method of work-based learning, as a qualitative track on secondary level and, in the future, also in higher and adult education.

Data from VET in Belgium Spotlight 2017 and VET in Belgium 2018 Report [6]Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Belgium. Luxembourg: Publications Office.  http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8091_en.pdf ; Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

Population in 2018: 11 398 589.

Population increased since 2013 by 2.3% due to a positive natural balance (more births than deaths) and the growing immigration.

The population in Belgium is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to steadily increase from 28 in 2015 to 44 in 2060 [7]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged  65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).
.

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 16.05.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

The population has increased at a rate of 9.42% between 2004 and 2018 in Belgium and 19.8% in Brussels – this number correlates with the high number of foreigners living in Brussels. In this context, the education system, including VET, accommodates more and more young people, often from various origins, also by establishing special VET providers for specific target groups [8]Source: Statbel.be
.

To tackle the coexistence of three official languages in Belgium, the emphasis is put on offering language learning at all education levels. Each Community/region organise language courses (French, Dutch or German, also as a foreign language targeting newcomers and migrants to facilitate social and economic integration including the access to vocational training).

Small and medium enterprises (SME) generate almost 70% of employment in Belgium. More than 99% of Belgian enterprises can be considered as SME (having less than 250 persons employed). Those are active mainly in branches like sales, car and motorbike repair, construction and specialised, technical and scientific activities.

Belgian economy, just like any modern industrialised economy, is characterised by the growing importance of services: the share of market services (including wholesale and retail, financial activities, insurance and energy) in the total gross value added represented 57.3% in 2017, while this share amounted to only 14.4% for industry and 5.2% for construction. The balance is distributed between non-market services (including healthcare) and agriculture [9]https://economie.fgov.be/fr/publications/apercu-de-leconomie-belge-note
.

The most common occupations in Belgium are office employees (general functions), store salespersons, office maintenance workers, hotels and other establishments, home helpers and general course teachers (secondary education) [10]https://statbel.fgov.be/fr/themes/emploi-formation/marche-du-travail/les-professions-en-belgique
.

The labour market is regulated for almost all matters at a regional level in Belgium (except for a small portion of territory in Wallonia where the labour market is under the German-speaking Community competence). Jobs within the public service are highly regulated and require specific level of diploma for almost all positions as well as a certificate of good conduct. Some professions are protected by specific  rules or require specific diplomas, patents or skills to run a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Those requirements concern jobs in the construction sector, car mechanics, body care services, food services and textile cleaning. A certificate of good conduct is also required for some intellectual professions such as estate agents, accountants, psychologists, architects and others.

Total unemployment (2018): 5.2% (EU28: 6%); it decreased by 0.74 percentage points since 2008. Further evolution is positive. In 2018, the unemployment rate reached its lowest point in decades.

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

NB: Data data based on ISCED 2011.
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 16.05.2019]

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. Unemployment among low qualified people aged 15-24 is significantly higher than in the other categories, however the trend has been diminishing in the past years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 80.3% in 2014 to 83.1% 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 on 16.05.2019]

The increase (+1.8 pp) in employment of 20-34-year-old VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) in 2014-18 was almost the same as the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+1.9 pp) in the same period in Belgium. [11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

The share of people aged up to 64 with higher education is higher in Belgium than in other countries with rates similar to the United Kingdom or The Netherlands. However, the share of low educated people is also high compared to other EU countries. Belgium faces thus an important discrepancy in its citizens’ education.

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 on 16.05.2019].

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary (vocational)

upper secondary (vocational)

post-secondary non tertiary education (vocational)

20%

57.8%

93.1%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.05.2019].

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted on 16.05.2019].

In Belgium, the difference in participation in VET between male and female is less than 10% at each of the three levels (lower secondary, upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary vocational education). Usually, there are more males in VET with the exception of the upper secondary vocational education where females outnumber the males by 9.1%.

More males are following study fields like construction, heavy car or machines drivers, mechanics, while females more often enrol in services or personal care [12]Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07
.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.1% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2018. Comparatively, Belgium has better results than EU28 countries where the share decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 10.6% in 2018. The 2020 target was set at 9.5% and was thus already achieved though more ambitious than the overall EU objective (10%).

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18 (in percentage)

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 8.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2019-european-semester-national-reform-programme-belgium_en.pdf  [accessed 8.5.2019].

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

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18 (in percentage)

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

Participation in lifelong learning in Belgium has slowly increased in the past few years. In 2018, it reached 8.5% which is however still less than the EU28 average at 11.1%.

Education attainment in VET learners by age (in percentage)

Source: Eurostat, trng_lfs_15 [extracted 15.5.2019].

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education (ISCED levels 1);
  • secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Early childhood education is not compulsory and is generally provided at childcare institutions for children up to age six (the Ministry of Education is responsible for education starting at three).

Compulsory education starts at the age of 6 and lasts until 18 years of age. Those twelve years include six years of  primary education and six years of secondary education. Policies regarding learners subjected to compulsory education are under the supervision of the education ministry in each of the Community (Flemish, French and German-speaking Communities).

Primary school programme lasts six years, on successful completion learners acquire the Certificate of Basic Education (Certificat d’Etudes de Base, CEB) giving them access to secondary education.

General secondary education is a six-year programme divided into three degrees, each lasting two years. The achievement of each degree gives access to the next level. At the end of the first degree, learners have the possibility to remain in the general education stream (nationally referred as transition education) or to switch to the VET stream (nationally referred to as qualification education). Programmes at this level are offered as technical or artistic qualification programmes or as vocational qualification programmes. Programmes can be offered full-time, as dual learning or part-time. After having successfully accomplished the sixth year of general secondary education, learners obtain a certificate of upper secondary education (Certificat de l’enseignement secondaire supérieur, CESS).

Schooling institutions in Belgium are organised into networks: formal non-denominational education (organised by Communities, the French Community Commission, provinces and municipalities) and private education (non-denominational or denominational, organised by non-profit associations, religious congregations, etc.) thus offering parents the choice of the type of education they want for their children.

VET learning options in Belgium are available from a number of providers, each depending on one of the three linguistic Communities and delivering the learning in one of the three Regions.

The general pattern of VET learning options is similar in  every Community. They can be organised in four groups, according to the education level at which they are available: secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary, tertiary level and adult education.

Secondary level (ISCED 3)

At secondary level, four types of VET options can be distinguished.

  • Technical secondary education

Technical education is a school-based programme for learners who are interested in following more ‘technical’ subject courses (computer science, applied sciences, economics, etc. – in general secondary education, this time is devoted to more general subjects like languages, mathematics, etc.). At the end of the sixth year, the students receive a qualification certificate and a certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) which gives them the possibility to continue their education at a higher level.

  • Vocational secondary education

Vocational education at secondary level is a school-based programme targeting learners who wish to prepare for working life. Vocational education programmes are taught in various sectors like agronomy, industry, construction, HORECA, economy, etc. Basically, this type of education is organised in the second and/or third degrees (years four to six). A vocational certificate (nationally referred to as qualification certificate) is delivered at the end of the sixth year. An additional seventh-year allows students to obtain the CESS which gives them access to higher education.

  • Apprenticeships or dual programmes

This type of education is accessible to learners aged 15 if they have completed the first degree of secondary education or learners aged 16 and up without conditions. Apprenticeship can be either organised in schools or in training centres (IFAPME, SFPME, [13]IFAPME: Institut wallon de Formation en Alternance et des indépendants et Petites et Moyennes Entreprises – The Walloon Institute for dual training and self-employment in small and medium-sized enterprises.

SFPME: Le Service de la formation des petites et moyennes entreprise – The training service for small and medium-sized enterprises.

EFP: Espace Formation des PME (SMEs) – Training Place for small and medium-sized enterprises in Brussels.
​ EFP  for French-speakers in Wallonia and Brussels; SYNTRA for Dutch-speakers in Flanders [14]SYNTRA: Vlaanderen The Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
 and Brussels and the IAWM [15]Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for Vocational and Educational Training. 
is managing the​ ZAWM [16]Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung.
 training centres in the German-speaking Community) and are mainly work-orientated.

During the week, one or two days are devoted to theoretical learning at school or in the training centres and three or four days are devoted to training within an enterprise. A regulatory framework exists for apprenticeships: a signed contract stating the rights and duties of all parties involved (remuneration, holidays, etc.). A qualification certificate is delivered at the end of the sixth year (equivalent to the certificate received in the school-based system). An additional seventh-year allows students to obtain the CESS which gives them access to higher education.

  • VET for SEN learners

Special VET programmes are offered to learners with physical or mental difficulties in each Community. Learners receive a qualification certificate or, in some programmes, a CESS.

Post-secondary non-tertiary level (ISCED 4)

Post-secondary education includes follow-up programmes to technical and vocational secondary education and a graduate programme in nursing.

Tertiary level (ISCED 5 and 6)

Tertiary level in VET concerns professional bachelor programmes offering to acquire plenty of practical experience or dual bachelor and master programmes which offer theoretical courses and training within a company (40-60% time-division).

Adult education (starting at ISCED 1)

Adult education concerns all levels of education; diplomas and certificates can also be acquired by adults who did not have the opportunity to do it in the traditional pathway. Specific training programmes can be offered to jobseekers and workers by employment agencies (linguistic, computing trainings, etc.).

Training centres for apprenticeships presented above are also open to adults. They offer multiple programmes in  entrepreneurial, leading and coordinating trainings and are accessible for people aged 18 and up. People wishing to open their own business can acquire the necessary certificates in those centres. In Wallonia and Brussels, [17]Socio-professional Integration Centres – Centres d’insertion socioprofessionnelle.
​ CISP  and OISP [18]Socio-professional Integration Organisations – Organismes d’insertion socioprofessionnelle.
offer practical training in a business or in workshops to unemployed and vulnerable groups.

Specific associations are available for NEETS people. Their focus is to offer the opportunity for vulnerable groups to integrate the job-market more easily.

Specific features

There are many variations inside this system depending on the Community/Regions we are focusing on. Those variations concern the access modalities, the sector and programme availabilities, the costs, the duration of the training, etc.

Other forms of VET training are also organised by sectorial funds and unsubsidised private partners.

In Belgium, apprenticeships are offered to learners above 15 years old and takes place in the company (three to four days) and in a training centre (one to two days) where learners receive general, technical, theoretical and practical courses. The programme is based on a jointly agreed training plan and a training contract is signed by the employer and the apprentice; apprentices receive remuneration. These alternating trainings are organised by regional training providers [19]Information are based on following publication where you can find also further information on this topic:
Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
:

BE-FL

Apprenticeship programmes in the Flemish community is organized either by:

  • schools (Centra voor deeltijds onderwijs, CDO) or
  • SYNTRA training centres, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, which provides training in both the Brussels and the Flemish Regions.

In the part-time secondary education (Deeltijds Beroepsecundaironderwijs, DBSO) system offered by the CDO schools, the class council decides whether the learner has passed both the learning part and workplace learning. They also determine how he/she will be evaluated. In modular education: evaluation of a module/course can be done at any time of the school year (the dates are decided by the school). In linear education the examination takes place on 30th June.

In the apprenticeship scheme offered by SYNTRA training centres, the apprenticeship evaluation is permanent, both in the company and within the training centre. During the school year, account is taken of attitudes, evolution in the study results, tests, previous advices from the class council, evaluations from company mentor, to decide whether the learner has achieved the learning objectives. Both parts of the training are evaluated once per year. A final examination is organised at the end of the programme and is assessed by two jury member.

A framework for the roles and responsibilities of every partner involved is in place. During the time at school, the education provider is fully responsible for learners, whilst the time at the workplace is the responsibility of the company. SYNTRA Vlaanderen is the ‘manager’ for workplace training and has a focus on the quality and extension of workplaces. Education providers are responsible for certification. Since 1st September 2016 a special decree [20]http://data-onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/edulex/document.aspx?docid=14994
 determines the rights and duties of the parties involved, liability, remunerations, holidays and the way in which an agreement can be terminated.

In September 2018, SYNTRA Vlaanderen signed an international cooperation agreement with the Dutch Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education and the Labour Market to enable and encourage cross-border learning paths for apprenticeships [21]ReferNet Belgium (2018). The future of learning is dual, digital and international, 2018. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/belgium-future-learning-dual-digital-and-international
.

A new apprenticeship pathway called ‘dual learning’ has been formally adopted and will be fully implemented in Flanders from September 2019 [22]See also: Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

BE-FR

The apprenticeship programme in French-speaking Belgium, is organised by the following two regional organisations who are the responsibility of the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training in Brussels and the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training in Wallonia:

  • the IFAPME network in Wallonia;
  • SFPME/EFP in Brussels.

SFPME is responsible for guidance of apprentices and trainees, ensuring that traineeship agreements and dual training contracts are properly carried out in the companies. Furthermore, this organisation is also in charge of developing training standards and teaching tools, as well as managing the ‘EFP’ training centre and approval of the training businesses. Training centres all work closely with sectoral and professional representatives to stay in contact with the business world.

Since 2015, learners can enter the system without a dual training contract with an employer. However, they must take courses and are supported in their further search for enterprises or their reorientation if there is a shortage of businesses in the sector chosen or for other reasons.

There are examinations on general and vocational theoretical knowledge at the end of each academic year. The vocational accomplishments are continuously evaluated during the apprenticeship, and a practical test before a jury of professionals is organised at the end of the programme.

At the end of his/her training, an apprentice who successfully passes all the examinations obtains an apprenticeship certificate approved by the French Community. This certificate meets the requirements of the law on professional access in the case of a regulated profession and gives access to further training (‘entrepreneur’ as well as coordination and leadership training). It also provides sectoral recognition.

In certain occupations, the apprenticeship certificate is considered equivalent to the VET (nationally referred to as qualifying education) certifications (CQ6 + CQ7) and allows direct access to the 7th years of vocational education, providing access to higher education.

BE-DE

This apprenticeship programme in the German-speaking Community is organised by the IAWM [23]Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium sized enterprises.
  which is responsible for the general organisation, the management and the teaching methods. It manages two training centres (ZAWM), in Eupen and Saint Vith, and works actively together with all of the economic forces in BE-DE. The dual system in BE-DE relies on the active participation of sectors, local entrepreneurial workforce and professional associations, all involved in the management committee of IAWM. Consequently, the system is actually supported by the enterprises themselves and has close ties with the business world. IAWM also works with the employment office to integrate labour market trends into its training provision. This system is particularly popular and successful in BE-DE where it has nearly 10 times the number of apprentices found in the other regions (25% of the secondary technical and vocational learners opt for this pathway). It provides the certificate of completion of secondary vocational education at the end of the apprenticeship period as in BE-FL.

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

Due to the specific institutional system in Belgium, where competences are distributed between Communities and Regions, different actors are involved in VET governance depending on the linguistic and regional grounds [24]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

A major part of competences was transferred to the federated entities; however, in matters related to VET, the federal level is still responsible for the determination of the duration of compulsory education, the minimum conditions for the award of the education diploma and the pensions of teachers. Social security, to which VET learners are subjected to when they are no longer under parental care, is also governed by the federal institutions. It is also important to state that in Belgium, social partners are involved in the VET governance at all levels and in all federated entities.

VET governance at federated entities will be presented by linguistic groups.

BE-FL

For Dutch-speaking learners, VET is governed by the Flemish Government in Flanders and for learners in Brussels both the Flemish Government and Brussels’ regional authorities are responsible.

In Flanders, within the Flemish Government, both the Minister of Education and Training and the Minister of Work and Social Economy are in charge of VET.

  • Minister of education and training:

he or she is responsible for the formal education system, including initial secondary VET. A special department within the ministry cooperates with several agencies to implement policies:

  1. AGODI: the agency for education services;
  2. AHOVOKS: the agency for higher education, adult education, qualifications and study grants;
  3. VLOR: a strategic advisory council for education and training policies providing advices, practical implementation support to new governmental educational initiatives. Minister of Work and Social Economy.

He or she is responsible for VET for job-seekers and workers, as well as entrepreneurial training. Similarly, a special department within the ministry works with agencies that implement policies:

  1. VDAB [25]Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding – Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training.
    and
  2. SYNTRA Vlaanderen [26]SYNTRA Vlaanderen: The Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
    .

Advisory bodies participate in policy debates, they are the Flemish Economic Social Consultative Committee (VESOC) and the Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV). SERV is the advisory body on work, economy, energy and (vocational) education and training. It is also in charge of organising the secretariat of VESOC which is thus an ongoing forum for policy debates between social partners and the government; the meetings can result in official agreements.

BE-FR

For French-speaking leaners, three main bodies are responsible for VET governance:

  • the French Community Government,
  • the Walloon Region and
  • the COCOF [27]Commission communautaire française, French Community Commission, responsible for some competences for French-speakers in Brussels.  
    , responsible for VET competences.

Within each body, the education minister and/or the training minister [28]Minister of Vocational Training and Minister of Education at the COCOF; Minister of Higher Education and Adult Learning and Minister of Education at the French Community; Minister of Vocational Training and Employment at the Walloon Region. New governments decide about the distribution of tasks within its ministries (there can thus be one, two or three ministers involved).
are in charge of policy orientation, allocation of public resources and the legislation about VET organisation. Their administrations operationalise the education or training offer, determine the programmes and implement the profiles specified by the SFMQ [29]Service francophone des métiers et qualifications - the French-language Service for Jobs and Qualifications.
. The four training operators are also involved in the administrative decisions (Bruxelles Formation, le Forem, IFAPME and SFPME) [30]VDAB:  Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency. Bruxelles Formation: The Brussels Institute for Vocational Training. SFPME: Service Formation PME: the training service for small and medium-sized entreprises, in Brussels. EFP (Espace Formation des Petites et Moyennes entreprises: the training centre in Brussels for SME’s).
.

Specific case of Brussels (due to its bilingual status)

Thus, VET governance in Brussels is particular, involving actors from both the Flemish Government and the French Community Commission. They are acting through two public providers: VDAB and Bruxelles Formation (but also the SFPME and EFP for apprenticeships and entrepreneurs training and SYNTRA Vlaanderen for the dual learning).

BE-DE

The German-speaking Community is in charge of both the education and training system and the employment governance which allows them to organise their VET policy. Two ministers are responsible for these matters: the education minister and the employment minister. However, due to the small size of the Community, they rely on partnerships and are interdependent for financial, personal and strategic resources.

VET governance involves many actors and so is the financing, depending on the level, different institutions are responsible for the subsidies. Within the framework of the inter-professional agreements negotiated at federal level, the social partners have set as a new objective five days of training per full-time employed person per year.

BE-FL [31]See also: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-funding-3_en

VDAB (Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency): the work of the VDAB is largely funded by the Flemish Government, European Union and from invoicing to employers.

SYNTRA: SYNTRA centres are subsidised by the Flemish Government through the agency SYNTRA Vlaanderen (work policy area) [32]The Flemish Government comprises both the regional and communitarian competence.
and they receive European and Flemish contributions for specific projects. The SYNTRA centres receive: an operating subsidy for apprenticeships and certified programmes, and extra subsidies in case they deploy innovative or flexible programmes. The SYNTRA centres must supplement its subsidies out of its own resources, mainly derived from trainees’ registration fees.

The Centres for Adult Basic Education (CABEs) and Centres for Adult Education (CAEs) are subsidised/funded by the government. They receive their funding/subsidisation on the basis of the quantity of teaching provided expressed in trainee teaching hours. CABEs receive an operational allowance of EUR 1.90 per trainee teacher hour whereas CAEs only EUR 0.75 and thus covers their operating funds from registration fees (which can be reimbursed by the state for exempted learners).

The adult education consortia together receive a subsidy budget for personnel costs, operating costs and investments.

VOCVO, the Flemish Support Centre for Adult Education, receives an annual subsidy budget for personnel costs, operating costs and investments.

BE-FR [33]See also: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/adult-education-and-training-funding-5_nl

Training for job-seekers and workers in the two regions.

Le Forem (the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement) is financed by subsidies provided out of the Walloon Region’s budget, contributions from the European Social Fund, companies’ contributions to training costs, promoters’ contribution in connection with the Unemployment Abatement Programme, contributions of the Federal Public Service for Employment, Work and Social Dialogue within the framework of cooperation agreements or conventions and various forms of income.

The Walloon government also finances socio-occupational integration operators, who provide basic training (OISPs and EFTs).

Bruxelles Formation (the Brussels Institute for vocational training) is financed by the federal state (under the terms of cooperation agreements) and by the ESF. The agency also receives subsidies from the French Community Commission, regional actors (Regional Government and the Brussels Public Employment Service, Actiris) and may receive bequests and donations. Some activities, such as worker training, also contribute to the revenues, albeit marginal.

Forty-one socio-occupational integration operators and nine local missions are currently authorised and financed by the French Community Commission. These bodies also receive support from Actiris (the Brussels Regional Employment Office) for the counselling and job search components of its work, and are cofinanced by the ESF.

IFAPME (Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia) receives subsidies from the Walloon Region. At European level, it receives subsidies mainly from the ESF and the ERDF. These cover the institute’s running costs, training activities and the centres’ property-related expenses.

SFPME-EFP (the training service for SME, in Brussels - the training centre for SME’s in Brussels) is subsided by the French Community Commission and receives funding from the ESF. A part of its budget originates also from the adult tuition fees.

Adult education (social advancement education, etc.): training sections and units are approved for subsidies by decision of the general responsible for social advancement education on the advice of the inspection service.

For institutions in the French Community network, a financial grant (also calculated on the basis of the number of learners) is allocated by the administration for management purposes. Learners’ attendance is also taken into account as subsidies are calculated in the basis of the number and category of periods attended (a deduction of the amount of registration fees paid by learners is made) – the grant depends on the level at which the courses are given (lower secondary, upper secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary education or higher level).

Partnerships: the controlling authorities of social advancement education may also form agreements with other education institutions, organisations, bodies, companies, persons or associations. Partners may cofinance all or part of the training. A rate for the cost of the teaching period, per level of education and per course category, is published whenever there is a change in the consumer price index. Non financed periods are deducted from the institutions’ periods endowment. Partners may also provide the institution with material resources needed for training, or make its premises available.

BE-DE

On its territory, VET centres are funded by the German-speaking Community according to the number of learners and the duration of the training. The education system also receives funding from the Province of Luxembourg, particularly for special education needs (SEN) [34]http://www.oecd.org/education/Education-Policy-Outlook-Country-Profile-Belgium.pdf 
. Apprenticeship organised by the IAWM and the ADG is financed by same system as le FOREM, VDAB, Bruxelles Formation and Actiris [35]IAWM: Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand und in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen / Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium seized companies in BE-DE. ADG: Arbeitsamt der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, Public Employment Service of the German-speaking Community. Le Forem: Office wallon de la Formation professionnelle et de l'Emploi/ The Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement. VDAB: Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding/ Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency. Bruxelles Formation: Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for Vocational Training. Actiris : Brussels Public Employment Service.
.

In Belgium, the VET system reflects itself in the type of existing teachers. The following types exist:

  • general subjects teachers;
  • vocational theory teachers (teaching vocational theoretical subjects);
  • vocational teachers of technical or occupational practice courses (e.g. in workshops).

The types are similar in the three Communities with some differences regarding the necessary qualifications. A certificate of good conduct is required for teachers and trainers at all levels.

Teachers

General subjects teachers have either a bachelor's degree (which give them the possibility to teach in the lower degree) or a master degree (for the upper degree). They are in charge of subjects such as mathematics, physics, languages, etc. In BE-FR, a recent reform (2018) of the teacher training system implemented a new system in which access to the teaching of each field is more regulated (priority is given to teachers in possession of the required subject title and the teaching certificate). The priority to teachers with required certification is also given in schools in BE-FL.

Vocational teachers of technical or occupational practice courses are required to hold an upper secondary education certificate (CESS), a validated professional experience and a CAP (teaching certificate). In Flanders, following the reform, experts from the professional sectors have access to an educational associate degree programme at university colleges (short cycle degree) if they have at least three years of professional experience. Experts already in possession of a diploma, will have the possibility to follow a shorter bachelor or master programme which will allow them to obtain a teaching diploma in only one year.

Trainers

We distinguish between the following trainers:

  • trainers (teaching general and vocational courses in apprenticeship programmes that were not implemented by schools);
  • practical training instructors (accompanying learners during their workplace practical training);
  • in-company trainers (tutors, supervisors/advisors).

A trainer must have at least two years of professional experience plus a diploma. The years of necessary experience increase the lower the level of the diploma (two to five years for bachelor's and master's degree; five to six years for the certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) or 10-12 years of professional experience with no diploma).

In Flanders, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training SYNTRA Vlaanderen started a project with several partners in mentor/tutor training. Those partners receive funding for the development of a mentor training programme, which can be used and implemented in various sectors. There is no legislative obligation for using these programmes though they are intended to strengthen the quality of the dual training system. However, starting in September 2019, the trainers in the workplace will be obliged to follow an ‘mentor training’.

Within the French-speaking Belgium, trainers of the four VET operators (IFAPME, Bruxelles Formation, SFPME and le Forem) [36]IFAPME: Institut wallon de Formation en Alternance et des indépendants et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises / Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia. Bruxelles Formation : Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for Vocational Training. SFPME : Service Formation PME / the training service for small and medium-sized entreprises, in Brussels. Le Forem : Office wallon de la Formation professionnelle et de l'Emploi / The Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement.
are, in general, professionals in the sector in which they give courses. This is compulsory in the dual training sector (IFAPME and SFPME).

In the German-speaking Community, all trainers are professionals in their sector. They run a business or are qualified employees. Their remuneration is higher if they are in possession of a teaching certificate.

Continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers at secondary level is mandatory. In the Communities the following approaches are applied:

  • in the French Community, teachers have to follow six half-days of training per year. They can also take courses on a voluntary basis;
  • every year, the Flemish Community grants a training budget for schools which will be spend according to a yearly training plan. Therefore, each school will train its teachers in subjects they consider to be needed;
  • in the German-speaking Community, teachers choose their courses freely from a list of courses established on the basis of the pedagogical plan defined by the ministry. They also may participate in training courses offered by the organising authority or the educational network to which they are affiliated. Each school can also organise up to three days (or six half days) of training per year. These may be educational conferences or trainings related to the school project. Finally, with the agreement of the head teacher, teachers may take other courses on a personal basis.

CPD of trainers is organised at internetworks or networks levels of training providers. Each establishment can also offer training options to its staff.

In the French Community training providers created FormaForm [37]https://www.formaform.be/
which is a joint initial and continuing training organisation, co-financed by the ESF. They transformed their initial training programme into a multimodal personalised programme lasting five days, including various learning processes and teaching tools (mainly digital). The programme is called FormaGo.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [38]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The labour market in Belgium is under regional competence and several actors are involved in anticipating skill needs, each working on its territorial entity.

In Flanders, at the regional level, a team from the Employment and Vocational Training Agency VDAB is in charge of the main tool concerning the definition of professional profiles: the web-based database ‘Competent’ [39]Competent’ can be freely accessed at the following website: SERV. Sterk door overleg. https://www.serv.be/serv
, which is thus the base used in the anticipation of skill needs. The employment service publishes each year a report on developments in the employment market, inadequacies between supply and demand in jobs and which certified qualifications are available. At sub-regional level, the Recognised Regional Collaboration Associations and the Regional Economic and Social Consultation Committees collect various data to study the specificities of the employment market and its requirements. Moreover, the Steunpunt Werk Survey Institute [40]https://www.steunpuntwerk.be/
is responsible for quantitative and qualitative supervision of the employment market and is set up to direct Flemish labour market policy.

Regarding the Walloon and Brussels Regions, two types of bodies work towards the anticipation of labour needs. First, the Basins of Qualifying Education – Training – Labour (IBEFE) [41]Bassins de l’Enseignement qualifiant – Formation – Emploi, IBEFE. 
were established through a cooperation agreement concluded between Wallonia, the French-speaking Community and the French-speaking Community Commission which are a link between all entities involved and allow a better development of VET offer. Second, at regional level, Wallonia and Brussels each have their own bodies responsible for collecting data on the labour market and needs.

  • Wallonia: the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement ‘le Forem’ is in charge of detecting future labour needs through its labour market watching, analysing and forecasting service. The Walloon Institute publishes analyses labour market needs.
  • Brussels: View.brussels [42]Previously Brussels Observatory of Employment and Training.
     is in charge of tracking the labour market and unemployment evolutions. They are also in charge of creating new methods of competence and needs anticipation in Brussels on which they later collaborate with the Brussels Institute for vocational training ‘Bruxelles Formation’ [43]Bruxelles Formation : Institut Bruxellois pour la Formation professionnelle / The Brussels Institut for vocational training.
    .

Within the German-speaking Community (in charge of its own labour market), the public employment service ‘ADG’ collects, analyses and distributes information concerning supply and demand of the local labour market.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [44]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [45]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

In each Community, the government sets out the framework within which educational institutions can organise their programmes. The framework for provision of formal education system is set out in different acts or circulars, per educational level (secondary education, adult education and higher education). Alongside this general principle, each community/region has developed its own approach of defining or reviewing skills and qualifications in VET and assesses local needs [46]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

BE-FL

The Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency (VDAB) uses a web-based system called ‘Competent’ [47]The Social Economical Committee has been in charge of the database from 2012 to 2017, it was then transferred to the VDAB, the Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training.
 which is a database containing all professional profiles (with a description of activities, necessary knowledge, skills, etc.). This database is used for the creation of ‘qualification dossiers’ which are next organised into the Flemish Qualification Structure (related to the EQS’ 8 levels). These dossiers are validated by VDAB’s social partners, responsible for the development of professional and educational qualification standards. The first five levels, once they are revised by the Flemish Government, form the basis for educational qualifications and the standard references for education providers and dual learning programmes.

BE-FR

The ​SFMQ [48]Service francophone des métiers et des qualifications – the French-speaking Agency for Professions and Qualifications.
gathers Public Employment Services, social partners, all VET providers from the French-speaking Community and the Skills Validation Consortium. The agency is responsible for:

  • creating profession profiles reflecting the reality of the job;
  • creating training profiles based on professions needs and thus assure the consistency between the training offered and the job-market needs;
  • establishing the link between profiles and structures of public employment services and improving the legibility of qualifying education systems, trainings, skills validation and job offers;
  • setting common references and language for all partners.

Practically:

  • trades profiles are elaborated within a Professions Profiles Commission and then validated by the Chamber of Trades;
  • training profiles are developed within a Training Profiles Commission and validated by the Teaching-Training Chamber;
  • the Chamber of Trades provide a matching notice between professions and training profiles;
  • lastly, an opinion is formulated on the notice between first the professions profiles and the Skills Validation Consortium productions and second, between the training profiles from the SFMQ and training programmes from education and training providers.

BE-DE

Designing qualifications in the German-speaking Community is the responsibility of the Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises ‘IAWM’ [49]IAWM: Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand und in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen / Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises.
. The Institute works in close cooperation with the professional sectors, companies and professional associations. Whilst updating training programmes and developing new programmes, it continues to take due consideration of commercial opinions, socio-economic requirements and the working environment. These programmes take general and professional skills into account in addition to operational skills.

The pedagogical service of the Ministry of the German-speaking Community has the same role in the secondary VET schools as the IAWM has for the apprenticeship. Integration and training programmes offered by the Employment and Vocational Training Agency ‘ADG’ [50]ADG: Arbeitsamt der Deutschprachigen Gemeinschaft Belgiens / Employment and Vocational Training Agency in the German-speaking Community.
are designed in line with the situation on the employment market. Social partners, members of management committees, and the Employment Office are all involved in the decision-making. Moreover, the ADG is certified to issue training in the cleaning, office and construction sector.

BE-FR

Between 2015-18, French-speaking Belgium did not have a quality assurance national reference point (QANRP) in place, only a contact and dissemination point located in the education ministry. There was an inspectorate, carrying out mandatory external inspection of VET providers. Self-assessment was also in place, as most VET providers had their own quality assurance approaches.

A team had been appointed within the Ministry of Education to coordinate the ‘cross-diagnostics of schools, training centres and validation of skills providers’. A team of ’diagnosticians’ from education, training or validation of skills evaluate jointly the assessment processes of VET providers. This is an external evaluation in accordance with the reference framework set by EQAVET. Among the items under revision are the evaluation of the command of learning outcomes, the material resources, the monitoring of quality of the assessment of learning outcomes and of the staff who evaluates the learning outcomes.

Both Bruxelles Formation and the IFAPME are in possession of the ISO 9001 certification.

BE-FL

The Decree on quality in education of 8 May 2009 had stipulated that primary and secondary schools were responsible for their own quality and it was part of the school’s autonomy to decide how to conduct their self-evaluation. The quality assurance approach thus comprised internal reviews at VET provider level, however, external reviews could also be carried out by the inspectorate. Pedagogical support services assisted schools in strengthening internal quality assurance and their ability to implement policies. As with providers of IVET, CVET providers had to monitor their own quality systematically and had room in deciding on the procedure for it.

On the 14th of March 2019 the Flemish Parliament approved a new decree on common principles about the quality assurance in VET offered outside formal education but based on a professional qualification description that is formally linked to the Flemish Qualifications Framework (Vlaamse kwalificatiestructuur). The decree prescribes the terms for certifying professional qualifications by regulating the conditions for quality control. Every policy area can develop a quality assurance system for vocational training programmes that should respect the common conditions. Those are:

  • use the jointly defined quality assurance framework;
  • create an objective and neutral quality control organisation and procedure;
  • visit every training at least once every six years.

The quality assurance framework is in development and will be ready for use by Summer 2019. The first vocational training programmes based on professional qualifications will be organised by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

The scope of the decree is covering all the vocational training programmes offered outside formal education but relying on the professional qualifications standard. Vocational education is subject to the quality control by the Education Inspectorate. The jointly defined quality assurance framework will be aligned with the quality assurance framework of the Education Inspectorate.

BE-DE

There is limited information on quality assurance arrangements in the German-speaking Community. An external evaluation agency for VET schools and VET competence centres is in place. VET schools also apply to ISO compatible quality management systems (ISO 9001, ISO 14001).

In Belgium there are several mechanisms which take into account non-formal and informal training programmes. It is, however, necessary to distinguish the concepts of skills validation and the recognition of skills [51]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
:

  • validation of non-formal and informal learning leads directly to certification which may be used either on the employment market or to enter an education programme in inter-operator transfers.
  • recognition of non-formal and informal learning allows an individual to promote a certain previous pathway (experience, training) when joining a public VET provider or Adult education schools. There is thus no need to repeat the pathway in its entirety; the learner continues its training to obtain certification with the same provider.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning

In the French-speaking Belgium, the Validation Skills Consortium grants skills credentials on behalf of the three governments. They can be used on the job market and are recognised by public services for employment and adult education schools. It allows to navigate between all the vocational training providers as long as they are members of the Consortium.

In the Flemish Community, there is an equivalent mechanism, developed by the SERV and organised by the Flemish Government with approved centres. Despite the differences (concerning how awards are designed and how they operate), both skills validation systems are communicable.

In the German-speaking Community, a skills validation system is under development. A steering group is going to be set in place at the end of this year to elaborate a concept for a validation system.

Recognition of non-formal and informal learning

In BE-FR, universities, adult education and VET providers recognise previous acquired competences and skills of learners, which can have been acquired in any teaching and training or through professional and personal experience. There is thus no need for respective learners to follow the programme in its entirety; however they must still take the final examination.

IN BE-FL, the immediate result of a successful recognition process is a proof of competences, which then in turn may lead to access to higher education programmes, or to the award of credits or a full degree (on the basis of an exemption). Providers of adult education pay great attention to approving acquired competences, both with regard to dispensations and the certification of acquired competences. A distinction is made between the measuring and testing of acquired competences to benefit from courses exemptions applied by training centres and the assessment of professional competences. Adult education centres may act as assessment bodies for the delivery of the Title of Professional Competence. The recognition of acquired competences in the context of dispensations from course components is the responsibility of the director of an educational institution.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [52]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
.

Measures taken in all federated entities

  • Paid educational leave – employees are entitled to follow an official training programme of up to 120 hours per year with remuneration (125 hours in Flanders as from September 2019 and up to 180 hours in Brussels in some cases, such as for trainings linked to bottleneck occupations).
  • Within the framework of a recognised vocational training programme, jobseekers receive free training, continue to receive unemployment benefits, and in certain instance a training allowance, reimbursement of travel and child care costs during the training period.
  • Individual vocational training agreements within a company are targeted at jobseekers. By signing a tripartite agreement, they benefit from practical training within a company followed by a job contract of the length of the training at least. The employment office pays the trainee an allowance, a productivity bonus and a reimbursement for his travel expenses.

Incentives for learners are also offered by regional authorities as well as the German-speaking Community.

Brussels

  • Matching language cheque: available to the learner who has taken a language test before signing the employment contract, the individual language lessons costs are paid by the Brussels Public Employment Service (Actiris). These courses are aimed at improving knowledge of Dutch, English or French in order to better carry out one's work.
  • Professional project language cheque: enables jobseekers to benefit from specific language training specially geared towards anything that can be useful in finding a job.
  • TIC-job cheque: intended to facilitate the hiring of jobseekers who need to improve their computer skills. Actiris offers beneficiaries to follow a free IT training programme related to their job: 69 checks of this type were distributed in 2015.
  • Young jobseekers are offered training opportunities in the workplace if they sign an employment contract with a Brussels public interest body. This measure aims to encourage the social integration of young jobseekers and help them to better position themselves on the labour market through a combination of training and employment experience. The number of positions available under this programme has been increased as new occupations have been funded under the Youth Guarantee mechanism.
  • Availability waiver measure: allows a compensated unemployed person to be released from job search obligations in order to enrol in training, internship or to return to school. Therefore, refuse a job offer or pause in applying is allowed.
  • Youth work-study bonus: awarded to young people (under 18) who carry out practical training in companies for at least 4 months as part of their work-study programme (CEFA / CDO or SFPME). The amount of this premium varies between EUR 500 and 750.

Wallonia

  • Experiencing a professional situation: 3 to 15 days in a work environment, the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Placement (le Forem) offers reimbursement of transport costs and an all-risk insurance cover. This project is offered to jobseekers registered at le Forem and living in Wallonia.
  • EUR 750 are granted to learners having successfully completed their dual training contracts.
  • Outplacement check: it covers an outplacement fee of EUR 1 500, granted to any person over 45 years of age, who has been dismissed from the private sector and whose employer has not provided the outplacement measures (or when considered inadequate). Those measures are a set of services and guidance provided on behalf of the employer for the benefit of the worker to enable him to find a new job rapidly or to develop a professional activity. The first six months, 60 hours are devoted to guidance and help to find a job. These services are provided by a professional outplacement office.
  • EUR 350 are granted to job-seekers being registered at le Forem and having successfully completed a training in a bottleneck occupation.

Flanders

  • Professional transition programme: aims to recruit long-term unemployed people who are under-qualified, allowing them to gain experience and enter the job-market.
  • Training vouchers for employees and temps: aimed at employees in the Flemish or Brussels regions. Any employee without a secondary education diploma may benefit from a second voucher throughout the year. The total amount of vouchers issued per person is payable up to 50% by the employer and 50% by the Flemish authority. 91 597 vouchers were issued in 2014, 43 891 in 2015, 33 391 in 2016 and 28 507 in 2017.
  • Training bonus: for jobseekers who have been unemployed for at least 12 months and begin an educational training.
  • Financial benefits from the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency (VDAB): a jobseeker who follows training courses recognised by the agency will receive a refund of his registration fee and the cost of the learning material. She or he is also entitled to additional premiums.

German-speaking Community

  • Young people can do a company familiarisation placement which allows them to prepare for work, acquire professional experience, and gain a better understanding of the world of work. The recipients receive a small allowance in addition to their travel expenses.
  • The BRAWO project covers an employee’s training expenses up to one third with a maximal amount of EUR 1 000 per year.

Incentives for enterprises are offered by regional authorities as well as the German-speaking Community [53]Allinckx, I.; Karno, A.; Monico, D. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Belgium. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018. http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Belgium_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
.

Brussels

  • Work Training Bonus: intended to encourage the employer to train newly hired infra-skilled workers during the activation grant period. The bonus, with a maximum value of EUR 5 000, is granted in the case of a contract with an indefinite duration. It must make it possible to increase workers' skills in relation to the professional experience they develop.
  • Tutor premium: aimed at approved companies in Brussels which are involved in the dual training of a young person 15-25 years of age. The training must have a minimum duration of six months within the company. A tutor, who can supervise a maximum of 4 learners at the same time, is designated to transmit his skills. This premium amounts to EUR 1 000 per year and per tutor (and an additional of EUR 1 000 if the learner is from Brussels).
  • Aid for external training: depending on the size of the company and the sector of activity, the Region grants a premium to companies wishing to improve their activities and their competitiveness through training in the fields of day-to-day management and knowledge of business. The financial aid amounts to 50% of the costs, and ranges from EUR 500 to 5 000 maximum.
  • Material assistance for training programs through the availability of buildings and tools. This measure is aimed at companies in the manufacturing industry that wish to make available their facilities or tools for training or education purposes. These companies can obtain reimbursement of their costs through daily grants corresponding to the actual cost of the provisioning.

Wallonia

  • Training voucher: form of financial aid for continuing training, mainly of employees or self-employed, for companies employing less than 250 workers. The check is worth one hour of approved training; it is bought at the price of EUR 15 but has a face value of EUR 30. Depending on its size, the company can receive a number of training vouchers ranging from 100 to 800. In 2015, employees in the Walloon Region benefited from 684 827 training checks (533 354 hours of training).
  • Adaptation credit is a mechanism to promote training within companies, covering part of the costs of employee training. The training is supposed to lead to accreditation, whether specific or collective.
  • Adaptive credit - tutoring component is a mechanism similar to the one described above, but in which an experienced employee of the company agrees to be the guardian of another employee in order to train them.
  • Employers receive EUR 750 per young person trained within their company. To receive this grant, the training must be based on a contract of a minimum duration of 270 days (nine months), include an officially approved tutor and the young person needs to succeed in his year.
  • Self-employed workers who decide to train a young person for the first time receive a bonus of € 750 (once). This covers administrative expenses arising from social legislation.

Flanders

  • Through the ‘KMO’ (SMEs) portfolio, liberal professions, and private companies can receive 50% of funding (capped at EUR 15 000) for any initiative in the following areas: training, management consultancy, consultancy on internationalisation and innovation, in order to optimise management of SMEs.
  • Diversity in the work environment: companies, bodies, labour organisations in the commercial and non-commercial sectors and local administrations may request subsidies for a diversity plan they offer for disadvantaged groups. The priority target groups are immigrants, senior employees (50 years old and over) and disabled persons. Financial support is granted according to the type of plan and it varies between EUR 2 500 and EUR 10 000.
  • Admission training contract promotes the recruitment of jobseekers under favourable financial conditions. Jobseekers should be new graduates (secondary education at most) or have recently completed a training programme. The admission training is following by fixed-term recruitment or recent completion of a training programme.
  • Internship bonus: premium for companies that train learners in learning and working or dual learning with an alternating training agreement, an alternating training internship agreement or a part-time employment contract. The bonus is paid once per school year with a maximum of three times per learner (EUR 500 the first two times and 750 for the third).
  • ‘Target group reduction’ for mentors: companies can receive this reduction if they use one or more experienced employees as a supervisor / trainer for learners in dual training education. Reduction of a maximum of EUR 800 per quarter on the employer's social security contribution which companies pay for the employee who trains the learner). The company can only receive the target group reduction once (for one mentor) per started group of five learners.

German-speaking Community

  • An amount is allocated per hour of training within fixed limits of allowance and training time per employee. For companies, a total of EUR 9 (EUR 6 for large companies) is allocated per hour of training. The aid stands at a total of EUR 15 000 per annum for SMEs and EUR 20 000 per annum for larger companies. The training period may not exceed 150 hours per employee over a maximum period of 18 months.
  • Vocational training contracts can be offered to disabled persons by the Agency for a self-determined life [54]Dienststelle für Selbstbestimmtes Leben (DSL).
    . This measure grants the employer professional consultancy and a certain amount per month as a subsidy on the social security contributions for a tutor assisting young people with or without a disability during the training within their company.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

BE-DE

BE-FL

BE-FR

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Professional bachelor programmes

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-DE)

Professional bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Dual learning: school-based learning (20%) with in-company training (80%)
Main providers

Autonomous College AHS (Autonome Hochschule in der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft) in collaboration with the Vocational training centres ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung im Mittelstand)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Certificate of upper secondary education and a successful internship in the appropriate field of occupational activity.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Entrepreneur certificate and a bachelor’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Financial services and accounting, public and business administration

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Short cycle graduate degree programmes, 33% WBL

2 years

 

ISCED 5

(BE-FL)

Short cycle graduate degree (Graduaatsopleidingen)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

5

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Graduate courses of 90 or 120 credits.

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

Focus is put on the workplace learning (learning and applying competence in real work situations), the programme is less theoretical than professional bachelor programmes.

Main providers

University colleges (Hogescholen)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=33%

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

Practical training in a company

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must possess the Certificate of upper secondary education or an equivalent certificate. Learners aged 18 without the required certificate, have the possibility to take an admission test.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduate degree (in a specific field)

Examples of qualifications

Architecture, Nursing, Education, Biotechnology, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the short cycle graduate degree have direct access to the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional bachelor programmes

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FL)

 

Professional bachelor (Professionele bachelor)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits (60 per school year).

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

School-based learning with internships

Main providers

University colleges (Hogescholen)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training in a company

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must have obtained the Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year; it may involve a practical part. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Agrotechnology, digital arts and entertainment, hotel management, international journalism, music management, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a Ba-n-Ba programme (bridging programme) allowing them access to the Master level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional bachelor prog.

3-4 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

Professional bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 to 240 credits depending on the programme (each year counts for 60 credits).

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

School-based learning with traineeships offering practical experience in a work environment

Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • practice at the work place (end-of-studies traineeship).
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed the secondary level of education.

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

The certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur) is required to enrol in a professional bachelor programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised twice a year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Business management, accounting, account manager, marketing, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies on a master level. They may be required to follow a one-year bridging programme to do so.

Learners can also access a supplementary one-year bachelor programme (ISCED 6).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each professional bachelor programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Dual bachelor prog.

WBL 40-60%

3 years

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

 

Dual bachelor programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits

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

School-based learning combined with work-based learning (proportions are 40%/60% both ways)

Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Universities

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40-60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (learning by doing system);
  • practical training within the education facility.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed the secondary level of education.

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

Learners must hold a certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised twice a year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Dual Bachelor in mechatronics and robotics

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the dual bachelor programme are ready to enter the labour market. They can, if they choose, continue their studies at a higher level, either with a dual master or a master programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competencies are specific to each study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Bachelor special.

1 year

 

ISCED 6

(BE-FR)

Bachelor specialisation
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

6

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 credits

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • traineeship
Main providers

University colleges (Hautes Ecoles)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Traineeship (practical training at the work place)

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults having completed a professional bachelor programme.

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

Learners must hold a professional bachelor's degree.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Bachelor's degree

Examples of qualifications

Mediation, distribution management

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed their one-year specialisation can enter the market labour directly or continue their studies at a master level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Dual master prog.

WBL 40-60%

2 years

 

ISCED 7

(BE-FR)

Dual master programmes
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

7

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 credits

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

School-based learning combined with work-based learning (proportions are 40%/60% both ways).

Main providers
  • University colleges (Hautes Ecoles),
  • Universities.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

40-60%

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

Programmes are available for adults having completed a bachelor programme.

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

Learners must hold a bachelor's degree (traditional, dual or professional bachelor).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised during the school year, they can be theoretical and practical.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master's degree

Examples of qualifications
  • master's degree in analytical engineering biochemistry;
  • master in production management;
  • master's degree in general service management;
  • master's degree in construction site management specialising in sustainable construction;
  • master in electromechanical maintenance management;
  • business analyst.
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners having completed a dual master’s programme can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each study field.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Nursing programme

3 years

 

ISCED 4

(BE-DE)

Nursing programme
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The programme leads to a formal, officially recognized diploma which grants access to the reglemented profession of nurse responsible for general care.

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based programme for theoretical lessons and clinical practice for practical training
Main providers

Autonomous Higher Education Institution (Autonom Hochschule in der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, AHS)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

To enrol in the nursing programme, learners must meet one of the following requirements:

  • successfully complete the sixth year of vocational secondary education;
  • pass the board examination of the German-speaking Community;
  • provide a training certificate from the employment office of the German-speaking community (covering at least 1 300 hours of training).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Theoretical and practical examinations are organised throughout the programme. Learners are also required to write a thesis during their last year of studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Health and Nursing Certificate meeting the requirements of the European directive 2005/36/CE.

Examples of qualifications

Nurse responsible for general care

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market. The nursing programme gives also access to tertiary education programmes.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing programme in line with national legislation.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Master craftsperson

programme, 2-3 years

 

ISCED 4-6

(BE-DE)

Master craftsperson programme (Meister)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4 to 6

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

as it leads to formal, officially recognised diplomas.

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Training centre-based learning (theoretical knowledge) and practical lessons
Main providers

Vocational training centres ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for adults who wish to become a qualified entrepreneur or open their own enterprise.

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

Access to the master craftsperson programmes is reserved to people who already have basic vocational training in the profession or who have demonstrable experience with a definite business project.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The master craftsperson exam consists of three parts: the management, the subject (theory), the subject (practical examination). To receive the master craftsman certificate, learners must succeed in all three parts of the examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master craftsman certificate

Examples of qualifications

Food related qualifications: butcher, baker; commercial qualifications: designer for visual marketing, etc. [62]For more information, see: https://www.zawm.be/fileadmin/user_upload/Meisterkurse_2018-2019_Angebote_Version_1.04.18.pdf

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Graduate degree programme in nursing

(HB05)

3 years

 

ISCED 5

(BE-FL)

Graduate degree in nursing (HBO5, hoger beroepsonderwijs, Verpleegkunde)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

5

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with internships (practical learning)
Main providers

Schools for full-time secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Internship in a work environment (hospital), clinical training

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Learners aged 18 can access the programme with the following qualifications:

  • certificate of secondary education;
  • 3rd degree certificate (BSO) – no age requirements;
  • certificate of secondary adult education (at least 900 lessons).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • partial certificate after successfully completing a module;
  • graduate in nursing after successfully completing all the modules.
Examples of qualifications

Nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies in tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Follow-up technical programme,

1 year 

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FL)

Follow-up programme to technical secondary education (Secundair-na-secundair onderwijs, Se-n-Se)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning combined with workplace-based learning

Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training within a company

Main target groups

This programme is available to young learners who want to follow an education allowing them the choice between entering the job market or continuing into tertiary education.

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

Learners must have successfully completed their 6th year of technical secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examination are organised during the school year and may include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate

Examples of qualifications

Pharmacy assistant, agriculture, chemistry, computer technology, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners may enter the labour market directly or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Complementary degree in nursing

3 years

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FR)

Complementary degree in nursing (Brevet infirmier hospitalier)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (theoretical and practical courses specific to the field);
  • traineeships (regular practice in clinical environment).
Main providers

Schools for post-secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

The Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) is not a mandatory condition for entrance; however, students who did not yet hold it, obtain it at the end of the first year (if they succeed). It is also accessible to those who hold certain adult education certifications.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass final examinations (both theoretical and practical).

Diplomas/certificates provided

hospital nursing licence;

hospital nursing licence - mental health and psychiatry orientation;

learners who accessed the training without the CESS (Certificate of upper secondary education), obtain it at the end of the first year.

Examples of qualifications
  • Degree in nursing,
  • Degree in nursing – mental health and psychiatry. 
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the nursing studies.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical and vocational follow-up prog.

(school-based; or dual with 60% WBL)

1 year

 

ISCED 4

(BE-FR)

Technical and vocational follow-up programme
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

4

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is available to adult through adult education.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical and practical lessons);
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Secondary Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people having completed a vocational programme.

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

Learners must be in possession of a certificate issued by a vocational programme or technical ones (Qualification Certificate 6, level ISCED 3).

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners may receive two certificates simultaneously: the Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) and/or a Qualification Certificate (CQ7, ISCED 4).

Examples of qualifications

Management of small businesses.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this VET programme can enter the labour market directly. This special 7th year also gives learners from qualification education access to the tertiary level of education:

  • Bachelor programmes,
  • Dual bachelor programmes,
  • Professional bachelor programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to the VET sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

Technical VET programme [57] (Technischer Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3 [58]

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical-theoretical lessons)
  • practical learning
Main providers

Schools for technical secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

This depends on the chosen track.

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners within the compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Accessible to learners aged 15 having successfully completed the first degree of education (and thus met the full-time education requirement).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme.

After successfully completing nine years of education, learners obtain the certificate of lower secondary education (Abschlusszeugnis der Unterstufe).

Examples of qualifications

Education, office assistant.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this VET programme can continue their studies within the same stream to achieve the complete technical programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress in one of the following programmes: 

  • general programme;
  • vocational programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive both a general and a technical education.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Technical VET programme [59] (Technischer Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (technical-theoretical lessons)
  • practical learning
Main providers

Schools for technical secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It depends on the chosen track.

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Accessible to learners having successfully completed the first degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the technical option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Abschlusszeugnis der Oberstufe des Sekundarunterrichts)

Examples of qualifications

Education, office assistant.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the technical programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies in a bachelor or professional bachelor programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive general and technical education and thus have access to the labour market directly or can continue their education at tertiary level.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

Vocational programme (Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

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?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It depends on the chosen track.

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

practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to young learners up to 18 years old and also to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

To access vocational education at school, learners must either be aged 15 and have completed the first degree of secondary education or aged 16 without any further conditions.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised throughout the programme and learners need to succeed them to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme. After successfully completing year 10, learners receive the certificate of lower secondary education (Abschlusszeugnis der Unterstufe).

Examples of qualifications

Family assistant (services to persons), nursing assistant, sales and clothing, administration and management.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completing this VET programme allows learners to continue their education within the programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress in one of the following programmes: 

  • general programme;
  • technical programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Learners receive a general and a vocational education. 

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Vocational programme (Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

This programme is offered to learners who successfully completed the second degree of vocational training.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to receive their certificate of 6th year vocational education. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of 6th year vocational secondary education

Examples of qualifications

Family assistant (services to persons), nursing assistant, sales and clothing, administration and management.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a 7th year of vocational education allowing them to obtain the Certificate of upper secondary education. They can also enrol in a nursing programme of three years.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18), access to and from all

other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-DE)

 

Vocational education and training for special education needs (SEN) learners (Förderschule)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

12

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

6

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Information not available

Main providers

Centre for Special Education (Zentrum für Förderpädagogik)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school-based learning
  • dual learning (school-based and work-based training available to allow a better social integration)
Main target groups

The programme targets SEN learners aged 12 but not older than 21. The special needs must have officially been determined in accordance with the procedure fixed by law (Article 93.7 of the decree of 31 August 1998).

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

Information not available

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeship

80% WBL

2-3 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Apprenticeship (Lehre)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

10 - The programme is offered by training providers, not at school.

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual learning programme: training centre-based learning (1/2 days/week) and practical training within a company (3/4 days/week)
Main providers

IAWM (Institut für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstandes – the Institute for vocational and educational training in small and medium sized enterprises) manages the programme. The learning is provided by ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung des Mittelstands) centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (3/4 days in a company and 1/2 days at the training centre)
Main target groups

The programme is available to learners in compulsory education age. Also available to young people to 25 years of age with conditions.

The programme is available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

To access the apprenticeship programme, learners must be at least 15 years old and have completed the second year of general education or the third year of secondary vocational education, or they must be 16 years old without any further conditions. IAWM, the Institute for alternating training and small and medium enterprises in BE-DE, also organises entrance examination for learners who don’t meet these requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised for all courses and some are specific to the vocational programme. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a qualification certificate at the end of the last year of the programme which allows them to start their professional life immediately.

Examples of qualifications

Bakery, butcher, metal, cooking, mechanics.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete an apprenticeship can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary level by directly accessing the Master Craftsperson (Meister).programme or following the nursing programme. Learners who want to continue their studies at tertiary level need to continue their secondary education with a 7th complementary year.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

General subjects such as mathematics, French, German are part of the VET programme.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Programme for HE access, 1 year

 

 

ISCED 3

(BE-DE)

Programme for higher education access (7. Jahr Berufsbildender Befähigungsunterricht)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

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?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Practically-oriented type of education in which the youngster receives general education but where the focus primarily lies on learning a specific profession.

Main providers

Schools for vocational education 

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

The programme is aimed at learners aged 18+. It is also available to adults within the Adult education programme.

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

Learners must have completed the sixth year of vocational education or an apprenticeship to access the 7th-year.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of the year, they may combine theoretical and practical knowledge. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners are granted a certificate of upper secondary education.

Examples of qualifications

Digitally controlled machine tools, nursing assistant, children’s caregiver, etc. [61]For more information, see: https://www.ostbelgienbildung.be/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-2240/4392_read-31714/

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners can access the labour market with their certificates or they can continue their education in tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Technical secondary education (Technisch secundair onderwijs, TSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education applies to learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning with technical-theoretical classes and practical lessons

Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical training at school

Main target groups

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access technical secondary education after having completed two years in general secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations in the general courses and technical option are organised throughout the programme. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. A practical part may be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of this VET programme allows access to the next education level within this and other programmes.

Upon successfully completing the two years of this programme, learners receive a certificate of the second degree of secondary education (getuigschrift van de tweede graad).

Examples of qualifications

Construction techniques, fashion, electromechanics, electrical engineering, photography, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies on the next level within the same programme.

Besides, they also can progress at the next education level one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme;
  • vocational programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Technical secondary education (Technisch secundair onderwijs, TSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with technical-theoretical classes and practical lessons
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners must have completed four years of secondary education to enter the programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations in the general courses and technical option are organised throughout the programme. A practical part may also be organised. Learners need to succeed to receive their certificate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs)

Examples of qualifications

Construction techniques, fashion, electromechanics, electrical engineering, photography, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary or tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Vocational secondary education (Beroepssecundair Onderwijs, BSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with theoretical subjects supporting the practical learning
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access the vocational programme after having completed the first two years of general secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This VET programme allows access to the next education level within the programme.

Upon successfully completing the two years of this programme, learners receive a certificate of the second degree of secondary education (getuigschrift van de tweede graad).

Examples of qualifications

Basic mechanics, construction, accounting, retail, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who complete this VET programme can continue their studies within the same stream to achieve the complete vocational programme.

Besides they also can progress at the next education level one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme;
  • technical programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog.

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FL)

Vocational secondary education (Beroepssecundair Onderwijs, BSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School-based learning with theoretical subjects supporting the practical learning
Main providers

Schools for secondary education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Learners can access the vocational programme after having completed four years of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised during the school year. Examinations are organised in the general courses and in the vocational option. A practical part may also be organised. Learners need to succeed to obtain their certificate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate

Examples of qualifications

Basic mechanics, construction, accounting, retail, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete the VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies with a one year follow-up programme granting them a Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs) (and giving them access to tertiary education) or continue their studies at post-secondary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeships organised by SYNTRA centres (80% WBL)

or by vocational prog. schools (60% WBL)

2-3 years

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FL)

Apprenticeship programmes (Leren en werken, Duaal leren in deeltijds beroepssecundair onderwijs, DBSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Leren en werken (organised by schools): general, technical, theoretical and practical courses for two days/week at school and in-company training during three days/week.​
  • Duaal leren (organised by training centres): general, technical, theoretical and practical courses for one day/week at the training centre and in-company training during four days/week.
Main providers
  • Schools (Centra voor deeltijds onderwijs; CDO);
  • training centres of SYNTRA, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school/in the training centre;
  • in-company practice (three or four days/week).
Main target groups

This programme is available to young people within the compulsory education system.

Adult learners can access the programme through adult education.

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

Available to young persons between 16 and 25 years old.

Every 15-year-old who has completed at least the first two years of full-time secondary education is admissible. At the end of the school year (30 June) in which the young person turns 25, the apprenticeship ends.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Depending on the programme, learners can obtain a:

  • certificate of acquired competences;
  • partial certificate for a module;
  • certificate of a course;
  • 2nd degree secondary education certificate;
  • study certificate from the 2nd year of the 3rd stage of secondary education;
  • secondary education diploma;
  • certificate about the basic knowledge of business management.
Examples of qualifications

Hairdresser, waiter, childcare supervisor, sports coach, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at post-secondary level or, if they have obtained their Certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs), learners can access tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18),

access to and from all other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FL)

VET for SEN learners (Buitengewoon secundair onderwijs, BUSO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

6

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning

Main providers

Schools for special education

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

VET for SEN learners is offered to youngsters with special needs aged 12 to 21 years old.

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

Learners can register in a school for special education once they have received a report for special education. This report is prepared and delivered by the Centre for Student Guidance (CLB) and integrates a certificate and a protocol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

After following the common curriculum, learners obtain the same certificates as the other students.

After following an individually adapted curriculum, learners obtain a certificate of acquired competences.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who have completed a SEN VET programme can enter the labour market or continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Adult education prog. equivalent

to secondary level prog.

(16+ and 18+)

incl. follow-up prog.

 

ISCED 2-4

(BE-FL)

 

Adult education programme equivalent to secondary level programmes (Secundair Volwassenenonderwijs, SVO)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 3 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Yes and No

Courses are free for jobseekers but workers (or their employers) have to pay to attend specific courses.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/distance-learning: a form of learning which consists in learning the subject matter individually, either at home or at work;
  • E-learning (digital platform);
  • practical learning in a training centre: ‘group learning' or 'centre learning' offered [by the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency ‘VDAB’ as well as by external training providers];
  • open learning: a form of learning the subject matter individually and at your own pace in a competence centre (organised by VDAB);
  • blended learning: a combination of learning methods e.g. combination group learning & online learning or group learning & open learning;
  • part-time working and VDAB Dual learning (depending on the chosen form of learning, young people may have to register with VDAB);
  • workplace learning: the jobseeker learns a job on the ‘work floor’.
Main providers

Centres for Adult Education (Centra voor volwassenenonderwijs, CVO)

Training centres of SYNTRA (the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training)

VDAB centres (Public Employment Service)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • practical training in a training centre;
  • learning at a workplace: the focus is on customization, the jobseeker learns a job 'on the work floor';
  • apprenticeship training.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults, unemployed people who want to obtain a certificate but also to workers who wish to gain more knowledge.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol (or 15 if they have completed the first two years of secondary education). Specific conditions may apply depending on the programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous evaluation is organised during the school year. Some centres organise additional exams, others do not (e.g. when a module is completed).

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • partial certificate for a module;
  • certificate for a complete module;
  • certificate of upper secondary education;
  • certificate in Business Management.
Examples of qualifications

Bus driver, tourism related qualifications (guide, travel agent), electrician, languages qualifications, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or, if they have obtained the certificate of upper secondary education (Diploma Secundair Onderwijs), continue their studies at tertiary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical or artistic prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual for 15+ with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Technical or artistic VET programme (enseignement technique ou artistique de qualification) [63]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education applies to learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is offered to adults through the adult education system.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/e-learning;
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • technical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 14/15, having completed the first degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. At the end of the programme, examinations are organised in the general courses and in the chosen grouped basic subject option. Examinations also include a practical part. 

Diplomas/certificates provided

After this programme, learners obtain an official certificate giving them access to the next education level within the same programme or to continue in a different system of education. 

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, office employee, retail employee, electrician, mechanic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After this programme, learners can access the next education level within the same programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress to one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme (nationally referred to as transition education);
  • vocational qualification programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Technical or artistic prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Technical or artistic VET programme (enseignement technique ou artistique de qualification) [64]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • self-learning/e-learning;
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company).
Main providers

Schools for qualification education [65]VET is nationally referred to as qualification education.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • technical training at school;
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training.
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 16, having completed the second degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. At the end of the programme, examinations are organised in the general courses and in the chosen grouped basic subject option. The examination also includes a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification Certificate (CQ6) Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur)

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, office employee, retail employee, electrician, mechanic.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market with the qualification certificate. The certificate of upper secondary education (CESS) allows learners to continue their studies in post-secondary and tertiary education:

  • Bachelor programmes (ISCED 6);
  • Dual bachelor programmes (VET, ISCED 6);
  • Professional bachelor programmes (VET, ISCED 6);
  • Entrepreneurial & leading and coordination training (Adult Learning, ISCED 4 & 5);
  • Nursing (ISCED 4);
  • Technical and vocational follow-up programme (ISCED 4).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual for 15+ with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Vocational programme (enseignement professionnel de qualification) [66]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

This programme is offered to adults through the adult education system.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

School-based learning/dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company)

Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training.
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Available to learners aged 14 and up.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Examinations also include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

After this programme, learners obtain an official certificate giving them access to the next education level within the same programme or to continue in a different system of education.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant in animal care, jeweller, butcher, baker, truck driver.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After this programme, learners can access the next education level within the same programme.

Furthermore, they also can progress to one of the following pathways: 

  • general programme (nationally referred to as transition education);
  • technical or artistic programme;
  • apprenticeship.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Vocational prog. (qualification education;

school-based or dual with 60% WBL),

2 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Vocational programme (enseignement professionnel de qualification) [67]
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

This programme is offered to adults through the adult 

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • self-learning/e-learning
  • dual learning with 60% work-based learning (two days at school and three days in a company)
Main providers

Secondary Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical and technical training at school
  • in-company practice: learning by doing system, learners can acquire practical experience during their in-company training
Main target groups

This programme is available for young people within the compulsory education system.

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

Accessible to learners aged 16, having completed the second degree of secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Examinations are organised at the end of each school year. Learners need to succeed to access the next education level. Practical examination may be organised. To complete this VET programme, a final examination is organised at the end of the last school year, it must include a practical examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification Certificate (CQ6)

Examples of qualifications

Assistant in animal care, jeweller, butcher, baker, truck driver.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at the post-secondary level:

  • technical and vocational follow-up programme (1 year, ISCED 4),
  • complementary degree in nursing (3 years, ISCED 4).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET for SEN learners (ages 12-18),

access to and from all other programmes

 

ISCED 2-3

(BE-FR)

VET programmes for SEN learners (enseignement professionnel au sein de l’enseignement spécialisé)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-3

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

12

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

6 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • dual learning (school-based and work-based training available to allow a better social integration).
Main providers

Schools for special education needs

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people aged 12-18 in need of special education.

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

No minimum entry requirements, dual training education system is available from 15 years of age. Enrolling require specific administration procedures (from the medical point of view).

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET for SEN is offered in four different streams, which each lead to a different certificate of completion:
1) social adjustment;
2) social adjustment and training in work skills;
3) vocational education;
4) general, vocational, art and technical education.

SEN of stream 2 and 3 leads to the Qualification Certificate.

SEN of stream 4 awards the same diploma/certificate as normal education of the same type: qualification certificate and/or certificate of upper secondary education (CESS, Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur).

Examples of qualifications

Personal care, HORECA, administrative work, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners from stream 4 (in some cases also from stream 3) can access upper secondary VET programmes.

Furthermore, those who complete VET under stream 4, can also enter the labour market or continue their studies:

  • Bachelor programmes (3 years, ISCED 6),
  • Dual bachelor programmes (3 years, ISCED 6),
  • Professional bachelor programmes (3-4 years, ISCED 6).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Apprenticeship offered by

regional training providers 80% WBL

3 years

 

ISCED 3

(BE-FR)

Apprenticeship programme (formation en alternance)
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

3

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

The programme is offered to adults up to age 25.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual learning (one day at school and four days within a company)
Main providers
  • centres for dual education and training, CEFA
  • training providers for small and medium enterprises, SFPME/EFP, IFAPME
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (learning by doing system)
  • practical training within the training facility
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and adults (up to 25 years of age).

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

There are examinations on general and vocational theoretical knowledge at the end of each academic year. The vocational accomplishments are continuously evaluated during the apprenticeship, and a practical test before a jury of professionals is organised at the end of the programme.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeship certificate approved by the French Community.

In some occupations, the apprenticeship certificate is considered equivalent to the certifications of qualifying education (CQ6 + CQ7) and allows direct access to the 7th years of vocational education. In this way a transition from dual training to higher education is possible (higher education is also accessible via adult education or the juries of the French Community).

Examples of qualifications

Baker, hairdresser, florist, electrician, builder, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies:

  • adult learning (entrepreneurial & leading and coordinating training, ISCED 4 & 5).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each sector.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Adult education prog. at

primary, secondary and tertiary levels

(age 18+ and partly for 15+)

 

ISCED 1-7

(BE-FR)

Adult education programmes at primary, secondary and tertiary levels
EQF level
EQF levels on qualifications are being discussed.
ISCED-P 2011 level

1 to 7

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+ (partly for 15+)

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

This programme is specifically designed for adults.

ECVET or other credits

Credit systems are not applicable yet at primary or secondary levels.

Tertiary education: 180 credits (bachelor programmes) or 120 (master programmes).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • modular approach with flexible schedule – theoretical and practical learning within an adult centre, and an traineeship;
  • self-learning/e-learning.
Main providers

Adult Education Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Practical learning within the adult centre and a traineeship

Main target groups

These programmes are targeted at adult wishing to obtain a degree or certificate for primary education, secondary education, specific qualifications for teachers (CAP and CAPAES) and higher education qualifications, including professional Bachelors and Masters for certain professions.

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

Anyone who is no longer subject to compulsory education (18 years of age) can be admitted unconditionally to adult education, except in special cases in which access can be authorised as of 15 years of age (they have to be registered in a school or a training centre to access this programme).

Assessment of learning outcomes

A finale examination is organised to obtain the certification.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • Alpha Certificate (certificate for reading and writing skills);
  • basic education certificate (CEB);
  • adult education qualification certificates (CQ6 + CQ7), adult education Certificate of upper secondary education (CESS);
  • teaching certificate (CAP);
  • higher education teaching certificate (CAPAES);
  • bachelor's diploma;
  • master's diploma.
Examples of qualifications

The adult education learning system offers the same qualifications as the ‘regular’ system.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The Alpha Certificate is a basic education tool which gives access to the Basic education certificate (CEB).

The CEB allows learner to continue their education at secondary level (either in general, technical or professional secondary education).

Obtaining the certificate of upper secondary education through adult education gives access to the tertiary level education.

With a qualification certificate, learners may also choose to enter the labour market immediately without pursuing to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each programme.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Adult education programmes

(15+ and 18+ olds)

 

ISCED 2-5

(BE-DE)

Adult education programmes (Erwachsenenbildung)
EQF level
EQF referencing has not yet been done.
ISCED-P 2011 level

2-5

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

15+, 18+

Usual completion age

15+, 18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

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

Credit systems are not applicable yet.

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

Information not available

Main providers

13 recognised and subsidised adult education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Adults can obtain formal certificates of secondary education. 

Examples of qualifications

Electrical engineering and maintenance; housekeeping, cooking and sewing; nutrition professionals; etc. [60]For more information, see : https://www.weiterbildungsdatenbank.be/

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners who obtain their Certificate of upper secondary education can enrol in tertiary education. Adults obtaining a qualification certificate can enter the labour market immediately.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each track.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

CVET for employees

(sectoral training funds)

 

 

(BE-FR)

 

 

Continuing VET for employees (formation continue pour adultes)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual training (theoretical courses at a training centre combined with in-company practice);
  • training centres courses.
Main providers

Training providers:

  • Bruxelles Formation, the French-language public service for vocational training in Brussels;
  • Le Forem, the Employment and Vocational Training Agency in Wallonia.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning depends on the programme.

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive a certification of accomplished training.

Examples of qualifications

Enhancement of social, linguistic and digital skills in particular, but also short training courses related to their occupations.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

This programme aims at giving the opportunity of enhancement of skills for workers.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 4 & 5

Entrepreneurial & leading

and coordinating training

 

ISCED 4, 5

(BE-FR)

Entrepreneurial & leading and coordinating training (formation en chef d’entreprise, formation de coordination et d’encadrement)
EQF level
4 & 5
ISCED-P 2011 level

4 & 5

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

Dual learning programme (work-based with theoretical courses at the training centre)

Main providers

Training providers:

  • IFAPME, the Walloon Institute for apprenticeship and entrepreneurial training in small and medium enterprises in Wallonia;​
  • SFPME/EFP, the training service and the training centre for small and medium-sized enterprises, in Brussels.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning provided by training centre and companies depends on the programme and the training provider.

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

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

The courses are open under conditions to participants over 18 years of age who have completed the compulsory education requirement. For some professions the access conditions are stricter, for example by requiring the CESS, as for estate agents or accountants.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Entrepreneurship training degree

Examples of qualifications

Commercial agent, estate agent, accountant, financial advisor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Learners that have completed the training can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Publicly subsidised training

for unemployed and other vulnerable groups

 

 

(BE-FR)

Publicly subsidised training for unemployed and other vulnerable groups (Formation subsidiée par l’autorité publique pour les sans emploi et autres groupes vulnérables)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace). 

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-type learning within the training facility;
  • practical training (workshops within the facility) and in-company training.
Main providers

Socio-professional Integration Centres

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in a business;
  • practical training in workshops within the training facility.
Main target groups

Most vulnerable target groups, inadequately qualified and estranged from the job market.

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

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Literacy programmes, basic training, pre-qualifying training, workplace training and training for disabled job seekers

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completing this VET programme allows learners to continue their training at a higher level within the VET.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Not applicable

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

EQF 2 to 4

Public employment/

training services

 

ISCED 2, 3, 4

(BE-FR)

 

 

Public employment/training services
EQF level
2 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

2 to 4

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education covers learners aged 6 to 18. It begins with admission to primary school; full-time attendance is required until 15. Learners may then choose to continue into part-time education (alternating learning at school/in a training centre with learning at the workplace).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • dual training (theoretical courses at a training centre combined with in-company practice);
  • training centres courses.
Main providers

Training providers :

  • Bruxelles Formation, French-speaking Brussels Institute for Vocational Training;
  • Le Forem, the Walloon Office for Vocational Training and Employment.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

No requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certification of acquired skills 

Examples of qualifications

Administrative assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market directly.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Key competences are specific to each training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available